The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has called on leaders and top ranking public officials to engage in direct intervention to alleviate the suffering of the people in their communities and give them better living conditions.
The Speaker, who made this call in the National Assembly when he received a non profit organisation that engages in medical outreaches in the urban areas, Doctors On The Move Africa, in his office, said he has resolved to continue to reach out through medical missions to the people with a view to alleviating poverty and improve their living conditions.
Dogara, who partnered with the organisation to provide free medical services in Bauchi State recently, said the success of the mission and the positive feedback received from the people is a signal to him and all other top ranking Nigerians to continue to do everything to lift them from the clutches of poverty.
The Speaker said, “In the course of your work in Bauchi, I got calls and text messages, then I was not even in the country, from patients from neighbouring states like Yobe, Kano, Plateau, and Gombe. To be candid, it is something that I would want to encourage some of our colleagues to do, it will help a lot in transforming the lives of our people. The reason being that if you are boxed into this vicious circle of poverty, there is no way you can break even. You know the circle is that once you are poor, for instance, and engage in sustenance farming, you might be sick and because you are sick, you cannot farm and because you cannot farm, you will be poor and because you are poor, you will be sick. That is the vicious circle of poverty.
“But when we do things like this, I think that we are lifting our people from the lower rungs, or even no rungs of the ladder of prosperity, because they can now work and engage in activities that generate some form of income. So it is something that I recommend to spirited Nigerians to collaborate with NGOs such as yours so that we can better the lives of our people.
“It is said that he who brings health brings wealth and for me, this has further emboldened me to embark more on this kind of collaboration that will really improve the living conditions of our people. I can say that this is only the beginning, sooner or later, you will still go back to Bauchi because the Emir is still insisting that the work is yet to be finished due to time constraints.”
Saying it is also a way of thanking God, he added, “This is perhaps the best way of thanking God for the different gifts, for the status he has given us in our society. Some of us do organise thanksgiving but I think that doesn’t speak to the investment that God has made in us but when we exercise all these gifts, these opportunities, whatever training we have received for the benefit of society, in missions like this, that is a way of really thanking God, as far as I am concerned, for what He has done for us. We encourage you that you should not falter, you should not be discouraged. Even if you do not have support, I know that heavens support this mission that you are currently involved in.”
Dogara, while assuring that the federal government is concerned and working towards improving the living conditions of Nigerians through its programmes and policies, also pointed out that not all areas can be covered by the government because of the dwindling resources and needs that are competing to be addressed.
He continued, “In the 2016 budget, we have a provision, I think for the first time in the history of this country, about half a trillion out together for social safety nets and I know that it involves fighting poverty and diseases, so many components that will be able to improve the living conditions of our people. We have seen this, so we will encourage the relevant agencies to, in the exercise of our power of oversight, ensure that something is devoted to initiatives such as this one so that the people can benefit from it. This, to me, is the direction that we should be heading to.”
Earlier, the leader of the visiting team, Hon. Dr. Joseph Kigbu, said the medical outreach mission sponsored by the Speaker is estimated at the cost of N142 million, and cut across all the local government areas in Bauchi State and its environs and was absolutely free of charge.
He added that the services rendered included 230 surgeries, 798 ultrasound, distribution of 1,635 eyeglasses, treatment of 452 patients with cataract and other cases.
Kigbu, however, appealed to the Speaker to do all within his power and office to eradicate poverty in order to cut down sicknesses and diseases among the vulnerable people in the society who can not afford basic healthcare services or healthy lifestyles.
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