Ending The Violence Of Extreme Poverty And Building Peace

A communiqué issued at the end of the 19th Annual Development Forum of the Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) held in Benin City on 17th October, 2012 with the theme: “Ending The Violence Of Extreme Poverty And Building Peace.”

Preamble

The Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a poverty-focused development institution has held its 19th Annual Development Forum in Benin City under the theme: Ending The Violence Of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment And Building Peace: The LAPO Development Forum provided opportunity for stakeholders and partners in development to present and exchange ideas as well as design roadmaps to address poverty, promote empowerment and build peace across the country.

After an exhaustive discussion of the paper presented by Mr. Ugbogbo S. Nosakhare of the Department of Accounting, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, participants at the Forum came up with the following communiqué: 

1.         That majority of Nigerian children go to school with empty stomachs as a result of the poverty status of their parents. Therefore, governments at the three levels, i.e. Federal, State and Local Governments should immediately commence the implementation of the UBE policy of providing a meal per day for pupils in primary schools.

2.         Participants observed that people at the grassroots are alienated from governance and the budgeting process. Therefore, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organization (CBOs) should mobilize people at the grassroots to be more proactive in the budgeting process, and monitor the implementation of budgets in their various communities.

3.         Participants observed that the number of students seeking admission into the Faculties of Agriculture in Nigerian Universities is dwindling because students are not appreciative of the all-important relevance of agricultural production in the country’s unindustrialized economy. Therefore, as part of the efforts to boost food production and promote small and medium scale agro-products as measures of fighting poverty, Nigerian universities should increase the number of students admitted into the Faculties of Agriculture annually. Also, the Federal and State Governments should award full scholarship to students who are willing to study Agricultural Science in the universities and other tertiary institutions in the country.

4.         Participants also observed that the lack of take-off funds is frustrating many young Nigerians who would have been able to establish small and medium scale enterprises. Therefore, the Banks and other lending financial institutions should relax their lending conditions to enable more small and medium scale investors access funds for their businesses.

5.         Participants at the forum noted that cooperatives are vital instruments for fighting poverty. Therefore, Nigerians in their workplaces, communities, churches, mosques, markets etc. should establish cooperatives to pull funds together for investment purposes.

6.         The Forum noted that there is a dearth of patriotic and progressive political leadership in the country. Rather, what subsists today as political leadership in the country leaves much to be desired. Participants observed that only patriotic and honest people can lead the country out of the woods and fix collapsed infrastructures. Therefore, participants called on Nigerians to identify honest, committed and patriotic people in their various communities to lead them.

7.         Finally, participants at the Forum regretted that since Nigeria attained political independence in 1960, the Nigerian economy has continued to be dominated by foreign capitalists and therefore not managed for the interest of Nigerians. Therefore, Nigerians should take back the control of the economy from foreigners and organize it for the interest of the Nigerian people.

8.        The Forum commended LAPO for its commitment to poverty alleviation through her

            robust social and economic empowerment services.