By Nebianet Usaini


Musa (Not his real name) watched as the food vendors served the guests. His look revealed both hunger and anger but he lacked the courage to ask for a meal.

It was a marriage between a nurse and a government contractor at Takau, Kafanchan, Kaduna State. The tables were littered with foods and drinks. And for some vulnerable and poor children in the community, it was an opportunity for scavenging.

They eat crumbs from guests’ tables most times. For Musa who was not a guest, the gathering could provide a sumptuous meal for the day.

But last Saturday, succour refused to smile at him. He had been standing at a vantage position to gain the caterers’ attention but none of them was ready to serve him.

Dressed in a tattered pair of jean trouser and tee-shirt, the 10-year-old boy and his friends stood endlessly outside the venue of the reception until a plate of rice fell from one of the vendors.

“"Oya just eat it", the food vendors told the boy, rolled her eyes and walked away.

It may sound unbelievable but it is true that millions of Nigerians live exactly like Musa and while he was campaigning in 2015 to lead the country, President Muhammadu Buhari said that the present government would give N5, 000 every month to the poorest in the society.

The fund was integrated into the 2016 appropriation but never implemented throughout the year. The country was eventually declared to be officially in a state of recession, making it more difficult for the downtrodden to live quality life.

Coupling with the incessant killings by Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeastern part of the country, thousands of children were displaced while government failed to provide enough welfare.

Though IDPs camps were created, investigation revealed that government officials who were saddled with the responsibility of catering for their welfare misappropriated the funds.

As a matter of fact, the United Nations condemned the manner at which some law enforcement agents converted some of the IDPs into sex tools while their children languished in hunger and diseases.    

Two policemen, one soldiers and one civil servants had since been arrested over the allegation.

Speaking on this, President Muhammadu Buhari urged the society to extend their humanitarian gesture towards the vulnerable children by providing foods and security for them without necessarily waiting for government to do it.

Perhaps such case as that of Musa will be addressed. And on Monday, the office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced that the government had embarked on the payment of N5, 000 in nine states of the federation.

The vice president called on other state governments to work with the World Bank to create register of the poorest in their domain to benefit from the N5, 000 monthly allowance.