The efforts of the Nigerian government towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals have again received resounding commendation from the global community.
The commendations were made separately by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, President of Ghana, John Mohama, President of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and the Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall while speaking at the side event held at the on-going 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York titled: Transformative agenda for sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa: Lessons, actions and emerging perspectives.
President Goodluck Jonathan who acknowledged the commendation stated that the commitment of his government to the attainment of the MDGs is as result of the premium the government places on the lives of the vulnerable poor in the country, which he described as mission.
“The issues of MDGs touch me directly, having lost seven of my eight siblings before their first birthdays and we are taking the issues of the MDGs as a mission. We are committed to taking people out of poverty, ensure that mothers and babies stay alive in good health and households enjoys improve standard of living.” President Jonathan stated.
Ahead of the 2015, deadline, Nigeria, as revealed by recent NBS statistics as reeled out by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr Precious Gbeneol, has met goals three and six as well as the Hunger target of goal one. The country’s Maternal Mortality Ratio, which was estimated that 1,000 mothers died per 100,000 live births in 1990, dropped to 545 in 2008 and to 350 in 2012. Nigeria has also recorded 65 per cent reduction in maternal mortality between 2000 and 2013 and increased skilled birth attendants from 17 per cent in 2000 to 60 per cent 2013. There has also been a reduction from the 2008 NDHS figure for the under-five mortality rate of 157 deaths per 1,000 live births, to 94 deaths. Nigeria’s latest statistics indicated that infant mortality has dropped from 100/1,000 live births as recently as 2003 to 61/1,000 live births.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon who spoke through the UN Assistant Secretary and Advisor on post 2015, Amina Mohammed stated that the MDGs Acceleration Framework (MAF) introduced by the Nigeria and supported by the UN as well as other policies of Government attest to the commitment of Nigeria in addressing the plight of the very vulnerable poor in the country as defined in the MDGs framework. He hailed the leadership and coordinating role of the government of Nigeria in attaining the MDGs not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa.
“The commitment of President Jonathan to MDGs in Nigeria and indeed across Africa will help us more in our quest to meet the peoples’ need at national, regional and global level. In turn, this will contribute to more effective multilateral system and one that is fit for purpose to deliver not only on the MDGs but the post 2015 development agenda” Ban stated.
The Coordinator of the UNDP Helen Clark, speaking through Regional Director of Africa Bureau, Abdoulaye Mar dieye stated that the concerted efforts of Nigeria have produced significant results especially on the MDGs target on the proportion of undernourished people, on gender parity in primary education, the reversing of HIV/AIDS, the lowering of under 5 mortality and maternal mortality rate.
Ban’s position was strengthened by the Special Adviser to the Secretary General and head of the Earth Institute of the Columbia University, Professor Jeffrey Sachs.
“Nigeria deserves our great gratitude for its leadership right from the start of the MDGs. Nigeria has been in the lead with new concepts and new initiatives that have really proven the way and has turned all the cynicism and pessimism that surrounded the debt relief in 2005 into a solid and effective investment in poverty reduction in the country. For that we have the government to commend. I am very proud of the huge successes so far recorded by Nigeria in the effort to attain the goals. I expect Nigeria to continue to lead in the post 2015 efforts.” Sachs said.
According to the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, the efforts of Nigeria and the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan is notable and very key as the continent joins the global community in the new quest to frame a post 2015 successive framework.
On her part, President Ellen Sirleaf stated that she was particularly impressed by Nigeria’s MDGs implementation mechanism, institution and structures put in place to deliver on the MDGs with independent monitoring and evaluation mechanism which she described as world class and laudable.
“We in Liberia do not have that. I am not sure how many of our countries in Africa have that. To see an office wholly devoted to MDGs is very impressive.”
She stated that she was therefore not surprised that Nigeria was making remarkable progress in her quest to attain the global agenda.
“I would urge all our countries in Africa to within the remaining two years of the MDGs emulate the efforts and focus on selected goals in a bid to achieve the goals especially those with greater prospects.” Sirleaf stated.
To the president of Ghana, John Mohama, the attainments so far attained by Nigeria and other countries in Africa has largely shown that when the world come together to set common targets, a lot can be done to improve the cause of humanity.
President Mohama singled out the Social protection scheme (Conditional Cash transfer) of the government for commendation, describing it as an effective way to reaching the most vulnerable and under-privileged in the society.
“Going forward, I must commend the social protection scheme President Goodluck Jonathan is running because I believe that we must redistribute wealth and distribute the fruits of growth so that the whole of society can benefit and those who are at the bottom of the society can be afforded the opportunity to live a decent live.” Mohama stated.