BY: Christian Appolos
In a recent media workshop on how the media could hold government accountable on Social Protection issues held in Lagos, the organiser of the training: Friedrich Ebert (Foundation)Stiftung, as a wake up call, told Nigerian journalists to be more concerned about social protection issues and make it a duty to hold government accountable on its implementation in their reports.
FES, through the facilitators of the training; stressed the need why pressing for implementation of social protection, should be issue of importance to Nigeria media practitioners, saying it is their obligation towards creating a better living condition for Nigerians and making the country a better place.
Importantly, FES, conspicuously said that Social Protection is a catalyst for a better well-being of the citizens of any country in the world. And among other things pointed out that the fact that Social Protection: “Raises the standard of living, reduces ill health resulting from poor sanitation and mental stress thereby easing the burden on healthcare, empowers the people to freely make choices rather than sell their votes due to hunger and adverse poverty, widens and deepens the democratic space.
“And also gives the populace social security thereby reducing the temptation to take to crime, reduces internal family tension and finance-induced divorces and family disagreements, lessens desperation, social tension and strife, decreases the temptation to be corrupt, enhances income including Minimum Wage and higher productivity, ensures basic education for children and youths who are the building blocks of society (This will drastically reduce or eliminate the crime against humanity in Nigeria where 13.2 million children are out of school, the highest in the world.)
“Helps to minimize inferiority complex amongst the lower rungs of society and enhances self-confidence, gives the citizenry a sense of connectedness to the state and enhances a sense of patriotism, reduces the gender gaps in society, drastically reduces poverty. This is more so in Nigeria which has 87 million people in extreme poverty, making it the highest in the universe, and turning the country into the poverty capital of the world, ensures the overall development of society etc”, is a good reason why the media should strive to hold government accountable.
Onward, it was also listed that the media has such roles in making sure that social protection programmes are being implemented in Nigeria, as: “Advocacy for Social Protection, enlightenment of the populace, monitoring the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes, holding government accountable to the people especially in terms of good governance.
“The creation of Desks on Social Security or Development Reporting to ensure that the issue of Social Protection remains on the front burner, constantly draw attention to the fact that cuts in social spending endangers Social Protection.”
For the record, Social Protection among other things includes transfer in cash or in-kind to people in in order to enable them live protected, secured and dignified lives.
In modern times, it is a mix of policies, programmes, laws, constitutional provisions and international conventions designed to provide the basic needs of human beings including food, water, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education in order to eliminate human want and adverse poverty.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Advisory Group Report on Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization said universal Social Protection should include: “basic income security, in the form of various social transfers (in cash or in kind), such as pensions for the elderly and persons with disabilities, child benefits, income support benefits and/or employment guarantees and services for the unemployed and working poor.”
It also posited that it should include: “universal access to essential affordable social services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, education, food security, housing, and others defined according to national priorities.”