Nigeria was ranked 103 out of 121 countries in the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI), a position that signifies the nation has a level of hunger that is serious.
The Global Hunger Index was jointly published by the German-based Welthungerhilfe and Dublin-based Concern Worldwide on Saturday to mark the World Food Day.
The report, which ranks countries by ‘severity’, gave Nigeria a score of 27.3 – a hunger level falling under the ‘serious’ category.
The index has five levels of hunger under which each country falls – low, moderate, serious, alarming and extremely alarming. This is the second consecutive year in which Nigeria’s ranking on the scale remains the same.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, ranked 103 out of 116 countries in 2021 and 98 among 107 countries in 2020.
At the beginning of this year, the number of poor Nigerians had increased to 91 million, with the World Bank estimating that an additional one million people were pushed into poverty in Nigeria from June to November 2021.
The latest figure of the poverty index, nearly half of the country’s estimated population of about 214 million, had jumped from 89 million, given by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in May 2020.
This means that 6.1 million more persons would have fallen beneath the poverty line in two years, making it the poverty capital of the world.
While India has more people living below the United Nations estimated poverty line of $2 due to its large population, by percentage, the country at barely six per cent, comes second behind Nigeria at 32 per cent.
It was stated that the poverty rate had been aided by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the growing population.
Today, October 17, marks the 30th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) established by UN. UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in his message to commemorate the day, stated yesterday: “As we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we face a harsh truth: the world is moving backwards.
“COVID-19 plunged millions into poverty, setting back more than four years of hard-won progress. Inequalities are widening. National and household economies are battered by job losses, skyrocketing food and energy prices, and the gathering shadows of a global recession.
“At the same time, the climate crisis and raging conflicts are causing immense suffering, with the poorest people bearing the brunt. Developing countries are being squeezed dry, denied access to resources and debt relief to invest in recovery and growth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being pushed far out of reach.
“The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a wake-up call to the world. This year’s theme — ‘Dignity for all in practice’ — must be a rallying cry for urgent global action.
“Action to invest in people-centred solutions — from health and decent work, to gender equality, social protection, and transformed food and education systems. Action to transform a morally bankrupt global financial system and ensure access to financing and debt relief for all countries.
“Action to support developing countries as they transition from planet-killing fossil fuels to renewable energy and job-creating green economies. Action to end conflicts, heal geopolitical divisions and pursue peace; and action to achieve the SDGs. On this important day, let us renew our commitment to a better world for all. Let us consign poverty to the pages of history,” he said.
Although last year, President Muhammadu Buhari claimed that his administration had lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty between 2019 and 2021, a foremost human rights organisation, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), yesterday, called on Nigerians to make poverty reduction a key campaign issue. Executive Director of CCD, David Anyaele, made the call in a statement to mark IDEP.
October 17, yearly, is recognised as International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and set aside to solidarise with people living in extreme poverty, in particular persons with disabilities, women and children.
“It is also a day for sober reflection and an opportunity to ask ourselves questions as a people on the extent we have contributed to the increase or reduction of poverty in our societies.”
Anyaele said the current set of Nigerian leaders have failed to reduce poverty in the land and have consciously or unconsciously contributed to the growing number of persons with disabilities due to their failure to tackle the increasing number of Nigerians going into extreme poverty.
According to him, this demoralising poverty situation in Nigeria is manmade and fuelled by bad governance and corruption in high places.
“Unfortunately, when people fall into poverty, their chance of acquiring disability becomes wider, as poverty has been linked as a major source of disability, even as disability pushes families into extreme poverty.
“As the 2023 general elections are around the corner, we call on Nigerians to make poverty reduction a key campaign issue. Candidates for the state Houses of Assembly, governorship, National Assembly and the Presidency must tell Nigerians how they intend to bend the poverty curve in Nigeria. Citizens should prepare to hold elected officials accountable for poverty reduction, as the poverty situation in Nigeria is man-made, majorly because of bad governance.
“The dignity of the human being is not only a fundamental right in itself, but constitutes the basis of all other fundamental rights. As an organisation of, and for persons with disabilities, we are worried that while other countries of the world are taking steps to reduce poverty within their societies, the increasing number of Nigerians that are experiencing extreme poverty is very alarming.
“According to a World Bank report titled ‘A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment’, poverty reduction has stagnated since 2015, with more Nigerians falling below the poverty line over the years. The international organisation projected the number of poor Nigerians to hit 95.1 million in 2022.
“In other reports, Nigeria has been classified as the poverty capital of the world. This is because while the population of Nigeria is growing, the poverty situation is also competing with the population increase in the country.”