Four out of every ten Nigerians, or approximately 80 million people, were poor. Poverty, according to the United Nations, entails more than a lack of income and productive resources; it also includes hunger and malnutrition; limited access to education and other basic services; social discrimination and exclusion; and a lack of participation in decision-making.
Around 40.1 percent of Nigerians live on less than the national poverty line of N137,430 per person per year. This means that 82.9 million Nigerians were impoverished. Rural areas housed 84.1 percent of Nigeria’s poor. This, in and of itself, is a manifestation of Nigeria’s spatial inequality.
Slow growth, low human capital, labour market weaknesses, and vulnerability to shocks are all mentioned in a World Bank report as factors holding Nigeria’s poverty reduction back.
On Monday, 17 October, as the entire world observed International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the United Nations stated that human dignity is not only a fundamental right in and of itself, but also serves as the foundation for all other fundamental rights.
The United Nations stated that, despite its commitment to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people everywhere enjoy peace and prosperity, inequalities of opportunity and income are on the rise, and the gap between rich and poor grows wider by the year.
As a result, “Dignity” is not an abstract concept: it belongs to everyone. Many people in persistent poverty today have their dignity denied and disrespected.
As inequality rises in Nigeria, the new trend of migration out of the country is attributed to poverty and increasing insecurity, many Nigerians have been forced to abandon the country for greener pastures in Europe and America.
To tackle the menace in Nigeria, stakeholders have urged the Nigerian government to genuinely and urgently implement an institutionalized action plan to address poverty which will involve a stronger and more committed collaboration between the government at all levels.
A public policy commentator, Dr Victor Ikem noted that beyond rhetoric, with the 2023 election just less than three months away, if there is not a determined and holistic effort to curtail poverty, more young Nigerians will be forced to abandon the country for greener pastures in Europe and America.
“If this does continue to happen, Nigeria will keep losing needed human capital needed for recovery and growth,” he said.
Also, David Anyaele, Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) 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.
While speaking with DAILY POST, he said “the most challenging aspect is that people living in poverty experience many interrelated and mutually reinforcing deprivations that prevent them from realizing their rights and perpetuate their poverty, including but not limited to dangerous, but degrading working conditions, unsafe housing, limited access to nutritious food, limits access to justice, stiffen access to political power and hinders access to healthcare services amongst others.
“The current set of Nigerian leaders have failed to reduce poverty in the land. They have consciously or unconsciously contributed to the growing number of persons with disabilities due to their inability to tackle the increasing number of Nigeria going into extreme poverty.”
Suggesting solution to poverty and to stop young Nigerians jetting out of the country to escape poverty, Dr Ikem stressed that the next government must prioritize education, healthcare, and job creation through productive sector investment aside from ensuring security, and agricultural development and encouraging production and export to stabilize the economy and reduce dependency on importation”.