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Experts Identify Those Responsible For 133 Million Nigerians Living In Poverty

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Experts Identify Those Responsible For 133 Million Nigerians Living In Poverty
Photo: Slum area in Nigeria

Economic experts have blamed the leaders of both federal and state governments for 133 million Nigerians living in poverty.

A Financial Inclusion/Wealth Management expert, Mr Idakolo Gbolade and Professor of Management and Accounting at Lead City University, Ibadan, Godwin Oyedokun, made this disclosure to DAILY POST while reacting to the recent National Bureau of Statistics, NBS Multidimensional Poverty report.

DAILY POST reported on Friday that NBS’s MPI data said 133 million Nigerians live in poverty.

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Sokoto, Bayelsa, Gombe, and Kebbi states ranked highest in the recent poverty data.

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Meanwhile, on a brighter note, Ondo State recorded the lowest poverty index at 27%, a contrast from Sokoto, which stood at 91%.

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The report added that children, women and persons with disabilities are worst affected.

Reacting to the report, Mr Idakolo disclosed that part of the increased poverty rate is because 85% of states in Nigeria significantly depend on the federation’s allocation for sustainability.

Idakolo stated that leaders of most state governments in Nigeria are suffering from a disease called ‘Laziness of the Mind’.

He added that most states in the country lack the enabling environment for industrialization to drive revenue generation. He urged the state government to look inwards by rallying around its citizenry to reduce the poverty rate.

Also, he said the federal and state must work harmoniously to address poverty affecting the majority of Nigerians.

He said: “This is not far from the truth because you need infrastructural developments and deliberate government policies to stem poverty—this needs to be improved in most states; 85% of the states in Nigeria rely solely on revenue sharing for sustainability. Most states in Nigeria lack the drive to create an enabling environment for industrialization, which will give rise to increased revenues for the states.”

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According to him: “The sharing of resources in Nigeria should be based on the principle of derivation so that the respective states that have these resources can develop with their natural resources whilst paying tax to the federal government. Every state in Nigeria is blessed, but most leaders suffer from a disease called Laziness of the mind.

“Going forward, the states should look inwards by organizing forums for their indigenes to embrace collective aspiration. This is when every state indigenes have a sense of belonging and locate industries first in their home state before expanding elsewhere.”

States, he advised, should not only invite foreign investors but also look at areas where they have a comparative advantage over other states “so that their indigenes can benefit from the employment opportunities that come with such investments.”

He further added: “The state government should not work at cross purposes with the Federal government but ensure that while creating a favourable investment climate, federal laws are not bridged, thereby raising tensions between state and federal government. The states should also put their house in order so communities will cooperate with local and foreign investors when siting industries on their land.”

For his part, Prof Oyedokun said both federal and state governments need to do more to reduce the poverty level of the majority of Nigerians. He listed purposeful government and leadership as plausible solutions.

The university don, however, blamed the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for the poverty data of Bayelsa State. He said the Commission’s funds should be properly used to lift Niger Deltans from poverty.

Also, Prof Godwin frowned at Sokoto State for recording the highest poverty index despite having many of its citizens at the helm of affairs at the federal government.

He urged both federal and state governments to utilize the statistics to address the country’s poverty situation.

He said: “When we talk about the poverty level in Nigeria, it is not as bad as what is seen elsewhere. I am currently in Mumbai, India; even in the main town, you will see what you can’t see in Nigeria. However, what concerns us about the data is our country. As I used to say, the government has a lot to do to ensure the percentage is reduced to the minimum. How would this be done? We need a purposeful government, leadership with a lot of trust and people ready to give good policy. It is annoying and appalling even when our current government has all the indices; much advice has not been given to address the issue. The states with the highest ranking are alarming. I could not believe that Sokoto ranked highest because most people in the federal government are from there(the North), and they also have a state government. That of Bayelsa is alarming; they are part of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. What are the NDDC funds meant for? They should take these people out of poverty. The local and state governments should coordinate directly with their citizens to address the situation. All indices of a good economy should be put in place so that we will continue to enjoy; if a certain part of Nigeria is not well developed, it will rob other parts of the country,” he stated.

A region-by-region analysis of the report stated that Northern Nigeria stood at 65% or 86 million poor Nigerians. In comparison, 35% or about 47 million people living in poverty reside in the Southern region.

It added that in rural areas, 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas.

Hammed Tajudeen is the Editor-In-Chief of Blaze Newz Nigeria, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication.

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