Poverty still remains deeply etched in Nigerian society and despite the fact that Nigeria is a a very big economy, for the ordinary person, poverty seems to be inextricable from their life. The economy is out of the recession, but this has not translated to meaningful substantiation in the lives of the ordinary people, as most Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty, according to the civil rights group ActionAid.
It has become a debilitating situation for many, that despite such a huge economy, poverty seems to be going nowhere, at all. It also shows signs of glaring inequality deeply entrenched in our socities, a fact that people have found no solution to.
ActionAid has said that most Nigerians have gravitated into further poverty even though the economy is recovering. This was revealed during a press conference by the chairman of the governing board of the group, Patricia Donli, after the organisation's Annual General Meeting held in Abuja.
In her address titled "State of the Nigerian Nation," she said the poverty level in the country has worsened to the extent that Nigeria has been named the country with the highest population of people who live in extreme poverty. "In 2016, the prevalence of people living below the poverty line ranged between 54 per cent -60 per cent but today, 82 million Nigerians are living below the poverty line of 1.9 dollars a day," adding that as regards the level of poverty, Nigeria is number 187 out of 190 countries.
There seems to a plan on the cards meant at alleviating such problems. Patricia Donli argues that if the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) policy is thoroughly implemented, the population of those living in poverty will be significantly reduced by the end of the policy timeline which is 2020.
"Not discarding the efforts of government in the areas of improving the economy and security, we believe that much more can be done to make Nigeria better and safer for the citizens," she said. According to her, education at all levels has witnessed a decline which has threatened the sustainability of our human capital development as well as reduced the level of poverty.
The board chairman said there are concerns that the credibility of the 2019 elections will be marred by undue ethnic religious and regional mobilization among others.
"Despite being a democratic polity founded on the ideals of constitutionalism and the rule of law, Nigeria has continued to experience egregious violations of human rights especially extra judicious killings, involving security agencies, groups and individuals across the country," she said.
Poverty is a real menace refusing to vacate from our societies and with the aid of other factors like political uncertainty, poverty is exacerbated and the ordinary citizens bitterly and painfully feel the pinch of it.
More concerted efforts are always needed in fighting poverty. In most cases, there simply is no enough political will to create conducive environments so that people emancipate themselves economically.
Being such a huge economy and still grappling with these issues is symptomatic of a society that sweeps key and sensitive issues under the carpet. It must not work like that.
Scores of people are disempowered and it only takes a concerted effort of all stakeholders to fight poverty.
Header Image Credit: Guardian Nigeria