The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr Salihu Lukman, has declared that the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government must transcend one-sided politics to find practical solutions to rising cases of extreme poverty in Nigeria.
Lukman blamed the increase of crime, particularly in Northern Nigeria on severe poverty.
He stated this in a paper tagged, ‘Poverty and Existential Problems of Nigeria’, which he made publicly available, in Abuja, on Monday.
Lukman said, “Being members of APC with all the commitment to contribute to the success of the party, we need to tell ourselves the hard truth, which is that an important determinant of return to peaceful coexistence and moving Nigeria forward under the leadership of our party is dependent on the capacity of our governments to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
“Therefore, we need to engage the disturbing issue of high levels of poverty in Nigeria beyond the narrow prism of politics.”
Citing the late economist, John Galbraith, in the book, ‘The Nature of Mass Poverty’ he, recollected that the scholar cautioned that “Poverty is man’s (and woman’s) most powerful and massive affliction. It is the progenitor of much further pain – from hunger and disease on to civil conflict and war itself.”
Lukman additional said, “In our case in Nigeria, beyond our self-inflicted ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty is also at the root of all the kidnappings, abductions and banditry.
“The problem of high incidence of poverty in Nigeria has been our reality for decades, which no Nigerian can deny.
“Year after year, both governmental and non-governmental, including multilateral, institutions continue to remind us of the ugly reality of our high incidence of poverty.
“Just recently, the World Bank released its annual report on Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversal of Fortune.
“The report indicated that 2,969,158 Nigerians are living in extreme poverty and a total of 94,470,535 million are below the poverty line of $1.90 or about N700 per day.
“It also highlighted sadly that Nigeria has the largest population of poor people, accounting for 20 per cent of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, with a further projection that the impact of Covid-19 pandemic was on the economy will increase the number of people living below the poverty line to more than 100 million by 2022.”
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