Last week Nigeria was shamed again by a report of (CNN) through its Nigerian correspondent Bukola Adebayo. The report cited that “Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day”.

Basing its findings on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute, the report showed that more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number. And that Nigeria, as with other countries on the continent, that figure is projected to rise. “By the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today,” the researchers write.

This news is not new to Nigerians who can’t seem to understand why they can’t at least live above the expected poverty line, in spite of the massive natural resources Nigeria is blessed with. Previously in 2017 economists have predicted that Nigeria would overtake India in poverty rankings soon, if some urgent economic step were not taken. This is June 2018 and here we are.

The Nigerian government has done little or nothing to react to the CNN report, but Nigerians have spoken out on SM and other platforms, describing this latest report as an indication that Nigeria has become a failed state. WakeUpAfrica correspondent in Abuja paid a visit to the Ministry of Finance Headquarters’ to get some reactions or reasons why the country is in such economic hardship.

The Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters is located on Ahmadu Bello Way Central Business District in Abuja. The environment showed a lacklustre of activities at least from the reception. A few people walked around from one office to another, work seemed to be going on at a slow pace. Efforts to speak to staff or get access to top officials proved abortive as they were said to be unavailable. However a government official who preferred to speak anonymously said “The reality is that Nigeria is working on paper but not translating to physical realities. The late signing of the budget contributed to the slow growth of the economy. Also do not forget that elections are around the corner, so it’s normal for those in power to horde money in the system and keep them in hopes of using them to rig the forthcoming elections”

When asked about the issue of padding in our budgets, he claimed he is not involved in budgeting for the ministry and so knows nothing about it.

Surprisingly while it is said that Nigeria needs to desperately tackle poverty and unemployment to reduce poverty, poverty in India continues to decrease an estimated 5.3% or 71.5 million people now live below the poverty line.

Do you agree with the CNN report?

Photo Credit Getty Images


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