Rising Poverty Rate In Nigeria: Northern groups urge increased social investment
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) drawn from the 19 Northern states of Nigeria and Abuja has urged the Nigerian government to intensify efforts and encourage social investment programmes to rid the country of poverty.
The CSOs were reacting to a recent report about 133 million Nigerians living below the poverty line.
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The CSOs, under the aegis of the Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks, therefore, called on anti-graft agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) – to investigate Federal Government’s spending on all social safety-nets and poverty alleviation programmes and projects executed between 2015 and 2022, and also establish why poverty is on the increase, especially in the North.
According to Guardian, Ambassador Ibrahim Waiya, Chairman of the coalition and President, Kano Civil Society Forum, disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja on behalf of 20 Chairmen/Coordinators of the 19 Northern States and FCT CSOs.
Waiya said he is amazed at the rising level of poverty in the country despite huge sums spent on social investment programmes.
While lamenting that 65 percent of the poor, representing 86 million people live in the North, he stressed that all 18 presidential candidates must explain to Nigerians their intentions on how to tackle increasing poverty in the country and their development agenda for Northern Nigeria.
“The most recent figures made available by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) referred to as the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) survey, has unambiguously indicated that things are worse than what they were formerly in 2015.
“The results of this survey among other issues have exposed the effects of corruption, as 63 per cent of persons living within Nigeria, representing 133 million people, are multi-dimensionally poor, while 65 per cent of the poor, representing 86 million people live in the North.
“This survey, which was carried out by a government-owned agency even proved beyond reasonable doubt that the world had underestimated the poverty rating of Nigeria, as reported on World Poverty Clock.
“Riding on the above, it is becoming more evident that, the crusade against corruption in Nigeria, is most needed now, as most of the factors that contribute to the level of poverty in Nigeria are attributed to the high level of corruption in governance.
“Considering the huge investment of this government on social investment programmes, we urge the leadership of anti-graft agencies such as EFFC and ICPC to conduct a discrete investigation on the funds claimed to have been disbursed by some Federal Government Ministries and Agencies, to find out what has gone wrong. The investigation into this matter is significant, as there is no correlation between the funds invested in the social protection programmes and the increased rate of poverty in the country, ” Waya said.