Nigerians are alarmed at the report of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) which revealed that 63per cent or 133million Nigerians are poor.
According to the last census conducted in Nigeria in 2006 (16 years ago) Nigeria’s population was put at 200million.
However, the report did not state if the population figure was based on the 2006 census or the World Bank’s estimate of 2016.
But whether it was based on Nigeria’s 200million population or not, experts are alarmed at the report, saying that if urgent steps are not taken to address the ugly situation, the future is bleak for everybody.
President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), Dr Segun Adaju, said that the level of poverty would engender a high crime rate.
He urged the government to do something urgently.
“The report that has just been released was arrived at with a yardstick called Multidimensional Poverty Index. Before now, the yardstick was the National Living Standard Survey (NLSS) which result said that about 82.9million Nigerians are poor. That result covered only income or financial for people living below $1 per day.
“But the multi-dimensional poverty index uses many other factors which include, not only financial but education, child, health. That means that we have been underrating the level of poverty in Nigeria by just using economic factors alone. With MPI we have more poor people than we think and it’s a dangerous trend. It’s worrisome that we have 133million Nigerians that are poor by that index. It’s something that any reasonable government or even individuals like you and I should be worried about.
“There will be high increase in crime. Somebody who’s poor can do anything to survive. Government should sit down and take a drastic look at the situation. Otherwise, the future is a write-off,” he said.
In his remarks, Secretary General, Arewa Consultative Forum, Murtala Aliyu, advised that the Federal Government should devolve power to lower levels and that state levels must ensure that local governments work.
“My own take is that government should re-engineer governance itself and take activities towards the local governments. If that figure is correct that means the government should devolve power to lower levels and that state levels also must ensure that local governments work. When that happens poverty will drastically be reduced and quickly too.”
But the President, Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL), Hon Goodluck Ibem, deferred from the report, arguing that in view of the level of devastations in the North as a result of insecurity, the figure is a far cry from what the report presented.
He put the actual figure of poverty at 150million instead of 133million.
“That report is not accurate. About 150million Nigerians are poor. In the North the level of insecurity has reduced many people to poverty. The northerners are mainly farmers. They are no longer going to farm. Insecurity there has made it impossible for them to go to farm.
“When somebody cannot fend for himself it means he’s poor. So, the level of poverty is higher than what the report is saying. So, poverty is as a result of poor leadership by the All Progressives Congress (APC). President Muhammadu Buhari brought poverty upon Nigerians. And it’s very unfortunate that the same person is also campaigning for his party to be re-elected. I wonder what they have to tell Nigerians,” he said.
The World Bank in its 2016, poverty survey, had rated Nigeria the poverty capital of the world, saying that four in every 10 Nigerians live below the poverty income of $1.9 per day.
The World Bank’s sobriquet on Nigeria led to a series of surveys by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the bank, with Nigeria’s population growth continuing to outpace poverty reduction, the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty is set to rise by 7.7million between 2019 and 2024.
While the economy is projected to grow at an average of 3.2per cent in 2022-2024, the growth outlook is subject to downside risks including further declines in oil production and heightened insecurity.
Meanwhile, continued scarcity of foreign exchange and tighter liquidity could affect the economic activity in the non-oil sector and undermine the overall macroeconomic stability.
The uncertainty is also expected to be accompanied by high inflation and continued fiscal and debt pressures.
Consequently, in 2018/9, NBS conducted a Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) where it reported that only 40.1per cent Nigerians were poor.
The same year, the bureau conducted a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which was a subset of NLSS and about 82.9million Nigerians were reported to be in extreme poverty.
Notwithstanding the result of the survey, President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2018, promised to lift 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
This implies that in his personal survey and calculation, there are more poor than the survey’s report, an indictment that led to another round of survey – the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) – the result of which was launched on November 17, 2022.
The survey which was sponsored by European Union, Canada, United Nations, UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and OPHI University in United States, revealed that out of over 200million Nigerians, 133million are multi-dimensionally poor.
This means that they experience deprivations in more than one dimension or in, at least, 26per cent of weighted indicators.
According to the document, over half of the population are deprived in cooking fuel and high deprivations are also apparent in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity and housing.
The report also explained that multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas with 72per cent of people poor compared to 42per cent of people in urban areas.
Meanwhile, 70per cent of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas while 80per cent of poor people and their intensity of poverty is also higher – 42per cent in rural areas compared to 37per cent in urban areas.
Whereas 65per cent of the poor (86million) Nigerians, live in the north, 35per cent (47million) live in the South.
“Poverty levels across states vary significantly with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from a low 27per cent in Ondo to a high of 91per cent in Sokoto.
“Seventy-one per cent of people living in households with at least one person living with a disability (PLWD) are poor compared to 62per cent of people who live in households where no one is living with a disability” the report, said, adding that 29per cent of all school-age children are not attending school and 94per cent of all out-of-school are poor.
“Thus, 27per cent of all school-age children are both poor and out of school (with no significant gender disparities)” the report said.
The document noted that the purpose of National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) is to be used as a policy tool but it’s not expected to reduce poverty.
“Leadership and a strong commitment to this purpose is needed to go further than measurement,” the document noted.
Excited with the result, Buhari promised that henceforth the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (NMPI) would be used to allocate resources for national development.
Speaking at the launch of the NMPI in Abuja, the president who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, also noted that the NMPI would be integrated in the National Social Register to facilitate better targeting for social intervention.
“At the federal level, these results will be used to influence the allocation of resources going forward, particularly to target sectors where most citizens suffer deprivations.
“The MPI is not our only data on poverty, combining the insights provided by MPI results with data from the income poverty measurement, it provides a holistic picture of poverty, and helps to shape the path towards shared prosperity,” he said.
According to the president, the multidimensional way of understanding poverty has been helpful in highlighting beyond monetary/income-based poverty measurements, the stark realities of poverty in each state and across the 109 senatorial districts.
The incidence of monetary poverty, he said, is lower than the incidence of multidimensional poverty across most states where 40.1per cent of people are poor according to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, but 63per cent are multi-dimensionally poor according to the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report.
Furthermore, the report shows that multi-dimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72per cent of people are poor, compared to 42per cent of people in urban areas.
Buhari explained that globally, people that are most vulnerable to poverty are very often women and children, while commending the report for including child poverty.
“It is, therefore, commendable to see that this report also includes child poverty numbers. Children are a strategic population of concern, as nearly half of all Nigerians are children under the age of 18. Two-thirds (67.5per cent) of children aged 0–17 are poor according to the National MPI, and half (51per cent) of all poor people are children.
“This government recognises the importance of the data and the need to deploy it in sharing your story to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, both domestically and internationally. One way we have started this engagement was at the recent United Nations General Assembly where Nigeria co-hosted the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and shared lessons learned from other 100 member countries. However, this is just the start. Internally, we have now deployed a comprehensive Data Demand and Use (DDU) strategy to embed the use of evidence-based and data- driven poverty reduction mechanisms,” he said.
Brain Drain Results From Insecurity, Dearth Of Requisite Equipment -Wike
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has identified the intractable insecurity situation in Nigeria as one reason why most professionals leave the shores of the country in droves for greener pastures abroad.
Wike spoke on the cause of brain drain at the inauguration of the Renal/Dialysis Centre and House Officers’ Quarters at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The Rivers State governor maintained that the welfare of doctors and other professionals was not primarily the sole reasons for brain drain in the country.
He noted that because of the looming unemployment situation in the country, most people now opt to go outside Nigeria for the dream job they desire.
Even when some of professionals are employed within Nigeria, Wike insisted that such persons were not provided with the requisite equipment to use in their various organisations and industries.
“When you talk about brain drain, it is not only associated with the medical profession. So, many people leave this country because of unemployment. So many people have left this country because of insecurity. So many people have left this country because where they work, the equipment is not there.
“It is not only just because of welfare that is why you see brain drain, no. It is not correct. Even professors in the university in the various faculties of law, faculties of engineering, most of them leave because the tools to work with are not there.
“But you are lucky, you (RSUTH staff) have the tools here. So, clap for us first that we have provided the basic things. Today, you’re lucky, you’re working in a teaching hospital where you can find the equipment, at least, to make your job easier for you. So, it is not as bad as where the equipment is not there.”
Wike reiterated that it was out of grateful heart that he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of 13percent derivative fund arrears, from 1999 to date, that was never paid by previous administration to states in Niger Delta.
He wondered why saying ‘thank you’ has become an offense, adding that a particular governor feels offended over the thank you he said to President Buhari over the release of the funds.
According to Wike, the governor had gone on national television to say that the money spent to do a 3km road in his state would be used to construct more than 15 flyovers elsewhere.
“Simply because I said you people should thank President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 13percent arrears to us. I did not abuse anybody. Did I? All I said is, please thank him, that if he did not release the arrears to me and some of our states, it may have been difficult for me to even talk about building a renal centre, cancer and cardiovascular centre, Basic and Clinical Sciences Faculty, house officers’ quarters. I don’t think saying ‘thank you’ is an offence.
“On television, I heard one of the governors said that in his state, to do 3-kilometre road will do more than 15 flyovers in Rivers. Rivers State, is it not Niger Delta state? Don’t we have riverine areas in Rivers State? Amanyanabo of Opobo said since he was born, he has never driven by road to Opobo.
“The day he drove by road to Opobo, he said, God is it possible that in my own time I will not go through the river again? I am now driving by road to Opobo! That is a major riverine area. By the grace of God, this December (2022), we are going to commission the first phase of Trans-Kalabari Road. That is a major riverine area”.
Speaking further, Wike said, “I didn’t know that people are sick about the flyovers I do. Okay, sorry. I don’t want you to be sick again. I won’t do again. Instead of you to appreciate and ask somebody, how are you doing this, and justify what you’re doing.
“I have turned the state capital around using a major construction firm like Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. If you know you have the capacity, if you know you have what it takes, go and take Julius Berger, and see whether you can pay salaries.”
Wike pointed to how determined he was in creating the space for medical education that led to the establishment of medical college at the Rivers State University (RSU), which hitherto was not in existence before he assumed office in 2015.
“To tell you it is not just flyovers, look at the health sector alone. As at the time we came, this state had no medical college, only the University of Port Harcourt had, and you see how competitive being a federal university. How many of our people get admission to read medicine and other related courses there?”
About 100 students of Rivers origin, he explained, at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences are also placed on state government scholarship, adding that upon graduation, they would gain automatic employment into government establishment.
Wike said while equipment are provided, and medical facilities upgraded, the manpower gap was also being filled.
The governor maintained that the current congestion experienced at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) was being addressed.
He explained that in the coming days, the GynaecologyDepartment would move to the Mother and Child Hospital, and other departments moving to their dedicated facilities like the Maxillo-Facial and Kelsey Harrison hospitals.
Speaking on the projects, Wike urged Nigerians to seek medical assistance from the Renal/Dialysis Centre because it has the best equipment and personnel to offer requisite services.
There is already an ongoing arrangement, Wike hinted, towards an effective management of the centre to ensure sustainability.
Wike also advised the house officers to imbibe maintenance culture so that they can always keep the quarters clean and maintain the structure.
In his speech, Chief Medical Director of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, said the two projects inaugurated were signature of the genuine love of Wike for the state.
Aaron recalled that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) was already constructing a Renal/Dialysis Unit, adding that whenWike noticed that if allowed in its form, it would be limited in the service it would offer.
The CMD said Wikehad directed an expansion of the unit into a world-class centre that would diagnose renal cases, perform dialysis and do kidney transplant.
This, he said,was because the governor believes that Rivers people deserve the best.
In his address, Commissioner for Health, Prof. PrincewillChike, said the renal centre was one of the best in Nigeria that has been provided by Wike for his love for the health sector.
The centre, he pointed out, was a one-storey building, with lift that can take 13 persons per time.
According to him, there were also doctors and nurses call rooms, water treatment unit, and a six-bed space dialysis area.
Chike also explained that on the first floor, there were two theatres; one is where kidney donors and recipients are kept, with equipment to ensure the marching of the kidney.
He said the second theatre was where the transplanting of the kidney would be done, adding that the situation would be properly monitored.
Chike said there is 100KVA standby generating set and 30KVA inverter with six solar plates to ensure regular power supply.
The Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr.Ebi Robinson, commended Wike for building the renal centre and equipping it with latest state-of-the-art medical equipment that would enhance the productivity of doctors in the hospital.
Anglican Joint Council Of Knights Backs INEC On BVAS …Commends FG On New Currency Redesign
The Anglican Communion’s Joint Council of Knights (JCK), which held its 23rd Conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has supported the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)resolve to use the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) for the conduct of the 2023 general election in the country.
It noted that this technology would help make the elections credible.
A communique issued at the end of the conference hosted by the Diocese of Evo at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Rumuobiakani Deanery, from Thursday, November 24 through Sunday, November 27, 2022, also called on Christians in the country to participate actively in the ongoing electoral process in order to help in birthing a government that would be responsible and accountable to the citizenry.
The communique, which was signed by the President General, Dr. William Emenike Amobi; and Secretary General, Sir Derek Iyo; commended the Federal Government for the initiative of redesigning the Nigerian currency, as the decision would fast track the process of mopping up excess cash stockpiled by some politicians, thereby reducing the vice of money politics and vote-buying in the 2023 general election.
The JCK conference frowned at the perennial fuel scarcity and indiscriminate price hikes of petroleum products in the country.
It urged the Federal Government to put in place the necessary measures to ensure a stable price regime and product availability in the country.
The Anglican Knights further expressed serious concerns about the persistent security challenges in the country, and called on the government to intensify efforts at arresting the ugly situation.
The communiqué also appealed to the government at all levels to put in place measures that would avert future occurrences of the recent flooding that ravaged many communities in the country; while sympathising with all those impacted as well as wishing them a quick settlement and return to normal lives.
The conference noted that true service to God and humanity is the pathway to true leadership, as captured in the theme of the conference: “Not to be served but to serve” (Luke 22:24-27).
The conference appreciated the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the developmental strides recorded in his administration and his support for the church.
UNIPORT Graduates 19,235 Students …As 161 Bag First Class Honours
The University of Port Harcourt, Choba in Rivers State, has said that a total of 19,235 students would be graduating during the two-day combined convocation ceremony scheduled for today and tomorrow.
The institution also said that out of the number,161 students bagged first class honuors in various courses and disciplines.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Owunari Georgewill, disclosed this during the pre-convocation media briefing heldat the university’sSenate Conference Room, yesterday, to herald the commencement of the week-long programme.
Gerogewill averred that the combined convocation covers the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 sessions,noting that the university had put measures in place to realise its mandate.
The vice chancellor, while giving the breakdown of the graduands, said 9,536 graduated with first degrees (BSC),1,028 for PhD,3,745 for Masters’ degree(MSC),while 4,926 got post graduate diploma (PGD),just as 9,699 got post graduate certificates.
According to him,the outbreak of COVID-19 and the prolonged industrial action embarked upon by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions in the university was responsible for what appears as delay in holding the convocation ceremony.
He described the convocation ceremony as a moment of intellectual exhibition where university the presents students with certificates after hard studies and mentoring.
“We have put all machineries in place to ensure hitch-free convocation ceremony. We have left Egypt but not yet in Israel.
“We came here in July, 2021. We have maintained some giant strides in terms of developments. We have completed some inherited projects, and initiated new once. Some are ongoing and at different stages of completion. We have support from the Governing Council, Senate, management and students. Our ASUU members are up and doing, completing their lectures and exams as scheduled; the school has also provided solar power lights for some of her host communities as part of its host community projects”, he stated.
Gerogewill used the opportunity to express gratitude to the Federal Government, TETFund, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for their numerous support and assistance to the university towards its development.
He described the ongoing convocation arena under construction by the state governor as a big support to the institution, adding that when completed, it would be the best across the entire university system in the country.
By: Akujobi Amadi
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