Why So Many Nigerians Are Poor

Poverty in Nigeria has continued to be a major challenge for both the citizen of the country and the policymakers. Poverty is common in both rural and the urban areas in the country.

However, the rural areas record a higher rate of occurrence and severity of poverty than the urban areas. According to the National Bureau of Statistics in 2007 which recorded that ‘half of the rural households are absolutely poor’.

The appearance of poverty across the rural and urban areas has been recognized as the lack of money, shelter, food, and indebtedness. In Nigeria, the poor live in unclean and unsecured environments and has limited access to electricity, good roads, water, medical facilities, and other basic amenities.

Despite Nigeria’s exit from recession in 2017, the rate of poverty has continued to increase by the day. A report by Brookings Institution has shown that Nigeria has taken over the country (India) who has the highest number of extremely poor people.

The reports read,

According to our projections, Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extreme poor in early 2018, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could soon take over the number 2 spot At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more? Extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall. In fact, 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 is today“.

Why does poverty exist in Nigeria?

Poor Governance
Governance reflects the government, the civil society/networks that exercise authority over management of a country’s socioeconomic resources for growth and development. If poor programme monitoring and implementation, corruption and political instabilities become rampant in these institutions, then the country/state will default in fulfilling its duties and responsibilities for its citizens.

Due to corrupt leadership, no rule of law and weak state institutions, the rate of poverty in the nation has greatly increased.

Good governance is the ability to produce a viable society while taking proper care of the basic needs of the citizens and providing adequate resources and infrastructure that will increase the standard of living and thus reduce poverty.

Uneven Distribution of wealth
Welcome to Nigeria where the rich continue to get richer while the poor get poorer. There is a rise in the unequal distribution of resources in Nigeria which has sustained the cycle of poverty. In this country, the rich continue to receive the largest share of income while the poor gets a very small portion- the amount of income an individual receives is not measured by how hard or the number of hours they work.

Poverty will continue to remain a big issue if the nation’s wealth is not evenly distributed among the people.

The government has a very big role to play in social and economic development, provision of the basic amenities and creation of employment so that the level of poverty will be greatly reduced.


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