Nigeria’s Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said about 110 million Nigerians are living in poverty, adding that two-tenth of the 110 Nigerians are living in abject poverty.
The number is well over half of the nation’s population.
The vice president, according to a release by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, stated this at an event hosted by the President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama, on Africa and Sustainable Development Goals on the sidelines of the African Union meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
Osinbajo, who is representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, insisted that Nigeria and other African nations have to rise up to the urgent need of addressing the problems of poverty and inequality.
According to the VP, it was because of this that the Buhari administration initiated what he called the largest social protection programme in the history of the country.
He said: “In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle, we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country. It’s a N500bn programme-(worth over $2.5bnas at the time budget was signed.)
“Basically, we are looking at lifting many out of poverty, of course many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to hundred and ten million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.
“So it is a very huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable.
“For the women, we are doing a programme, micro-credit programme for a million market women and artisans.
“All would be given facilities, training facilities as well to enable them to be able to do some work for themselves and to continue to be able to live.”
The vice president also disclosed that the micro-credit loan to women is to make sure that they handle money better and do a much better work on the whole, adding however that government was having difficulties in identifying poor people who would benefit from the programme.
“In determining who the poorest is, we had problems on that, but we have very good assistance from the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. They helped in trying to map the really poor.
“We just recently appointed a Senior Special Assistant on SDGs. We also have a full SDG Implementation office which is fully equipped and we hope to be able to carry out all of the proposals we made and effect them within the shortest possible time,” he added.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews
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