Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup,
And whose princes party all night.
Lucky the land whose king is mature,
Where the princes behave themselves
And don’t drink themselves silly……..Eccc 10:16-17 (MSG)
Poverty has risen in Nigeria, with almost 100 million people living on less than a $1 (£0.63) a day, despite economic growth, statistics have shown. The National Bureau of Statistics said 60.9% of Nigerians in 2010 were living in “absolute poverty” – this figure had risen from 54.7% in 2004. BBC News – Nigerians living in poverty rise to nearly 61%
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, absolute poverty is measured by the number of people who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food and clothing. The NBS said that relative poverty was most apparent in the north of the country, with Sokoto state’s poverty rate the highest at 86.4%.
In the north-west and north-east of the country poverty rates were recorded at 77.7% and 76.3% respectively, compared to the south-west at 59.1%.
BBC Africa analyst Richard Hamilton says it is perhaps no surprise that extremist groups, such as Boko Haram, continue to have an appeal in northern parts of the country, where poverty and underdevelopment are at their most severe. The report also revealed that Nigerians consider themselves to be getting poorer. In 2010, 93.9% of respondents felt themselves to be poor compared to 75.5% six years earlier.
And Corruption is on the increase steadily in the nation. Its so entrench in the fabric of our nation that its now a second skin. Its so brazenly done now that it’s the norm, its business as usual. Interestingly, Nigeria is not quite the most corrupt country on earth. But according to Transparency International, which monitors international financial corruption, it is not far off — coming a shameful 172nd worst among the 215 nations surveyed. Legislators earn the highest salaries in the world, with a basic wage of £122,000, nearly double what British MPs earn and many hundreds of times that of the country’s ordinary citizens. (www.dailymail.co.uk).
80 per cent of the country’s substantial oil revenues go to the government, which disburses cash to individual governors and hundreds of their cronies, so effectively these huge sums remain in the hands of a mere 1 per cent of the Nigerian population. And we call ourselves a Nation….
I could go on about the economy but here is not the time to do that analysis. It will be for another time.