In a world in which 9.2% of the human population (about 720 million people) are living on less than $2.15 a day, the commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty calls for unprecedented sobriety and renewed efforts to mitigate a phenomenon that has reduced life and living to Hobbesian dimensions.
The gory poverty statistics hit home in a most disturbing way when supporting data from official and reputable institutions are reflectively considered. The United Nations has repeatedly stated that more than 10,000 children and 25,000 people globally die every day due to hunger. The World Poverty Clock, a reliable tool that tracks poverty progress worldwide, reported this year that there are 71 million extremely poor Nigerians. A new World Bank Report revealed that 40 million Nigerian Children live in extreme poverty. The country’s National Bureau of Statistics painted an even more grim picture, categorically stating that in 2023, 133 million people in Nigeria are multidimensionally poor!
The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity stands in solidarity with the global community in commemorating this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with the theme: Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting Dignity in Practice for All. It will always be a day that serves as a poignant reminder of the persistent challenges faced by tens of millions in our nation, Nigeria, and around the world.
In the last decade, Nigeria, endowed with vast resources and cultural diversity, has continued to grapple with the yoke of a worrisome high poverty rate, casting an ominous shadow over its potential for sustainable development. The effects of widespread poverty permeate every aspect of society, contributing to a myriad of seemingly insurmountable challenges that hinder the nation’s progress. The crippling effect of this sorry state of affairs has predictably resulted in limited access to education, healthcare disparities, unemployment and underemployment, infrastructure deficiency, food insecurity, and limited economic growth which had combined to cumulatively earn the country the inglorious epithets of the poverty capital of the world, and the world’s capital of out-of-school children. With an unemployment rate that continues to tug at the nation’s very soft underbelly, and 20 million out-of-school children according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in September 2022, the country is, indeed, dangerously walking a tightrope.
NAS/PC is saddened by the insincerity and lack of clear strategy displayed by successive governments in Nigeria in tackling poverty. Not only are the various poverty eradication schemes tailored to fail, they are self-serving to enrich those meant to ensure its success.
We believe addressing the effects of high poverty rates in Nigeria requires a holistic approach that encompasses targeted policies, investment in social programmes, and efforts to create sustainable economic opportunities. By prioritising poverty reduction, Nigeria can unlock the full potential of its people and pave the way for a more prosperous and equitable future.
We recognise the urgency of addressing this issue and call upon governments at all levels, as well as relevant stakeholders, to take meaningful action to alleviate the plight of those living in poverty. The theme “Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting Dignity in Practice for All” underscores the importance of translating noble ideals into concrete actions. In the Nigerian context, this calls for comprehensive measures aimed at empowering vulnerable populations and fostering an environment where every citizen can lead a life of dignity.
We urge governments at all levels to prioritise poverty eradication as a fundamental goal. This includes the rejigging and more effective implementation of existing social welfare programmes, job creation initiatives, and policies that promote inclusive economic growth. Additionally, there is a need for transparent and accountable governance to ensure that resources are effectively allocated for poverty alleviation. We emphasise the importance of community-based solutions. Local initiatives, in collaboration with civil society organisations, can play a pivotal role in addressing specific needs and empowering communities to break the cycle of poverty.
The role of education and skill development cannot be overstated. Education remains a powerful tool for poverty eradication. We advocate for increased investments in education and skill development programmes which will guarantee that citizens are equipped with the tools needed for meaningful participation in the workforce. We also call upon businesses and corporations to embrace their primal role in poverty reduction. Corporate social responsibility initiatives should extend beyond philanthropy to include sustainable practices that create lasting positive impacts on the communities they operate in.
We reiterate our commitment to advocating for a Nigeria where every citizen enjoys the right to dignity. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us collectively work towards building a nation where poverty is a distant memory, and dignity is a reality for all.