Senator Shehu Sani has called for prayers for the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, in relation to her commitment to uplift 133 million Nigerians from poverty during the Tinubu administration.
In a statement, Senator Sani acknowledged that the pledge to alleviate the plight of millions of Nigerians isn’t new, pointing out that similar promises were made during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. He tweeted:
“The Lady Minister, Betta, who wants to lift 133 million Nigerians out of poverty, needs prayers. We have been through this ‘lifting’ promises under Buhari.”
Senator Sani’s skepticism arises from the history of unfulfilled promises made by previous administrations. The poverty rate in Nigeria has been a long-standing concern, with a reported 76 million living in poverty when Buhari assumed office. By the time Buhari’s presidency concluded, this figure had escalated to over 130 million.
His doubts are grounded in the recurrent nature of such assurances. Notably, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed in its “Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index” in November 2022 that over 133 million Nigerians are currently living in poverty. The report emphasized varying poverty levels across states, ranging from 27% in Ondo to a staggering 91% in Sokoto.
This statistic represents a staggering 63% of Nigeria’s population grappling with poverty, according to the NBS. The report exposed critical issues, including the fact that a significant portion of the impoverished population relies on non-clean energy sources for cooking.
Furthermore, the report highlighted substantial deprivations in categories such as sanitation, healthcare accessibility, food security, and housing. The data underscored that multidimensional poverty is more rampant in rural areas, where 72% of individuals are considered poor compared to 42% in urban areas.
The report, the first poverty index survey published by the Bureau since 2010, unveiled the geographical distribution of poverty. It indicated that 65% of the poor (86 million people) reside in the North, with the remaining 35% (nearly 47 million) in the South.