Policy expert on child poverty, Victor Emeruwa, decry the worsening level of household poverty in Nigeria, calls for immediate national action against rising poverty.
A fresh report released by the Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index, shows a growing grim indicator of child poverty in Nigeria. The recent report notes that 68% of Nigerian children are generally poor, while 40.1% of children live in extreme poverty, otherwise called multidimensionally poor.
The figure from the National Monetary Policy line slightly differs, it reports 23.22% of children in extreme poverty, and 70.31% of children in overall child poverty. The poverty situation has been heightened by the increase in fuel price in May of this year, without a plan to cushion the impact on poor Nigerians.
“The striking thing about this new poverty figure is that, it is just an estimation of a worsening crisis, the actual poverty situation is scary, it’s unbelievable,” said Victor Emeruwa, a child poverty expert and executive director of The Sun Media Development Foundation.
Emeruwa explained that Child or what is called household poverty is not only the lack of money, it is measured by the hunger, lack of access to healthcare, education and shelter. “You can tell from basic social experiment that many Nigerian households suffer from this deprivation.”
Emeruwa called on the federal government to release its strategies for lifting people out of poverty, especially households that are going through the challenges with high cost of living in Nigeria: “There has to be a policy balance, in one breath you cannot introduce a policy that causes inflation and not introduce another that puts money back into the pockets of those that need it more”. Emeruwa questions government policy on fuel subsidy, saying it was too quick, poorly thought-through and executed without human face.
“I strongly advise that the government reconsider dolling out palliative cash to state government, it is just a waste, it will not reach the end beneficiaries. You need to directly invest in human capital; invest in education and healthcare, food production, invest in women-run small businesses, youth-led initiatives, and concentrate on rural investment. These are the real activities that pull people out of poverty. Hand-outs are not sustainable, starting that it has not worked, it will not work” Emeruwa insisted.
In its poverty index situational analysis report, UNICEF released new evidence showing a high level of child deprivation in Nigeria. Using its multidimensional overlapping deprivation analysis approach; 54% of children in Nigeria are multidimensionally poor by facing at least three deprivation indices across seven dimensions of child rights, including nutrition, healthcare, education, water, sanitation, adequate housing and information. UNICEF reports high dimensional poverty in the rural areas: 65.1%, urban 28.4%, while the highest disparities range from Lagos: 14.5%, Sokoto; 81.5%.