THE Federal government has disclosed that 133 million people in the country, representing 63 per cent of the population, are living in different categories of poverty.
The government, giving the figure in its latest “multi-dimensional” poverty report that it released today, said that 65 per cent of the poor (86 million people) live in the North, while 35 per cent (nearly 47 million) live in the South.
The report, the government said, was a collaborative effort between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
The government said the survey sampled over 56,000 households across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, and was conducted between November 2021 and February 2022. It provides multi-dimensional poverty estimates at senatorial district level.
The National Multi-Dimensional Poverty (MPI) report is 0.257, indicating that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.
The report stresses that poverty levels across states vary significantly, with the incidence of multi-dimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27 per cent in Ondo to a high of 91 per cent in Sokoto.
According to the report, over half of the population of Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor and cook with dung, wood or charcoal, rather than with cleaner energy.
According to the report, high deprivations are also apparent nationally in sanitation, healthcare, food insecurity, and housing.
Accordingly, the incidence of monetary poverty is lower than the incidence of MPI across most states.
In Nigeria, 40.1 per cent of people had been deemed poor, according to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, but 63 per cent have now been regarded multi-dimensionally poor according to the National MPI 2022.
The report notes that multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72 per cent of people are poor, compared to 42 per cent of people in urban areas.
The National MPI is reported with a linked child-MPI, which provides additional information on multidimensional child poverty in Nigeria.
According to the report, two-thirds (67.5 per cent) of children (0–17 per cent ) are multi-dimensionally poor, according to the National MPI, and half (51per cent) of all poor people are children.
The highest deprivations are in the indicator of child engagements, where over half of poor children lack the intellectual stimulation that is pivotal to early childhood development.
Child poverty, the report notes, is prevalent in rural areas, with almost 90 per cent of rural children experiencing poverty.
Across the geo-political zones, the Child MPI shows higher poverty in the North-East and North-West (where 90 per cent of children are poor), and lower poverty in the South-East and South-West (74 per cent and 65.1 per cent respectively). The incidence of Child MPI is above 50 per cent in all states and greater than 95 per cent in Bayelsa, Sokoto, Gombe and Kebbi states.
Four million Nigerians (2.1 per cent of the population) live with a child aged 15–17, who is the first generation in that household to have completed primary school.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.