Rising poverty in Nigeria is one issue that has been on the front burner of national discourse in recent time. According to reported figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, recently, “ 53 million more Nigerians fell into abject poverty compared to 2015. Reports show that the 53 million Nigerians , mostly of the middle class, were classified as being “vulnerable” before Buhari took over.”
It was recently reported that “after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting in Abuja last week, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, blamed the state governors for the rise in multidimensional poverty under Buhari’s watch from 80 million to 133 million or 63 per cent.”
However, the 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), hit back on the federal government and the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, over the minister’s claims that state governors were responsible for the rising poverty rate in the country.
In a statement issued by the spokesman of the NGF, Abdulrazaq Bello-Barkindo recently, the governors reportedly insisted that “it was the federal government that abandoned its promise and primary responsibility to the citizens.”They cited the failure of the federal government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty as it had promised, as well as the inability of the federal government to protect farmers from terrorists.”
Amid the buck-passing between the state governors and the federal government, many Nigerians are of the view that all the levels of government in the country should not only accept the responsibility for the precarious economic situation in the country, but must also be seen to be doing something serious and urgent to reverse the trend.
It is the view of this newspaper that addressing the situation must begin with concrete actions against widespread insecurity in most parts the nation as well as stemming the tide of the present soaring food prices and looming starvation among Nigerians. There should be deliberate efforts aimed at shoring up the value of the naira, massive investments in agriculture including massive job creation on the part of federal, states and local governments. Nigerians are indeed beleaguered; they want action, not necessarily the ongoing blame game.