Beautiful Infrastructure, Poor People
Nigeria News takes a look at the poverty level of the citizens.
The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, no doubt has shown how committed it is to the building of infrastructure.
It is one policy being implemented to the letter, perhaps to cancel the infrastructural deficit and create jobs for millions of Nigerian youths.
The noise about the construction of the railway from Lagos to Kano is very loud. Contractors are back on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway while the Second Niger Bridge is gradually wearing a new look.
Besides, there are over 600 road projects being handled by the current administration as parts of infrastructural development.
But, during his visit to Nigeria, the Microsoft founder, Mr Bill Gates called the attention of the Federal Government to the growing rate of poverty in the country.
He noted that the economic policy of the government did not address the immediate needs of the masses, urging the government to spend more on education and health so as to develop human capacity instead of infrastructure.
A few days ago, Nigeria overtook India as the world poverty capital with the highest number of the extremely poor people. This is obvious with the increasing population of Internally Displaced People.
Terrorism, communal and ethnoreligious crisis have sunk many Nigerians below the poverty line. Perhaps, government officials will need to visit northeastern part of Nigeria that had been ravaged over the years by Boko Haram activities.
Farming, which is the primary culture of the people has been stopped by terrorism. Besides millions that were displaced, thousands had been killed while many live in penury.
In the last few years, many northerners had migrated to the south in search of food and shelters. Many northerners, mostly youths now live in the south without any trade to get their daily bread. What they are seeking is the security of their lives.
Yes, many Nigerians are poor. A visit to Makoko, a riverine area in Lagos explains this better. People live on the water. The government has no plan for them but still believes that they are not poor.
The response by the (Honourable) Minister of Trade and Investments, Okechukwu Enelamah on Nigeria’s current classification as the country with the highest number of persons living in extreme poverty is most embarrassing.
The World Poverty Clock is an open and continually running site. Its computations have nothing to do with our historic recession.
And then, infrastructure is only one of the 12 pillars in the Global Competitiveness Index. Build all the infrastructure you like, but if you do not properly address the other eleven pillars, all you have done at best is fill up a leaking bucket with water.
We need a leader today that functions within the framework of basic fidelity to truth and justice as well as what the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo once referred to as a “regime of mental magnitude.” And Enelamah’s team is plainly demonstrating most sadly that it does not have it.
It is also very glaring now that Buhari’s economic team is not capable of addressing the poverty in the land.