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Poverty: Govs Silent As FG Accuses Them Of Operating Only In State Capitals

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Federal Government, yesterday, blamed the high level of poverty in the country on state governors, who it said operate only in state capitals, pay more attention to building flyovers and airports, rather than improvement of life in the rural areas.

The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, made the allegation while fielding questions from State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Efforts to get governors to speak on the allegation through the Nigerian Governors Forum, Northern Governors Forum, Southern Governors Forum and other platforms did not yield dividends at press time last night.

On November 18, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, Report said that 133 million (63 per cent) of Nigerians were suffering from multi-dimensional poverty, with children constituting more than half of poor people in the country.

This means that two out of every three Nigerians live below poverty line and experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations in terms of health, education, living standards, work and shocks.

According to the report, 85 million of the 133 million people living in poverty are in the North; 47 million; in the South, while 66.5 million are children
Rural areas have 72 per cent of people living in poverty “The Minister said that 72 per cent of the poverty in Nigeria is found in the rural areas, which he said had been abandoned by governors, who preferred to function in the state capitals.

Claiming that the Federal Government had done its best on poverty alleviation, he regretted that there was no reflection of the amount of investment that had been done in the area.

The Minister accused state governors of concentrating on building flyovers, airports and other projects that were visible only in the state capitals, rather than investing in areas that directly uplift the standard of living of the people in the rural areas.

Agba pointed out that while states are in charge of land for agriculture, they do not invest in them for the desired effect on their rural citizens.

He, therefore, advised state chief executives that instead of focusing attention on the building of sky-scrappers, flyovers and bridges, they should focus on initiatives that could pull the majority of the people out of poverty.

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