from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE high and rising level of poverty in Nigeria is leaving a negative and lasting impact on children, particularly girls.
The recent Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report issued by the National Bureau of Statistics put the number of Nigerians living in poverty at 133 million out of a population of over 200 million.
Plan International, the child and girls’ rights organisation, has decried the trends.
“The state of poverty as shown by the MPI is alarming and requires serious attention by the government at all levels,” said Charles Usie, Director of Plan International Nigeria.
The report painted a grim picture of not only poverty but its impact on children, their health, education and nutrition.
Some 67,5 percent of children under the age of 18 are poor and 70,1 percent of children under five are poor.
Usie expressed worries that children’s education is one of the most impacted by poverty with 57,8 million children of school-going age (6 to 15 years old) and 29 percent of all school-aged children not attending school.
The report indicated that 94 percent of these out-of-school children are poor.
“Their situation of being out of school is tightly linked to multidimensional poverty,” Usie said.
He lamented the apportionment of blame by the federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari and state governments on the poverty levels.
“Rather than the distractive squabbles over who to blame, both federal and state governments should devote time and energy to addressing matters arising from the report and give assurance to Nigerians that there are some serious and well thought out responses to the issues.”
– CAJ News