The World Bank has projected that the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria will hit 95.1 million this year. The global body says this is due to a stagnant economy.
A leading recruitment agency in West Africa, Jobberman, says 47 percent of university graduates are unemployed, and poverty is on the rise.
COVID-19, the dependency on foreign goods, and a weakened currency have triggered massive job losses.
The pandemic has pushed a further five million more Nigerians into poverty this year.
Insecurity is also a problem in Nigeria. The United Nations says in the last 12 years, about 350,000 people have been killed, and over 2 million displaced by insurgency in the country, many of them farmers.
The price of food sold in markets has soared across the country, and many citizens are complaining that the situation is becoming too much to bear.
Sarah Yunusa, a victim of insurgency from Borno state in the country’s northeast region is one of them.
She now roasts and sells maize on a street in Jos, but she says she hardly has any money left over after meeting the needs of her family.
“My children and I are victims of an insurgency, and the profit I get from selling maize here is not even enough to afford us good meals. Things are really expensive, I’ve not even been able to pay for their education.”
Economic analysts in the country say insecurity in the country will have to be tackled for things to improve.
They are also mounting pressure on the government to act faster, by boosting domestic production to help mitigate the Naira’s fall against the dollar.
One of them, Amama Benedict says these are badly needed so that many Nigerians can be pulled out of poverty.
“If we can have more exports, our own resources exported more and import less, it will really boost our currency,” says Benedict. “Now, a lot of things are not working, that is why people are not generating revenue. If we are able to defeat insecurity, trust me a lot of people will feel more at ease to do business. Nobody wants to do a business where they are moving and they are not sure if from point A to point B they may be kidnapped.”
The government insists it’s doing all it can. It says it has begun a comprehensive rehabilitation of disused refineries and aims to increase crude oil production to three million barrels per day, part of which will be for export.
The nation’s trade and investment ministry says the government has also earmarked nearly two hundred million dollars to support businesses impacted especially by the coronavirus disease.
About a million people are expected to benefit from the credit.
President Muhammadu Buhari has similarly directed his security chiefs to end all forms of insecurity in the country.
The hope is that these efforts will help pull Nigerians out of poverty, and attract foreign investment and in turn boost local manufacturing.