ActionAid Nigeria has raised concern over the recently released Multidimesional Poverty Index by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics that ranked Bayelsa, an oil-rich state as the second poorest state in the country.
Bayelsa, which was ranked after Sokoto State pooled 88.5 per cent in terms of the proportion of poor people and the intensity of their poverty.
A statement, signed by the Country Director, Ene Obi, lamented the sudden emergence of Bayelsa, in the top five poorest states despite abundance of available natural resources and low population. She said the state ought not to be in the ranks of poorest states in Nigeria.
She said other shocking details in the statistics include the fact that of the 200 million Nigerians, 63 per cent, that is, 133 million, are living in multidimensional poverty and the level of poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72 per cent of people are poor, compared to 42 per cent of people in urban areas.
Obi further raised concern that 29 per cent of all school-aged children are not attending school and 94 per cent of these out-of-school children are poor, saying six out of 10 girls aged between 12 and 17 are poor and in child marriages,
Obi stated that ActionAid Nigeria would continue to call on Presidency to create, as a matter of urgency, a separate agriculture emergency fund outside the 2023 agriculture budget to avert the looming food crisis.
She added: “As we prepare for general elections in 2023, now is the time for all candidates to review their manifestoes and social contracts with the citizens of the nation to reflect on our current realities and the recommendations in the Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index report released by the National Bureau of Statistics.