Nigeria Poverty

Today, Nigeria should be one of the richest countries in the world with vast oil reserves and a plentiful workforce, yet over 65% of the country's population live under the poverty line and half of those live in abject poverty. That's 80 million people. Part of this is because of rampant corruption in urban areas and the ongoing failure of repeated programs to address the poverty issue. Many of these programs have been dismissed as mere slogans, with former President Ibrahim Babanginda stating the "Nigerian economy has defied all economic theories." Few funds allocated to poverty campaigns have trickled down to the masses due to inefficiency, lack of knowledge and corruption, leaving the 90% of the rural community to rely on subsistence farming with almost half struggling to make a living on smallholdings barely one hectare in size.

This lack of productivity in the agricultural sector is the root cause of rural poverty in Nigeria, as the oil revenues largely bypass those living and working outside that industry. The failure of agriculture in Nigeria is often blamed on the federal system, with the central government planning ignored or by passed by regional governments. What is clear, however, that as the agriculture industry has declined decade after decade, the ability to provide food for the family and sell on the excess has diminished year by year, fuelling poverty in Nigeria and of course, malnutrition. Malnutrition affects just under a third of all Nigerian children, one in five of whom die before their fifth birthday, HIV/AIDS affects three out of every hundred citizens and there are nearly ten million orphans in the country out of a total population of some 162 million ~ making it the eighth most populous nation in the world. Life expectancy is around 53 years.

Unfortunately what land there is for farming is suffering from deforestation and soil erosion in the north due to poor farming methods and in the Niger Delta Region, land is becoming increasingly polluted by oil spills and also suffers from regular, heavy flooding. This video explores poverty in Nigeria, together with a review of its consequences for the federal republic and its people. Below are some facts and figures about poverty in Nigeria taken from a range of sources. Please note figures for some years, including recent ones, are not yet available and/or not collated however the figures give an overview of poverty and other related indicators in the country.

Indicator 2000 2005 2008 2009 2010 2011
Population 123.69m 139.82m 150.67m 154.49m 158.42m 162.47m
Life expectancy at birth 46yrs 49yrs 50yrs 51yrs 51yrs 53yrs
% of pop with access to improved water 53% 57% 58% 58% 58% NA
% of pop with access to improved sanitation 34% 32% 32% 31% 31% NA
% of pop with access to mains electricity           51%
Living in absolute poverty   54.7%     60.9%  
Children under 5 underweight     26.7%      
Literacy           72.1% (male)
50.4% (female)
Unemployment rate           21% est



 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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