During the opening ceremony of a two-day policy and programmatic dialogue workshop on Nigeria’s poverty profile and social register, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, emphasized that poverty and vulnerability remain significant challenges in the country.
Represented by Esuabana Nko-Asanye, the Permanent Secretary of Political and Economic Affairs, Office of the SGF, Akume stressed the importance of understanding the impact of poverty and vulnerability on Nigerian citizens. Despite some progress in reducing poverty rates in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges, pushing approximately 63% of the population into multidimensional poverty, with almost 70 million children affected.
The setback caused by the pandemic highlights the urgency to intensify efforts in addressing these issues and improving the lives of millions of Nigerians. Social inequalities in the country have exacerbated the situation, with uneven distribution of essential resources such as food, education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
Vulnerable groups, including women, children, and persons with disabilities, are particularly affected by poverty, ill-health, and economic shocks. The SGF called for strengthened efforts to mitigate these challenges and promote more equitable access to resources.
Christian Munduate, the country representative of UNICEF Nigeria, commended the government and development partners for their various efforts in combating poverty and vulnerability. She shared her firsthand experiences witnessing the impact of poverty across the country, affecting various aspects of people’s lives, including education.
Munduate cited examples like Tutu, a struggling single mother, and Umar, a child deprived of education, who represent the reality of the country’s poverty statistics. As of 2022, 63% of Nigeria’s population faces deprivation, with a distressing figure of 70 million children impacted by poverty.