‘27.4m Nigerians living in poverty, earning less than N100,000 annually’

NEWS DIGEST – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, declared in Lagos on Thursday that 27.4 million Nigerians earn below N100,000 per annum.

It said the figure represented 48.9 percent of persons living in poverty in the country.

It made the declarations at the launch of a report entitled:  “The Ignored Pandemic: How Corruption in the Health, Education and Water Sectors is Plunging Nigerians into Poverty.’’

Presenting the report, Dr Elijah Okebukola, Senior Research Fellow at the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, an arm of the ICPC said the report’s survey covered the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The report states that 27.9 percent of Nigerians living in poverty (more than 15.6 million) earned between N100,000 and N200,000 per annum.

It states that 10.7 percent earned between N201,000 and N300,000 per annum while 12.5 percent earned more than N300,000 per annum.

“Poor people are victims and not perpetuators of corruption in the health, education and water sectors.

“States did not have documented policies for helping people living in poverty or people earning low income to have access to healthcare, education and water.

“Even if these policies existed, they were not known to public officers who serve the people living in poor neighborhoods,’’ Okebukola said.

According to the SERAP Report, 79 percent of people living in poverty (more than 44.3 million Nigerians) relied on personal wells or boreholes for water supply.

The report showed that 34 percent of people living in poverty, about 19 million Nigerians, did not use the government’s medical facilities at all.

The report added that 5.2 percent of people living in poverty (more than 2.9 million Nigerians) who went to government medical facilities were denied medical treatment in the last year.

It also noted that 4.2 percent (2.3 million) of people living in poverty had not received any direct poverty alleviation donation or support from the government in the past year.

SERAP declared that in spite of the absence or inadequacy of learning tools and infrastructure, people living in poor neighborhoods believed that good quality education was provided in their schools.

The report recommended the amendment of 1999 Constitution to recognise the socio-economic rights of Nigerians to quality healthcare, education and clean water as legally enforceable human rights.

It also recommended an increase in investments in public health, education, and water services and an improvement of transparency and quality of the information in government budgets.

SERAP also called on relevant anti-corruption agencies to jointly investigate and prosecute public officers allegedly involved in corruption in the education, healthcare, and water sectors.

NAN