Home OPINION COLUMNISTS What Is In 100 Million? By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

What Is In 100 Million? By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Yusuf Ozi-Usman
Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Of recent, it is noticed that the advanced world and its agencies have suddenly developed phobia or love for the number: 100 Million, especially within the context of analyzing situation in Nigeria.
Only last week, representative of the World Bank came up with the fact that 100 Million Nigerians live in destitution and abject poverty, which of course, the Presidency promptly discounted.
On Monday, another international agency: United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) came up with a story that 100 million Nigerians lack access to toilet facilities which is why there has been increase in the spread of diseases in the country.
Though, it is not clear whether the UNICEF was collaborating the figure quoted by the World Bank, one is getting the feeling that arm chair calculators have been at work.
In other words, it is becoming clearer that international organizations are joining their local counterparts in cutting any figure for situation reports on Nigeria without any scientific proof.
In deed, one always wonders the criteria used by such organizations or even government agencies to arrive at a definite figure which they quote copiously, realizing the fact that most Nigerians reside in remote villages and hamlets, some of which are inaccessible to auto vehicles.
One is not contesting the general matter-of-fact in the area of spread of poverty across the land, especially, in recent time, but, the figure being brandished by the world Bank may be more or less a conjecture, because there is no scientific method to confirm it.
Of course, the defence put forward by Nigeria, to the effect that if the world Bank’s definition of poverty is based on person earning less than $1 per day and in the case of Nigeria N200 per day, then virtually no Nigeria is ridden with abject poverty, is valid. The World Bank may have shot itself in the foot in the context of this definition, because, majority of Nigerians earn more than N200 per day, considering the basic cost of common staple food, even bread. The Nigeria socio-economic reality today makes the N200 per day to be a laughable proposition.
As a matter of fact, what this means is that N200 or less than $1 translates into slave earning, especially for Nigerians who are lucky to even get menial jobs like office cleaning, street sweeping, errand job and the likes. People working in this category earn about N7000 per month (about N210 per day). And what is N7000 per month in a country where a significant few spend more than that just to refuel their cars at one-stop?
While the government hide under the World Bank $1 dollar a day to beat its chest that Nigerians are not in abject poverty because they earn over $1 dollar per day, the government may be deluding itself to think that Nigerians are enjoying simply because they are able to buy recharge cards in their cellphones or eat loaf of bread every day. Fact remains that there is palpable poverty walking tall on the Nigerian soil presently.
There is, in deed, terrible financial hardships that have been defining the lives of most Nigerians now. Even, the middle class Nigerians have now been mangled into the lower class so much that the two classes now wreath in truly abject poverty.
So, it is not the figure on how many Nigerians that are being ridden with destitution and poverty; the issue is the reality on the ground.

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