The President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said that more than 100 million out of the country’s estimated population of 187 million are wallowing in poverty.
He told participants at the Executive Course No. 38, 2016 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State, that the situation was unacceptable to him given Nigeria’s abundant resources, according to a statement made available on Sunday.
Delivering a paper entitled: ‘Promotion of local manufacturing and poverty reduction in Nigeria: The private sector experience and policy options’, he said, “It is a curious paradox that Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, and the largest economy on the continent, also has one of the highest levels of poverty.
“It is estimated that more than 100 million out of a population of 187 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.”
Quoting a United Nations report, Dangote said youth unemployment had risen to 42 per cent this year, with many graduates roaming the streets of major cities such as Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt in search of elusive white-collar jobs, while for some who were employed, their situation could best be described as under-employment, as they were being underutilised and poorly paid.
This development, according to him, has serious security implications, as evidenced by the high rate of social ills plaguing the nation.
“The spate of kidnappings, intermittent vandalism of petroleum pipelines in the Niger Delta, and the protracted insurgency in the North-East are all fuelled, to a large extent, by the high level of endemic poverty in the country,” he stated.
Dangote pointed out that the current economic recession had further worsened the situation, as the government continued to record dwindling revenues, thus making it increasingly difficult for it to fulfil some of its obligations to the people.
He said, “Coupled with this, the activities of insurgents in the North-East have also affected the level of poverty in that part of the country. It is estimated that there are over 2.4 million Internally Displaced Persons in the region. It will take billions of naira to rebuild the North-East and fully re-settle the victims of the insurgency.”