Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Atiku Abubakar, says if care is not taken, the entire Nigerian population will fall into poverty.
Reacting to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on 98 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty, Atiku said even Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has been touched by the “wave of poverty sweeping through the country”.
The former vice-president accused those “who put Nigeria in this crisis” of nonchalance, adding that the greatest national security threat the country is facing at the moment is not Boko Haram or banditry but the “creation of the largest wave of poverty in human history in the country”.
He called on all stakeholders to come together and device solutions to the issue.
“The failure of our economy over the last four years affects everyone from top to bottom. Four years ago, Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest man, was worth $25bn. However, his net worth in 2019 is less than half that. He joined thousands of industrialists whose wealth and their ability to produce, had eroded in recent years, and continue to do so,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his spokesman.
“With the National Bureau of Statistics reporting a net job loss of over six million since 2015, we see that if industrialists have their wealth eroding, it affects their ability to create opportunities, which means that the trickle-down effect gradually dries.
“And in the wake of this report by the UNDP, we are greeted with nonchalance by those who led us into this crisis. It is as though they think that as long as they and their families are not amongst those 98 million extremely poor Nigerians, things can carry on as before.
“But that cannot be allowed to be the case. Those who have the ability, including the Council of State, all former leaders, elder-statesmen, and especially the other arms of government, must begin to collaborate for solutions, before the number increases from 98 million, to all 198 million Nigerians.
“We must remember that we are stakeholders in the Nigerian project; stakeholders who must speak up for those 98 million people who are losing their voices to poverty.”
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