Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that everybody is affected by the poverty in Nigeria according to him, even Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has been hit by the wave of the economic mess in the country.
He said that the entire Nigerian population could fall into poverty if appropriate care is not taken. He said that in reaction to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on 98 million people living in multidimensional poverty.
Atiku accused those who put Nigeria in the condition of carefreeness, saying the greatest challenge the country is facing is poverty and not Boko Haram or banditry. “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,” he said.
Atiku, therefore, called on all stakeholders to work together and find a lasting solution to the issue, saying the situation affects everyone irrespective of their class. “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 also said that the situation has affected industrialists in creating job opportunities with their dwindling wealth.
“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. “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 to find solutions, before the number increases from 98 million, to all 198 million of Nigerians living in abject poverty.
He said “We must remember that we are all stakeholders in the Nigerian project; stakeholders who must speak up for those 98 million people who are losing their voices to poverty must speak up now and contribute meaningfully to safe our economy from total collapse ,”
Atiku lamented Nigeria’s rising debt profile as he warned the country against leaving huge debt profile for future generations instead of handing over prosperity to them. In his reaction to the recent announcement by the Debt Management Office (DMO) that Nigeria now owes N24.9 trillion, the former vice president warned that irresponsible borrowing leads to unprecedented sorrowing.