2023 data from the World Poverty Clock, has pegged the number of extremely poor Nigerians at 71 million.
Tonye Cole, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, who quoted the data also said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) classifies 133 million people as multidimensionally poor.
He spoke during the weekend in Abuja, at the Nigeria Zero Hunger Symposium, organised by T200 Foundation to mark World Hunger Day and unveiling of the “Nigeria Zero Hunger” report.
Quoting the United Nations (UN), Cole said globally, 25,000 die daily from hunger, including more than 10,000 children.
He noted that Nigeria must design a simple, implementable, and sustainable poverty eradication model and stick to it over time.
He said, “Nigeria has the awful distinction of being the world capital of poverty, with 71 million people living in extreme poverty today (World Poverty Clock, 2023) and a total of 133 million people classed as multidimensionally poor according to National Bureau of Statistics data.
“In other words, about 828 million people will wake up every day having no idea when or where their next meal will come from, and many will go to bed that day without eating anything. This is according to a 2021 UN report. The UN further states that of these 828 million people, 25,000 will die today, including more than 10,000 children.
“Nigeria must design a simple, implementable, and sustainable poverty eradication model and stick to it over time.
“Other factors that contribute to hunger, such as violence, weak government, and health-care systems, must be addressed promptly if zero hunger is to be achieved. These are real difficulties in Nigeria and addressing them is critical not only for hunger eradication but also for the country’s overall progress.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s (GCFR) government is well positioned to push the goal of strengthening democratic institutions that will yield democratic dividends to the Nigerian people.”
According to the report by T200 Foundation, Nigeria has a Global Hunger Index score of 27.9, which falls into the serious hunger category. However, there are significant variations in the hunger index score across states.
The report noted that the state with the highest hunger index score is Yobe, with a score of 44.2 percent. Yobe also has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, which is 27.4 percent. This is more than twice the national average of 12.9 percent. Yobe also has the highest child-wasting rate of 22.5 percent, which is almost three times the national average of 7.9 percent.
Also, the state with the second-highest hunger index score is Sokoto, with a score of 42.1 percent. Sokoto also has a high prevalence of undernourishment, which is 24.4 percent. The child wasting rate in Sokoto is 18.4 percent, which is more than twice the national average.
The report added that other states with high hunger index scores include Zamfara (37.2%), Kebbi (34.5%), and Jigawa (33.9%). These states also have high rates of undernourishment and child wasting.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Executive Director T200 Foundation, Amb. Emmanuel Osadebay, said Nigeria needs collaboration among stakeholders to end hunger by 2030 in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This was as he called on individuals to be empathetic towards the poor and work collaboratively to eradicate hunger.
He said, “People don’t pay attention to beggars on the street, so how do we eradicate hunger? We have to believe that we can change the world. Change starts from inside, when we go around without empathy, it can’t work that way, so the change starts from within us. So hunger is not a one-man effort, it’s a compiled effort.”