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136m Nigerians are living in poverty — Minister

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, has revealed that 136 million Nigerians are poor contrary to the 133 million reported by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).


Edu, who disclosed the figure yesterday at the resumption of duty, in Abuja, noted that the figure was alarming and disturbing, reports Daily Trust.


She, however, vowed to drastically alleviate the poor which she said was in line with the mandate of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.


The former Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, tasked the directors to roll up their sleeves and get to work, adding that it would not be business as usual.


She said: “I am happy to meet all of you here today. And I bring you all the goodwill from His Excellency, the President of our country, President bola Ahmed Tinubu.


“He has an agenda. And the agenda is simple. renew the hopes of Nigerians is that is renew the hopes of Nigerians. There’s a whole lot of work to be done. I’ve taken my time over a few days to go through some data. So I’ve seen that we have about 136 million poor Nigerians. Let’s assume in all honesty, that the data we have is correct, that we have 200 million Nigerians, which I think we are more than that were more than that. 136 million is alarming and is completely unacceptable.


“Of course, different data sources have said we have over seven to 1 million extremely poor persons living in Nigeria there is a reason why the ministry was renamed to refocus us back.


“We need to bring smiles back to the faces of Nigerians. And I’m not seeing data I’m not seeing numbers. I’m referring to people at all costs, Nigerians must smile again.


“Before we finish, the first tenant of His Excellency, the President, a switchable. I meant to nibble. We have a huge tax to deliver.


“We must get down to every single sports in this country and reach those who are underserved. Those who are poor, those who need a renewed hope we’re not going to play games. We’re going to increase our efforts.


“We are going to be very sincere, transparent and accountable. We are going to be very sincere.


“We are going to be very transparent and we are going to be very accountable to Nigerians. We’re going to speak out and tell them what it is we are doing.


“It is no secret business. It was spent in one era wonder it is he was spending 10 billion 10 billion 80s And they must be able to feel the results of that expenditure.


“I want to plead with you I’m a team player by push really hard. Like I push really, really hard. We have a huge job to do. And so all hands must be on deck.


“People are watching the minutes are counting already. Nigerians are waiting. I want to beg us all to drop a layer side any baggage that will not allow us to do the job the way we should do it.


“I want to plead with us to fasten our seatbelts because we’ll be flying at the speed of light. I do not know if it is good for you, but it’s good for the precedent and it’s good for Nigerians that a younger person dies here. And the reason is simple.


“We need energy we need innovation we need speed to reach 136 million people. As a matter of urgency, like the Permanent Secretary has said the cracks in the system, any failure at all in the system, any lapses in the system, whether it’s in the health sector or in the agric sector, anywhere.


“They all end up as humanitarian crisis and of course, it listened to the cycle of poverty. Our president president bola Ahmed Tinubu will be bringing on board very new people centered.


“Grassroots base life changing programs, some of the most successful programs in the history of poverty alleviation anywhere in the world.


“All of us work on the ideas and we’ll unveil it soon Nigerians we’re going to be tactical, and we’re going to be smart about it,” she said.


She added that a timeline would be given to ensure that one million Nigerians leave the poverty cadre.


“We will give ourselves timelines and we must walk to meet it. And I plead with you when you do the service. It’s not service to man is service to God.


“Commit everything you have to it. I’m a child of a missionary. Sometimes I sit back and I just wonder why I was brought here. All my life all I’ve done is to reach out to people who are poor and downtrodden.


“I read medicine just for that fact. Because I grew up seeing my father going out to villages that you can’t even stay in for one minute. Because they had some flight he had everything and he will take us with him.


“And when we get there we see children. Of course he’s giving them food. He’s giving them clothings he is giving them all the things by see them with ringworm.


“I see them with scabies all sorts of things. And I thought okay, maybe he was doing all this excellent. And something was missing in the back.


“So maybe I should go read medicine and when I come back, I’ll reach out to them. And I’ve been doing that. But this is a big scale.


“This is Nigeria. A lot of people are affected by humanitarian crisis over 16 point 5 million people. According to the UN 60% of them in the northern part of Nigeria.


“Lots of people in Nigeria living under $1.90 Plenty. It will not continue. President bola Ahmed Tinubu has said no. This is the end. We must bring renewed hope. I’m open to suggestions. I’m open to advise everyone and open,” she added.


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