–Nigeria’s poverty index has worsened as no fewer than 94,470,535 people are said to be living below the line of extreme poverty, according to the latest World Poverty Report released yesterday.

Oxfam International country director in Nigeria, Mr. Constant Tchona, made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday at the organisation’s Programme Quality Review and Planning meeting, with the theme “On the Road To Becoming an Influencing Hub.”

The figure represents the number of people living below the benchmark of N684 per day.

“The number of people that live below extreme poverty level as at April was 91,501,377, making Nigeria the World Capital of Poverty.

“As if that was not bad enough, at the moment, six months later, the number has jumped up to 94,470,535 people.

“What this means is that we have added 2,969,158 people more into extreme poverty. By comparison, this number is more than the population of Gambia and Cape Verde combined.

“At the current rate, Nigeria is not only off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but many now believe that up to 25 per cent of the world’s extreme poor will live in Nigeria by 2030.

“Nigeria’s total population is 200,963,599 people, according to the Worldometer, and is to become the world’s third largest country by 2050,” he noted.

By December 2018, the population of Nigerians living in abject poverty was put at 91 million.

While describing the burden as pathetic, the country director noted that Nigerian government was aware of the rate of poverty in the land.

Tchona quoted President Muhammadu Buhari’s intention to “lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years and set them on the path to prosperity” to “fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place it among the world’s great nations.”

According to him, if this is achieved, Nigeria would shock the world to achieve the SDGs.

“Now the question is, what is the role of the citizens and how that role will be played in supporting both elected and appointed officials in achieving this lofty goal.

“What could be the role of International NGOs like Oxfam on that journey?” he asked.

He noted that in order to effectively make impact in poverty reduction, the organisation would have to assess its programmes to ensure they were not against Oxfam’s established quality standards.

He stressed the need to expedite action, adding that more people were getting into extreme poverty as at the moment.

Tchona explained that the meeting was to reflect on what the role of the organisation could be in support of government and citizens in order to reduce the burden of poverty.

He said that the meeting was also to explore ways to strengthen business support to power up Oxfam execution capability while ensuring operational excellence.

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