Nigeria, the conspicuous giant of West Africa. A country that can no longer be ignored whether in the African continent or global happenings. The country has all the potentials of greatness. In the abundance of natural resources, manpower and latent intellectual prowess, rich cultural heritage, creativity, the Arts, name it. But sad to say that no matter how rich a nation appears to be, mismanagement is unavoidably the bane of its progress.
Poorest States in Nigeria: World Bank report 2023
In a recent World Bank report titled “A Better Future for All Nigerians: Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022”, about 4 out of every 10 Nigerians live below the poverty line. In this article, we will examine just how poor the poorest states in Nigeria have become. We will identify the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria, and the contributing factors to such poverty levels we cannot possibly ignore.
Nigeria has been plagued with a series of developmental challenges since its independence. These challenges border on poor infrastructural development, little investment in education, widespread corruption, insecurity, tribal conflicts, climate shocks and more.
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According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of 2022 indicates that:
- Almost 6 out of 10 Nigerians – translating to about 133 million Nigerians – are ‘multidimensionally poor’. Multidimensional poverty is a lack of more than one poverty indicator; which include lack of income and basic amenities (e.g. education, clean water, healthcare, good sanitation, and cleaning cooking fuels).
- A large proportion of the poor population falls more disproportionately to the North. More factually, 65% of multidimensionally poor people live in the Northern states, while 35% live in the Southern states.
- The greater percentage of this poor population lacks clean cooking fuel, good sanitation and access to quality healthcare.
- About 72% of rural dwellers are multidimensionally poor, while 42% of the urban population are equally affected.
- About 67.5%) of Nigerian children within the age range of 0 to 17 years are multidimensionally poor.
- Roughly half (51%) of all poor people in Nigeria are children.
- Almost 90% of rural children in Nigeria experience poverty.
These numerical accounts of poverty levels in Nigeria will be critical to any effort made to reverse the trend in times to come. It would require deliberate and well thought-out interventions by:
- the government,
- thought leaders and community heads,
- non-governmental organizations and civil organizations,
- social responsibility initiatives by prominent companies in the private sector,
- economically buoyant citizens and philanthropists,
- the international community, and
- active engagement and enlightenment of the citizens as well.
The World Bank suggested certain interventions that are urgently needed to curb the spread of poverty across Nigeria, in its report stated earlier. These include and I quote, “(1) macroeconomic reforms (including fiscal, trade, and exchange rate policy); (2) policies to boost the productivity of farm and non-farm household enterprises; and (3) improving access to electricity, water, and sanitation while bolstering information and communication technologies”.
Top 10 Poorest States in Nigeria: The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
To take a step further, the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria are listed below. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of each state in order of magnitude from the worst (or highest) to the lowest are also indicated beside each one.
Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
Poorest States in Nigeria and Why?
The poor rate of schooling, high level of insecurity became of the operations of bandits in the state; and low human capacity devopment are major factors that hinder Sokoto state.
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The crude oil-rich state of Bayelsa faces infrastructural development problems. Many of the roads are in bad condition, and there are a good number of abandoned road, health, power and other projects. Also, some communities lack potable drinking water.
It is also on record that Bayelsa State has the least number of local government areas of all the states in Nigeria (just eight). This visionless partitioning of the state makes each local government difficult to manage. Because the state government is quite disconnected and finds it hard to reach the grassroots.
It is noteworthy that about 73.9% of children in Jigawa are multidimensionally poor. Most children in Jigawa state have little or no access to enough resources to cater for their survival, protection and development. Also, the mortality rate of children under the age of five years is very high. Finally, the number of schooled people is immensely small
Kebni state is also guilty of high levels of child poverty and lack of protection. Additionally, the number of people who have obtained formal education is very low. Kebbi farmers also face challenges due to soil and climate, as the environment is typically dry Sudan Savannah strongly affected by the Sahara desert towards the northern extremities.
There is serious inadequacy of potable water and quality health care services in Gombe state. There is also poor school enrolment rate.
Yobe lands face the threat of encroachment by the Sahara desert (all the north western states of Nigeria are prone to this threat). Also, aside from a very low number of school children enrolment, girl children are also sold off as brides to settle their parents’ debts. Yobe farmers are mostly poor and underfunded, and they need more money and support to boost their agricultural productiin efforts.
For over a decade now, Plateau State has been exposed to violent ethnic and religious clashes that have destroyed many lives and properties, including valuable farmlands.
A vast number of the people of Taraba (especially the women’s Nd youths) are unemployed. The state also faces ethno-religious attacks that have damaged lands, properties and people’s lives.
Zamfara state has for a long time been plagued by high poverty levels. A situation which led directly to massive uptake of arms by unemployed youths who became terrorists and kidnappers. This further worsened the economic situation of the state.
Ebonyi state was affected by years of urban migration, where youths prefered to dump their underdeveloped rural communities for the cities.
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