Mallam Ibrahim Shuaibu, recently at the Third Distinguished Public Lecture of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai (IBBUL) in Niger state, identified some factors responsible for poverty across the land.
Speaking at the main Auditorium of the school, he said exponential population growth, increasing income inequality, reckless public expenditure, Machiavellian government policies, decayed infrastructure, dysfunctional health system and moribund education sector, among others, have contributed to make Nigerians wretchedly poor.
He maintained that poverty is a cancer that was already translating into hunger and malnutrition in certain areas of the country, stressing that it must be urgently checked to avert looming revolution.
Aliyu who is the chairman of Urban Shelter Limited, said the wretchedness of Nigerians is the reason why Nigeria is being described as one of the poorest countries in the world.
He said until strategic efforts are made and deliberate actions taken by stakeholders at all levels of government to fight corruption, and ensure that the nation’s burgeoning population is effectively controlled, all measures aimed at getting Nigerians out of poverty web would end in futility.
Speaking on“Developing Nigeria: Eradicating Poverty”, Aliyu, who was the guest lecturer, pointed out that certain socio-economic policies made by government seem to only favour the elites. Hence, while an insignificant minority gets richer, a larger majority of the masses continue to languish in squalor and penury.
“One of such anti-masses policies is what they call fuel subsidy. A policy that has only ended up inflicting untold pain and excruciating hardship not only on ordinary Nigerians, but also on the country’s anaemic economy,” he said.
He called on the poor to avoid uncontrolled procreation, saying doing so will only induce population explosion of staggering magnitude, and in turn increase poverty among the citizenry.
Aliyu posited that a growth rate of two per cent in the economy and a population growth rate of three per cent or more could only mean increasing poverty in the country.
“Except basic structural variables that could accelerate economic growth and development are properly addressed, all efforts on poverty alleviation would be in aberration.”
He further emphasised the need to reform government’s ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals, fight corruption at all levels, ensure adequate population control by way of coming up with legislation that would aide family planning.
On what should be done to revamp the country’s ailing economy and alleviate poverty Aliyu, who was a one-time secretary to Niger state government, advised both federal and state governments to reduce the rate at which they seek both local and foreign loans.
“There is need for government to pluck all leakages, and formulate viable socio-economic policies that will help to uplift the masses’ standard of living, while also taking them out of poverty bracket. Government must fight corruption and mismanagement of public funds by fraudulent individuals.
“It is good our country also start embarking on exporting economic goods and provision of services in which Nigeria has comparative advantage. We can by so doing, earn huge foreign exchange which can be used to develop infrastructure and grow our economy. And in the long run, such deliberate actions will help tackle poverty.”
Visitor to the university and governor of Niger state, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, while applauding the guest lecturer, noted that his presentation was apt in view of the prevailing economic reality in the country.
“This memorable distinguished lecture was able to outline a number of potent economic measures that could help in addressing the scourge of poverty. The guest lecturer’s presentation would be understudied by my administration, with a view to identifying the recommendations that could be adopted for the benefit of the state,” he assured.
The pro-chancellor and chairman of IBBUL governing council, Dr. Mohammed Santuraki, disclosed that there is no better time for government to think out of the box and find remedy for poverty than now.
He promised that their council and school management will do everything possible to make the university champion intellectual discussions that would not only assist in developing the state but the country at large.
Maiturare said poverty had taken a centre stage on the Nigerian landscape that it had become a centrifugal force driving down all other indices of human development.
He said beyond the intellectual engagements on various national issues by professors at the institution, IBBUL’s management also believe that there are other eminent and highly-accomplished personalities out there whose wealth of knowledge, intellectual capacity and invaluable life experience can be tapped to enrich IBBUL’s academic discourse.
“We will work with relevant agencies and key stakeholders to see to the implementation of the solutions to poverty as suggested and proffered by erudite speakers at this auspicious lecture,” he said.