Senator Shehu Sani has cast skepticism over the promise made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, to uplift 133 million Nigerians from poverty during the Tinubu administration. Sani has called for prayers for the minister, highlighting the recurring nature of such promises.

Sani, in a statement, pointed out that the commitment to elevate millions of Nigerians from poverty is not new, noting that it was also a pledge during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. He remarked:

“The Lady Minister, Betta, who wants to lift 133 million Nigerians out of poverty, needs prayers. We have been through this ‘lifting’ promises under Buhari.”

During Buhari’s presidency, Nigeria’s poverty rate was estimated to be around 76 million people. By the time Buhari was leaving office, this number had surged to over 130 million. Given this history, Sani’s skepticism arises from the repeated nature of such commitments without substantial progress.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its “Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index” published in November 2022, unveiled that more than 133 million Nigerians are living in poverty. This figure represents 63% of the country’s population. The report detailed that poverty levels vary across states, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from 27% in Ondo to a staggering 91% in Sokoto.

The report highlighted that over half of the population considered poor resort to using dung, wood, or charcoal for cooking, underscoring a lack of access to cleaner energy sources. Additionally, the report identified significant deprivations in areas such as sanitation, timely healthcare access, food security, and housing.

Rural areas experienced a higher prevalence of multidimensional poverty, with 72% of individuals living below the poverty line compared to 42% in urban areas. The report disclosed that 65% of the poor, approximately 86 million people, reside in the North, while the remaining 35% (around 47 million) are situated in the South.

As the nation confronts persistent poverty challenges, Senator Sani’s skepticism underscores the need for concrete action to address these concerns and fulfill promises of poverty alleviation.

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