Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday said about 110 million Nigerians were living in poverty while 20 percent of that figure live in extreme poverty.
The Vice President made this revelation at an event hosted by the President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama, on Africa and Sustainable Development Goals on the sidelines the African Union meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Vice President, who is representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, said Nigeria and other African nations had to rise up to the urgent need of addressing the problems of poverty and inequality.
He said, “In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle, we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country. It’s a N500bn programme (worth over $2.5bn as of the time budget was signed.)
“Basically, we are looking at lifting many out of poverty, of course many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to 110 million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.
“So it is a very huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable.
“For the women, we are doing a programme, micro-credit programme for a million market women and artisans.”
He, however, admitted that the government had difficulty identifying the poor who would benefit from the programmes.
He said, “In determining who the poorest is, we had problems on that, but we have very good assistance from the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. They helped in trying to map the really poor.
“We had to get inside the communities looking for the poorest of the poor with the small sum of money which is about N5000 (which is roughly about $25 dollars or there about) which is a sum of money that would be given to the poorest every month, which may enable them feed themselves and find something that they may do and on the condition that they send their children to school and participate in immunisation.
“So we are really excited about some of the works we are trying to do around the SDGs and we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get the Social Protection Programme working.”