Social protection partners in the country have called attention to the socioeconomic deprivations against Nigerians, expressing worry that the menace of poverty has taken a toll on livelihoods.
At a two-day policy dialogue workshop on Nigeria’s poverty profile and social register in Abuja, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children and other partners highlighted the massive vulnerability among citizens, occasioned by poverty.
Warning that poverty and vulnerability remain pressing challenges for citizens, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, said Nigeria’s social inequalities have worsened, with access to essential resources such as food, education and healthcare unevenly distributed.
Akume said, ”Despite progress in reducing poverty rates in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic presented us with new challenges, pushing approximately 63 percent of our population into multi-dimensional poverty of which almost 70 million are children.
“This setback emphasizes the urgency to strengthen our efforts in mitigating these issues and improving the lives of millions of Nigerians.”
Also at the dialogue convened to brainstorm ways to expand social protection for citizens, Country Representative, UNICEF, Cristian Munduate, said there was a need to expand Nigeria’s social register for an inclusive social protection system.
She said, “From Lagos to Sokoto, I have met individuals like Tutu, a struggling single mother, and Umar, a child deprived of education, who personify the reality of our poverty statistics.
“Our goal is a Nigeria where all citizens, particularly women, children, and the disabled, have access to strong social protections and are not living on the edge of poverty.
“Amid global challenges such as oil price fluctuations, insecurity, socio-economic disparities, and pandemics like COVID-19, poverty is further gripping our people, indicating a dire need for effective social protection interventions.
This meeting, hence, symbolizes hope for a future where every Nigerian feels recognized and safeguarded.