As the world celebrated the United Nations (UN) International Day for the eradication of poverty Tuesday, October 17, poverty remains a major issue in Nigeria and most 3rd world countries.
According to the UN, poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestation include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. 2017 also marks the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski—which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty—and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
According to Father Joseph Wresinski, “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”
It is estimated that 767 million people live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day, having the majority of people living below the poverty line belonging to Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In light of this, the theme for the 2017 International Day to Eradicate Poverty “Answering the call of October 17th to end poverty: A path towards peaceful and inclusive societies” emphasising the importance of values of dignity, solidarity and voice underscored in the call to fight and end poverty everywhere. These values are also evident in the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for sustainable development which sets poverty eradication as the overarching objective, obligating countries to eradicate poverty through strategies that guarantee fulfilment of all human rights and ensure no one is left behind.
According to a recent poll by Nigeria based NOIPolls, poverty has been a major issue in Nigeria, just as in so many other African countries. A 2016 United Nations report on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis, CCA, described the country as one of the poorest and unequal country in the world, with over 80m of her population living below poverty line. “Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64% of her population living below poverty line.
The effects of poverty to the Nigerian society are often interrelated so that one problem rarely occurs alone. In view of the 2017 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, NOIPolls identified “Poverty” as a common factor responsible for several socio economic issues in Nigeria, as revealed by findings from various past polls.
The vicious cycle of poverty means that lifelong barriers and troubles are passed on from one generation to the next. For instance poverty as a result of unemployment and low income creates an environment with a high number of children out of school as they must often work to provide or supplement the income for their families. In line with this, a past poll conducted by NOIPolls revealed a high prevalence of child labour in Nigeria, and poverty was blamed for the high occurrence; not to mention its role as a barrier to girl child education.

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