It's shocking to read in a BBC News report on 13 February that poverty has risen in Nigeria. According to the article, in spite of robust economic growth, almost 100 million people live on less than $1.00 a day. And, it warns, this rising trend is very likely to continue as it has been doing over the past 30 years.
A report prepared by the National Bureau of Statistics states that 60.9% of the people in Nigeria live in "absolute poverty", meaning they can only afford the bare essentials - shelter, food and clothing - to survive. This number has risen from 54.7% in 2004. Figures are even higher in the north-west and north-east, 77.7% and 76.3% respectively.
It's ironic since Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer (it accounts for 80% of state revenues), which has led to the economy growing by leaps and bounds.
According to the United Nations, roughly 25,000 people die of hunger or hunger-related causes every day. Ironic again, seeing as there's enough food in the world to feed everyone. One of the main problems is that when trapped in severe poverty, people can't afford enough food to nourish themselves so they can continue working and earning enough money to buy more food. Living in a state of constant malnutrition means they become even weaker and sicker... they are trapped in a downward spiral... and for the majority this continues until death for them and their families.
About 1.7 billion people live in "absolute poverty"... 1.7 billion... can you imagine? And billions more live in "relative poverty", meaning they lack the usual or socially acceptable level of resources or income when compared with others in their society or country - in other words the poor and low income earners of first world countries.
One of the reasons for continued poverty is corruption. However, while we must admire all the individuals and organisations working towards eradicating both, one can't help wonder why the situation is only getting worse.
J M Leitch is author of The Zul Enigma, a futuristic thriller looking back at a catacysmic event that occurred on 21 December 2012, end of the Mayan calendar.