The World Bank in a recent report has disclosed that northern Nigeria holds about 87 per cent of all the poor in the country as of 2016.
The report titled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’, was released on January 28, 2020.
The report described as a ‘detailed analysis of the social protection sector’ in the country noted that social protection measures implemented by the government in Nigeria had not been able to address the high level of poverty, as well as the negative impact of conflicts and natural disasters.
The report stated in part, “ experiences high inequality along geographic lines, with poverty mostly concentrated in the North and in rural areas.
“Poverty in northern regions of the country has been increasing, especially in the North-West zone.
“Almost half of all the poor lived in the North-West and the North accounts for 87 per cent of all the poor in the country in 2016.
“Poverty rates in the southern zones were around 12 per cent with little variation across zones. The South-South zone saw the most significant drop in poverty from 2011-2016.
“Poverty was significantly higher in rural areas of the country in 2016. An estimated 64 per cent of all poor lived in rural areas and 52 per cent of the rural population lived below the poverty line in 2016. In contrast, the poverty rate in urban areas remained stable at 16 per cent between 2011 and 2016.”
“Regionally, the North lags far behind the South in every human capital outcome. People in the Northern regions are also more vulnerable to falling into poverty.”
The report established a link between poverty in the North and the Boko Haram insurgency. It noted that the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East since 2014 , the natural disasters facing the region and communal conflicts have all contributed to an increase in the poverty rate of the north.
It added, “Disasters and conflict have displaced many Nigerians, especially in the North-East. According to estimates provided by the International Displacement Monitoring Centre, there were more than two million internally displaced persons in Nigeria as of 31 December 2018.
“In 2018 alone, more than 600,000 Nigerians were displaced due to natural disasters and more than 540,000 were displaced due to conflict and violence.
“In the North-East, the emergence of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram since 2014 has not only caused large scaled displacement, but also several incidences of kidnapping, death, and injuries, and the erosion of social contract due to widespread perception of a failed political promise. Poverty and deprivation have played a central role in fostering a social divide.
“The youth used by Boko Haram to partake in the conflict are jobless, without skills, or trades, and are easily susceptible to radicalisation,” the report said.