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NIGERIA'S POVERTY LEVEL DISTURBING -CLERIC

By NBF News
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The National Public Affairs Secretary of The Companion, an association of Muslims in business and profession with national spread, Alhaji Lanre Bakare, has decried the rising poverty level in the country.

He said report from the statistician general of the federation revealed a growing rate of poverty from 54 percent in 2004 to 69 percent in 2010, representing about 112 million people.

In a statement by the group made available to Daily Sun, Bakare said the shocking statistics clearly revealed a disconnect between the government and people at a time when the nation's economy was reported to be fast growing by the leaders.

'It is even more devastating when it is observed that this trend may have increased further in 2011 and 2012 if the impact of anti-poor policy of the government is put into consideration. The cost of basic necessities of life has gone up in essential areas of living, including electricity tariff, transportation, basic food items, petroleum products, among others,' he said.

He noted that if similar statistics from the World Bank and other rating agencies were disputed, the national survey conducted by government agency could not be ignored.

Bakare urged the government to cut down the cost of governance at the executive, legislative and judiciary arms. He said the obvious flamboyance of government officials, as demonstrated in spending over 70 percent of the budget on recurrent expenditures required immediate reduction.

The group urged the government to institute measures that would enthrone good governance and transparency and stressed the need for urgent attention to agriculture, provision of basic infrastructure and job creation.

'The Companion calls on government at all levels to confront this hydra-headed monster of mass and extreme poverty headlong. The insensitivity of the government to the plight of majority of Nigerians is betrayal of trust and dishonour for the social contract between the governed and the government,' he added.