OPINION: Who and Where are the poorest of the poor in Nigeria?
Here is an assessment form for people who would like to understand the concept of multidimensional poverty / poorest of the poor / urban poverty.
Lagos for example has a problem with urban poverty. People with no jobs or those with earnings that cannot them good life in the city.
Their income cannot provide decent accommodation, healthcare, education, feeding etc. Cost of living in the city is expensive, there income cannot meet up with the demands of city life. Linking up main towns and adjacent communities with good infrastructure such as road / rail.
Mass transportation services will provide an alternative for these group of people to live in their communities, travel to Lagos to work and return home, where the income they make in Lagos will be sufficient for them. These will reduce the burden of slum dwellers in the city.
For the poorest of the poor, they are mostly rural dwellers, deprived of everything needed to survive. They are people whose villages aren’t connected to the national grid, no electricity, no schools, no hospitals, no skill, no education, no roads – only foot or bicycle paths.
Asides from household farming to eat, they cannot make any income. The opportunities are not available, they hardly farm on a large scale to sell and when they do, they make losses. I had a discussion yesterday who said he should be categorized as poorest of the poor.
I asked him few questions…..
– Do you have a phone?
– Do you have a bank account?
– What kind of water do you drink?
– What type of building do you live in?
– Do you have TV / Iron / fridge at home?
– Do you have access to electricity?
– What type of toilet is in your building?
– How far is the closest school and hospital to you?
– What do you use to cook at home? Kerosene, gas or firewood?
– Can you read a book / newspaper?
So I asked him again, how will you classify those who need to go the stream to fetch water & firewood every day.
Live in mud houses with thatched roof, haven’t seen a school, hospital or doctor before. He was quiet for a while. It’s easy to think that life starts and ends in the city.