Buhari’s Ten Million Imaginary ‘Millionaires’ -By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

Early in the morning of Wednesday September 19th 2018, I switch on the television and proceeded to channel 306 on DSTV/Multichoice satellite network to let my little Son NaetoChukwu Nnadozie watch the beautiful programme for Children packaged by the publicly owned British broadcasting media house otherwise known as BBC, but my Son opted to leave the room for the parlour to link up with the Mother who was preparing stuffs for his pre-school session.

I then switched on to a Nigerian owned television to listen to the 7am news but was immediately irritated by the soft tissues of fabricated falsehood that was packaged by the Nigerian Television Authority as a news item whereby they told the broad daylight lie that the current Federal government of Nigeria has made the claim of driving ten million people out of poverty. Deep inside of me, i knew this was a primitive lie from the pit of hell but i waited to see if the claimant would reel out verifiable data to justify this monumental embarrassment of waking people up with heavy dosage of lies. This empirical data was never shown but it was a wishy -washy politically correct propaganda meant to massage the ego of Nigeria’s emerging dictator in civilian garbs. I will show proofs to show that these ten million ex-poor people now transported to the World of prosperity by government only exists in the warped imagination of the government official who authorized this unsubstantiated claim. As God would have it, a text message just popped into my phone. The following was the message which was clearly a distress message from a relation of this writer who is a graduate.

 

Emmanuel Onwubiko

She stated thus: “Brother, good morning. How is mama? Please support me financially sir and connect me with any work sir. Thank you sir.”

The above was a text message that dropped on my phone from a cousin who lives in Awka, the Anambra State Capital. Mrs. Amaka has just left her husband with her three children because the husband Mr. Obinna is unable to meet up with basic funding obligations to keep body and soul together.

Another save my soul message also came in as I began scribbling this piece and in this message the sender is someone who lives in Enugu and has just left the university with distinction since four years ago but can’t find work after her mandatory service to Nigeria under the National Youth Service Corp scheme (NYSC).

In her set, there were about ten thousand freshly minted college graduates and out of this phenomenal number, only an infinitesimal percentage managed to find job in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.

Miss. Genevieve the ravishingly beautiful girl who is in her early twenties, read economics and from interactions, she shows evidential proofs of someone at home with her field of study but she has no employment.

That text message from her made me to immediately put up a call across to her to find out if she has a kind of self-employment that she has engaged herself in so as to escape from the trap of been trafficked for sex abroad as is the case with hundreds of thousands of girls in her age grade.

Mind you, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human trafficking recently ended a working visit to Nigeria and from my interactions with her at a forum organized for leaders of credible civil society groups in which Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) was invited, she disclosed that Nigerian youngsters stand the risks of being trafficked for sex slavery in Europe because of a combination of forces of unemployment, insecurity and political instability that prevails in virtually all parts of Nigeria.

This young lady who holds the high profile position of special rapporteur on human trafficking (Maria Grazia Giammarinaro) was very forthright and brutally frank in pinpointing the major factors responsible for human trafficking just as she underlined poverty as one of the fundamental causes.

Her fears have severally been validated even from official quarters such as the statistic released by National Bureau of statistics which paints gloomy pictures of widespread unemployment affecting mostly the young people.

The young people in Nigeria clearly constitutes nearly sixty percent of the whole national population of Nigeria.

It therefore follows logically, that if 60 percent of Nigerians can’t find employments, it means that Nigeria is gloomy, dangerous and is in imminent risk of economic collapse.

Poverty, dejection and hopelessness are existential realities of our time in Nigeria. This is why it shocked most discerning and thinking Nigerians when the Nigerian Minister for budget was quoted as claiming without any shreds of empirical data, that the Muhammadu Buhari’s government has taken ten million Nigerians out of poverty. For a start, the ministry of budget and planning is a scam. This is because political leaders hardly implements budgets to the full. In the last 20 years of democracy, successive and the current Administrations have not successfully implemented any annual national budget to appreciable percentage. Budget is called appropriation and it is constitutional. But officials violate with impunity the provisions contain in every yearly budget. From this background, most Nigerians often take with a pinch of salt any unscientific claims emanating from the federal ministry that supervises the violations of a basic law such as the yearly appropriation Act of the federal republic of Nigeria. The claim of producing ten million millionaires literally, to most Nigerians is fake and unverifiable.

The question that this claim triggered, is to determine the precise location, identities of these mysterious ten million “Millionaires” created by the current administration. Are these ten million millionaires recently minted by Muhammadu Buhari’s administration located in outer space or in this nation of Nigeria weighed down by grave uncertainties? To show that this claim is false, we visited the National Bureau of Statistics to know the number of hitherto employed people who lost their jobs due to economic recession.

A total of 7.956 million Nigerians became unemployed between January 2016 and September 30, 2017, data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows.

This unemployment report survey for the third quarter of 2017 released by the NBS on December 22, 2017 puts the number at 7.956 million more than the 8,036 million it stood in 2015 Q4.

The bureau in the report stated that the number of Nigerians that became unemployed rose from 8,036 million in 2015 fourth quarter to 15.998 million in third quarter of 2017.

The report said further that between the second quarter and third quarter of 2017, the number of economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 110.3 million to 111.1 million.

“The unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 16.2 per cent in Q2 2017 and 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017. The number of people within the labor force who are unemployed or underemployed increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9 million and 18.0 million in Q3 2017.

“Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 40 percent in Q3 2017.

“The labor force population increased from 83.9 million in Q2 2017 to 85.1 million in Q3 2017. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in Q2 2017 to 51.1 million in Q3 2017.”

NBS in the report blames the increasing unemployment and underemployment rates on Nigeria’s fragile economy despite the exit from recession. The report explained that domestic labor market is still fragile and economic growths in the past two quarters in 2017 have not been strong enough to provide employment in Nigeria’s domestic labor market.

“An economic recession is consistent with an increase in unemployment as jobs are lost and new jobs creation is stalled.

“A return to economic growth provides an impetus to employment. However, employment growth may lag, and unemployment rates worsen especially at the end of a recession and for many months after,” the report said.

During the third quarter of 2017, according to the report, 21.2 percent of women within the labour force (aged 15-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed, compared to 16.5 percent of men within the same period.

The report also noted that underemployment was predominant in the rural areas as 26.9 percent of rural residents within the labour force in were underemployed compared to 9 percent of urban residents within the same period.

The federal government however told crude lie when it claimed that it has moved 10,073 million Nigerians from poverty to prosperity.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made the claim while speaking on arrangements for the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit held at the conference room of the ministry in Abuja.

He said the achievement is one of the key priorities of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, by investing in the people.

According to him, the government had provided 8.96million school children under the home grown School Feeding Programme; over 297,000 poor and vulnerable Nigerians supported with cash transfer of N5,000; successfully disbursed more than 308,000 loans of N50,000 under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and 200,000 young unemployed graduates empowered through the N-Power scheme , while over 308,000 had been selected for consideration for the second batch.”

Whilst the current government was busy dishing out lies regarding some mysterious ten million new millionaires that emerged as a result of the direct impacts of the economic programmes of the administration, those who should know however reminds us that Nigeria has enterred a tragic position in the World as the nation with the largest concentration of absolutely poor people. Mind you, World Bank says you are absolutely poor if you can’t afford to generate $2 USD per day which means that virtually all the government paid employees who earn the minimum wage of N18,000 monthly are absolutely poor.

In The Guardian newspaper of Wednesday September 19th 2018, we read that rapid population growth in some Africa’s poorest countries could put future progress towards reducing global poverty and improving health at severe risk, a report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has revealed.

Co-Chairman of the foundation, Bill Gates, said in the Foundation’s 2018 Goalkeepers Report launched a day before the newspaper’s publication that young Africans were inheriting a continent where fewer and fewer people have to struggle to survive and could instead devote their energy to planning and investing in the future.

However, the report disclosed that demographic trends show that over one billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the past 20 years, but added that population explosion, particularly in Africa, could be a challenge the decline in the number of extremely poor people in the world, and it may even start to rise.

Nigeria was said to have taken over as the country with the highest number of extremely poor people, according to a report by Brookings Institution, thereby overtaking India with a population of 1.3 billion people as against Nigeria’s 200 million.

According to the report, the number of Nigerians in extreme poverty increases by six people every minute.

“Population growth in Africa is a challenge,” Gates said on telephone about the report’s findings.

It found that poverty in Africa is increasingly concentrated in a few countries, which also have among the fastest growing populations globally.

It projected that by 2050 over 40 per cent of world’s extremely poor people will live in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

On the best ways of tackling the growing population and poverty challenge, Gates said improving access to birth control was key, adding that this should be combined with investment in health and education of young people.

“The biggest things are the modern tools of contraception,” Gates said, adding: “If you have those things available, then people have more control of spacing their children.”

The report, tracked 18 data points on United Nations development goals, including child and maternal deaths, stunting, access to contraceptives, HIV, malaria, extreme poverty, financial inclusion and sanitation.

In its family planning section, the report called on policymakers to empower women to exercise their right to choose the number of children they could have, when to have them and with whom.

The U.N. data has projected that Africa will account for over half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050, while its population is projected to double by 2050 and double again by 2100.

Aside poverty, insecurity and threats of Islamic terrorism constitute grave challenge thereby making it difficult for millions of Nigerians to break out of the terrible poverty trap.

Security in Nigeria is catastrophic, so says United Nations even as it states thus: “In Nigeria, the number of security incidents rose considerably. Among these was an attack on the town of Rann in Borno State, which claimed the lives of 10 people and wounded many others. Ten other suicide bombings and four attacks as well as IED explosions were recorded in Borno and Yobe states, targeting civilian and military infrastructures, predominantly in communities hosting the displaced”.

The UN said also: “Meanwhile, the Government has continued to report progress in its efforts to neutralize the insurgency but the frequency and manner in which attacks are being carried out suggests the situation is going to worsen in the coming weeks”.

The conflict, it says, has resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 people and the displacement of millions in and out of the country since it started more than nine years ago.

The UN said: “In Maiduguri and Damaturu, road travel has been suspended for all United Nations (UN) staff but for its part, the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki axis was reopened after four years of closure. UN staff will continue to access Bama and Banki from Maiduguri using UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights. (Nigeria Situation: UNHCR Regional Update 01- 31 March 2018.https://reliefweb.int)”

*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ www.emmanuelonwubiko.com; www.huriwanigeria.com; [email protected]; www.queenzblog.com.

 

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