The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said that if care is not taken, the entire Nigerian population will fall into poverty under the watch of President Muhammadu Buahri, noting that even Aliko Dangote has been affected by the prevalent wave of poverty.
Atiku said this in a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his spokesman, as he reacted to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on 98 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty.
He called on all stakeholders to come together and address the issue.
The former vice-president accused those “who put Nigeria in this crisis” of nonchalance, saying that the greatest national security threat the country is facing at the moment is not Boko Haram or banditry but the “creation of the largest wave of poverty in human history in the country”.
Atiku said, “The failure of our economy over the last four years affects everyone from top to bottom. Four years ago, Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest man, was worth $25bn. However, his net worth in 2019 is less than half that. He joined thousands of industrialists whose wealth and their ability to produce, had eroded in recent years, and continue to do so,” he said
“With the National Bureau of Statistics reporting a net job loss of over six million since 2015, we see that if industrialists have their wealth eroding, it affects their ability to create opportunities, which means that the trickle-down effect gradually dries.
“And in the wake of this report by the UNDP, we are greeted with nonchalance by those who led us into this crisis. It is as though they think that as long as they and their families are not amongst those 98 million extremely poor Nigerians, things can carry on as before.
“But that cannot be allowed to be the case. Those who have the ability, including the Council of State, all former leaders, elder-statesmen, and especially the other arms of government, must begin to collaborate for solutions, before the number increases from 98 million, to all 198 million Nigerians.
“We must remember that we are stakeholders in the Nigerian project; stakeholders who must speak up for those 98 million people who are losing their voices to poverty.”