Friday, November 30, 2007

Nigerian Poverty in the midst of wealth

Over 70 million Nigerians are living below poverty level disclosed Dr Otive Igbuzor, Country Director of ActionAid .

Nigeria, he added, remains one of the 20 countries with the widest disparity between the rich and the poor, stressing that most of the nation's wealth is in the hands of a few powerful individuals while the majority wallow in abject poverty.

Also reported is that about 529,000 women die annually globally, while Nigeria contributes 1.7 percent of the global population yet it accounts for 10 percent of maternal deaths annually. Nigeria is said to be the second highest, next to India, with an unimaginable rate of maternal and infant death in the whole world.

About 396 infants out of every 1000 live births in the north eastern Nigeria die by the age of five in the region comprising Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe States, a study has shown.

More than US$400 billion was stolen from the treasury by Nigeria's leaders between 1970 and 1999, according to the country's financial crimes agency. With reserves of 35 billion barrels, Nigeria accounts for 60 percent of proven oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea . Nigeria is one of the top five suppliers of U.S. oil imports and is emerging as an important liquefied natural gas supplier for Europe and North America. Rising Asian economies such as China and India are now seeking an interest in the region.

But strapped for cash to meet its joint venture obligations for deep water exploration in the Gulf of Guinea in the 1990s, Nigeria entered into special contracts that allowed the oil majors to invest their capital and recoup their own costs before sharing profits with the government.There has been massive finds such as Shell's Bonga field, Chevron's Agbami and Total's Amenan — each with the potential to yield more than 1 billion barrels.The Nigerian government has yet to see revenue from these offshore oil fields, and wants to review the agreements.

Will Nigeria end the paradox of the energy-rich country wracked by fuel and power shortages ?

Will Nigeria tackle the poverty of its citizens ?

Socialist Banner thinks not .

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