Dr. Ibrahim Aliyu, head of economics department of the Federal College of Education, Zaria said the economic growth cannot end poverty and inequality. There isclear indication that poverty did not respond appreciably to economic growth in Sub Saharan Africa. Economic growth simply measures the capacity of an economy to produce goods and services between one period and another.
Inequality in Nigeria as measured by Gini coefficient decreased from 0.43 in 1985 to 0.41 in 1992. Inequality rose consistently from 0.41 in 1992 to 0.49 in 2004. Inequality declined from 0.49 in 2004 to 0.45 in 2010.
Poverty in Nigeria had worsened between 1980 and 2010 with the number of Nigerians living below poverty line increasing from 17.1 million in 1980 to 112.5 million in 2010.
The incidence of poverty increase from 42.7 percent in 1992 to 65.6 percent in 1996. About 99 million or 60.5 percent of Nigerians are absolutely poor; living below the acceptable level of food intakes, have no decent clothing and no access to standard healthcare and shelter. 112 million Nigerians are relatively poor, and 99.5 million Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day.
In Nigeria as a situation in which opportunities for upward mobility are very limited; it means few decent jobs, poor income and low purchasing power for the employed. It also means poor infrastructure and institutional failure in key sectors including education, health and transportation.
In relative terms, people are poverty-stricken when their incomes fall radically below the community average. This means that such people cannot have what the larger society regard as the minimum necessity for a decent living.
The poor can be identified through individuals and households lacking access to basic services, political contacts and other forms of support. It also includes household whose nutritional needs are not met adequately; ethnic minorities who are marginalized, deprived and persecuted economically, socially, morally, and politically; and individuals and households below the poverty line whose incomes are insufficient to provide for their basic needs.