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Former Anambra governor, Peter Obi says Nigeria’s large population of extremely poor people is a setback for national development

Anambra’s former governor, Peter Obi, has opined that development will continue to elude Nigeria unless conscious efforts are made to improve the lots of an estimated hundred million persons living below the poverty line in the country.

In a statement to mark the World Poverty Day on Monday, the PDP chieftain revealed that the growing poverty rate in the country should worry every concerned leader because growth will be impossible with pervasive poverty rate across most of Nigeria.

Obi invited government agencies, organisations and wealthy people to work together in combating poverty and reducing it to the barest minimum so that a safe environment for investments and prosperity can be created.

“Poverty is dehumanizing, it is therefore left for humanity to create a better world by putting measures in place to eradicate poverty and give everyone the chance to live a meaningful life,” Valentine Obienyem, Obi’s media aide, quoted him as saying.

With more than 15 million children out of school, Obi said the government could not continue to turn a blind eye “to such depressing situation”.

“To combat poverty in Nigeria, organizations and wealthy individuals must deploy their resources to support government investments in these critical areas,” the former governor said.

“May we not forget the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ that ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.’ We need to understand that the job of poverty eradication and ensuring a better society is for all of us.”

The World Poverty Clock estimated in December 2018 that over a hundred million persons live below the benchmark of N684 per day in Nigeria.

With rising petrol prices, declining electricity supply, limited employment opportunities and unprecedented levels of insecurity in most parts of Nigeria, many experts predict that the poverty rate can only keep rising.