The United Nations Development Programme’s Multidimensional Poverty Index has indicated that poverty is more endemic in the North-West region of Nigeria, in spite of the fact that the ongoing terror war being waged by the Boko Haram group has largely been restricted to the North-East region.
Statistics obtained from the report showed that states in the North-West had lower multi-dimensional poverty indices. Five states scored least in the MDI – Sokoto, Jigawa, Yobe, Kebbi and Gombe – three are in the North-West. Extending the list to 10 states with the least performance on the poverty indices brings in another two states in the North-West, Kano and Katsina.
This means that out of the 10 states where poverty is more entrenched, five are in the North-West of the country. It is only Kaduna from that region that escaped being listed among the 10 states with the highest poverty indices. To measure poverty in the country, the UNDP looked at four sectors of health, education, standard of living and unemployment.
Under health, the report looked at nutrition and child mortality. Under education, it considered year of schooling and school attendance in the states. For standard of living, the report looked at lighting, use of water, sanitation, type of floor the people live in, type of cooking fuel and assets owned by households, while unemployment was considered as a one-item sector.
According to the UNDP, the Multidimensional Poverty Index is a measure of acute poverty developed by Oxford and the Human Development Initiative in collaboration with the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office.
The global body stated, “The MPI presents the number of people who are multi-dimensionally poor and the deprivations such people face at the household level. It is the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor adjusted by the intensity of deprivation.
“Poverty is not merely the impoverished state in which a person actually lives in, but a lack of real opportunities due to social and other constraints and circumstances that inhibit living a valuable and dignified life.
“The concept of poverty goes beyond absence of or low income to inadequate amenities, but include health and nutrition; low education and skills; inadequate livelihoods; poor housing conditions; lack of jobs and social exclusion, as well as lack of participation in household decisions.”
According to the report, the South-West performed better than all the other geopolitical zones in the country. All the states in the region were among the best 10 performers in the Multidimensional Poverty Index.
Osun outperformed all other states with an MPI of 0.062038. Anambra was like an interloper among the South-West states, coming second in performance with an MPI of 0.091454, becoming the second state least ridden with multidimensional poverty.
Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti came third, fourth and fifth, with MPI values of 0.1023; 0.115106 and 0.115275, respectively. Delta and Edo states stepped into the mix as they stole into the sixth and eighth positions with the MPI values of 0.117001 and 0.144214, respectively.
Ondo and Oyo completed the run of the South-West among the top performers, occupying the seventh and ninth positions with the MPI values of 0.120314 and 0.152048, respectively. Enugu State completed the list of the top 10 performers with an MPI value of 0.159753. This made it the second state of the South-East to enter the fray.
Other states of the South-East can be classified as middle table performers, except for Ebonyi State that tended towards the bottom in the 24th position, with an MPI value of 0.248383. Abia and Imo states came in the 13th and 14th positions with the MPI values of 0.164706 and 0.164752, respectively. Cross River occupied the 11th position with an MPI value of 0.159753.
However, the performance of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states shows that multidimensional poverty can be endemic in oil rich states – perhaps in line with the international phenomenon known as resource-rich resource-curse curves of the world. Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states came in the 20th, 21st and 23rd positions, respectively.