Abuja — The UN Habitat, an arm of the United Nations responsible for promotion of quality housing and urban planning around the world yesterday said from its analysis the poverty rate in the country has shut up from 46 per cent in 1996 to 76 per cent at present.
Country Director of the UN Habitat in Nigeria, Prof. Johnson Falade, who delivered a lecture at the investiture of 18th President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Chief Napoleon Osayande, in Abuja, said the body based its assessment using access to decent housing as well as other economic indices in the last one decade.
"In 1996, poverty rate in Nigeria was 46 per cent but instead of being made to come down to 21 per cent , it has sky-rocketed to 76 per cent . He said available statistics also has it that close to 77 per cent of Nigerian city dwellers are living in urban slums, while 99 per cent of problems expected to be solved under the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) are located in urban settlement," he said.
The MDG initiatives is a development strategic produced under the umbrella of the United Nations to enable member countries, especially the developing countries, to reduce poverty rate by at least 50 per cent.
Falade said that going by current indices, Nigeria is very far from meeting the global economic target.
According to him, solving the problem of slum and reducing poverty among the people living in these cities will to a large extent impact positively on the over all efforts to achieve the MDGs .
The town planers have a very strategic role to play in the implementation of the national development plan
If Nigeria is able to tailor her efforts towards meeting the MDGs, life in the country will be a lot better, " he said.
The UN Chief noted that poverty has been on the increase in the country because Nigerians have not utilised the economic potentials of our ever-expanding cities.
Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Chuka Odom , charged the NITP to help the states and local government areas develop workable strategies for ensuring an orderly and well- planed cities.
Odom said the services of NITP has become very important in view of the on-going federal government reforms in the housing and urban development sector, adding that the body should support the land reform as well as other policy measures designed to uplift the standard of living of the people.