Lagos — As the world marks International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today, flood which has been ravaging many states of the country since August has worsened the incidence of poverty in Nigeria, the world's largest black nation.
Currently, the flood, which has affected five of the six geo-political zones of the country, has in the estimation of President Goodluck Jonathan rendered 25 per cent of Nigerians homeless. With a population of 167 million, it means that about 42 million persons have been displaced from their homes with large tracks of farmlands and means of livelihood destroyed.
States affected by the flood include Anambra, Imo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Kogi, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Niger, Kaduna,
On Monday President Goodluck Jonathan's Otuoke, Ogbia, Bayelsa State home was submerged along side over 80 per cent of the state.
For close to two weeks, the president has been traversing the nook and crannies of the country ravaged by the flood of fury. Last Thursday he raised a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to raise fund to augment government's efforts at mitigating the pains of the flood and bring succour to victims.
Led by business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, with Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr as Chief Fund Mobiliser, the committee is expected to raise N100 billion to augment the N17.6 billion the government has released.
Speaking at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while inaugurating the committee, President Jonathan regretted that no fewer than 25 per cent Nigerians had been displaced by the flood disaster.
He said since those saddled with the responsibility of compiling data on the victims were still working, there was possibility that the figure might be higher.
He lamented that some states of the federation, including his home home state Bayelsa, are currently about 80 per cent submerged.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the General Assembly, by resolution 47/196, designated October 17 to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries-a need that has become a development priority.
At the Millennium Summit, world leaders committed themselves to cutting by half by the year 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty - people whose income is less than one dollar a day.
The theme for this year's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty - "Working together out of poverty" - highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty alliance, one in which both developed and developing countries participate actively.