Forty percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line, according to statistics released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with north-western Sokoto state carrying the highest levels of poverty overall. Borno state was not included due to insecurity.
The NBS poverty and inequality report indicates that from September 2018 to October 2019, forty percent of people, or 82.9 million, made 137,430 naira (322 euros) per year.
The indication of high levels of poverty in Africa's most populous country comes as the government is in the midst of trying to handle the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit Nigeria with 2,558 cases so far and 87 deaths.
After suffering what President Muhamadhu Buhari acknowledged was a heavy economic cost, especially those who live day-to-day, Nigeria lockdown efforts are easing up on Monday for Lagos, Ogun state, and Abuja.
However, cases continue to rise, especially in populous Kano state in the northwest.
Extreme poverty in Sokoto
The NBS established that more than 50 percent of Nigerians in rural areas live in poverty, compared to 18 percent in the high-density urban areas, where there are more employment opportunities.
Sokoto state recorded the highest poverty levels with 87.7 percent of the population living in poverty. Urban and economic centre Lagos had the lowest rate of poor, with only 4.5 percent.
The upward population growth, at two percent, has risen faster than economic growth, even though Nigeria is the top oil exporter on the continent.
The United Nations estimates Nigeria will have 400 million people by 2050.
Borno state not included
Not included in the statistics was north-eastern Borno state, which has been reeling from the effects of the Boko Haram armed insurgency. Many areas in that state were inaccessible due to violence.
The UN estimates that some eight million people need aid in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states in east and north-eastern part of the country as the population is affected by violence.