BY IBRAHIM ABDULHAMID, AUGUST 03, 2023 | 03:56 PM
Seven out of ten persons in Borno—or about N2.25 million of her 6 million population—are multi-dimensionally poor. This forms part of the over 130 million poor Nigerians, who are believed to be multi-dimensionally poor.
According to a data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 63 % of the population of the country, about 133 million, are multi-dimensionally poor and deprived. They comprehensively fall below acceptable standards in all basic indices of decent living such as education, healthcare and general well-being.
According to NBS, 59% of the population of Borno, have no access to clean cooking fuel. It further explained that a household is considered deprived under this indicator when it resorts to using dung, wood or charcoal to cook. This could be as a result of inability to afford to other sources.
About 53.7% of the population are also affected by severe food insecurity. The major source of food for most of the people have been largely affected by activities of Boko Haram over the last decade.
Farming and other agricultural activities have been shut for years, including markets and access roads. Similarly, most residents of these farming communities were displaced and had to live in temporary displacement camps for over half of the decade.
The effort to resettle the people and restore normalcy in these areas was only invigorated from 2019 when Gov. Babagana Umara Zulum made it the centerpiece of his administration’s objective.
From 2020 onwards, there is measurable improvement in farming and other agricultural activities every year.
This is expected to address the problem of food insecurity in the state, as the people continue to grow what they eat.
NBS data also show that over half of the population, representing about 53%, live in homes made of natural rudimentary materials.
Again, seven out of every ten children suffer child engagement deprivation. That is well about 68% of the population.
NBS explained deprivation of child engagement as: ‘A household is deprived if in the past one (1) month no child was engaged by a household member older than 15 years in at least four of the following activities: reading books; telling stories; sing songs; be taken outside; play with; name/count or draw.’
For instance, 42.4% do not have access to breastfeeding; 24.5 % and 30.1 % do not have birth attendance and child care, respectively. Similarly, 28.9 % do not get immunized, among other things.
The data noted that the central zone, which constitutes the metropolitan part of the state, including the state capital, Maiduguri, has the largest percentage of the multi-dimensionally poor, at about 1, 389, 000. Of this 41.9 % are facing deprivation.
Over 578, 000 from the southern zone are poor, 45.8 % of which are deprived.
Similarly, in the northern zone, of the 226, 000 multi-dimensionally poor, 46.4 % are deprived against all the MPI indicators.
Insecurity as major contributing factor
The above figures may have been arrived at as a result of the Boko Haram crisis, which has lasted for about 14 years now.
Farmlands, markets and other sources of earning, especially across rural communities, were destroyed by the terrorists.
Borno is a major source of agricultural produce in the country, especially wheat, maize and corn.
Big border markets and towns such as Banki, Baga and Gomboru, which had made millionaires and billionaires over the years, were brought aground for well over five years.
How govt and people respond to the situation
The state government has repeatedly demonstrated its awareness of the looming food insecurity and has since taken the gamut to contain it.
It was why IDPs were resettled and returned to their businesses.
The government also led the way in getting farmers back on the field, through provision of seedlings, machineries and subsidized fertilizers.
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