VP laments high level of poverty in Nigeria

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says that no decent nation can tolerate the level of poverty currently ravaging the country and unless there is a functional social system where the highly vulnerable are assisted to survive, vast majority of the population would die before long.
Delivering a keynote address at the 10th anniversary of the Late High Court Judge, Peter Bassey Foundation lecture, in Calabar in south-eastern Nigeria on Thursday, Osinbajo said those against the Federal Government’s policy of Conditional cash Transfer where those without jobs would be given the sum of N5,000 (about $25) each to assist them were only being callous and ignorant of the pitiable plight of large numbers of the population in the country.

“Social protection system is absolutely essential to assist the highly vulnerable in our society but I hear some critics say that people should work to earn money but the only way out for now is to ensure that people who earn nothing can eat to avoid preventable deaths,” he said.

He noted that while the government is working towards creating jobs and enabling the private sector to revamp and build industries to provide employment, government has a responsibility to ensure that the vast majority of Nigerians who are extremity poor are catered for through the conditional cash transfer system to enable them eat and take care of their health needs.

“If we have to wait until the industries are functional and the government is able to provide jobs for everyone, most people would be dead by the time we get to that stage,” he said.

He noted that development has eluded the country this long because of the lack of values in the society.

“The justification of stealing, cheating and corruption is because we have not adopted the values for doing the right thing,” he said.

According to him, development can only be witnessed in the country if the right people are appointed into the right position on merit not via federal character formula, which is skewed to favour where someone comes from and not what he can offer.

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