As Nigeria warms up to join other nations to mark the International Children’s Day, a UNICEF study has revealed that almost 280 million children in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Western and Central Africa, experience multidimensional poverty.
This was revealed yesterday in Abuja at the Conference on Child Poverty and Social Protection in Western and Central Africa.
The conference, which was organised by United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, International Labour Organisation, ILO, Comparative Research Programme on Poverty, CROP, and Equity for Children, was aimed at exploring types, limitations and accomplishments of social protection policies in the region and beyond.
In a presentation by Mr. Uchechukwu Ozughale from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, titled ‘Child Poverty and Deprivation in Nigeria: Evidence from Most Recent Surveys,’ he said that poverty was a serious problem plaguing the world, adding that sub-Saharan Africa was the worst hit, and adding that 70 percent of children in Nigeria were in overall child poverty segment which is also a mainly northern phenomenon.
According to Ozughale, the crucial aspect of poverty is child poverty, because children are the most vulnerable in the society and so children are at higher risk of poverty.
He noted that between 1980 and 2010, the National Bureau of Statistics 2012 data showed that poverty incidence increased in Nigeria from 27.2 percent to 69 percent.
He said that available data showed that the incidence of child poverty was high in Nigeria, adding that “this is eloquently manifested in the high level of underweight, wasting and stunting among children coupled with the high rates of infant and under-five mortality.
“Poverty makes it impossible for children to have their fundamental human rights. Children are at higher risk of poverty irrespective of place and time. When children grow in poverty they are most likely to remain in it all the days of their lives.”
Mr Jan Vandemoortele, a former UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, speaking on social protection and poverty reduction for children, said that the earth was getting hotter and more in equal, especially for children.
According to Vandemoortele, inequality matters because it slows down the economy and makes societies inefficient.