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Over 100 Million Nigerians Living in Poverty, Peter Obi Says

The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, on Monday declared that over 100 million Nigerians were living in poverty, saying the situation was responsible for the rising

The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, on Monday declared that over 100 million Nigerians were living in poverty, saying the situation was responsible for the rising insecurity in the country.

According to the LP presidential candidate, the inability of the current government to handle challenges facing Nigeria has painted the country as a failed state.

Obi spoke during a one-day International Colloquium forum with the theme: “What do Nigerians Want?” held virtual that was organised by Christ Church, in Port Harcourt.

According to the former Governor of Anambra State, “Over the years what we see as a country is training people into poverty. The consequence is that we have 100 million people today living in poverty. There is no way you will have 100 million people living in poverty and you will not have crisis.

“We have more people living in poverty than China and Egypt combined, a population of about 2.5 billion. There is no where you won’t have these crises we are going through. The number of people that supposed to be working in Nigeria is 120 million, but today only 40 million are gainfully employed in Nigeria. We have 80 million people who are supposed to be working not working.

“The consequence is that we have a state but it is unproductive. Nigeria as a country is unproductive because when we talk about 80 million people that are not working, about 70 per cent are youths in their productive age doing nothing with so much tendencies.

“So, the country is not doing anything, all the country is doing today is sharing. Everybody is looking for what to share, even when what we are sharing is finished which is why we have the large crisis till date”.

Speaking on security, Obi expressed sadness that the government was no longer in control of the nation’s territory, adding that the nation was being led by gangsters whose target is to loot the country’s treasury for personal gain.

“We are no longer in control of our economy. We have to deal with the issue of security. Why do we have a security problem? Is very shameful. Is curating the effect of leadership failure over the years?

“I have to stop the bleeding. You are going to borrow money but there had to be a law that all borrowed money will be for investment. We had to move from sharing formula to production formula.

“If we get it right and start borrowing for investment, that is where we start. When we start pulling people out of poverty. The more they pull people out of poverty, the more they reduce criminality.

“We need to start doing proper investment in security. Nigeria is lacking leadership. We have one situation where our system has been criminalised by gangsters who call themselves leaders and that is why we see desperation by people who want to run the government. It is remaining for us to carry gun and shoot people because we want to serve them”, Obi added.

Earlier, Dr. Victoria Ekhomu, spoke on the State of Insecurity in Nigeria, while Prof Oyelowo Oyewo and Ifiesimama Sekibo respectively spoke on “Restructuring and True Federalism in Nigeria” and “The Economy Nigeria Needs to Break Forth.”

Meanwhile, the Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) has condemned the alleged intimidation of people of south-east origin at some voter registration centres in Lagos State.

The group also described as unacceptable, the prevention of voters’ registration exercises in some parts of Imo State.

POSN stated these while reacting to series of viral videos of unbelievable intimidation of adults, who had peacefully attempted to contribute their civic quota to the democratic process of obtaining their PVCs.

The group therefore called on security agencies, to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tame the ugly trend.

The POSN statement was signed by the spokesperson, Sani Saeed Altukry.

The group further implored INEC to distribute more equipment and personnel to the allocated registration centres in Lagos State particularly and other states of the federation that require same urgent attention to effectively register all adults, who desire to exercise their civic rights in 2023 and beyond.

Part of the statement read: “We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the intimidation and violence evidently meted out to the people from the south-east origin resident in Lagos State, who went to exercise their fundamental rights of getting registered as voters to be eligible to perform their simple civic duty of voting during elections in Nigeria.

“Few weeks ago, similar incidents were reported about people being chased out of a registration centre in Imo State by those alleged to be armed bandits.

“These developments in our democratic polity are extremely worrying and should be of great concern to our security agencies.

“We commend INEC for establishing emergency registration centres in Enugu, Lagos and other locations, which has given eligible youths the opportunity to register while we continue to call for extension of the registration deadline beyond June 30 so as not to disenfranchise millions of eligible Nigerians who are willing to exercise their civic duties.”

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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