Nigeria is the top oil producing country in Africa but surprisingly it lives in extreme poverty according to World record.
Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos Ago Egun Bariga area they have no roads, no trash collection, no running water, no electricity and no work either.
Enclosed by bushy grounds with tall grass that has blocked people from accessing water source in the area
50yrs ago Agun Bariga people first settled with their families on the edge of the lagoon and since then they have always made a living from fishing.
Agemo Akapo Ago Egun Bariga local Chief narrates that during that time his grandpa lived in this place enclosed by the tropical vegetation and he was comfortable at the time.
Akapo says in 1950 Lagos was scarcely populated with 300.000 people but as urbanisation paved its way the Lagos’s population began expanding, tall trees disappeared and now Lagos has 20 million dwellers.
Looking closely to the far end of Ago Egun there are provisional huts.
The water front of Bariga fishing community Lagos, their dwellers are grumbling of being rejected economic activities following demolition of their shanty slum and sand filling of waterfront by the Authorities to reclaim the land.
Agemo Akapo says; “We would like to have electricity, schools, hospitals, running water. But this is not our number one priority. They need to open access to the sea again, so that we can go to work, buy food and feed our children.”
In addition, he said that; “We live like doves in the cage.”
Ever since extensive stretches of the water were packed with sand to construct required residences by the Lagos states government, it contributed lotto the local ecosystem changes.
And for the last two years, the fishing boats of Ago Egun have reclined inactive in sea mud among the wastes of daily life.
And today Ago Egun fishing community no longer put to sea making them extremely poor unable to send children to school, difficulty in feeding their families because there is no more fish sold in market by their wives which used to generate income in homes.
Abiodun Kakini said that before destruction of their fishing ground she used to earn quite a reasonable amount of money to sustain her family from the fish her husband catches.
“If my children can eat once a day, we can thank our God; I used to earn about 3,000 naira ($8.7, 7 euros) a day after selling fish my husband caught.”
Currently Kakini smokes and sells imported large tilapia from Netherlands which she claims is paying her less as compared to her previous sales.
“I have to buy a carton of imported fish or credit. So, I have almost nothing left at the end of the day. I need to pay back my debts.
Ago Egun Bariga people have graduated from poverty to extreme poverty in Nigeria-Lagos just few years ago.
Corruption and theft stages in Nigeria
Emmanuel Onwubiko head of a local human right association complained that Nigeria has no formal guidelines of ensuring that politicians fulfil their pledges once they are elected.
“The military government looted public funds for decades but the politicians who have been elected since 1999 have also failed to solve this issue.”
Relatedly, Onwubiko stated that both the leading candidates for the upcoming elections in Nigeria have totally pushed aside the necessities of the economically neglected people.
“In Nigeria, politicians are busy playing politics and patronage strategies instead of implementing programmes to take people out poverty.”
Micro-finance and social assistance for the Nigerians living in extreme poverty is President Muhammadu Buhari’s project in his presidential campaigns.
While Atiku Abubakar, the richest businessman and former Vice President People’s Democratic Party, Buhari’s main competitor is more market driven in his campaigns.
Ideally, Nigeria should not be in this category of extreme poverty since it is the leading oil producing country in the African continent, OPEC member and churning out two million barrels of Crude oil each day.
It would be among the richest African countries but not in the category of extreme poverty.
Oxfam reported that public office holders stole $20 trillion from the treasury between 1960 and 2005. Meaning corruption and theft is tremendous in Nigeria.
“The combined wealth of Nigeria’s five richest men ($29.9 billion) could end extreme poverty at a national level.”
And their analysis points out that; the gap between the richest men and the Nigerians is huge claiming that part of their wealth can end extreme poverty in Nigeria.
“Oil is not a curse. What we have is a political curse,” Onwubiko noted.
Nigeria, in the world records
According to Oxfam’s report released this week, stated that the world’s 26 richest billionaires enjoys more wealth than the poorest compounding half of the world.
And people surviving on less than $1.9 a day which is the bench mark of extreme poverty dropped according to World Bank’s overall report. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa rates are rising.
In last year’s rating Nigeria was ranked the country with most people living in extreme poverty over takingIndia with 87 million people in shocking financial hardship.
Nigeria is also recorded in the world’s poverty clock after an estimate of six Nigerians each minute gliding into extreme poverty.
And as a result, it’s said 45.5% (120 million) people in Nigeria will be living in extreme poverty between today and 2030.
Ago Egun Bariga situation signals the disaster expected to storm Nigeria.
On February 16 Nigerians will be casting the ballot for a new president, parliament representatives and after two weeks’ state assemblies and new state governors will be elected.
Accordingly, new political leaders have a huge task before them like Ago Egun Bariga area which is still undeveloped and uncivilised.
In Ago Egun Bariga, 5yr old children are subjected to hard labour including scaling Tilapia in brackish water, selling dried fish, lifting heavy Jeri cans of water on their heads and skipping school.
Chief Akapo of Ago Egun Bariga stated he attended a political meeting but he was only told to encourage his people to vote well (ruling party) and after their return to power their issues will be looked into.
“They told us to stick these posters on our walls. But once we vote for them, they disappear,” Akapo referring to the ruling party, All Progressive Congress adverts.
Keep it Flash Uganda Media, we shall keep you posted