Minister calls Nigeria ‘rich country’ in report that says 133m Nigerians are ‘multidimensionally poor’



“Nigeria is a rich country with a booming population of over 200 million people. While this richness is an advantage, the country’s human development has, however, been severely impacted by multidimensional poverty” — Clem Ikanade Agba (2022)

The above statement is the first sentence of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (2022) report’s foreword written by Clem Agba, minister of state for budget and national planning.

Pay attention to the italicised words and let’s assume we are in literature class. What figure of speech is at play?

In summary, Agba says:

Nigeria is a rich country;

Nigeria’s richness is an advantage;


Nigeria is multidimensionally poor; all in one sentence.

If you are asking — how does a rich country become poor 25 words apart? How do you describe a country of 200 million people with 133 million multidimensionally poor people as rich? Was the minister trying out his oxymoron skills?


Multidimensional poverty encompasses deprivations experienced by poor people — such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, and living in environmentally hazardous areas, among others, according to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

According to the MPI report, released in November 2022, 63 percent of Nigerians are poor due to a lack of access to health, education, and living standards, alongside unemployment and shocks.

This implies that three out of five Nigerians live in poverty.

The report said 65 percent of poor people — 86 million – live in the north, while 35 percent — nearly 47 million – live in the south.

Yet, the minister says Nigeria is a rich country.



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