The founder of Givers Supportive Foundation, Ambassador Ologbenla Babatunde Smith, has decried the alarming rate at which poverty and diseases were growing in the country, calling on aid agencies and relevant governmental bodies to join forces to tackle the two lingering menaces from further decimating the rank and file of the suffering masses.
Speaking during the presentation of business start-up funds to five widows, the CEO of Givers Supportive Foundation, while stating that from available current statistics, said about 40.1 per cent of the population in Nigeria live in poverty, noting that it becomes imperative for all hands to be on deck for poverty to be alleviated from the society.
While pointing out that since Nigeria attained independence from the colonial masters in 1960, government corruption has plagued Nigeria, Smith noted that, “this corruption is one of the major causes of poverty in Nigeria.
“From statistics at our disposal, about 86.9 million people live in severe poverty, which is about 50% of our overall population.
“While the country is smaller both geographically and in terms of population, it is regrettably and painfully defaulting in its efforts at reducing the spiralling rate of poverty,” said the Givers Supportive Foundation boss.
While listing the effects of poverty in the society, Smith said the failure of the poverty alleviation programmes affect education in Nigeria.
According to him, “poor facilities and lack of resources lead to schools collapsing.
“The failure of poverty alleviation and eradication in our dear nation leads to unemployment. Lack of support, loans and scholarships from the government force it on administrators who are just bureaucrats.”
Smith pointed out that the World Poverty Clock shows that Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the most people living in extreme poverty.
He said that this should be a source of real concern for all stakeholders to wake up from their sleep and rise up to wage an all-out assault on poverty, sickness and corruption in all facets of the country.
“This is not the time to fold our hands and do nothing. This is a time bomb waiting to explode and if that should happen, we all shall be the casualties. We can’t sit back and pretend that all is well.
“All is not well at all. In fact, things are falling apart and it takes concerted and joint efforts for us to fight the scourge that is turning out to be a pandemic but we can stop it from further decimating our society if we heed the clarion call and collaborate now,” he added.
LEADERSHIP reports that Givers Supportive Foundation has continued to provide essential interventions by paying for hospital bills, feeding the poor and empowering the poor masses in various villages, towns and cities in Nigeria.
Giving an insight into how government can achieve its poverty alleviation goals faster, the Foundation founder said: “the government should support more and equip our hospitals. Critical intervention such as collaborating with non-governmental organisations will help reach more people.”
Identifying inter-NGO collaboration as another means to tackle poverty headlong, Smith said, “When we profile each of our interventions on a case-by-case basis by sharing their information on our page, our efforts to alleviate poverty will work.
“A lot of sponsors will also respond to our call for support. Many repost the case on their page. And with this, we give update on how it goes.”
He said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, that a lot of gains were achieved in the fight against poverty and starvation.
“We helped a lot of people during the COVID-19. We shared foodstuffs to over 200 people daily and we have all these well documented on all our media pages, including the Foundation page on Instagram which gets a lot of traction.
“We planned to support the less-privileged and the sick people. We have been able to visit over five states and we are currently going to Lagos this December to do more. We plan to expand the reach of humanitarian interventions to include more people with physical disabilities and sick patients,” Smith added.