A report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed that at least 27.4 million Nigerians earn below N100,000 per annum.

In the report presented in Lagos on Thursday, entitled: “The Ignored Pandemic: How Corruption in the Health, Education and Water Sectors is Plunging Nigerians into Poverty,” SERAP said the figure represents 48.9% of persons living in poverty in the country.

Presenting the report, Elijah Okebukola, Senior Research Fellow at the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, an arm of the ICPC, said the report’s survey covered the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The report states that 27.9% of Nigerians living in poverty (more than 15.6 million) earned between N100,000 and N200,000 per annum. It also states that 10.7% earned between N201,000 and N300,000 per annum while 12.5% earned more than N300,000 per annum.

“Poor people are victims and not perpetrators of corruption in the health, education, and water sectors. States did not have documented policies for helping people living in poverty or people earning low income to have access to healthcare, education, and water. Even if these policies existed, they were not known to public officers who serve the people living in poor neighbourhoods,” Mr Okebukola said.

While stating that 79% of people living in poverty (more than 44.3 million Nigerians) relied on personal wells or boreholes for water supply, the report also revealed that of 34% of people living in poverty, about 19 million Nigerians, did not use the government’s medical facilities at all.

The report added that 5.2% of people living in poverty (more than 2.9 million Nigerians) who went to government medical facilities were denied medical treatment in the last one year. It also noted that 4.2% (2.3 million) of people living in poverty had not received any direct poverty alleviation donation or support from the government within the period under review.

SERAP declared that in spite of the absence of inadequacy of learning tools and infrastructure, people living in poor neighbourhoods believed that good quality education was provided in their schools.

The report recommended the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to recognise the socio-economic rights of Nigerians to quality healthcare, education, and clean water as legally enforceable human rights.

It also recommended an increase in investments in public health, education, and water services and an improvement of transparency and quality of the information in government budgets, just as it called on relevant anti-corruption agencies to jointly investigate and prosecute public officers involved in corruption in the education, healthcare and water sectors.

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