The Federal Government has said that state governors are responsible for the rising rate of poverty in the country.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, November 30, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, blamed the governors for prioritising the construction of heavy infrastructures, such as bridges and airports in cities, rather than improving the lives of the rural poor.
According to him, 72% of Nigeria’s poor live in neglected rural communities, but the governors have abandoned the critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.
“The governors are functioning in their state capitals. And a democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. And from our demography, it shows that the most significant number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.
Currently, 70 per cent of our people live in rural areas, and they produce 90 per cent of what we eat. And unfortunately, 60 per cent of what they produce is lost due to post-harvest loss, and it does not get to the market.
I think from the Federal Government’s side, and we are doing our best. But we need to say that rather than governors continuing to compete to take loans to build airports that are not necessary, where they have other airports so close to them, or governors now competing to build flyovers all over the place, we appeal that they should concentrate on building rural roads so that the farmer can at least get their products to the market,” he said.