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A Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan, Professor Sulaiman Adesina Yusuf, has warned that the storm of poverty in Nigeria is about morphing into a hurricane that can consume anything in its course.

 

He gave this warning in an inaugural lecture he delivered on behalf of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Ibadan.

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The inaugural lecture was entitled ” Living in the eye of the storm: what options for Nigeria?

 

He said there is a deafening sound of bipolarity with the high income group becoming thinner, the middle income group disappearing, and the low income group increasing exceedingly in Nigeria.

 

He said it was time for us all – the rich and the poor, the people in government, civil servants, programme implementers, and other stakeholders to collectively fight the storm of poverty and vulnerability.

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Professor Yusuf warned that if we fail to eradicate poverty, poverty will eradicate us because when the poor are hungry and angry, the rich will not be able to sleep well if they sleep at all.

 

To address poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria, the inaugural Lecturer advised that as individuals, people should diversify their livelihood portfolio; engage in home gardening and urban farming; social networking and social capital development and place emphasis on community driven development.

 

Professor Yusuf called for the establishment of a National Poverty Alleviation Platform; the creation of accurate database and improved registry of the poor and vulnerable; early warning systems; and reprioritisation of funding in favour of the social sector and pro-poor interventions.

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The poor and the vulnerable must be we taken care of in Nigeria system.

 

He also recommended that there should be an excellent blend of Town and Gown, adding that there is a need for academia to reach the town for awareness, sensitisation, advocacy, and areas of collaboration.

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Professor Yusuf who stated that the current administration has taken a proactive step by removing subsidy on PMS, advised the government to redirect the petrol subsidy funds to education, health care, infrastructure development and provide cushion for the poor through targeted intervention which may include cash- plus empowerment and other palliative.

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