News / Africa

Analyst: Corruption Partly Blamed For Poverty in Nigeria

University of Abuja professor Kabiru Mato says percentage of Nigerians in absolute poverty could be higher than 70 percent


  • Listen to Butty interview with Kabiru Mato of Nigeria

James Butty

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Monday poverty is fueling the religious violence in Nigeria.

In a speech in Lagos, Clinton reportedly said the northern part of Nigeria remains one of the poorest in the country and suggested more direct investment and opportunities for those in the north.

His comments followed a report Monday by the Nigerian government which cautioned that poverty continues to rise.

The National Bureau of Statistics said 61 percent of Nigerians lived on less than $1 per day in 2010 compared to 51 percent in 2004.

Kabiru Mato, chair of the political science department at the University of Abuja, poverty in Nigeria is the result of corruption and the inequitable distribution of the country’s oil wealth.

“I think the government is right to the extent that the statistics they gave were even grossly inadequate in a sense that, if you take a very curious look at what’s happening in Nigeria, especially the northern fringes, you will find that the percentage of people who are living in absolute poverty is far more than 70 percent,” he said.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, pumping more than two-million barrels per day, but Mato said corruption has deprived many ordinary Nigerians from sharing in their country’s wealth.

“We have been having problems with corruption in this country, and corruption is defined as the inability of government to be meaningful and responsive to the aspirations and yearnings of the people.  So, this huge gap, in my view, explains the level of social crisis and the level of political instability,” Mato said.

Mato said he agrees with Clinton that the northern part of Nigeria remains one of the poorest in the country.  But, he said other factors have also contributed to the disparity between the north and south.

“In Nigeria, there is a very sharp dichotomy between the northern and southern parts of the country.  Yes, the north is more in numbers, but then the level of education of the people of Nigeria of northern extraction is far below the level of education that people in the southern part of the country have,” Mato said.

He also blamed colonialism for the economic disparity between northern and southern Nigeria.

“What the colonial masters did was to create a more economic class in the southern part of the country and creating a political class of people who took over administration in the northern part of Nigeria.  This basically was a fault line that was created [by] colonial administrations, and it has been expanded upon over time to the extent that the level of mass poverty in the north is endemic, while it is less in the southern part of the country,” Mato said.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs