Over the years, it has become difficult for even those who are employed to be able to survive as the means of obtaining the basic necessities of life are lacking also those necessities are often not available. For example the country, up till the end of the last administration spent N796.4 billion on fuel subsidy, compared to the N796.7 billion budgeted for capital expenditure in the same year in 2009. Yet the product was never available to the consumers. It is in line with this that experts argued that frustration from this made many more Nigerians predisposed to conflict, crime, violence, human trafficking, prostitution and several other social vices that were alien not too long ago to the country. As it is presently, From var Nigerians are inundated with mind-boggling and vexatious data that portray Nigeria and Nigerians as poor. It is a fact that over 70 million Nigerians have no access to potable water. This represents six per cent of the world’s 1.1 billion persons who do not have access to safe drinking water. Note that Nigeria’s population is about 1.1 per cent of the world’s population.The country loses 1.2 million out of the 6.02 million babies born yearly. In fact, Nigeria, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Pakistan lead the world in infant mortality rates. Up till recently, over 10 million Nigerian children of school age are outside the school system. Several millions study under trees. Life expectancy in Nigeria is 48.4 years, one of the lowest in Africa and the world. The country is currently short of 15 million (decent) housing units. Millions live in shacks in urban and rural settlements. 70 millions Nigerians are in dire need of decent housing. It is also on record that over 100,000 Nigerian girls aged between 13 and 18 years are reportedly held as sex slaves in Mali. Several thousands are in the same situation in North African countries of Libya and Morocco. Same for thousands in Europe. Thousands of Nigerians (mostly youths) are in jails in Libya,
Algeria, Morocco and other parts of the world. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, die annually in their attempt to cross the Sahara Desert or Mediterranean Sea in their desperation to escape the harsh economic situation in the country. Specifically, It is only in comparison with some other nations of Africa and the world that a clearer picture of the state of poverty in Nigeria can be appreciated. A few examples: In terms of life expectancy, while it is 48.4 years in Nigeria, it is 57.1 in Ghana, 51.7 in Cameroun, 62.3 in Benin Republic, 54.1 in Uganda, 71.3 in Egypt. Britain, Sweden and Japan have 78.5, 80.5 and 81.3 in that order. For GNP per capital, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroun and South Africa have $1,224; $1,628; $2,197 and $9,812. Britain, Sweden and Japan have $35,490; $38,520 and $36,180. Literacy rate: Nigeria has 56%, Ghana, Egypt, Turkey, UK, Sweden and Japan are 77,59.3; 87.6; 99; 99 and 99. For infant mortality, while Nigeria loses 97 babies per 1,000 at birth, Ghana and Egypt are 55 and 31 respectively. Turkey is 40 while the UK, Sweden and Japan are 15%, 3% and 3%.
DANGEROUS AND IRREGULAR MIGRATION
The factors responsible for poverty in Nigeria are many and complex. It must be noted that after 1982, prices began to fall, the welfare system fell apart and poverty increased sharply. Between 1980 and 1984, average per capita income dropped as did consumption per capita. The nation’s crises deepened in q 98 when oil prices fell drastically to the US $14 a barrel, compared with US $27 in 1985. This prompted three major policy changes in lte 1986. The exchange rate was sharply devalued, import licenses were abolished , and agricultural marketing boards were eliminated.
Poverty rose significantly between 1992 and 1995 and has continued till date. Estimates by the Federal Office of Statistics showed that the number of Nigerians living in poverty has continually increased. Research evidence shows that poor communities are usually cut off from the benefits of development such as roads, portable water supply and safe sanitation. They also generally lack access to health and education services. The summary is that poverty in Nigeria is man made due to corruption, greed and poor governance at all levels. In what we have done or failed to do in the application, deployment and management of the vast human and material resources available to the nation.Before now, Nigeria, for example, earns N42.3 billion daily from the sale of crude oil and condensate (some of this goes to the multinational oil companies) according to Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources. (The Punch, March 2, 2011, page 19). This represents 95 per cent of foreign exchange earnings and about 80 per cent of budgetary revenue. Regrettably, a World Bank report (The Punch, February 24, 2011, page 10) states that 80 per cent of oil revenue benefits only one per cent of the Nigerian population. Thirty three years of military governance was characterised with incessant coup d’etat, blood bath, endemic political crises and cumulative economic crises. The military government failed to restore stable and Democratic government, and equally demonstrated acute incapacity to deal with the problems of the nation’s economy. Even when democratic governance was finally restored in 1999, the leadership in place have not fared well, especially as it relates to equipping the people with quality education and gainful employment. Thus corrupt leadership contributes in no small way in in the upsurge of irregular and dangerous migration experienced over the years as most of the perpetuators were greatly disillusioned with the perverse kind of leadership so provided. Research finding shows that the is high and rising demand for women in in the in the international in the international sex industry (Ebigbo, 2000). It has been established that commercial sex workers in Italy make as much as US $2,500 per week. In this way , high cost of sex in the developed world and the poverty situation back in Nigeria provides the strong incentive for those who want to survive to engage in this irregular and dangerous migration. As a matter of fact the high and rising demand demand for women in the international sex industry provides strong incentive for traffickers who make huge profits. They have been able to corrupt and subvert weak law enforcement and immigration authorities, while also taking advantage of the country’s long and porous border. As it is now, it is on record that there there were about 20,000 Nigerian girls engaged in commercial sex in Italy alone, including 3000 in Turing as at 2008. This number has increased and expanded over the years. In other words, an average of 1,667 women were leaving the shores of the country every year for Europe for about twelve years, for commercial sex purposes.
In the course of this movement, it is important to note that most of these boatloads of migrants, sometimes, fail to reach their destinations. The Nigerian daily, in 2008 reported the ugly death by drowning of 60 Nigerian illegal immigrants off the Spanish coast of Motril. The boat was overcrowded. In 2003, for instance, one of such boats, carrying mainly Somali migrants, reached Italy with 15 survivors and 22 dead bodies, 15 of which were women and 7 children. The boat had stayed over a week at sea. And so, the migrants’ supplies were depleted before a rescue ship spotted them. (www.travelafricanews.com). After Madame Yayi Bayan Diouf lost her only son to such risky attempts, she became self employed. Her task was to dissuade the fishermen in Dakar and migrants from undertaking such perilous journeys to uncertain destinations (Mother’s Battle against Senegal Immigration.” BBC News Online).