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Nigeria’s poverty situation is unacceptable, says Dr. Adesina

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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has warned that there are way too many poor people in the country, stressing that for all the abundant wealth and natural resources in the country, Nigeria’s poverty situation is unacceptable.

Adesina, who addressed guests at the convocation lecture of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State, on Saturday said Nigerians deserve wealth and not poverty.

The AfDB chief who said 38.5 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed, lack skills, economic opportunities, and discouraged, angry and restless, urged the government at all levels in Nigeria to invest in youths.

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“Nigeria is blessed with an incredibly rich diversity of people, cultures, religions, mineral resources, oil, and gas, and amazingly rich biodiversity that should make us the envy of the world. We are blessed with abundantly diverse agro-ecologies that should also make us a land of bountiful harvests with capacity to feed Africa.

“We are a religious nation, so we should understand that God loves diversity. The diversity of rich and brilliant colours that we see in our forests, oceans, seas, and in flora and fauna, reflect the beauty of the Creator. Therefore, our diversity is not our problem.

“Diversity is our strength. But when mismanaged, diversity becomes divergence. Rather than unite, we become splintered, with each entity believing that, somehow, it is better without the other. We must manage diversity for collective good.

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“Nigeria must start managing its diversity for prosperity. We must drive for national cohesion, not ethnic nationalities. We must address the fundamental reasons for agitations, by listening, understanding, removing prejudices and allowing for open, national dialogues, without preconditions, but with one goal: build one cohesive, united, fair, just and equitable nation for all, not for a few or for any section of the nation or religion.

“Nigerians deserve wealth, not poverty. For all the abundant wealth of natural resources, Nigeria’s poverty situation is unacceptable. Today, sadly, there are way too many poor people in Nigeria. The government is implementing bold social programmes to reduce the number of poor, through interventionist programmes, but the fact of the matter is poverty is not just about money.”

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