Former SGF Attributes Poverty to Religious Intolerance & Ethnicity

Yayale Ahmed, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation pointed religious intolerance and ethnicity as fundamental factors contributing to poverty and discord in Northern Nigeria.
Yayale Ahmed
Yayale Ahmedgoogle

Ahmed said that the region's development has been hindered by these divisions, urging a reflection on the area's recent history to comprehend its past progress. He asserted that unless significant changes occur, the North will continue to lack significance in Nigeria's overall trajectory.

Ahmed shared these insights during a one-day dialogue session hosted by the Arewa New Agenda, focusing on the theme "Renewed Hope - The Road to Ending Poverty in Nigeria" on Friday.

“Poverty will not ordinarily go away from Northern Nigeria, and so far, it will continue even at our different levels and to emphasise our differences with a measure of pretentious loyalty to our region. The first thing that we will do that is dialogue is to agree that all of us are one.

“I would like to emphasise that to reduce poverty in Nigeria, we have to embrace each other, we have to tolerate each other, we have to respect each other, and we have to be solemn. I am appealing that, first of all, we should realize that our main problem is tolerance, accommodation, and respect,” he said.

While emphasizing the need for regional tolerance, the speaker highlighted the persistent challenges of religion and ethnicity. Advising a return to Northern Nigeria's historical evolution, he urged adjustment.

Senator Ahmad MoAllahyidi, the forum's convener, cited data indicating five people plunge into severe destitution every minute, branding Nigeria the global center for extreme poverty.

The Arewa New Agenda Forum called on President Bola Tinubu to address poverty, banditry, and kidnapping in the north, expressing alarm over the situation. With 94 million out of 218 million Nigerians in abject poverty, 88.4 million are in extreme poverty, predominantly in the northern region.

“As we consider the issues related to poverty reduction, ANA is not unmindful of two critical issues that have a direct bearing on fighting poverty in northern Nigeria. One is the rift between two global business icons of northern origin and pillars of poverty reduction in Nigeria,” he said.

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