President Says No Nigerian Lives Below $1 Per Day
From Josephine Lohor in Abuja, 04.20.2007
President Olusegun Obasanjo has rejected the often repeated claim that many Nigerians were surviving on less than one United States â€™ dollar per day, saying that although a lot of Nigerians do not earn the equivalent of $1 a day, they however eat three square meals per day from what thy are able to produce on their farms.
President Obasanjo made his position known at a meeting which discussed the collection, collation and storage of statistics and data for economic and social planning in the country that held yesterday.
â€œI do not accept the claim that many Nigerians are living on less than one US dollar per day. People may not earn the equivalent of one dollar per day, but they eat three square meals from their farm produceâ€, he stated.
(Editor`s Note: The president implies that the full scope of Gross Domestic Products i.e. GDP of Nigeria and most African countries is left unaccounted giving a very unbalanced view of the economic situation in Africa.)
The president also emphasised that Nigeria â€™s 2006 Population Census showed that Nigeria had a population of 140 million, but people were ignoring the 3.2% growth rate, which puts the population at nearly 150 million, one year after the exercise.
He therefore threw a challenge to Nigerians to of importance build a national data base, and not rely on figures about Nigeria from outside the country, which, often than not, were wrong.
The President also instructed that the nationâ€™s Vital Registration programme, which records births and deaths, should be resuscitated, with the Federal Capital Territory serving as a pilot scheme.
He advised that this could be effectively done through the use of heads of wards or villages and traditional and religious organisations.
â€œWe must revive the registration of births and deaths through a simple procedure which every ward-head or village head in the country can perform. Get registers to every corner of the country, for traditional institutions and religious leaders to record the birth and death of members of the locality,â€ the President said.