COVID-19 and New Wave of Poverty in Nigeria
This study attempts to explore the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the poverty status of vulnerable people in Nigeria and to also examine the impact of Government’s several poverty eradication programmes targeted at reducing the poverty rate in the country. The study adopted qualitative and descriptive analysis of data gathered through integrative theoretical review of relevant previous studies coupled with key informant interview of 116 conveniently selected participants. Using this approach, the paper was able to examine the rate of poverty among vulnerable Nigerians before and during the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as discussing some social factors believed to be contributing to the high rate of poverty such as: bad leadership, corruption and illiteracy. Assessment of recent and many previous government’s social intervention programmes aimed at reducing high rate of poverty and economic hardship confronting vulnerable people in Nigeria reveals that those programmes were grossly ineffective in achieving their mandates of reducing poverty, due to policy inconsistency, poor implementation, over-secrecy of guidelines involved, lack of transparency in the entire process and corruption on the part of the government officials in charge of the programmes. The study concluded that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria has triggered another form of financial hardship and thereby worsened the existing poverty status of most vulnerable people in the country. It is therefore suggested that government must pay more attention to poverty reduction strategies, through the introduction of more pro-poor people programmes, that will be grounded on transparency, accountability and sincerity of purpose, in order to progressively and drastically reduce the country’s high rate of poverty that has recently been aggravated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.