Child Poverty: Another Time bomb In The Making?

Malnourished children.
Malnourished children.
Child Poverty: Another Time bomb In The Making?

• Data Shows Staggering, Disturbing Indices In Nigeria

• Experts suggest ways forward

By Mohammed Ismail

Currently, millions of Nigerian children are going through wave of deprivations as a result of many factors including conflicts, the incursion of COVID-19 pandemic, government policies, inflation and other life threatening events resulting in the depletion of the incomes vis a vis purchasing power of many families.

Investigation by this paper has revealed that currently, children (persons between 0 – 17 age bracket) constitute half of Nigeria’s over 200 million population. Therefore, fiddling with the future of this important demographic group is archetypal to the immolation of Nigeria’s future.


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A report on Multiple Overlapping Deprivations Analysis (MODA) published by the Federal Government of Nigeria, (FGN) in 2021 shows a staggering and disturbing incidents of child poverty in the country which called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders before the scourge consumes the nation.

Child poverty which is classified into two broad categories, monetary poverty and multi-dimensional poverty are real threats to the future of Nigeria considering the debilitating consequences an underdeveloped and energetic youthful population constitute to the nation.

An expert in criminology and conflict studies Dr. Baba Maishanu in a phone chat with our correspondent captured the debilitating portents of having high incidents of multiple deprivations in children such as the one we have currently in Nigeria as a time bomb.

“It is high time the federal government and all stakeholders rise to the occasion by ensuring that the incidents of child poverty is drastically reduced to the barest minimum, otherwise, in the nearest foreseeable future, these untamed youths will unleash their full wrath on the nation,” he said.

Another expert and Social Policy Specialist, Dr. Yusuf Auta while speaking on the subject said non monetary poverty in children involved deprivations of the children’s rights while multi-dimensional poverty in children means deprivations of children in at least three out of the eight basic needs of the children.

These basic needs according to Auta include deprivations in water, sanitation, housing, information, nutrition, education and healthcare noting that any child who suffers deprivations in at least three of the areas at the same time is going through multi-dimensional poverty.

The MODA report also indicated that no fewer than 53.9 percent of Nigerian children are multi-dimensionally poor.

While dissecting child poverty by its dimension, the report indicated that deprivations in the nutrition sector amongst children aged between 0 – 4 is 33 percent adding that nine out of 10 children 95.2 percent of children under five years of age are not exclusively breastfed just as 83.9 percent of children between 6 – 23 months do not have recommended meal frequency and diversity standards. It also stated that three out of four children under four years suffer deprivations in healthcare dimension.

While enumerating the deprivations in education, the report states that 45. 4 percent of children aged 5 – 11 and 61.7 percent of children between 12 – 17 years suffer deprivations in education sector. It also shows that deprivations in water dimension ranges between 37.6 to 40.6 across all age groups.

Ways forward

While offering a way out, a university don and a lecturer with Department of Economics And Development Studies, Federal University Kashere, Dr. A. M Dankumo called on the government to as a matter of urgency improve access to quality education, healthcare, strengthens social safety nets and promote child friendly policies amongst others.

He noted that the government should also work strenuously to address social inequality, improve funding for agriculture sector, address issues of corruption in government systems and prioritize social investments and cash transfers.

Also providing a way out of the quagmire, Dr. Yusuf Auta called on the government to provide employment opportunities to the citizenry, prioritize basic needs in national development policies and improve production, skills acquisition and invest heavily in agriculture.

He also called on the government to provide incentives to the private sector, target cash transfers, improve on policies which directly affect children and invest in social services.


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