Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has asked Nigeria to emulate China by focusing efforts to eradicate poverty on the rural majority.
This was stated on Saturday by the transportation minister while delivering the 49th convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) titled, ‘Inequality and the dignity of man’.
He said the government should refocus its development policies to affect rural communities “as much as it does in urban areas.”
“There are areas that we must address if we hope to overcome our frightening inequality and poverty. We must free our policies from an urban-based focus,” the minister said.
“The poorest urban Nigerian is many times better off than the most well off rural Nigerian. Therefore, we need to emulate the Chinese and Indian examples in focusing on the rural majority if we must end the increasing marginalization of our rural compatriots.
“The achievement of the Chinese in poverty reduction has been equated with a modern day miracle. The achievement corresponded with a period of sustained economic growth.
“It adopted the strategy of focusing on the poorest people in the rural areas. It massively moved them from poor homes in the countryside to apartment blocks in urban areas.”
Amaechi also said that as a result of inequality, life has become “a scramble and a hustle” among many Nigerians.
“Poverty-induced criminality has sent crime statistics through the roof nationwide resulting in the culture of perennial insecurity that now haunts the nation,” he said.
“A resource poor treasury has led to considerable decay in the capacity of the state to equip the armed and security forces adequately to contain an upsurge in crime and militant nationalism and regionalism.
“Our hospitals and healthcare delivery system is in desperate disrepair just as our public infrastructure has continued to decay by the years.”