Kaduna’s Senator Shehu Sani has blamed the elites for the poverty in northern Nigeria.
The north is still the poorest region in the country despite the number of wealthy people in the area, he said, adding that the poor “toiled and worked for us, and laboured hard to see us elected into public office.”
The poor and physically-challenged are usually neglected after elections, he said.
“It has always been the same pattern; each time we are aspiring for political offices, we search for them in the nook and crannies but at the very time we have won the election, the best thing is how to clear them from our cities.
“You cannot end (street) begging in any part of Nigeria without making provisions for uplifting their socio-economic and living standards. It has always been the case. Public begging and loitering is an economic problem. You cannot legislate people out of poverty; you cannot decree people out of poverty; you have to lay an economic roadmap for which these people can stand and fend for themselves.
“Begging has been a major problem in northern Nigeria but it couldn’t in any way be stopped because the economic basis that would address the problem has not been done. Many rich northerners, who own oil blocks and are in position of power, are seeing these people as pests in the society that should be cleared off. And they cannot be cleared off.”
“We have enough people who are rich in the northern part of Nigeria and who could have ended this problem. But what we should understand is that philanthropy alone cannot address the problem of socio-economic inequality; we need to have an entrenched social system and social justice in which people of this social status can have their standard uplifted.”