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The Top 10 Poorest States In Nigeria

This article outlines the latest list of the poorest Nigerian states this year, with data from the National Bureau of statistics.

Absolute poverty, they say, is measured by the number of people who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food, and clothing.

According to a BBC Africa analyst, Richard Hamilton, “it is perhaps no surprise that extremist groups, such as Boko Haram, continue to have an appeal in northern parts of the country, where poverty and underdevelopment are at their most severe”.

The Poorest States In Nigeria - Image Illustration

Additionally, that “Poverty in Nigeria has risen, with almost 100 million people living on less than a $1 (£0.63) a day, despite economic growth, statistics have shown”. The National Bureau of Statistics also made it known in a publication that 60.9% of Nigerians were living in “absolute poverty”.

If there is one thing Nigeria is known for, it is the poverty rate that spreads across most states in the country and with a population of more than 200 million people in a failed government system, nothing short of a high poverty rate is being expected.

Regardless, being blessed with numerous mineral resources ranging from crude, coal, ore, and even gold. Including a large area of fertile lands for agricultural cultivation, we can still see regions ranked among the poorest states in Nigeria.

There are 36 states in Nigeria, with each state expected to improve on revenue generation (IGR).

Trying to have a deep insight into the ranking of the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria, you will concur with me that the northern part of the country is more affected as about 8 of these states listed in this article are located in Northern Nigeria.

Data collected from the National Bureau of statistics were used in compiling this list and this data is solely based on a the economical strength of a given state, infrastructural development, governance, security, and literacy level amongst others.

Moreover, most of these poor states in Nigeria became poor due to bad governance while others reached that level because of mismanagement of resources, or insecurity as the case may be.

Below is the list of the top 10 Poorest states in Nigeria right now.

1. Sokoto State

Sokoto State is currently ranked as the poorest Nigerian state. The state is currently governed by Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and was carved out of the then North-Western State on February 3, 1976, by the former regime of General Murtala Mohammed.

The city of Sokoto is said to be the largest city and the capital of the state ranking 81.2% on the poverty level and has an overall GDP of $4.82 Billion, and per-individual is $1,274.

Although it’s unfriendly weather has made it hard for investors to come in, agriculture has become the most fundamental driving force behind the state’s economic conditions. The waterside area of the state produces cash crops, including peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, and rice, as they strive to eradicate poverty.

2. Kastina State

Second on this list is Kastina state as this will come as no surprise to many because the state lacks serious investment, with little or no known raw materials that can boost its revenue.

As of 2019, Katsina within the space of 6 months had borrowed and was owing a debt of about 34 billion Naira, ranking the 3rd in the Nigerian states with the most significant debt.

Although the state ranked among the poorest state in Nigeria, it’s still seen as a center of education and culture in the country.

3. Adamawa State

Adamawa in recent times has been deeply affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, and with this, you wouldn’t expect the state of the economy to look any better. Adamawa is 3rd in the list of the poorest states in Nigeria with a poverty level of around 74.2%.

In 2015, the Boko Haram insurgency reached its peak in Adamawa state, living many villagers and others dead with two local government areas under the control of the extremist group while the insurgents continued to terrorize other parts of the north-eastern states, displacing thousands and capturing others.

4. Gombe State

With over 11 local government areas and capital being the City of Gombe, Gombe state stands at the 5th position on the list of the poorest states in Nigeria.

Just like Adamawa state, Gombe has also experienced its own taste of the Boko Haram insurgency which is crippling the Northern parts of Nigeria. Misappropriation of funds also played a huge role in destabilizing its economic growth of these states therefore placing them at a high poverty level of 73.2%.

5. Jigawa State

Jigawa is one of the northern states in Nigeria which has been affected by severe poverty in recent times. Ranking on the 5th position, Jigawa state has a poverty level of 72.1%.

Although the insecurity level in the northern part of Nigeria is alarming, Jigawa, being bordered to the Northeast by Yobe, (which faces insurgency), remains one of the safest northern states as of this year.

The poverty rate might not be as a result of an uprising in the state but might be attributed to the fact that the state cannot boast of any natural resources that can help grow their revenue. Corrupt politicians and officeholders also hold a huge part of the blame for putting this state into the bad situation it is now.

6. Plateau State

Plateau State, with a population of over 3 million people, is placed in the 6th position on this list of Nigeria’s poorest states.

Its capital, Jos popularly known as J- towns one of Nigeria’s finest capital cities and the state itself is the twelfth-largest state in Nigeria, with its noticeable positioning of being situated at the center of Nigeria.

Located in North Central Nigeria, Plateau State occupies 30,913 square kilometers. It shares borders with Kaduna State to the North, Kaduna, and Nassarawa States to the East, Benue to the South, and Taraba State to the East.

The state has been recognized for tin mining activities, which began in 1902 under the British and continue to the present day.

The region was also seen as the home of tourism and peace and recent insurgency attacks. Its poverty level stands at 71% right now.

7. Ebonyi State

Ebonyi state has been the only southeastern state on the list of the poorest states in Nigeria for years and this comes as a shock to most Nigerians, going by how productive and industrious the eastern part of Nigeria has been since inception.

Although this might not be a shocker to other groups of individuals who understand that this might be a result of the high level of illiteracy and bad governance that has lingered in the state for years. The poverty level of Ebonyi State currently stands at 70.6%.

It is imperative to note that Ebonyi state has been making marks in agriculture through local rice production. The state rice sector has a lot of potentials for increased rice productivity as the state is blessed with a productive rice-growing environment.

8. Bauchi State

The issue of insecurity is the primary reason why most northern states are included on this list and Bauchi state is not left out of this menace, as in this part of the country; poverty is the most prevalent due to reasons such as insecurity, economic instability, and incompetent government officials.

Aside from that, Bauchi’s population has increased more than eight-fold since 1965. Although, the Bauchi state government recognizes the need to improve access to vital resources, such as education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, knowing that an investment in family planning in the state is Paramount to help curb the potentially negative consequences of rapid population growth as they try to manage the high poverty level in the state.

9. Kebbi State

According to the National Bureau of statistics, Kebbi State is listed as one of the poorest states in Nigeria taking the 9th spot.

Kebbi State is mostly dependent on production and trading in primary crops and commerce, production of large quantities of agricultural cash crops such as groundnut, cotton, Gum Arabia, tobacco leaves and cowpeas, along with vast amounts of grains and this ensures a booming economy within the area. In addition to the agricultural products which the state does well, there was a thriving trade in hides and skins with Nigeria once being famous for the Moroccan red leather.

Even with increased agricultural production between 2003 and 2006 by farmers, this did not in any way significantly affect the level of income generation in the state.

Its poverty rate of this state stands at 72%.

10. Zamfara State

As we wrap up with the list of the poorest states in Nigeria, Zamfara state is placed in the 10th position with a poverty level of 70.8%.

It has been said that insecurity in Zamfara is fueled by poverty, under-development, and a general feeling of hopelessness. While the dethroned Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, during the 108th edition of the Islamic Vacation Course in Ogun State, said that “91 percent of residents in Zamfara State, are abysmal”.

Wrapping Up

As we conclude, it is worthy to note that wealth is supposed to be distributed evenly in any working system of government.

It might also interest you to know that these regions are not independent and can’t survive on their own without the help of the federal government.

Recall that regions classified as the poorest states based on economic state, infrastructural development, governance, security, and literacy level among other things. Moreover, these poor states in Nigeria became poor as a result of bad governance, mismanagement of state resources, or insecurity.

They may not be as productive as most Nigerian states, but in their own way, have in one way or the other, notably through agriculture, contributed to the generation of the country’s wealth.

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Editorial Team

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