Data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that 82.9 million Nigerians lived below its poverty line of ₦137,430 ($381.75) per year. The figure represents 40.09% of the total population and excludes Borno which has been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents. The last poverty data released by the NBS was in 2010 when 62.6 percent of the population at 102.2 million was living in poverty. According to the 2019 Poverty & Inequality in Nigeria report released Monday, 52.10 percent of rural dwellers are living in poverty while the poverty rate in urban centres is 18.04 percent. The report said that Sokoto and Taraba states at 87.3 percent and 87.72 percent respectively, lead in terms of percentage of people living in poverty, while Lagos and Delta have the lowest numbers at 4.5 and six percent respectively. The NBS, alongside the World Bank, used the Nigerian Living Standards Survey to measure poverty and living standards between September of 2018 and October of 2019. The NBS change its methodology by measuring poverty using consumption expenditure rather than income, so the latest figures could not be compared with previous reports on the same subject covering 2003-2004 and 2009-2010. The Brookings Institution in June 2018 had said Nigeria has overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world after it estimated that the number of Nigerians in extreme poverty increases by six people every minute.
The FG has denounced widespread non-compliance with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19’s guidelines for the gradual reopening of the economy. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, warned that the lockdown could be restored if the guidelines were not observed and there was a surge in coronavirus cases. President Buhari had, on 30 March, imposed a two-week lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states, but at the expiration of the first lockdown on 13 April, he extended it by another 14 days. In his broadcast on 27 April, Buhari said phased, and gradual easing of the lockdown would begin on 4 May (yesterday), and he also imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the nation. Besides banning interstate movements, the President imposed a totawoull lockdown on Kano State, which had witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases. Guidelines on the gradual reopening of the economy issued by the PTF a few days after the presidential address mandate anyone in public spaces to use non-medical face masks. But on Monday, many people did not observe the PTF guidelines, including social distancing. Although banks limited the number of people that entered their premises, customers ignored social distancing as they crowded at bank gates. Pedestrians and motorists from Ogun State crossed over to Lagos in violation of the ban on interstate movements. The NCDC boss complained that many banks limited the number of their branches that opened, adding that there would be a spike in infections due to the way people mingled. He asked organisations to support the implementation of the preventive measures, help manage the risk and focus on a risk-based approach.
The Nigerian government will begin the evacuation of about 4,000 of its citizens outside the country on Wednesday. This is even as the country still battles to secure enough spaces to accommodate the number for the mandatory 14 days quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus pandemic. An Emirates flight will convey some of the trapped citizens from Dubai to Lagos on Wednesday, followed by a BA flight on Friday, from London to Lagos and Ethiopian Airline from the United States, adding that it will be mandatorily quarantined in hotels and monitored for 14 days. However, the minister said the biggest challenge would be where to quarantine the returnee on arrival as the country to round up the evacuation within two weeks. The minister emphasised the FG’s stand that the prospective evacuees will bear the financial implications. He added that the change in date for evacuation of Nigerians from different parts of the world originally scheduled to commence on Monday, 4 May to Wednesday 7 May, was caused by the constraints in resources but assured that Emirates airline would start the evacuation from Dubai on Wednesday. The Nigerians waiting to be evacuated are mainly in China. Other countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India and many others.
The Director of Tanzania’s National Health Laboratory and its quality manager have both been suspended pending an investigation. The suspension of the top officials comes a day after President John Magufuli questioned the credibility of coronavirus testing kits being used by the lab. In a live broadcast from his hometown of Chato in north-western Tanzania, Mr Magufuli revealed that he secretly commissioned testing of randomly collected non-human samples, which were assigned names and ages. He said some samples taken from animals and fruits returned inconclusive results, some testing negative and others showing positive results. “Vehicle oil, for instance, labelled Jabir Hamza aged 30-years-old [male], tested negative. We sent a jackfruit sample which we named Sara Samweli, a 45-year-old female – the results were inconclusive. When we sent papaya [paw-paw] sample and named it Elizabeth Anne, aged 26 years, that papaya was positive,” said Mr Magufuli. He added that samples from a bird and a goat both tested positive, while one from a rabbit was found to be indeterminate. A statement from the health ministry said the minister has formed a committee of 10 people to investigate the conduct of the laboratory and submit the results by 13 May. Testing for coronavirus will still be conducted at the laboratory. According to the most recent health ministry figures, which were published last week, the country has 480 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 167 recoveries and 16 deaths.