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Rising Poverty and Kidnap Incidences; It is Indeed Time To Unite Jigawa For Our Prosperity

Rising Poverty and Kidnap Incidences; It is Indeed Time To Unite Jigawa For Our Prosperity:

Amir Muhammad Harbo 

Today marks the Birthday of Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad (former Minister of State Foreign Affairs and Minister of Information) and I found myself profoundly reflecting on how I once asked him politely about why he wasn't particularly worried about the lack of unity among Jigawa's various components. He replied and the response shook me, because he smiled and said, "Ameer, I totally disagree that we aren't united". When I insisted that we are indeed not united and integrated, the good and unbiased doctor added, "we are united atleast in our poverty".

I wondered how people living in a society can be disunited as a group and yet be united and particularly in their poverty!

Then I listened to Dr Nura again on a livestream organised by Jigawa Facebook Connect on Sunday the 26th of July, 2020 still insisting on his theory of 'our unity in poverty'...

..."I still insist that Jigawa is today the most united and homogenous state in the whole of Nigeria. Unity in language, religion, ethnicity, food, dressing, culture, looks and even in our POVERTY. Those who emotionally think we are 'disunited' are the exact reason why a few had successfully kept us below the national poverty line. I most humbly insist that we are all united in our poverty!".

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad

Despite his persistence and perseverance, I still didn't make much sense out of this profound philosophy until about a few weeks ago when I critically took a glance at the latest poverty figures across the country as was released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), on the 4th of May, 2020 which Jigawa is among the states listed.

The report said among other things that Sokoto at (87.73%), Taraba (87.72%), and Jigawa (87.02%) had the highest poverty rate in the country, while Lagos at (4.5%), Delta (6%) and Osun (8.5%) had the least.

The fact is that this poverty is caused by bad politics that rather disunite us and some bad politicians who will use the opportunity in our 'disunity' to pauparise us. That is why the feeling that over the last one decade Jigawa State is consistently below the national poverty line in Nigeria jolts my conscience.

What the report clearly says is that in the year 2019, about 9 out of 10 persons (87.02%) in Jigawa are poor. And a trip accross the State from Busurka to Achilafiya, Dabi to Diginsa through Maigatari brings one face to face with this grotesque poverty. This shows to one that majority of our people in Jigawa are living in near destitution and a few even in deplorable conditions.

Unlike in Kano State where there are clear islands of prosperity in Kano city, what one sees in Jigawa is total misery, gross suffering, ubiquitous thatched houses and roofs, mud compounds, barely clad children, malnourished adults and lack of infrastructures! 

I spoke to Dr Nuruddeen again about my findings during that sobering trip and he again said:

"Look Ameer, we are so united in our poverty that even the few of us with prosperity always run to Kano city to enjoy their prosperity"...

Happy birthday Sir!

To be continued...

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