I always manage to hold back my tears each time I ponder on the lives of millions of people who live in abject poverty. Poverty remains a harsh reality for millions of people in the world today. In the 18th century, economist Adam smith commented that “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable
Many wonder why some lives in relative comfort and millions of others are not fortunate and live on the street with perhaps only a piece of cardboard to sleep on. It is no longer news worthy to find beggars, lame, blind and women nursing babies on the street.
Some factors however, contribute to poverty among which are civil wars, flood, droughts and others to mention few. Due to these factors, many have decided to leave their homes and move to big cities to live a better life. Such decisions leads to overcrowding in the cities in which they migrated to, therefore, breeding grounds for poverty. Problems such as crime, surfaces when there is no employment for the larger population while some preferred stealing to survive.
Consider for example in Nigeria, series of pipelines vandalism which claim thousands of lives in recent times in many parts of the country killing thousands of people all together. All of these are as results of poverty. Some body working in a well established company where he or she is regularly paid can never be thinking of engaging in dangerous activity such as hostage taking or vandalisation of pipelines.
Also. Due to unemployment amongst the youth, more and more of them stands the risk of suffering from mental disorder or engaging in drug addiction as an alternative to suicide.
Apart from crime, many turn to immorality out of sheer desperation leading to high increase of people being infected with HIV. While presenting the joint position the gathering, the united nation secretary general Mr. Kofi Annan at the close of 2006 united nations special session on HIV/AIDS held in U.S.A described AIDS as” the greatest challenge of our generation”, he noted that many countries and communities throughout the world have suffered the infliction of the diseases. He said further that more than 65 million people died, 15 million children had been orphaned by AIDS, with millions more made vulnerable and 40 million people currently living with HIV, more than 95 percent of whom are in developing countries.
What about women and children trafficking, are they not also caused by poverty?
In spite of all these negative reports from around the world about poverty, there are those who remain optimistic that something concrete can be done. In Asia, according to a headline in the Monilla Bulletin, the Asian Development Bank reported that Asia can eradicate poverty in 25 years. The bank recommended economic growth as a way to pull people from the depths of poverty.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and government have put forth a long list of suggestions and plans are: social insurance programmes, debts relief for developing countries owe to industrialized nations, improved education, removing import barriers so that nations with a large percentage of poor people can sell their products more easily and low cost housing for the poor.
In line with these suggestions, in the year 2000, the United Nations General Assembly set goals to be achieved by 2015 known as Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). These include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger within countries. The UN chronicles, a practical plan to achieve the MDG’s stated in part “If the world achieves these goals, more than 500million people will be lifted out of poverty and 250 million will no longer suffer from hunger while 30 million children, 2million mothers who might reasonable have been expected to die will be saved.”

The attainment of the Millennium Development Goals is a collective responsibility for everyone, so let us work hard together to realize these goals.

Written By: Rhoda Alli & Mayowa Adeniran

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