“Food in Nigeria is fairly cheap compared to other countries. In Kano, for instance, you can eat ₦30 worth of food and be satisfied,” the minister of Agriculture and rural development Alhaji Muhammad Sabo-Nanono said at a news conference in 2019.
The food he speaks of? A pauper’s ration of rice and beans garnished with lettuce and seasoned with dry pepper. The statement is cruel in its dismission of the fact that more than 30% of children under 5 are stunted from poor nutrition, and over 2 million children in the country suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
In response to the concerns over the increasing gap in the naira to dollar exchange rate – which has reached an all-time high of ₦500 to $1 – the Edo Governor’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Jack Obinyan, took to Twitter to explain that Americans can’t do with $1 what Nigerians can do with ₦500, using an analysis many Twitter users and analysts have shown to be faulty, even in its premise, not mention in the absolute lack of compassion that may have birthed the idea.
In the now-viral Tweet, Obinyan said, “With ₦500 I will eat ₦200 rice, ₦100 beans and ₦200 assorted meat…$1 can never do it in America, come and beat me!”
Ignoring the fact that Obinyan is intentionally disregarding the fact that his ‘analysis’ is based on a single meal, the SSA’s statement also ignores the National Bureau of Statistics report on poverty that says over 82 million Nigerians live below the poverty line – which is a dollar a day. The statistic is based on an exchange rate that is a long way in the past at ₦360 to $1.
Not only is it diggressive that because Americans an’t buy a meal of $1 – which they can, Nigerians should quit complaining about the rising $ to N exchange rate, but it is also cruel to make the comparison considering the minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour. At that rate, 11 hours of work at minimum wage will make the least earning American more than Nigeria’s minimum monthly salary of ₦30,000.
By his ‘logic’, Obinyan is saying that all the Nigerians who live on less than a dollar a day have to cease to exist. 82 million people cannot eat one single meal a day in a country where Senators get a jumbo pay of approximately 14 million Naira per month, benefits not included.
If there is a single voice of reason in Nigeria’s entire leadership ecosystem, now is the time for that voice to rise and not waste our tax nairas. Because the ill-thought-out rhetorics from top to bottom is getting progressively worse day by day the more is said.