Nigeria’s Economic Struggles: From Dignity to Desperation – The once-booming Nigerian economy is painting a somber picture of desperation and despair. In a startling reflection of the country’s economic downturn, more Nigerians are resorting to begging as a means of survival. From corporate executives to everyday citizens, the nation is witnessing an unprecedented rise in its “beggars’ clan.”
On a typical morning in Lagos, a high-end Honda Pilot SUV, not typically associated with commercial transport, can be seen picking up passengers. While some are deterred by the steep fares, others, desperate to reach their destinations, oblige. This makeshift taxi service, a result of the recent petrol subsidy removal, highlights how even the seemingly well-off are trying to make ends meet.
A harrowing incident at the Grand Square Supermarket in Abuja further emphasizes the crisis. A nursing mother, unable to pay for baby food due to an insufficient account balance, was saved by a benevolent retiree. Such episodes are becoming commonplace as inflation erodes earnings, and businesses stagnate.
At bus stops, the surge of individuals pleading for alms is evident. Inside commuter buses, passengers discreetly ask for fare help. Family pressures for financial aid are also escalating, burdening many breadwinners.
Cosmos Onyeali, a noted economist, warns of a bleaker future. He points to rising inflation, unemployment, and the declining power of the Naira as key factors pushing Nigerians towards begging. “The government has to intervene big time else the austerity measure will surpass past experiences,” Onyeali remarked.
The corporate world isn’t immune to this crisis. Busola Adeyemi, a human resources manager, notes a spike in staff members requesting salary advances due to financial distress. With companies also grappling with economic challenges, many such requests are declined, leaving employees with few options but to beg.
Ferdinand Ebiriene, a business executive, voices his concerns about this troubling trend. He observes that many prefer begging over borrowing, as the latter comes with the obligation of repayment. “If you plan well or live according to your earnings, you will not beg,” he opined.
However, the grim reality suggests that planning might not be enough. The rising education fees, both domestically and abroad, coupled with the weakening Naira, are exerting immense pressure on parents. “If there is no respite, we will all turn to beggars soon,” lamented Goodie Ehiemen, a concerned parent.
In a nation known for its vibrant culture and enterprising spirit, these stories are a stark reminder of the economic challenges Nigerians are grappling with. The desperate turn to begging underscores the urgency for robust economic reforms and interventions.