by Akingbola Adewunmi
Nigeria is a country with an estimated population of about 180 million which is well furnished with natural resources and even with the availability of natural resources and man power, there hasn’t been a marked change in its economy over the years.
The Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] is a resolution termed “Transforming our world” is the 2030 Agenda which consists of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The goals are broad and independent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. They cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
Taking a good scrutiny at these 17 goals, we would catch majority of Nigeria’s problems and short-comings listed as some of the Goals to be achieved by 2030.
The Sustainable Development Goal 1 which stands for “NO POVERTY” campaigns to alleviate totally poverty in poverty-significant countries of the world. Despite Nigeria having the biggest economy in Africa, its poverty significance is 33.1% and is recorded as having the highest rate of extreme poverty globally. As at June 2018, 86.9 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, representing nearly 50% of its estimated 180 million populace which is a major set-back in the growth of our economy. According to the SDG-1, 90 people must leave poverty every minute to achieve this aim by 2030 in the world while Nigeria, in order to alleviate poverty completely before 2030, 11.9 people have to escape extreme poverty but the irony is, 6.8 people enter into poverty every minute in Nigeria according to Global Poverty Statistics.
The Sustainable Development Goal 3 which stands for “GOOD HEALTH and WELL-BEING” campaigns for ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages by grouping together HIV and AIDS, material newborn and child health, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, waterborne disease and other communicable diseases. It is of no coincidence that these health-related diseases and issues lifted are very much rampant in Nigeria even with the past several strategies that have been employed to curb these medical issues. The Nigerian Health sector is improving, but the rate of its improvement is not proportional to the rate of increase of these issues and by 2030, I fear this issue would not be completely addressed adequately and other potentially dreadful diseases may break out.
As of 2014 in Nigeria, the HIV prevalence rate amongst adult ages 15-49 was 3.17% and the risk factors that mostly contributed to its prevalence are prostitution, high-risk practice amongst itinerant workers, high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, irregular blood screening. The disease Malaria remains one of the oldest in the world and is transmitted via female Anopheles mosquito. The disease is caused by plasmodium parasite such as plasmodium Falcipum and P.Vivax having P. Falciparum dominant in Africa. In 2016, Nigeria accounted 27% of all malaria cases in the world and has 71% malaria prevalence said by the Acting Secretary of FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat.
Supporting this SDG as a country, would help eradicate this problem and help improve our economy for good.
The Sustainable Development Goal 8 which is “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” is an integral cause of the continuous stunted growth in our economy. The menace of youth unemployment in Nigeria is so alarming that at the end of the 4th Quarter of 2017, 7.9 million Nigerian youth were said to be unemployed.
Sequel to these statistics, lots of entrepreneurship programs have been birthed, empowerment & self-skill programs put in place so as to equip the Nigerian youths but the unemployment rate only dropped by 11% in the first quarter of 2018.
These are just statistical proofs of why Nigeria as a country needs to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a definite strategy to grow its economy by healing the various affected sectors and segments. I urge the Nigerian government and state government to engage in partnership with the SDGs in their locality because with the SDGs, there is a bright light in the tunnel for Nigeria. I also urge every non-governmental organization passionate about helping Nigeria out of this dilemma to familiarize and associate themselves with these vision (SDGs @2030) and make these goals a reality in Nigeria. It is essential we understand that it is up to us to make Nigeria a better place because it is OUR Nigeria, God BLESS NIGERIA.
My name is AKINGBOLA ADEWUNMI T. A 4th Year Medical Student in Lagos State University College of Medicine[LASUCOM], Co-Founder of HealthDrive initiative and the Community Outreach Manager of the sustainable Development Goals Awareness Campaign Tour(SDG-ACT) LASUCOM, a branch of SDG_ACT LASU.