Poverty Eradication Efforts in Nigeria

All for one, One for all

Successive regimes in Nigeria have tried different policies and programmers geared towards reducing the level of poverty in the society through a number of ways.  First, through the activities of its ministries/agencies; second, by collaborating with international agencies; third, and more importantly, through the establishment of agencies equipped solely to fight rising poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.

The Joda Panel, established at the inception of the civilian administration of Obasanjo to review the various poverty eradication programmers of the previous regimes, identified over twenty such institutions.  They are:
i.                 The National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
ii.                Peoples Bank of Nigeria (PBN)
iii.               Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank Ltd (NACB)
iv.               Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC)
v.                 National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE)
vi.               National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)
vii.              National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA)
viii.             National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education
ix.                Federal Agricultural Coordinating Unit (FACU)
x.                 Directorate for Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFFRI)
xi.                Agricultural Projects Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (APMEU)
xii.               Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP)
xiii.              Industrial Development Centre (IDC)
xiv.              Federal Department of Rural Development (FDRD)
xv.               Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Power and Steel
xvi.              River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs)
xvii.             Family Support Trust Fund (FSTF)
xviii.           National Centre for Women Development (CWD)
xix.             Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI)
xx.              Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB)
xxi.             Nigerian Export-Import Bank
xxii.            National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND)
Perhaps a note on some of these institutions and programmes may be useful especially when some of them were designed to deal with the problems of poverty directly while others do it indirectly.
The River Basin Development Authorities established by Decree 37 of August 1976 is one of the earliest attempt at combating poverty via improved agricultural production.  The main objective of the RBDAs is the economic exploitation and management of the land water resources of their respective areas of operation with particular but varying emphasis on the development of agriculture, fishing, human settlement, infrastructural facilities and industry as well as the improvement of their environment.
The Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) enunciated in 1979 by Gen. Obasanjo’s military regime is another indirect effort at poverty eradication.  The program had the specific focus of increasing food production on the premise that availability of cheap food will raise the nutritional level of the ordinary Nigerian and invariably lead to high per capita income and improved standard of living.  OFN lasted until Shagari’s civilian government (1979-83) took over.

The Shagari’s regime shared almost the same poverty reduction with the preceeding military regime.  It came up with Green Revolution project, which also emphasised food production.  To this one may also add the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI) introduced by the Babangida administration (1985-92).  DFRRI sought to open up rural areas via construction of feeder roads and provision of basic amenities that would turn them into production centres for the national economy.
The establishment of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) is certainly one of the indirect measures taken by the government to attack poverty in the society via creation of employment opportunities.
The National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) was established in 2001, with the goal of eliminating “core” poverty over the next ten years.  NAPEP evolved four core schemes:
i.                    Women and Youth Employment Scheme.  This is essentially a training and skill acquisition scheme.
ii.                  Social Welfare Service Scheme: This scheme undertakes the provision of acceptable levels of education, health, micro-credit services, etc.
iii.                Rural Infrastructural Development Scheme:  This is to address provision of rural infrastructure services such as portable water, roads, transport, grazing reserves, etc.
iv.                 Natural Resources Development and Conservation:  This entails government intervening by creating enabling and acceptable environment for harnessing the agricultural water, solid mineral resources, etc for convenient and effective use by the small-scale operators and local residents.
Whether these programmes and policies have succeeded in either reducing poverty or not is mute point.

By admin, ago

World Bank report on poverty in Nigeria

All for one, One for all

It is indeed a shame that for all her Gross National Income (GNI), Nigeria would be rated so highly in global poverty index.

The recent assessment by the World Bank on the situation of poverty in the world, where it ranked Nigeria third among world’s ten countries with extreme poor citizens is so worrisome and has once again provided reason to query what the government is doing about the endemic poverty as well as the usefulness of the recent rebasing of the Nigerian economy. This newspaper feels that the woeful result of the World Bank report is a very necessary wake up call on the Nigerian government to rethink its systems and policies that have continued to increase poverty in the country.
From the assessment, the World Bank established that Nigeria with about 170 million population falls among countries with extreme poverty whose over 70% population live on $1.25 (N200) or even less per day.  Specifically, the report revealed that 7% of the 1.2 billion people living below poverty line in the world are Nigerians. The report stated thus: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). If you add another five countries: Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor.” Our survey discovered that the World bank ranked these countries based on their population and their share of the 1.2 billion extreme poor people in the world thus: India (33%), China (13%), Nigeria (7%), Bangladesh (6%), DRC (5%), Indonesia (4%), Pakistan (3%), Tanzania (3%), Ethiopia (2%) an Kenya (1%).
For this very poor result to be the fortune of a country that was recently rebased and declared by the national bureau of statistics (NBS) to have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $510 billion (over N8o trillion), and as such the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world, is grossly condemnable and most unacceptable. It is indeed a shame that for all her Gross National Income (GNI), Nigeria would be rated so highly in global poverty index. We feel the story should have been the reverse. It is so saddening to note that less than 10% of the country’s population amasses and controls over 90% of the country’s wealth and resources, causing so much poverty and leaving so many citizens dying of hunger and disease. The consequence has since manifested in the high rate of crime and insecurity in the country. This is rather most unfortunate. 
Among the causes of the endemic poverty in Nigeria as stated by the World bank report include harmful economic and political systems, national conflict and violence, human rights abuses, weak government effectiveness and efficiency, weak respect for rule of law, weak control of corruption, environmental conditions and changes, and population growth and changes. All of these are easily identified with Nigeria. But we feel that none of them would account for acute poverty in Nigeria as that concerning weak control of corruption. There is an incredible high rate of corruption in Nigeria, which has seen Transparency International (TI) ranking her equally very poorly in the global corruption index. 
Everyday, there are reports of indictments of Nigerians in government and leadership offices and positions for misappropriation of public funds. But there are no such reports of prompt arrests and prosecutions of these corrupt government functionaries by the government. The few that are jailed and disgraced to serve as deterrence to others are soon after their jail terms accorded state pardons with fanfare. It is sad that rather than fight corruption by prosecuting indicted officials the government hound and harass people who dare to expose corruption in the country. We feel that the root cause of high poverty in Nigeria is the high corruption among government officials and leaders. Hence, we also feel the solution will be found when government stands up against corruption in the country.
The resources that are misappropriated could remarkably reduce poverty in Nigeria through providing employment, revamping the industrial sector, improving agriculture and rural development, enhancing the provision of healthcare, education, physical infrastructure and various basic social amenities as befits a country that prides itself as the sixth biggest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC). We therefore demand that the government, in spite of itself, should declare a state of emergency and conscious war against corruption in Nigeria. Also, let the government lead in expressing due respect for rule of law with the aim of eliminating impunity and lawlessness in official places. Then, all indicted corrupt government officials, both those still in service and those that have been eased out of the reach of the law should be brought to justice. We feel these will provide reasonable bedrock to redress the shameful high level of poverty in Nigeria. 
Credit: Daily Independent   Source:

By admin, ago

Save the Woman, Save the Family!!!

All for one, One for all Poverty is regarded as a state of deprivation and is manifested in illiteracy, lack of access to food, water, poor housing and inability to meet basic ends’ meet. The prevalence of poverty however presents a paradox of the country’s natural and human resources endowment. An assessment of the incidence of poverty in Nigeria shows that poverty has worsened in Nigeria since the 1980s. While many Nigerians, especially women, are worse off than their male counterparts. It is against this backdrop, that poverty reduction becomes one of the most urgent challenges facing the Nigerian government. Poverty reduction has always be a focal point in Nigeria in spite of successive government changes. The daunting challenges however, remain challenge of understanding the dimensions and causes of poverty, and developing appropriate and effective strategies to eradicate poverty in the country. The incidence, depth and severity of poverty among women are so much. In Nigeria today, most people live on a mere N120 (less than $1) a day, hence such people are regarded as those enmeshed in poverty.

Apparently, a chunk of the nation’s population lack basic amenities, adequate health care, shelter and good jobs. It should however be noted that of the high preponderance of poverty amongst Nigerians, Nigerian women are the most affected. This is not unconnected with the fact that they are often marginalized in various spheres in the society. From decision-making process, politic, religious, social spheres as well as on issues relating to employment opportunities, economic opportunities among others.
 The Nigerian women precarious position in the society is not helped by the malaises they are vulnerable to, such as domestic violence, illiteracy, high maternal mortality, low income and poverty, women trafficking, political and social marginalization, that have been to the chagrin of many feminist group in the country. Admittedly, copious data on poverty in Nigeria indicate that about 70% of poor Nigerians are women. Indeed a substantial percentage of such women are said to live below the nationally and internationally defined poverty line, lacking access to basic necessities of life such as basic education, basic nutrition, adequate health and social services.
Sociologically, Nigerian women are known to be extensively preoccupied with diverse complex roles as mothers, workers and household keepers-taking care of their husbands, children and their extended families. The Nigerian women are dominant in the agricultural sector, ensuring the propagation of most food stuffs in Nigerian market.

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Women empowerment as a panacea to poverty eradication in Nigeria

All for one, One for all

29629-e2e2blogoAs the biggest oil exporter with the largest natural gas reserves in Africa and accounting for about 49% of West Africa’s population; Nigeria is the most populous country in black Africa, with an approximate 158 million people. Interestingly, Nigeria’s economy witnessed an all-time high growth rate of 7.6% between 2003 and 2010. But unfortunately, over 63% of its population still wallows in abject poverty, living below $1 per day (World Bank). The million dollar question is: Why has poverty eradication attempts failed in Nigeria, despite the vast human and natural resources?

Despite several attempts by successive governments at mitigating the problem, little or no success has been recorded. Yet huge sums have been expended by governmental and non-governmental agencies in this direction. However, this cannot be unconnected to wanton corruption, income inequality, political instability, conflicts and ineffective public policies. In addition, poverty eradication drive, has suffered huge setbacks as a result of institutionalised hypocrisy in the guise of poverty alleviation and rural-poor economic empowerment interventions. Fraudulent non- governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals have cashed in on the dire situation, in the process defraud both foreign and local donor agencies of millions of dollars at the expense of the majority poor. In a bit to ‘justify’ their so-called empowerment schemes, they churn out fictitious names of beneficiaries, figures, projects and non-existent locations. All in an effort to divert funds supposedly meant for the rural and urban poor’s economic empowerment. Suffice to mention however, that there are exceptions to the above assertion – but rare.
Going through the history of attempts by government to arrest the soaring rate of poverty in the country, one cannot but see the disconnection between the schemes on the one hand and solutions to poverty on the other, which unarguably lies in women’s active participation in the process. From the 1972 National Accelerated Food Production Programme and Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative Bank, to the 1976: Operation Feed the Nation; then Green Revolution of 1979; Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure in 1986, then Family Support Programme and the Family Economic Advancement Programme of 1993 and recently National Poverty Alleviation Programme. Except for the Family Support Programme and Family Economic Advancement Programme that tried unsuccessfully to directly include women in the fight against poverty, none of these schemes placed women in an active role; hence, there lies the crux of the matter.
However, as stated earlier, the failure of these schemes is tied to corruption and political instability, stemming from lack of stringent monitoring of government expenditures, to diversion of funds meant for the schemes in exchange for political patronage and loyalty. While civil unrest and long ethnic and religious conflicts increases mortality rate and impoverishment, rampant income inequality among citizens worsens, resulting in increased rural poor index over and above urban poor. Hence, poverty is more evident among rural dwellers, whose main source of livelihood is agriculture. According to a UNDP report, agriculture employs close to 90% of the rural population and contributes about 45% of the country’s GDP – an imbalance clearly visible in society and a sector entirely abandoned by the government.

By admin, ago