An Assessment Of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) And Poverty Reduction Programmes In Nigeria

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An Assessment Of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) And Poverty Reduction Programmes In Nigeria


Poverty reduction remains one of the main goals of development efforts, as evidenced by the adoption of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by most developing countries and international agencies, Nigeria inclusive. This research work was carried out to the assess the performance of millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria with Enugu North Local Government Area as the case study. The project seeks to address why previous development programmes in Nigeria failed and the measures that could be taken to correct the mistakes of the past.

Chapter One


1.1 Background and Need of the Study

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction are two concepts that are familiar to us in Nigeria.

Poverty reduction has been the concern of every responsive and responsible government at every level. Despite the increase in the total amount of funds available in Nigeria since independence in 1960s, its positive impact has not been felt by the people especially the rural dwellers.

The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social science’s literature is replete with attempt by the Economist and other social scientists to conceptualized the phenomenon. Poverty has economic, social and political ramifications. The poor are mentally deprived, socially alienated and politically excommunicated. Basically, poverty has been conceptualize in the following ways:

  1. Lack of access to basic needs/goods and
  2. Lack of or impaired access to productive resources.

Poverty as lack of access to basic needs/goods is essentially economic or consumption oriented. Thus, the poor are conceived as those individuals or households in a particular society, incapable of purchasing a specified basket of basic goods and services. Basic goods as used here include; food, shelter, water, health care, access to productive resources including education, working skills and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions. (Ajakaiye and Adeyeye 2001 in Gbosi, 2004).

The poverty profile in Nigeria showed that the incidence of poverty increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 43.6% in 1985 but declined to 42.7% in 1992 and rose again to 66.5% in 1996 (FOS 1999). From 1980 – 1990, the population of poor Nigerians increased four folds in absolute terms. The percentage of the core poor increased from 62% in 1980 to 93% in 1996 whereas the moderately poor rose from 28.9% in 1992 to 36.3% in 1996 (FOS, 1999). The analysis of the depth and severity of poverty in Nigeria showed that rural areas were the most affected. Several reasons accounted for the situation Viz;

  1. The large concentration of the populace in the rural areas.
  2. Many years of neglect of the rural areas in terms of infrastructural development and lack of information on the way government is being run.

The CBN/World Bank study on poverty Assessment and Alleviation in Nigeria (1999) attested to the fact that the living and environmental conditions of those living in the rural areas have worsened. Urban poverty is also on the increase.

The concern over increasing poverty levels in Nigeria and the need for its eradication as a means of improving the standard of living of the people has led to the conceptualization and implementation of various targeted poverty eradication and alleviation programmes.

The Government of Nigeria over the years, in a bid to reduce poverty initiated the following programmes;

  1. The Directorate of food, Roads and Rural infrastructure (D.F.F.R.I)
  2. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
  3. The establishment of People Bank of Nigeria in 1989
  4. The Better Life Programme (BLP)
  5. The Family Support Programme (FSP)
  6. National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA)
  7. The Nomadic and Adult Education Programme established in 1986.
  8. Agricultural Development Programme (A.D.P).

And most recently, with the return to democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government of Nigeria embarked on poverty reduction programme specifically, the government put up the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in the year 2000 which took off in 2001. It was aimed at eradicating absolute poverty and it consist of four schemes namely;

  1. Youth Empowerment Scheme, Rural Infrastructure and Development Scheme.
  2. Social Welfare Service Scheme
  3. Rural Resources Development and
  4. Conservation Scheme

Again, another remarkable achievement was made in the year 2000 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme was born. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was aimed at reducing poverty and also to encourage development in the World, Nigeria inclusive.

In September 2000 the United Nations Unanimously adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It was an eight (8) goal agenda that all 193 member states of United Nations and at least 23 International Organizations agreed to adopt.

In 2000, the International Community acknowledged that it is a duty to recognize the fundamental rights of those who are being excluded from the benefit of progress. At the United Nations Assembly, all countries committed themselves to a world agenda that would tackle the most evident factors of poverty and injustice. They set out eight goals, they set out twenty one targets, they set timelines, they allocated funds: and in order to verify if hey were being honest within their commitments, they set a number of indicators upon which they asked to be judged. And for the first time in the world history, a concrete work agenda for the rights and voiceless was universally agreed.

The Millennium Development Goals today provide a framework for the United Nation System and for Synergizing the various international cooperation activities in a coherent worldwide effort.

In Nigeria, the Millennium Development Goals has given life, hope etc to the poor by providing; better health care centers, schools, gender equality, eradicating poverty etc. Below are the Eight Millennium Development Goals of United Nations;

  1. Eradicate extreme Poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve Universal Primary Education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal Health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure Environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

The Millennium Development Goals, focused on efforts of the world community in achieving significant, measure able improvement in peoples live by the year 2015.

This study is aimed at, Assessing the performance of Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria with specific reference to Enugu North Locals Government Area of Enugu State.

In the government circle, performance assessment is a view or evaluation of one’s performance based on agreed set objectives of the government. The importance attached to performance assessment by the government indicates that it is a systematic and objective approach of judging the relative worth of any given project the government embarks on.

However, this research will seek among other things, assess the performance of millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction, know the impact of the programmes on the people of Enugu North local government area and if it is been implemented in line with United Nations standard.

As we go on in subsequent chapters, further critical look shall be taken on the Assessment of the performance of millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction in Enugu North local government.

1.2 Statement Of The Problems

The researchers want to clearly state here that this research work is studying “The Assessment of Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria:, a case study of Enugu North Local Government Area in Enugu State.

Today, poverty and under development are widely addressed as National problems. Poverty affects over 92% of Nigerians (NBS 2012). It is important to know that most of the poor people live in the developing worlds of Africa, Asia and Latin America (Gbosi, 2004).On the average 40-50 percent of sub-Saharan Africans live below the poverty line. And in Nigeria about 43% of the population was living below the poverty line of N305 a year in 1985 prices,(World Bank,1996).This figure has been purging upwards to over 60% in recent time. Poverty is indeed a global problem. To this effect the United Nations Declared 1996 the international year of eradication of poverty and 1997-2006 a decade of poverty eradication. In pursuance of this target, government in both developed and developing countries became increasingly aware of the poverty problem and several development efforts to alleviate poverty therefore have been embarked upon world-wide. A review of economic history of Nigeria shows that successive governments have expressed concern of the need to alleviate poverty in the country. Unfortunately, the issues of poverty eradication and national development has proved to be the most difficult challenges facing less developed countries (Nigerians inclusive) where most of the people live in absolute poverty with lack of infrastructures on ground.

However, the government has continued to respond in order ameliorate the worsening conditions of the poor by shifting public expenditures towards poverty eradication.

Different programmes and projects to cushion the effects of poverty have been initiated over the years. This was received with high hopes. Poverty eradication was seen as a means through which the government could revamp the battered economy and rebuild self-esteem in majority of Nigerians. Consequently, on assumption of office in 1999,President Obasenjo indicated that the poverty situation in which over 60% of Nigerians live below the poverty line requires concerted efforts to prevent it from becoming worse.

Data has it that the office of Millennium Development Goals released N8.2 billion to the former Director General of National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) headed by Dr. Magnus Kpakol in addition to the N11.8 billion budgetary allocation, N4 billions for the procurement of Keke Napep, N10 billion from state governments and commercial banks and multi-partnership programmes. This totals to N34 billion. (Daily Champion, Wed. Feb 18 2009 pg 7).

The rate of unemployment, poor infrastructures has continued to rise and the poverty situation has exacerbated. As a matter of fact, the need arises to take a careful look at the issues of poverty and infrastructural development in Nigeria, coming against the background of continuing efforts on the part of the government to address it, if about N30 billion has been gathered for poverty eradication in 12 years and these resources are utilized efficiently, there should have been significant improvements in the living standard of the generality of the people and the poverty level should have ordinarily be reduced.

However, in order not to pre-empt the out-come of this study, this study is aimed at assessing the performance of millennium Development Goals and other poverty reduction programmes, and how they affect negatively or positively the generality of the lives in Enugu North local government from 2000 till date.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Broadly, the objective of this study is to Assess the Performance of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria. Though this study uses Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State as a case study.

The specific objective include:

  1. To access whether Millennium Development Goals and Poverty reduction schemes have achieved their objectives of poverty eradication in Nigeria in line with the United Nations aims and objectives.
  2. To identify areas of deficiencies, problems and failures and proffer some policy recommendations based on the findings of this study

1.4 Research Question

In view of the research problem and objective identified above, this study seeks to provide answers to the following research questions:

  1. To what extent has MDGs schemes reduced poverty?
  2. To what extent has MDG I farmers‟ empowerment reduced poverty?
  3. What are the deficiencies, problems, MDGs poverty reduction scheme based on research findings?

1.5 Hypotheses Tested

In order to achieve the set objectives of this study, the following hypotheses were postulated and tested in null forms.

  1. Ho: There is no significant relationship between MDG I vocational skills training and poverty reduction inEnugu North local government areas of Enugu State.
  2. Ho: There is no significant relationship between MDG I farmer‟s empowerment and poverty reduction in Enugu North Local Government Areas of Enugu State.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Several studies have been conducted on poverty reduction strategies and the relationship between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poverty reduction. But this study is different as its specific focus is different from other previous research work on the same area. Majority of previous works focused on; institutional constraints to achieving the MDGs poverty reduction, implementation, Mandatory Attachment Programme etc. For instance, Aribigbola Afolabi (2009) studied the institutional constraints to achieving the MDGs in Africa, using the example of Akure Millennium City and Ikaram/Ibaram Millennium Villages both in Ondo state and another study by Awolala and Akingbade (2010) on Success Stories on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Alleviating Poverty in Ikaram and Pampaida Millennium Village Nigeria. Abur et al., (2013) conducted a study on the MDGs and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria, the study was based on content analyses of the effect of eradicating poverty via the instrumentality of MDGs and the study concluded that government at all levels (federal, state and local government) must come up with genuine poverty reduction programme if the challenges of poverty must be tackled. Shawulu, Adebayo and Binbol (2008) carried out an empirical study on appraisal of the impact of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in Jalingo Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. In the same vein, Alese (2013) researched on women and poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria; the NAPEP approach. However, this study focuses on the assessment of the contribution of Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction in Enugu north Local Government Areas of Enugu State between the periods of 2007 to 2013 under the regime of Danbaba Suntai and Garba Umar. More precisely, the work determines the extent to which MDG I has reduced poverty through vocational skill training, and farmers‟ Empowerment in Enugu north local government areas of Enugu State. As such, certain gap stands to be filled.

As government strives once again to turn the table of pervasive poverty, and enhance the well being of the poor, especially of the rural folks through the MDG I (eradication of poverty and hunger) and to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria, hence this research is being motivated by the desire to fill in the gap in knowledge, that is, the result from the research work would help policy makers in formulation of policies for curtailing poverty, managing the economy in general, because the socio-economic development of any nation is measured by the general welfare, standard of living of the citizens as well as rural empowerment. Thus, the prospect of poverty reduction initiatives is no doubt bright and would be successful as long as the leadership of Nigeria is willing to change from its haphazard implementations of programs and policies.

The importance of this study to researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the civil society cannot be overemphasized. It will be a road map for change and a wake-up call to policy makers, educational planners, investors and even aid donors as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria and across the globe in curtailing poverty.

The study also puts forward suggestions on better strategies towards poverty eradication in order to assist policy makers to avoid the shortcomings of previous programmes like Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), National Poverty Eradication Progeamme (NAPEP) etc. Some of their shortcomings as noted by Ogwumike (2002) are poor implementation, poor targeting mechanisms and failure to focus, lack of political will and commitment, political instability and insufficient involvement of the beneficiaries, lack of standards for project harmonization and effective mechanisms for coordination among the three tiers of government, corruption of government officials and public servants.

It will also stimulate the interest of students to conduct more researches in this field of study. There is also a need to investigate into the role of the state and local government in Millennium Development Goals and poverty eradication since they are the governments closer to the people at the rural areas.

Above all, the study will call the attention of government to its fiscal responsibility on poverty alleviation through adequate budgetary allocation and supervision.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

In order to address the problem of poverty and promote sustainable development, the United Nations‟ Millennium Declaration was adopted in September 2000 at the largest ever gathering of Heads of States committing countries, both rich and poor to do all they could to achieve the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and the Nigeria government keyed into it (Igbuzor, 2011), UNDP (2010). The study is on the effect of Millennium Development Goal I and poverty reduction, and is specifically focused on Enugu North Local Government Areas of Enugu state from 2007 to 2013 (thus, MDG started in 2000).

The limitations of this study are the non-utilization of observational method in the analysis. There was also problem of respondents having misconception about the whole exercise, because they thought providing certain information on issues of MDGs was implicative. Furthermore, the inadequacy of literatures that examine the efforts of Government on the attainment of MDGs specifically on poverty reduction in Nigerian is another limitation.
However, this was overcome through the use of research assistance. Where the respondents were uneducated, the researcher translated the questions in a language that they could understand. So also, proper effort was made by the researcher to guide the respondents on how to fill the questionnaires correctly thereby making sure that the proper documentation of data was available for analysis. Furthermore, the quality of data was ensure by applying a consistent check to test the validity of the data collected both during and after the data was returned.

1.8 Operational Definition of Concepts

To enhance the common understanding of the concept used in the study, there is a need for us to go into the conceptual clarifications of the concepts that appear in the research.

Millennium Development Goals:

Is a set of eight point agenda adopted by 189 leaders on how to reduce the problem of poverty and its attendant horrors in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the world. The eight goals, which are to be met in partnership with world leading development institutions by target date of 2015, are to: eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and lastly, develop a global partnership for development (UN Millennium Declaration, 2000).

For this study Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is a policy by the World leaders to reduce poverty, hunger, and underweight and to raise the living standard of poor at the rural areas.


According to Goulet (2002), Development means obtaining the good of lives, he identifies three element or core values of development as:

  • Life sustenance: the ability to provide basic needs such as housing, clothing, food, healthcare, minimum education, etc
  • Self esteem: feeling of self respect, independence that individual and society must be able to relate on equal terms.
  • Freedom: freedom from servitude, to him, development must eliminate all forms of servitude in politics, social and economic, etc people must be able to relate on equal terms.

Seer (1969) defined development by raising three questions pertaining to development: what has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to unemployment; and what has been happening to inequality? According to him, if all three of these indices have declined from high level then beyond doubt there has been a period of development. But if one or two of these central problems have been growing worse especially if all three have, it would be strange to call it development even if per capita income had doubled (Seer, 1969)

In this study, development is engaging the poor in vocational skills; in the areas tailoring, metal work, electrical installation/maintenance and empowering of farmers with improved seedlings, farm implements, fertilizers and herbicides, which is geared towards increasing production, generating income and reducing poverty among the poor.


Poverty can be defined as the condition where a person is unable to satisfy the most basic needs and elementary requirements of human survival, in terms of food, clothes, shelter, good healthcare, recreation and affordable education (Aliyu, 2003). Poverty is associated with the feeling of dependency, hopelessness, fear for future, and lack of integrity, hunger, lack of decent shelter, healthcare, education, infrastructural facilities, oppression, and joblessness, amongst others.

Poverty is defined by this study as lack of vocational skills training in; Tailoring, Carpentry/Furniture making, Metal work, Electrical Installation/Maintenance through Vocational Skills training by MDGs and lack of MDGs support for farmers through the provision of farm implements, fertilizer, herbicides seedlings to boost their production, and training on poultry farming which is geared towards increasing income and reducing poverty and hunger.

Poverty Reduction:

A kind of relief from a burden which is impinging on the comfort of a man, woman and children, alleviation from health problem, illiteracy, from poor feeding, clothing, etc.

To this study, poverty reduction is to reduce poverty through vocational skills training and supporting farmers or empowering the farmers to generate income, reduce poverty, hunger and underweight by MDG.

Local Government:

According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria Guidelines for local government reforms (1976), it is the government exercised through representative council established by law to exercise specifics powers within defined areas. This is the government at the grass root level; it is a government closest to the people at the rural area where the majority of poor are living.

Vocational Skills Training:

Adiele (2008) defines vocational skill as the special ability to do a particular job or activity especially one that renders services to other people. In addition, World Bank (2004) sees vocational skill as the outcome of learning process without reference to the source of skills acquisition.

In this study, it is referred to as the training that teaches skills that are needed to do a particular work. Training and Empowerment in Tailoring, Carpentry/Furniture making, Metal work, Electrical Installation/Maintenance through Vocational Skills training by MDGs.

Farmer’s Empowerment:

MDGs‟ support to farmers through provisions of farm implements, fertilizer, herbicides seedlings to boost their production, and training on poultry farming geared towards increasing income and reducing poverty and hunger in the LGAs.

Chapter Five

Summery, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summaries the entire work from chapter one to five. Its conclusion reached is based on the hypotheses tested and the recommendations made in accordance with the findings of the study.

5.2 Summary

The prevailing predicament of poverty has remained a nagging crisis of underdevelopment in Nigeria. Before the declaration of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the World leaders in 2000 at New York, poverty has been a serious challenge to government, particularly in Enugu State. In response to this, the Enugu state government has keyed into MDGs. This research work has investigated the Effect of Millennium Development Goal I (MDG) on poverty reduction in some selected local government areas of Enugu state from 2007 to 2013. It generated data from both primary and secondary sources and tested two hypotheses.

The study consists of background to the study, statement of the research problem, research questions, research objectives, and hypotheses of the study, significance of the study, scope and limitations of the study, definition of term.

Also, literatures were reviewed on concept of poverty, and indicators of poverty, trends of poverty in Nigeria, causative factors of poverty, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), vocational skill, farmers‟ empowerment, approaches to poverty reduction programme, poverty reduction programmes in other Countries, problems of MDGs and poverty reduction, empirical studies on MDGs and poverty reduction, theoretical framework, relevance of evaluation theory to the study.

Furthermore, the research methodologies were research design, sources and method of data collection, primary sources of data, questionnaire, interview, secondary sources of data, population of the study and sample size, sampling technique, and methods of data presentation and analysis.

Presentations were made on history of Enugu north Local Government Areas, Millennium Development GoalsI, objectives of Millennium Development Goals, the role of Government in implementing MDGs in Nigeria, the role of civil society in MDGs,

Enugu State MDGs/ institutions, State Committee on the implementation of MDGs, State Project /Support Unit (SFP/PSU), Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) Targets and Reports: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
In additions, administration of questionnaires, data presentation on hypothesis one, data Presentation on hypothesis two, test of hypotheses, test of hypothesis one, test of hypothesis two, major findings were carried out. Finally, summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations were made.

5.3 Conclusion

From the data presented and analyzed as well as the hypotheses tested, the study concludes that the achievement of MDG I in Enugu north LGA is predicated on the provision and the effectiveness of training and empowerment in vocational skills on tailoring, electrical installation/maintenance, carpentry/furniture making and metal work by MDGs that resulted to increase in income generation and poverty reduction. Farmers‟ empowerment and support with improved seedlings, poultry farming, fertilizers and herbicides, this will increase production and income that will lead to reduction of poverty and hunger.

However, MDGs do not seem to influence the socio-economic lives of the poor especially at the rural areas and where impact are made, the level is insignificant and minimal hence it has had little effect on the poor and the economic growth of the state and the country at large.

The reasons why MDGs and most of the poverty reduction programmes have no positive impact on the majority of poor persons in the rural areas or local government areas (Enugu north) are due to several reasons such as haphazard implementation, lack of adequate sense of commitment, corruption, political instability, lack of transparency, inadequate coordination of efforts by parties that contributed to poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria, poorly targeted among others, (Zacheus, and Omonigho: 2014, Obadan: 200), Oshewolo: 2010).

5.4 Recommendations

In view of the research findings made in chapter four, the study recommends that:

  1. The Enugu state Government and MDGs coordinating organization should focus on training and empowerment in vocational skills on tailoring, electrical installation/maintenance, carpentry/furniture making and metal work by MDGs that will result to increase in income generation and poverty reduction in Enugu north LGAs. And loan facilities should be given to the beneficiaries after training to enable them to start up their business.
  2. The Enugu State Government and MDGs coordinating organization should engage in farmers‟ empowerment and supported with improved seedlings, poultry farming, fertilizers and herbicides, to increase production and income, leading to reduction of poverty and hunger and underweight. The farmers should be supported with soft loans for their farming.
  3. Also the Enugu State Government and MDGs coordinating organization should introduce other avenue for achieving MDG I through public awareness creation, training and empowerment on beads making, cosmetology, wire works, food processing and packaging, vocational skill training, event management.

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