An Assessment Of Nigeria’s Rural Development Policy For Sustainable Environmental Development In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

An Assessment Of Nigeria’s Rural Development Policy For Sustainable Environmental Development In Nigeria


Abstract


The development of rural areas and particularly in developing societies has remained a challenge to policy makers, and developments experts. Policies, programs and theories aimed at improving the broad socio-economic wellbeing of the rural poor have been initiated and pursued since 1960. Characteristically, these policies and programs have had varying degree of successes and problems. The study adopts the survey research and takes a critical appraisal of policy documents, theoretical models and programs of government at all levels (federal, state and local governments) and their implication for rural development.

The findings of the study show that though a number of policies, programs have been initiated and executed, and theories propounded, they have tended to serve the interest of the political elite and their cronies to the chagrin of those whom the policies and programs were planned for. To a large extent, these policies and programs have made the policy makers richer and in most cases the programs abandoned and or not sustainable. Based on the findings we recommended an alternative approach to rural development that is, the participatory approach that is infused with elements of conscientisation


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The development of rural areas until very recently was not given much attention and prominence in Nigeria. Much of her policies were concerned with changing the urban landscape and the fortunes of urban dwellers. The realization on the part of policy makers and development experts that national development cannot be true development until the vast rural areas of the country are developed and brought into the mainstream of development, then and only then can we talk of true development Right from the colonial period the rural sector constitutes the socially and economically backward areas of Nigeria.

Besides, the gap between the rural areas and urban areas has continued to widen in an alarming proportion. Invariably, the peasant population who formed the bulk of rural areas and produce much of the agricultural products that the nation depend on seemed neglected by government, a situation that has resulted in the much orchestrated problems of rural-urban drift, declining agricultural production and its attendant food shortage, unemployment, urban congestion and over stretched facilities (Ottong, Ering, and Akpan, 2010 and Saheed and Okide, 2012). However, in Nigeria and in most Third World societies, there had been an increasing upsurge in the concern for problems of underdevelopment especially as they affect rural areas. The concern is the need to optimize yields from natural as well as human resources by exerting control of influence upon all parts of such resources in order to realize maximum benefit from the development efforts, Ebong (1991).

According to Abasiekong (1982:9): Developing countries (including Nigeria) have now more than ever come to be convinced that in order to ensure the overall development of their countries, the rural areas must be transformed and brought into the mainstream of their countries (bracket mine). It is in realization of this fact that policies aimed at the improvement of the rural areas have been announced and pursued by governmental authorities at various levels, (federal, state and local) and communities, particularly since the 1960s.

The rural population have reacted in their various ways, while the policies and the people’s reactions have also had considerable locational and spatial implications for the rural development landscape, Ajaegbu (1976). Even so, such bold attempts have not achieved much success in solving problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality in rural Nigeria. Nor have the policies and efforts of government at various levels been able to stem the tide of rural-urban drift. This paper takes a look at rural development policies in Nigeria and their implications for rural development. In other words the study takes a critical look at major strategies, approaches or theories taken so far by Nigerian governments to change the rural landscape and what has been theirpracticability in terms of social change and improving the socio-economic well-being of the rural poor.

Nigeria is predominantly a rural society as the vast majority of her population dwells in the rural areas (Ele, 2006; Nwuke, 2004). Indeed, about 70 percent of Nigerians dwell in the rural areas (Aboyade, 1976). Specifically, these rural areas refer to the geographical areas that lie outside the densely built-up environment of towns, cities and the sub-urban villages and whose inhabitants are engaged primarily in agriculture as well as the most basic of rudimentary form of secondary and tertiary activities (Adebayo, 1998; Ezeah, 2005). Infact, a rural area, which is the opposite of an urban area, refers to the country side whose population engages mainly in primaryproduction activities like agriculture, fishing, and rearing of livestock (Ele, 2006). Indeed, 90 percent of the rural labourforce engage directly or indirectly in agriculture (Nyagba, 2009).

The rural sector of Nigeria is, very vital in the socio-economic development equation of the nation. It is, as observed by Nyagba (2009) that the most important sector of the Nigerian population is the rural areas. For instance, the rural sector is the major source of capital formation for the country and a principal market for domestic manufactures (Olatunbosun, 1975). As a matter of fact, the rural areas engage in primary economic activities that form the foundation for the country’s economic development. (Abah, 2010). Given the contributions of the rural sector to the national economy, enhancing the development of the sector should be central to government and public administration. This is necessary as such would further enhance the ability of the sector for increased contribution to the overall national growth and development. Unfortunately, over the years, the development strategies and efforts in Nigeria has been more urban based or focused resulting to relative neglect of the rural areas as evidenced in the apparent dearth of basic infrastructural facilities in the rural areas (Abah, 2010).

Indeed, as Okoli and Onah (2002) observe, the rural areas in Nigeria are characterized by inadequacies of human needs as reflected in the near absence of some basic infrastructures with its attendant features of degradation and deprivation. Ezeah (2005:3) specifically, in this respect observes thus: The Nigerian rural areas are neglected areas, even though social amenities are also not adequate in some urban areas. The situation in the rural areas is far worse and many communities lack basic amenities like good roads, markets, electricity, pipe borne water etc.In the same vein, Abonyi and Nnamani (2011: 255) note thus; “Today, rural poverty persists in Nigeria despite the prosperity created by the country’s oil wealth and this is evident in the difficulty experienced by many in satisfying their basic needs for food, water and shelter. Lack of these basic needs has held rural development in Nigeria to ransom” Indeed, Abah (2010) observed that the most evident display of Nigeria under development condition is the rural areas and that the deplorable condition of the Nigerian rural sector is emphatic.

Very curious and worrisome still is that even the few policies and programs initiated and implemented by government over the years have not resulted in meaningful enhancement of the development state of the rural areas in Nigeria (Ezeah, 2005). These efforts had among others, included the institutionalization of the local government to serve as an agent for enhancing rural development, the establishment of the Directorate of Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) to enhance infrastructure development in the rural areas, the establishment of River Basin and Rural Development Authorities, the establishment of Rural Water Scheme, the establishment of rural electrification scheme, the establishment of Better Life for Rural Women Programme, the establishment of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the establishment of Millennium Development Project through Rural Infrastructure, the establishment of Rural Banking Programme, Community Banking (defunct) and Micro Finance Banking to enhance the availability of financial services to the poor, low income earners and the rural dwellers (Ajadi2010).

Olarenwaju (1992: 14) even argues that rather than these polices enhance rural development, they tended to further have underdeveloped them as he notes thus; “The manner in which rural development has been conceived by the successive Nigerian governments and the type of rural development policies that have been implemented over time in the country have contributed substantially to the current poor state of the rural economy.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The majority of Nigerians live in the rural areas as compared to the urban centers. However, the rural-urban migration drift continues unabated because the rural areas lack the basic infrastructure for social and economic development, and poverty is prevalent in the rural areas. The rural-urban drift has constituted problems to the urban areas because of the increase in population. For instance, most of the cities are overcrowded. As a result of this, health problem is associated with overcrowded population. A case in point is the recent Ebola outbreak that has affected people in Lagos and Port Harcourt which has led to fatalities.

According to Laah et al. (2013) “rural development demands attention if the living condition of people is to improve particularly those in the rural areas. The understanding of the rural development as a concept and its principles will afford the extension agent the opportunity to collaborate with other stakeholders in order to come up with all-encompassing development agenda for the rural people. It is in view of the above that warrant the researcher to investigate the efficacy of Nigeria rural development policy for sustainable environmental development in Nigeria


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the effectiveness of Nigeria’s rural development policy for sustainable environmental development. To aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

  1. To ascertain the effect of rural development policy on the economic development of the rural communities in Nigeria
  2. To ascertain the role of government in ensuring sustainable environmental development
  3. To assess the impact of rural developmental policies on the wellbeing of rural inhabitant
  4. To examine the relationship between rural development policies and environmental sustainability in Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to aid the completion of the study,

  1. H0: rural development policy does not have any effect on the economic development of the rural communities in Nigeria
    H1: rural development policy does have an effect on the economic development of the rural communities in Nigeria
  2. H0: there is no significant relationship between rural development policies and environmental sustainability in Nigeria
    H2: there is a significant relationship between rural development policies and environmental sustainability in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of rural communities and local government authorities in measuring the level of developmental project from the federal government as a strategy of minimizing rural urban migration, the study will also be useful to international organization in measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the government of the day. The study will be useful to researchers, academia’s and student as the study will serve as a guide to further research, finally the study will be of significance to the general public as the findings of the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature in the subject matter.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers an assessment of Nigeria’s rural development policy for sustainable environmental development in Nigeria.

But in the cause of the study, there were some factors that limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Policy

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.

Rural development

Rural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas, often relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas. Rural development has traditionally centered on the exploitation of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry.

Environmental development

Environmental Development is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering environmental science and policy published by Elsevier.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study wasto assess Nigeria rural development policy for sustainable environmental development in Nigeria

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges rural-urban development policies in Nigeria


5.2 Summary

The study evaluates Nigerian approach towards sustainable rural development in relation to the Millennium Development Goals with the formulation of a Rural Development Policy for Sustainable Growth. Although, the study found the government has made giant strides in the development of the rural areas in the areas of poverty reduction, education and health. However, meeting the target date for the MGDs is a mirage and the study pinpoints intervention policies for the government in order to consolidate its efforts in developing the rural communities through the sustainable rural development approach.


5.3 Conclusion

The development of rural Nigeria as a matter of deliberate policy for the entire societal development remains a central problem to policy makers. A review of past policies and approaches to rural development in Nigeria show that there were bedeviled with a number of problems. At the centre of these problems is the human factors that have been washed with, the need to get rich at all cost. People for whom development programmes and projects are planned for and particularly the none involvement of women in development process. An alternative approach to Nigeria’s rural development must take into consideration all the factors identified above and the stakeholders. In other words, it must be participatory. There is also the lack of involvement on the part of the by way of carrying the people along at every stage of will do this magic. It is also necessary to raise the consciousness of the rural population as a way of social engineering, so that they come to realize the follies and contradictions in the society. Through this “double-barred approach”, the Nigerian rural landscape and the entire society could be transformed


5.4 Recommendations

The adoption of the recommended measures, which are considered imperative in overcoming the impediments, are expected to lead significantly to enhancement in the rural development process in Nigeria. An alternative approach to Nigeria’s rural development must take into consideration all the factors identified above and the stakeholders. In other words, it must be participatory. There is also the lack of involvement on the part of the by way of carrying the people along at every stage of will do this magic. It is also necessary to raise the consciousness of the rural population as a way of social engineering, so that they come to realize the follies and contradictions in the society. Through this “double-barred approach”, the Nigerian rural landscape and the entire society could be transformed.


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