The Impact Of Poverty Alleviation Programme On Community Development In Nigeria

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The Impact Of Poverty Alleviation Programme On Community Development In Nigeria


Poverty alleviation programmes has been recognized as an instrument par excellence for effective community development. It is infact a veritable tool for achieving economic prosperity and community development.

Hence, it could be said that poverty alleviation is a sinequanon to community development. The past governments have no doubt initiate d and implemented various poverty alleviation programmes with the aim of reducing poverty to the barest minimum which would unequivocally bring about community development. The major thrust of this paper therefore is to access the impact of poverty alleviation programmes on community development. Particularly in Ojo local government area of Lagos State.

The study sought to determine the various poverty alleviation programmes initiated by the government, its extent of achievement of its aims and examine its impact on the overall development of the community.

The sample consists of two major markets. (Alaba International Market and Iyana Iba market). Two (2) higher institution: “Lagos

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The prevalence of poverty today in our society has not only dwindled its economic situation but also deteriorated the development of our community. The plan for prosperity must address a startling paradox about two-third of the Nigerian people are poor despite living in a country with vast potential wealth.

Although revenues from crude oil have been increasing over the past decades, yet our people have been wallowing in abject poverty. In 1980 an estimated 27 percent of Nigerians lived inpoverty, By 1999, about 70 percent of the population lived in poverty earning an income of less than $1 a day and the figure has increased since then. Life expectancy is a mere 54 years, and infant mortality (77 per 1,000) and maternal mortality (704 per 100,000 live births) are among the highest in the world. Other social indictors (from 1999) are also weak.

  1. Only 10% of the population had access to essential drugs.
  2. There were fewer than 30 physicians per 100,000 people.
  3. Among children, almost 30 percent were under weight, qualitatively, poverty in our society (Nigeria) has many manifestations and dimensions including joblessness. Over indebtness, economic dependence, inability to provide the basic needs of life for self and family among other dimensions of poverty.

Community development can only be perceived as mere illusion in a society where poverty has actually engulfed the entire system.

The plethora of poverty alleviation programmes which the past governments had initiated and implemented only appears to impoverish the poor while the rich on the other hand seems tobecome richer.

The response of various administrators to the poverty problems appears to have been largely adhoc and unco­ordinated. A recent survey of policies and interventions chronicles 28 federal projects and programmes with poverty reduction thrust. Several state governments have also put poverty reduction schemes in place.

With the advent of democratic government in 1999 measures were adopted to streamline poverty-related institutions, review past poverty alleviation programmes and harmonize sectoral efforts. While none of these programmes was completely without merits, none of them had a significant, lasting or sustainable positive effect.

Hence, the dire need to critically analyse various poverty alleviation programmes and their achievements made with regards to the development of our community. It is hoped that the result of this study will provide useful strategies which when adopted, would make the impact of poverty alleviation programmes felt on community development.

1.2 Objective of the Study

The rationale behind this study can be summarized into the points:

  1. Provision of background and indepth knowledge the historical antecedent of poverty and poverty alleviation programmes in Nigeria.
  2. To critically analyse the weaknesses of the programmes.
  3. To juxtapose alleviation of poverty with community development, nothing their relationship and the effect of one over the other.
  4. Suggest possible solution to end failure of poverty alleviation programmes particularly in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State and how community development could help reduce poverty to the nearest minimum level.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

At the end of the study, this research work seeks to:

  1. Determine the level of achievements and weaknesses of past attempts made by the government at alleviating poverty.
  2. To establish the inter-relationship between poverty alleviation and community development.
  3. Make the government and poverty alleviation facilitator realise the failure of past poverty alleviation programme and their causes.

1.4 Statement of Problem

Quite incontrovertible is the fact that sequel to the introduction of various poverty alleviation programmes by the governments. Nigerians are bound to develop certain feelings and opinions about the programmes.

The development of positive attitude towards the programmes will no doubt facilitate the implementation and success of such programmes with regards to community development.

It is therefore imperative to ensure that citizens participate actively in project formulation and implementation which they are supposed to be the beneficiaries.

Equally that the facilitators of such programmes should use the programmes as a means of emancipating the poor from the shackles of poverty rather than a means of amassing -illegal wealth.

1.5 Problem of the Study

The problems militating against this study may be said to be multidimensional as against the statement of the problem. A clear manifestation of the above mention fact can be evident in the nature of poverty reduction strategies in Nigeria itself. Previous research work made it obvious that several major factors hindering the success of government efforts to reduce the level of poverty includes:

  1. Nigerian’s legacy of mismanagement and corrupt governance.
  2. The boom – and – bust made-of economic management.
  3. The limited growth of investment and technological innovation.
  4. Poor coordination.
  5. Absence of a comprehensive policy frame work. These alongside other reasons such as the.
  6. Large expanse of geographical boundaries in which the country is situated.
  7. The stress and problems associated with travelling.
  8. The financial implication of travelling in a bid to source or relevant information in the different geopolitical zones within the country.
  9. The hazards posed by poor road facilities coupled with the implications of travelling bad roads.

These among other reasons would not doubt limit the scope of the study to a sample of a population while the result deduced from such sample is then generalized.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The result of this study will not doubt to a large extent expose the weaknesses and achievements of past poverty alleviation programmes.

Equally, it would provide basis for effective guidance for the facilitators to modify/reinforce their attitude towards achieving the set goals for the programmes put in place.

It is also believed that the result of this study will avail the government the opportunity to study past attempts at alleviating poverty to see where their mistakes lies and then devise a means for progress in this regard.

1.7 Research Questions

  1. What is poverty and its etymology?
  2. What are the causes and effects of poverty?
  3. What are the factors contributing to poverty in Nigeria?
  4. How best could poverty be reduced or alleviated?
  5. What past attempts have been made by the government to reduce poverty in Nigeria, its achievements and weaknesses?
  6. What are the effects of poverty alleviation programmes on community development in Ojo Local Government?
  7. How best can we evaluate the progress made by the government in alleviating poverty?

1.8 Research Hypothesis

H0: Poverty alleviation is not a prerequisite for community development.

Hi: Poverty alleviation is a prerequisite for community development,

1.9 Scope or Delimitation

This study will basically deal with the assessment / impact of poverty alleviation programmes as an indispensable tool for community development particularly m “Ojo Local Government” area of Lagos state.

1.10 Limitation of the Study

Poverty reduction is no doubt the most difficult challenge facing Nigeria and its people and the greatest obstacle to the pursuit of sustainable socio-economic growth and community development.

Poverty levels vary across the country, with the highest proportion of poor people in the North West and the lowest people in the south-West.

Although this study seeks to appraise the impact of poverty alleviation programmes on community development in Nigeria. However, distance geographical location of different geo- political zones alongside cost implications of travelling and time involved in such research work would no doubt limit the scope /areas to be covered by the research work.

Hence, a sample of Ojo Local Government area of Lagos state would be used for the research work while the result obtained would then be generalized.

1.11 Definition of Terms


This is the act to make something painful suffering less or easier to bear.


This is the skill in managing any affairs.


A situation of a person with no means of livelihood, especially one who is supported by charity. They are sometimes called paupers.


A state of a thing/ an object being damage/ ruined.


To grow worse and get damaged.


The deprivation of those things that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking.


When someone is in need or without any means of livelihood, it is all extreme case or poverty.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

Well, it is often posited that past government in Nigeria cannot be said to be oblivious of the depth of poverty in our midst as some programmes were initiated to better the lots of citizenry. Such palliative programmes could not meet its targets. None of them “lofty” programmes could survive the intricacies of corruption and bureaucracy red-tapism inherent in both public and private sector, and as such could not make any meaningful impact on the lives of the rural dwellers.

The consequence of these, prompted President Olusegun Obasanjo at the assumption of office in 1999 to set up National Poverty Eradication Programme to take care of multiplicity of Poverty reduction institutions and agencies in the country, to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target come 2015.

In Ojo Local Government Area, programme of the Federal Government has commenced but in stage by stages and in little way is having impact on individual especially the residents and gradually extending to the whole communities. Also everyone is watching and observing with keen interest how government-implementing officers handle government efforts.

From the research survey the grass roots that is mostly affected by Poverty Syndrome is left out in the Scheme of affairs because most of these programmes are concentrated in urban areas. The beneficiaries also can be said to be grateful and wish that all were done to at least maintain the present effort in place.

The non-beneficiaries are willing to participate but do not have the opportunity. It is interesting to note that money is not the major motivator for participation in the programme, but their desire to have new skills that would make them self-reliant in future and probably raise them to the level of employers of labour.

Conclusively therefore the government is commended for its effort and should endeavour to be more committed financially.

5.2 Conclusion

Nigeria is a country blessed with enormous human and natural resources, yet well over two-third of about 130 million inhabitants are wallowing in poverty. This is as a result of mismanagement and illegal embezzling of public funds by public officials and a few others instead of distributing this wealth across every strata of the country. This has left many poor and unemployed residents to roam the street and made them an easy prays for use in political and social unrest for any little token of money given this is because, as the saying goes, (an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

The Nigerian government is an attempt to handle the situation and avoid a worse situation, established the National Poverty Eradication Programme in 1999 as soon as the Obasanjo-led administration came into power. The impact has been gradual judging from the survey conducted in Ojo Local Government Area and with time the impact would become conspicuous and more so, that, so far only one out of the four schemes has been implemented. All that is needed is time, patience and support of all.

The four schemes touch on individuals especially on the residentss. The schemes are the Residents Empowerment Scheme (YES), Natural Resources Development and conservation scheme (NRDS), Rural Infrastructures Development (RIDS) and Social Welfare Service (SOWESS). At the end when all these would have been implemented, a great deal of Poverty would have been alleviated or possibly eradicated. This is the desire of the Nigerian Government to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target come 2015.

5.3 Recommendations

The impact of the programmes of NAPEP has been evaluated by the researchers, based on these the recommendations are as followings

  1. The programme should not be politicized and there should be proper scrutinizing and supervisory Machinery to ensure that every plan is well implemented. The official should not see the programme as self-seeking activities that involve cake sharing rather; they should see it as cake baking.
  2. Going by the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), efforts are now being redirected towards partnerships and collaborations with other agencies and groups to source and allocate resources for productive engagements in the economy. To this end, we strongly suggested that considerable resources should be channeled to rural based activities because a robust rural economy is capable of kick starting and driving the economy to prosperity.
  3. We also recommends that the local Chiefs should be involved in sourcing out the poor as this will help to establish the major needs of every community and the appropriate training centre be sited properly. The poor communities and individuals should be involved in programme planning, and implementation in line with the overall Federal Government objectives as this will give them a sense of belonging. This can reduce rural-urban drift.
  4. Fundamentally, access to arable land micro credits are vital for proper repositioning of peasant residents in Ojo L.G.A. Functional capital-intensive projects like irrigation dams be encouraged. Institutions like NACRB; Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme should be recapitalized and made to function effectively.
  5. Permanent structures and measures should be put in place for the setting up of small scale industries that would continue to absorb young School leavers who are predominantly residents. Even those beneficiaries of government alleviation programmes be encouraged by granting them soft loans, distribute grinding machine, sewing machines as well as welding machines etc. and this will help to empower the residents.
  6. Bodies such as Non-Governmental Organizations, Community Based Organizations and wealthy individuals should be challenged to go back to their various communities to establish poverty alleviation programmes. On the other hand, organizations, wealthy individuals and company should be taxed, and such revenue be used to invest in Poverty Eradication Programmes. There should be proper condition to avoid duplication of efforts.

Conclusively therefore poverty reduction programmes cannot succeed without some levels of education. No nation can adequately tap its human potentials without adequate education. Hence government should provide free education at primary and secondary school levels for effective implementation of poverty alleviation programme.
If these were done, we would be at the verge of bidding Poverty farewell in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

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