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1.1 Background of the Study
Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people and a land area of 923,773km2is well-endowed with vast human and material resources that can guarantee sustainable economic growth and development (National Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Nigeria rebased its GDP from 1990 to 2010, resulting in an 89% increase in the estimated size of the economy. As a result, the country now boasts of having the largest economy in Africa with an estimated nominal GDP of USD 510 billion, surpassing South Africa’s USD 352 billion (African Economic Outlook, 2014).
However, since the global economic crisis of the 1980s and the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986, Nigeria has been plagued with some serious economic problems. One of such problem is the increase in the level of poverty. There is widespread miserly among majority of Nigerians because their living standard has deteriorated due to low income and hunger. Only a small proportion of the population of Nigeria has access to education, health care services, good roads and adequate shelter. Poverty has also led to increases in crime, child labour, child abandonment, high child and maternal mortality rates and reduction in life expectancy of most adults (Ijaiya, 1998)
It was observed by Aigbokhan, (2008) that poverty reduction has received increased focus in development debate in the past two decades and progress on poverty reduction has become a major measure of success of development policy. Meanwhile, the reduction of poverty is the most difficult challenge facing any country in the developing world where on the average: majority of the population is considered poor. To fight the poverty scourge, surging crime rate and incidence of poverty, different government administrations introduced diverse poverty reduction policies (PRPs) to redress the problems and challenges (Eriki and Okafor, 2005) thereby making Nigerians creative, innovative and resourceful to create more wealth and improve their general wellbeing. Some of the poverty reduction policies (PRPs) initiated by different regimes in Nigeria before and after the implementation of MDGs include: National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP) and Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative Bank (NACB) in the year 1972 and 1973; Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), 1976; Green Revolution Programme (GRP), 1979; Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) , 1983; National Agricultural Land Development Authority
(NALDA); Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) and Family Support Programme (FSP), 1987; National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), 2001; National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS); However, the National Economic and Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) of 2004 with its States and Local government versions; SEEDS and LEEDS respectively are direct responses to the MDGs; “Seven-Point Agenda; Economic Transformation Agenda including the Vision 20:2020 presently under implementation (Raimi et al, 2011).
However, evidence in Nigeria shows that the proportion of people under the poverty line has continued to increase as shown below
Table 1.1: Poverty Profile for Nigeria
Population in poverty
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