Attaining Nigeria MDGS: “A Case Study Of Poverty Reduction”

Attaining Nigeria MDGS: “A Case Study Of Poverty Reduction”

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Poverty either as a plague or cause of other specific problems of under-development afflicts Nigeria as it does to other Nations of the world.

The high level of prevalence of poverty in the world, has attained an endemic nature, is becoming worrisome.  This has necessitated the world leaders to formulate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a means of addressing the menace of poverty in the world. Poverty has made Nigeria to attain an unenviable status such that no government (no matter the level), organization, community, clan or family can survive effectively without introducing one kind of poverty reduction programme. This problem of poverty is essentially, not that of programme introduction but effectiveness of such programme and strategies so adopted in poverty reduction efforts.

This study is therefore, an attempt at evaluating the effectiveness of poverty programmes in Nigeria especially to the attainment of the first goal of MDGs.


At the dawn of the twenty–first century, strong efforts are being made around the world to accelerate the pace of economic growth and development. Concerns such as poverty eradication, empowerment of women, improvements in the education, health and environmental protection for people living in the developing countries have received increased attention in the world. The increasing attention paid to growth, development and social capital in the global arena is silently overthrowing the economic and social conflicts that are prevalent in most developing countries (UNDP Report; 2002, and Asley and Maxwell, 2001).Poverty is not new but at each mention, it stirs a lot of misgiving. This is because it has a very devastating influence on its victims. It reduces the social and psychological prestige of its victims. Poverty is a condition of being poor. Poverty is as a result of lack of knowledge to translate potentiality into practical creative benefits to motivate well being (Journal of Sustainable Development: Vol. 3, No. 4; Dec 2010).

When a deep reflection is made on the Nigeria condition, it is so pathetic in the sense that the country that is so blessed and rich in natural and agricultural resources, oil and gas can not boost of putting foods on the tables of its citizens. In fact, an average Nigerian is said to be living below one dollar. Research has it that the foundation of most social vices and corrupt practices both in high and low places in this scourge called poverty. At present, Nigerian is rated as one of the poorest country of the world, a country with abundant resources both in human and mineral replication. It is as a result of this and others maladies that are experienced by the citizens of the world especially the third world countries, that the United Nations Assembly in September 2000 in a meeting popularly referred to as Millennium Submit in the United State of American an eight point development target tagged the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (United Nations, 2001 and Oxam, 2003). The broad objectives of the MDGs are to reduce extreme poverty and hunger by half, 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 develop a global partnership for development by 2015 in all the poor countries of the world (United Nations, 2003:2).

As a member of the United Nations, Nigeria keyed into the MDGs and subsequently produced a policy document called the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) to further see to the achievement of the millennium development goals. Specifically, NEEDS has the following actionable goal:

  1. Wealth Creation
  2. Empowerment Generation
  3. Poverty Reduction
  4. Value Re-Orientation.


A search of literature has shown that there is no general consensus on the definition of poverty. Since poverty affects many aspects of human condition such as physical, moral and psychological, a concise and acceptable definition of poverty is elusive as it can not be capture only by income and consumption based measures. According to World Bank report (2002), poverty is the inability to attain a minimum standard of living. The report constructed some indices based on a minimum level of consumption in order to show the practical aspect of poverty. These include lack of access to resources, lack of political freedom and voice, lack of shelter, poor access to water and sanitation, vulnerability to shocks, violence and crime, political discrimination and marginalization. Similarly, the United Nations Human Development (UNHD) has introduced the use of such other indices such as life expectancy, infant mortality rate, primary school enrolment ratio and number of persons per physician to measure poverty in a country (UNHD HDI:2002).

Poverty concepts are categorized into three namely: absolute poverty, relative poverty and subjective poverty. These three concepts which form the basis osf poverty alleviation programmes are reviewed below;

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