MAGNITUDE, VICISSITUDES AND REMEDIES OF URBAN POVERTY IN NORTH-EAST NIGERIA

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Nigeria is divided for political convenience, into six geo-political zones; The north east, in the last decade is in global media because of the ceaseless conflict and war-like situation between the Nigerian government and youth insurgents. The
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   p - ISSN 2477 - 0531   e - ISSN 2622 - 8386  Asian Journal for Poverty Studies 5(1): 15 -  24 (2019) 15   MAGNITUDE, VICISSITUDES AND REMEDIES OF URBAN POVERTY IN NORTH - EAST NIGERIA   Abubakar Mohammed Sambo 1*  and Abubakar Garba Mshelia 2   1 Department of Political Science, Federal University Kashere, Nigeria   2 Department of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Adamawa State Polytechnic, Yola   *  Corresponding Author: asambomohammed@gmail.com   ABSTRACT    Nigeria is divided for political convenience, into six geo -  political zones; The north east, in the last decade is in global media because of the ceaseless conflict and war  - like situation between the Nigerian government and youth insurgents. The dictum of western education is “unlawful” was the agitation of the insurgents, and they seek to change the educational  status quo. North East Nigeria is blessed with an arable land for agricultural activities and mineral resources. The inability and lack of the political will by the governments both at central and state governments to strategically invest in the growth of these sectors for development purposes, brought about many challenges for the north east geo -  political  zone. Greater percentages of the population within the north east are youths in their productive ages that were engaged in rural  - urban drift in search for a better livelihood and economic comfort. This paper seeks to explore the magnitude, changes and solutions of urban poverty in north east Nigeria. The paper adopts a qualitative design to investigate the  perceived economic deprivation, social challenges and political miscalculations by the state and their inability to plan  for the economic well  - being of its population. Data were sourced at secondary source and thematic analysis was employed  for analysis. Urban poverty brought many untold   hardships to the people in the north east states, Hitches arising  from fast urbanization with rapid development of the cities in the North -  East, are very apparent. Lack of ensuring  satisfactory and steady establishment of the basic needed services such as housing, health care amenities, water, electricity etc are remains the greatest encounter. This will further incapacitate family’s social growth and economic progress unless income generating opportunities are created by policy makers and backed with a greater political will.    Keywords:  magnitude; vicissitudes, remedies, urban poverty, North -  East Nigeria   INTRODUCTION   Poverty and measures to take to tackle it are among the major issues at hand in developing economies. The constraints to poverty have come to loom to threat the stability of any society. For over four decades in  Nigeria, the condition of poverty has continuously become on the increase and thereby constituting a dominant subject in the country despite her relative economic capacities. Consequently, the foremost apprehension for the Nigerian state machinery, other transnational corporations and key policy formulators and experts the world over to find suitable way out in order to lessen its scourging effects on the populace. The finding recently, is that poverty is a serious phenomenon of concern (World Bank, 1990; Fields, 2000; World Bank, 2001). From the record’s accessible figures, poverty incidence in the country, south of the Sahara, revealed that, while there is an increase in urban poverty frequency, till now, urban poverty situation in Nigeria remains a contradiction. This is based on two standpoints. Firstly, the figures of poverty in Nigeria is a contradiction  because the poverty level appears as a looking at the Nigeria’s enormous wealth. Secondly, the worsened effects of poverty with the enormous resources both in human capital and substantial non - human capitals that is strategically placed to reduce poverty by the previous administrations in the country, but no considerable accomplishment achieved from such efforts. Nonetheless, looking at urban poverty issue, it has, and will continuously be issues for serious governments and transnational institutions to focus attention and dissipate more energies with the view of finding a desirable way - out for some time to come. Certainly, reducing urban poverty is now in the forefront for key policy planners and state - actors together with donor  - agencies in Nigeria.    Sambo and Mshelia 16  Asian Journal for Poverty Studies 5(1): 15 -  24 (2019) In 1993 the late military Head of State General Sani Abacha (1993 - 1998) created the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria to address socio - economic and political issues affecting the country along the north - south dichotomy that saw great level of inequality and injustice to the misrepresentation of the minorities at all tiers of government. Described as a country with numerous potentials and stable economic growth, it is evident from the statistical figures, that her Gross Domestic Product (GDP), that urban poverty has sustained its growth (UNDP, 1997). The harmonised Nigeria living standard survey (HNLSS) 2009/2010 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2012) showed that the urban poverty level has increased to over 69%, indicating that “about 112.47 million Nigerians” are living below the poverty line. Urban poverty remains endemic in most urban societies in the country against government interventions. From the statistical figures, the occurrence of poverty significantly increased in Nigeria since 1980. The percentages of the Nigerian population that were classified as ‘extremely poor’ over the last three decades are as follows: 6.2% (1980); 12.1% (1985); 13.9% (1992); 29.3% (1996); 22.0% (2004) and 38.7% (2010). In 2012, for instance, the poverty crisis in  Nigeria varied by geopolitical zones, segment and sex, and impacted Nigerian adolescence, children and mothers more than the adult male population. Poverty levels also vary widely across the country’s geo -  political zones. The proportions of the population in these zones that were ‘food poor’ in 2010 were: North - Central (38.1%),  North - East (51.5%), North - West (51.8%), South - East (41.0%), South - South (35.5%), and South - West (25.4%). RESEARCH METHOD   This paper presents a study conducted in the north Eastern part of Nigeria, Nigeria is divided into six geo -  political zones; North East, North Central, North West, South East, South West and South - South zones, for political and administrative convenience. However, the effect of urban poverty in the North - East geo -  political has been identified and some policy recommendations based on the observed gap. Secondary sources were used to collect the data for the study. The observed trend and dimension of the excruciating poverty nature and consequences of such on the people within the geo -  political zone influences the need for the study in this respect. Journals, books, government reports and newspaper articles, were the sources of information used for this paper. This paper adopted a qualitative research design method. The data collected was analysed and presented in a thematic form.   RESULTS AND DISCUSSION    Multi  - dimensional character of poverty   Poverty, particularly in terms of the danger and susceptibility of those that are poor has emerged at a time when poverty reduction has become an important aspect of the national economic and social policy mix in many developing countries. Sen (1999) defined poverty to mean “failure to achieve basic capabilities   such as being adequately nourished, living a healthy life, possession of skills to participate in economic and social life”, access in taking part in communal programmes and events as an example. This poverty concept forms the basis for the generalization of poverty being a “multi–dimensional phenomenon. Although, the capabilities framework offers many advantages over the income/consumption conceptualization, yet it is argued that it requires a greater variety of data and that no consensus exists on how capability deprivation at the household level is to be computed. The annals of World Development Report (World Bank, 2001) adds education and health in the conceptualisation of the poverty concept as well as voiceless and powerless.   Wood (2003) perceives poverty as an economic condition denying one from having access to provision of the most rudimentary needs like; food, clothing, and housing. He however suggests that poverty alleviation at the rural areas have the tendency of reducing immigration, thus helping to reduce poverty in both rural and urban communities. The phenomenon of poverty being multidimensional in characterisation; suggesting that poverty reduction drives must be multi - focused and show extensive and diverse scopes. Way out of rural poverty should have a convergence across diverse disciplines and must include economic, communal,  political and institutional factors. He however perceived the household structure with some other socio environmental cum emotional problems which throw families in distress, as among the causal features to  poverty, whereas poverty is actually a bye product of “urban population explosion” in less developed economies. (Fotso, 2006; Ogwumike, 2002).   Magnitude, vicissitudes and remedies    Asian Journal for Poverty Studies 5(1): 15 -  24 (2019) 17   Urban poverty is revealing because of the symbiotic affiliation between “downward pressure on lower income wages, economic pressures” with social and emotional challenges of families in the context of fast urbanization. Poverty being multi - dimensional in character, knows no physical boundary. Among its fundamental characteristics is the absence or weak purchasing power, exposure to risk, undernourishment, higher death rate, low life expectancy, and inadequate means to socio - economic facilities, with little or few  prospects for “income generation” (Morenike, 2008). The measurement of poverty as opined by Ajakaiye & Adeyeye (2001) must be focused to: (i) establish a benchmark to use for determining an average standard of living; (ii) agree and select a cut - off poverty mark, which divorces poor from those with less or without poverty, (probably indicating in numerical terms the number of those that are really poor); (iii) account for the records of the distribution of an average livelihood among the poor; and lastly, (iv) present an evaluation of poverty situation after a pre - determined period of time, among the afflicted groups, individuals, or even states. Lastly poverty alleviation policies should be guided and tracked. Furthermore, they opined that, features of quantifying poverty include; “Monotonicity axiom; The transfer axiom”; establishing the standard of living dispersal to those with poverty while ensuring the processes are “addictively decomposable” by the subgroup of the populace.   Even though the country is enormously blessed both in terms of human, agricultural, and economic resources, the level of poverty within her shorelines contradicts Nigeria’s abundance of wealth (Obadan, 2001). Ogwumike (2002) in the same light confirms this view point and showed that the number of families and or homes, recognized to be poor in Nigeria is on the rise. There seems to be a positive correlation between  poverty and levels of educational attainment (Ogwumike, 2002; Wood, 2003). When the educational levels of households are low, poverty levels of the households tend to be higher , which may likely affect negatively the livelihood generally of residents. Urban poverty in a society is another contributing “force” to educational attainment in terms of school’s quality and employment status (Ludwig et al., 2001) with the high possibility of undesirable consequences on the condition of housing units, preserved for the urban residents. Shinn & Gillespie (1994) Posits that the roots of homelessness are poverty and shortage of affordable housing. However, they further reiterate that, the increase in “low - income households” compared with affordable housing units results to homelessness of many of the households.   Urban poverty phenomenon   Attributing the multidimensional classification of poverty, it has been observed that, it is the poor that suffers from its scourge, like; employment access, suitable housing and reasonable services, social security, poor health service delivery, schools and other personal social security. Cumulative deprivation is the most common features and characteristics of poverty in the urban area. It is, however, related most closely with the ownership of assets. Assets reduces the vulnerability of people to poverty. Soyombo (1987) for instance, opined that “urbanization and poverty states” were the first depriving issue for the dwellers of the urban centers. Emphasizing that situations like high population density and the astronomical growth rate, unemployment, and high prices of goods and services, contribute to the impoverishment of an average urban dweller. Looking at the rate of growth within the urban hubs in Nigeria, he opined that the rate of urban population growth is higher than what urban facilities could cope with and cater for. Also, that, despite the harsh realities of urban centers, a lot of people roam the streets in urban centers, pursing jobs opportunities that can hardly come by, thus stretching the little available facilities to their limits and putting up demands far in excess of accessible goods and services thereby making impacts on prices to sky rocket. These, therefore, increase the urban problems and creating a situation of either “shared poverty” or “subsistence urbanization”  by those who found themselves in the urban centers, contingent upon the fortunate relatives.   Babanyara et al. (2010) opined that urban poverty has a positive correlation with income dispersal within the urban economic arrangements. There is an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities between socio - economic subgroups within institutional inadequacies, which in effect, brings about unsatisfactory involvement cum representation in the city and regional political process, together with the problematic and malfunctioning bureaucracy (Babanyara et al., 2010). Oyesiku (2000) also asserts that, the phenomenon of urban poverty is a multiplier effect of the absence of “income and opportunities to generate income”, the dearth in providing goods, deprivation and absence of rights and of equal opportunity to partake in undertaking social and political decisions, inadequate competence, and social and economic segregation barriers.  Sambo and Mshelia 18  Asian Journal for Poverty Studies 5(1): 15 -  24 (2019) He asserted further, that the poverty mark in Africa differs between the affluent states in the Northern and Southern sub - regions of the African continent. Nonetheless, city dwellers should have certain minimum levels of basic servicers and infrastructure together with some basic environmental access.   Urban poverty in Nigeria   Oluwemimo (2007) reported that poverty includes being exposed to polluted environments, being at risk of unlawful persecution, ailments, and health hazards in urban centers. Statistics available have shown that the percentage of poor people in Nigeria by geo -  political zones, urban and rural sectors, family size, sex of head of household, and education (NBS, 2012). Additionally, UNDP (2018) has positioned  Nigeria 157th out of 189 countries with respect to the UN Human Development Index (UNHDI). Likewise, the percentage of the country’s population living under the poverty line has fallen from 70 percent in 1999 to 54% in 2005. More than 50 % of the population survives on less than US$1/day (IMF 2007). This translates into approximately 80 million Nigerians living in poverty (DFID 2004).   Table 1 shows the percentage representation the index of poverty according to the geopolitical zones in the country. The food poor covers the population without food to eat; the absolute poor those that have no income and no access to any job; and the relative poor; those with income below the deal standard set. Those living on a dollar per day constitutes more than half of the population.   Table 1. Incidence of poverty per Zones using different poverty measures (%)   Zone   Food poor    Absolute poor    Relative poor    Dollar per day    North Central   38.6   59.5   67.5   59.7    North East   51.5   69.0   76.3   69.1    North West   51.8   70.0   77.7   70.4   South East   41.0   58.7   67.0   59.2   South - South   35.5   55.9   63.8   56.1   South West   25.4   49.8   59.1   50.1   Source: National Bureau of Statistics (2010)   Table 2 shows the general poverty level status based on relative and absolute levels of poverty between the geo -  political zones with the highest and that with the lowest levels in percentage. The North - West and the North - East geo -  political zones has almost same absolute poverty levels of 70% and 69.0%, respectively. The South West geo -  political zone has the lowest both in terms of absolute and relative levels of poverty. It is clear from the table that the North - East geo -  political zones is poverty stricken.   It is sure that if half of the population lives on a dollar per day, and almost 70% of the population living on a dollar per day within the North - east geopolitical zone, certainly it is a source of a serious concern. Such hungry and angry population will be likely be subjected to various political and social manipulations. Because the nexus between poverty and crime, in particular have mutually reinforcing relationship, as confirmed by many studies (Goswami, 2014; Draman, 2003; Raleigh, 2010) as reasons for the recurrence of civil conflicts along tribal and religious lines in poor countries such as Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, Myanmar, Syria, Haiti and Nigeria (Khan & Cheri, 2016). Table 2.   The highest and lowest poverty level in Nigeria by selected geo -  political zone (%)   Poverty Level   Highest   Lowest   Geo -  political zone    North West    North East   South West   Relative poverty   77.7   76.3   59.1   Absolute Poverty   70.0   69.0   49.8   Source: NBS Press Briefing on Nigeria Poverty Profile 2010 Report      Magnitude, vicissitudes and remedies    Asian Journal for Poverty Studies 5(1): 15 -  24 (2019) 19   Causes of poverty in Nigeria   The problems confronting Nigerian cities have resulted largely because urbanization has not been matched  by the growth of resources to tackle these problems or think ahead of them. This mismatched between rate of urbanization and growth of resources is the root cause of the numerous problems facing Nigerian cities today. The problem of inadequate resources to manage the cities is complicated by the problem of:   1.   Declining economic fortunes which results from external and internal economic crises. Like other third world states, Nigeria, is a debtor nation and in terms of macroeconomic stability is very weak, urban areas are most affected by economic slowdown which in turn, left residents with shortage of public infrastructure in addition to the “poorly maintained public” services;   2.   The trickle - down model for development which focused developmental projects and programmes at the urban centers, have a multiplier effect of forcing migration activities to the urban centers from the rural areas, which all have its dire consequences on poverty and development.   3.   Constant regime changes and lack of good governance did not enable the leaders to make long term visionary development planning that could have pull together the potentials of cities in national development plans;   4.   Lack of transparency and accountability in governance that has encouraged corruption at a very high levels that dissipates the little resources that could have been used to manage the cities.    Nigeria’s poverty profile   The substantial reliance of Nigeria's economy on oil, institutes almost all its exports and budgetary incomes. In 1973, for instance, the first oil “shock brought a dramatic positive impact” on most of the states’ economic indicators; real income per head, private consumption and real wages rose abruptly. This, thereby increasing income disparities, especially amongst urban and rural dwellers, and primarily as a result of “oil booms and their spin - offs” (Anusionwu and Diejomoah, 1981). 13year later (1973 - 1985) the economic conditions of vulnerable Nigerians became worst largely for reasons of decrease in the global  prices of oil. Oil boom “contributed to a large appreciation of the Naira (Nigerian currency)” thereby having a negative effect on the economic sectors, particularly agriculture. The government then, adopted in 1986, a “structural adjustment Programme”. The Naira depreciation and with the growing oil prices in 1990’s improved the economy, thereby translating to real growth in the country’s GDP of 5% average growth  between 1986 and 1992. According to the (World Bank, 1996), by 1994 real income per head and consumption were hardly above levels in 1971. There was reported poverty severity resulting to absolute poverty between 1985 and 1992. It shows in the decrease in figures, thus from 39 million people to 34.7 million inhabitants from the periods of 1985 and 1992. That of the extreme poor raise to 10million to 13.9 million. Negative Income disparities between the entire population increased to 0.449 in 1992 from 0.387 in 1985 (World Bank, 1996).   Figure 1 depicts poverty levels in Nigeria between 1980 to 2012, in a published paper titled, “Child Begging: Poverty and Misgovernance as a Causal Factor in Northern Nigeria”. This data was adopted from the table presented and converted it into a graphical illustration and presented herein above. It is clear that from the data above, poverty was on the increase from a lower percentage in the 1980s to a higher percentage in 2012. The discourse is in line with the poverty profile in Nigeria, as analysed by the World Bank.    Nature and dimension of poverty in Nigeria   From the records of National Bureau of Statistic (NBS, 2005), resulting from the Nigeria Living Standard Survey 2004, brought to the bare of the numerous natures, magnitudes, and appearances of the  poor. The account provided slide indication on some of the poverty measurement methods and procedures and other dimensions, as discussed above. Relative poverty measures   the national frequency of relative  poverty, which increased gradually both between1980 -  1985 and between 1992 -  1996. We witnessed  based on the report, the drop of national incidence of relative poverty, from 65.6 percent in 1966 -  54.4  percent in 2004, thus, representing 11.2 percent downward reduction over the given period.
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