This study investigates the impact of poverty alleviation programmes on the socio-economic lives of slum dwellers, a case study of Agege Area of Lagos State. Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting the population sample. A questionnaire was constructed from the hypothesis drawn out by the researcher and was used to elicit information with regard to the issues under investigation. Through this, data were collected and analyzed using statistical tools such as chi-square (X2) test and simple percentage frequency table. The findings showed among other things that there were divergent views about the impact of Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP) and other poverty eradication programmes on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. More so, the problems encountered during the programmes include: insincerity on the part of the contractors, inadequate sensitization, poor coordination, poor funding and others. In the light of these findings, some suggestions and recommendations were put forward by the researcher to aid government in tackling the issues raised in the research work, which only can be corrected by adequate funding by government political stability and continuity of programmes, proper evaluation of past programmes and why it either succeeded or failed could aid in ensuring the success of subsequent programmes, and finally the community should take the ownership of these programmes and provide a conducive environments for its execution in the interest of all.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social Sciences’ literature is replete with attempt by Economists and other Social Scientists to conceptualize the phenomenon. Poverty has economic, social and political ramifications. The poor are materially deprived, socially alienated and politically excommunicated. Basically, Poverty has been conceptualized in the following ways:
a. Lack of access to basic needs/goods and
b. Lack of access to productive resources.
Poverty as lack of access to basic needs/goods is essentially economic or consumption oriented. Thus the poor are conceived as those individuals or households in a particular society, incapable of purchasing a specified basket of basic goods and services. Basic goods as used here include; food, shelter, water, health care, access to productive resources including education, working skill and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions (Ajakaiye and Adeyeye 2001 in Gbosi, 2004). It is generally agreed that in conceptualizing poverty, low income or low consumption is its symptom. The level of poverty in Nigeria since the implementation of SAP in the 1980s has tremendously increased (UNDP Nigeria, 1998; FOS, 1999; World Bank, 1999).
The poverty profile in Nigeria showed that the incidence of poverty increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 43.6% in 1985 but declined to 42.7% in 1992 and rose again to 65.6% in 1996 (FOS 1999). Since 1990 the country has been classified as a poor nation. The UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI) for 2001 ranked Nigeria the 142nd with HDI of 0.40 among the poorest countries. From 1980-1996, the population of poor Nigerians increased four folds in absolute terms. The percentage of the core poor increased from 62% in 1980 to 93% in 1996 whereas the moderately poor only rose from 28.9% in 1992 to 36.3% in 1996 (FOS, 1999). The analysis of the depth and severity of poverty in Nigeria showed that the urban poor / rural areas were the most affected. Several reasons accounted for the situation viz;
a. The large concentration of the populace in the urban slum areas,
b. Many years of neglect of the urban slum areas in terms of infrastructural development and lack of adequate information on the way government is being run.
The CBN/World Bank study on poverty Assessment and Alleviation in Nigeria (1999) attested to the fact that the living and environmental conditions of those living in the urban slum areas have worsened. Urban poverty is also on the increase in the country. This has been attributed to the under provision of facilities and amenities which are already inadequate to match the growing demand of the urban populace as well as the rural-urban movement which has caused serious pressure on the existing infrastructural facilities. Concern about the problems as well as efforts made to eradicate or at least reduce them cannot be said to be new. While major reductions in poverty level have been made in developed countries, developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, have been battling with poverty, from one poverty alleviation programme to another eradication programme, but all to no avail.
The concern over increasing poverty levels in Nigeria and the need for its eradication as a means of improving the standard of living of the people has led to the conceptualization and implementation of various targeted or non-targeted poverty eradication and alleviation-programmes. Both the Nigerian government and donor agencies have been active in efforts in analyzing and finding solutions to the increase of poverty level. Government programmes and agencies designed to make impact on poverty include:
a. The Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (D.F.F.R.I).
b. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
c. The establishment of the Peoples Bank of Nigeria in 1989.
d. The Better Life Programme (BLP)
e. The Family Support Programme (FSP)
f. The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
g. National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).
h. The Nomadic and Adult Education Programme established in 1986
i. Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
And most recently, with the return of democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government embarked on poverty alleviation programme specifically, the government put up the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in the year 2000 which took off in 2001. It was aimed at eradicating absolute poverty and it consist of four schemes namely;
a. Youth Empowerment Scheme, Rural Infrastructures and Development Scheme
b. Social Welfare Services Scheme
c. Rural Resources Development and
d. Conservation Scheme.
To implement these programmes, the government placed emphasis on complementation, collaboration and coordination between the various tiers of government on the one hand and between government, Donor/Agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities on the other. A multi-agency implementation structure with coordination, monitoring and evaluating organ was introduced in order to ensure cost effective delivery target with optimal social benefit. Particularly this programme, NAPEP is being implemented in Nigeria till date. The questions arising from the implementation of NAPEP include:
a. Is poverty eradicating programme appropriate for Nigeria?
b. How has government’s concept of NAPEP affected its success?
c. How have NAPEP’s activities make impact on poverty reduction as a boost to economic development?
In spite of all the laudable efforts at addressing poverty, the problem still persist in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Today, poverty is widely addressed as a global problem. Poverty affects over four billion people. To this effect the United Nations declared 1996 the international year for the eradication of poverty and 1997-2006 a decade of poverty eradication. In pursuance of this target, government in both developed and developing countries became increasingly aware of the poverty problem and several development efforts to alleviate poverty therefore have been embarked upon world-wide. This study is aimed at finding out:
1. If the activities of poverty alleviation programmes have made positive impact on the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
2. If Poverty alleviation programmes negatively affected the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
Broadly, the objective of this study is to examine the impact of the Poverty Alleviation Programme on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Though this study uses Agege area of Lagos State as a case study, the conclusions derived shall be used to generalize on its impact on the whole country. The specific objectives include:
a. To assess whether Poverty Alleviation Programme has achieved its objectives of poverty eradication in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent have poverty alleviation programmes made positive impact on the socio-economic development of Nigeria?
2. How appropriate are some specific strategies designed to combat poverty while improving the socio-economic development of Nigerians (slum dwellers)?
1.5 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY
Ho: Poverty Alleviation Programme has not made any positive impact on the economic development of Nigeria.
H1: Poverty Alleviation Programme has made impact positively on the economic development of Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
To the masses this research work intends to publicise the activities and programmes of poverty alleviation, and how it has affected the well- being of Nigerians. To the Government and Policy-makers, it identifies and reveals the successes and failures, challenges and prospects of poverty alleviation programme and affords them the opportunity of designing and implementing a holistic approach, procedures and strategies and better ways of tackling this hydra- headed menace called, poverty. Also to the students and fellow researchers, it reveals the operations and the impact of poverty alleviation programme on the people. While it serves as an addition to the stock of knowledge, it also serves as a basis for further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the impact of Poverty Alleviation Programme on the Socio- Economic Development in Nigeria; A case study of Agege area of Lagos State.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Being a programme that has lasted for a long time, I had difficulties in assessing materials done in this area. Also combining this research work with my school work was very demanding. Financial constraints to a large extent also affected the way this work may have been carried out. Finally the secondary data used in this work cannot be qualitatively guaranteed by me as they were compiled by different bodies. With regards to the primary data, some respondents may not return their questionnaires while some may be damaged in the process.
1.9 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Poverty: It could be defined as a situation where ones income is too low to allow the purchase of goods and service that will satisfy its basic need and when it has no financial resources kept in the form of accumulated or acquired wealth.
Poverty Line: It is defined as the money cost of a given person at a given time and place of a reference level of welfare. The people who do not maintain this level is called the poor and those who do are not.
Poverty level: It is used to denote those living below the poverty line.
Respondents: These are people whom the research questionnaires were given to for responses.