IMPACTS AND SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF POVERTY AMONG RURAL DWELLERS IN NIGERIA
Background of the Study
Poverty is a major cause and effect of global environmental problems stated the influential Brundtland Commission [Brundtland, 2007] in a sentence that captures widely held beliefs: Poor people are often seen as compelled to exploit their surrounding for short-term survival and are assumed to be the ones most exposed to natural resources degradation. Despite these intuitively plausible statements, the debate on the characteristics of poverty-environment interaction has been likened to a puzzle [World Bank. 1997], where we possess several pieces, have identified some crucial links and features, but still lack the entire picture. Putnam[Putnam, 2003] describe social capital as the norms and networks and community level that create trust particularly in the rural sectors with escalating economic and social decline especially common poverty problem in rural in resent times, the need to develop networks and trust at local levels is viewed as essential to regenerate and revitalize.
Many people when they hear or read about the word poverty will automatically think and look at poverty as being simply a lack of money. This is partly true but for a better understanding of poverty it is necessary to go beyond this simple or common sense, definition of poverty. Poverty is much more than a simple lack of money. For example, if you were stranded on a desert island and you had several thousand dollars or pounds in cash, while those around you had things like food, clothing and shelter would be in poverty? You could not eat your money, nor could. Your fellow inhabitants might not even want your money, particularly if they believe that a rescue is not eminent. In such a situation , lack of money means equal poverty. This is, however, only part of the story with regard to poverty yet in order to understand poverty and inequality, we must probe beneath surface reality and go beyond the common sense explanation which is simply another for cliché. Absolute poverty refers to the situation in which a person lacks those things that help to sustain human life. The lack of basic human needs such as food, shelter and clothing. This form of poverty was once quite common in countries such as Britain and American but has since declined, particularly since the introduction of the welfare state. This form of poverty is still prevalent in many third world countries.
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. This could be evident even amidst plenty because there could be reeking poverty as a result of lack of knowledge to translate potentiality into practical creativity for the benefit of society.
In other words, if there is a poverty of something, it therefore means that there is a lack of it or the quality of it is extremely low. The foregoing shows the picture of our beloved country, especially when a deep reflection is made on the Nigerian question and the Nigerian condition. It is also so pathetic in the sense that the country that is potentially rich in oil and gas and other natural resources cannot boast of putting food on the tables of its citizens in fact an average Nigeria is said to be living below one dollar. Researcher has it that the foundation of most social vices and corrupt practices both in high and low places is caused by poverty. At present, Nigeria is rated as one of the poorest country of the world, a country with abundant resources both in human and mineral resources. It is as a result of this and other maladies that are experienced by the citizens of the world especially the third world countries that the United Nations in year 2000 in a meeting popularly referred to as millennium summit in the United State of America, arrived at the millennium development goals, (MDGs). According to UN the 189 members of this organization by 2015 are supposed to have met these goals. The nine goals have the “reduction of extreme poverty and hunger” as the first goal to be met by the stipulated year.
Statement of the problem
The widespread nature of poverty worldwide has been generating great concern for policy makers and development analysts since the last few decades. In Nigeria, the trend of poverty incidence increased in a very high rate. In Nigeria 54 percent of people lived relatively below poverty line of 2/3 of per capita households’ expenditure, while 22% lived below the extreme relative poverty line of 1/3 of per capita household expenditure in the year 2004 NBS (National Bureau of Statistics). Some of the factors responsible for this lie in the nature of socio-political and economic structures, which alienate and exclude the poor from decisions affecting their welfare. Programmes are set up from the top with huge overheads, which favour contractors, consultants and the cronies of those in power.
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