1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women, and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected.
-United Nations Millennium Declaration, September 2000
No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable
- Adam Smith, 1776.
The poverty question is a global phenomenon. It is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing Mankind today, especially in most parts of the developing world. This Perhaps explains why the eradication of poverty was listed as the first of the eight issues of the millennium development goals. The problem of poverty is more disturbing giving the fact that there is abundant and enormous wealth in the world to adequately meet the needs of every one. Poverty may be defined as a condition of lack and inability to meet adequately the basic needs of life such as Shelter, food, education and health care. Similarly, according to a United Nations statement:
Poverty is a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society.
It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a
school or clinic to go to; not having the land on which to grow one’s food
or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means
insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and
communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living
on marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or
sanitation.(UN,2008 quoted in Ucha,2010).
In other words, the problems of poverty is more worrisome in Sub-Saharan Africa with 47.5% of the people living on less than $1.25 and 70% living on less than $2 per day in Sub-Sahara Africa (World Bank, 2008).The figure may have become worse considering the drought that hit parts of horn of (East) Africa in 2011 and the problem of maladministration or poor governance bedeviling the region. In Nigeria the high level of corruption, poor leadership has contributed to exacerbate the problem of poverty. Ucha, 2010 puts it thus: “Unemployment, corruption, non diversification of the economy, income inequality, laziness and a poor educational system can be considered to be some of the key factors contributing to poverty in Nigeria”(p.46).
Given the fact that Nigeria is a country with rich human and natural resources, it is disturbing that majority of her citizens are still very poor. The government has over the years formulated a lot of programs and policies geared towards poverty reduction; however it remains a controversy whether those programs and policies have actually achieved their desired objectives.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Existing literatures on poverty corroborates the fact that poverty is growing rather than abating in Nigeria. For instance, according to a recent data released by the national bureau of statistics (NBS), as at 2010, 69.0% of Nigerians (112 million people) were living in poverty an increase from 54.4% in 2004(see table 1.2.1).
Table 1.2.1: Poverty Incidence in Nigeria (1980-2010)
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Similarly, The World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Monitoring Program, in its 2012 progress report on drinking water and sanitation, has ranked Nigeria third behind China and India on the list of countries with the largest population without access to improved drinking water. The report that covered the period from 1990 to 2010 added that 66million Nigerians lack access to pure drinking water ‘while 34 million, about 20 per cent of the country’s population practiced open defecation’(Okpi, 2012).
In view of the following, the government of Nigeria has over the years especially after the promulgation of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) (a reform program aimed at restructuring and diversifying the economy initiated by the Babangida administration) in 1986 formulated a series of programs and policies towards ameliorating poverty. Some of these programs includes: Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Peoples Bank, National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) and the Micro- credit/finance scheme. Of all the schemes stated above, the micro-finance scheme was vigorous pursued and promoted by the government as an instrument of poverty reduction through the delivery of specific and adequate credits to the poor to enable them fulfill their goals, reduce unemployment, and contribute to national development(Asemota,2010;FRN, 2001).
The micro-finance regulatory framework was first formulated in 2005 to replace all existing community banks and micro-finance institutions and mandating them to convert to micro-finance banks and was required to have a mandatory minimum capital of 20million Naira about $125,000 (CBN, 2005).
This research work is aim at exploring how well the micro-finance banks have contributed to poverty reduction in Nigeria. Specifically, focus will be on beneficiaries of micro-credits from selected MFB’s in Benin metropolis and how it has impacted on their socio-economic advancement.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the impact of micro-finance on poverty reduction in Nigeria using selected micro-finance banks in Benin Metropolis as case study.
The specific objectives are as follows:
1. To find out the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of beneficiaries of microfinance loans in Benin Metropolis.
2. To examine the impact of micro-finance scheme on the living standard and wellbeing of the beneficiaries
3. Examine the possible constraints/ challenges faced by beneficiaries in accessing loans from MFB’s
4. To find out the policy, regulatory and supervisory frameworks which guide micro-finance banks in Nigeria
5. Based on the findings of 1 to 4 above recommend policy objectives and other ways to improve the performance of micro-finance development in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
This study intends to answer the following research questions:
1. What are the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of micro-finance scheme beneficiaries in the study area?
2. What impact does micro-finance have on poverty reduction and wellbeing of the beneficiaries
3. What are the policies, regulatory and supervisory frameworks which guide micro-finance banks in Nigeria?
4. What are the constraints faced by beneficiaries of micro-finance scheme.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There has been an intensive global awareness of the impact of microfinance on poverty reduction in recent years. This growing awareness results from the increasing level of global poverty and how it can be curtailed. The successes of the Gramaen Bank which was founded in 1976 in alleviating poverty in Bangladesh and the subsequent award of a Nobel Peace Prize on the bank and the founder, Mohamed Yunus in 2006 have drawn more attention on the usefulness of microfinance as an important anti poverty instrument. Not surprising, the world leaders in inaugurating the millennium development goal pinpoint microfinance as one important tool that would help in actualizing the first goal of halving poverty by 2015. Governments, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) alike have committed huge financial and human resources in microfinance institutions across especially the developing world towards actualizing this laudable goal.
A study of this nature which dwells on the importance of micro-finance scheme on poverty reduction no doubt will contribute immensely to growing literatures on microfinance and poverty. And the recommendations will be helpful to appropriate government agencies and institutions in fighting and reducing poverty in Nigeria and elsewhere.
1.6: DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
Poverty: A condition of acute deprivation preventing a person from living a life of adequate wellbeing.
Microfinance: Microfinance is defined as the process whereby small loans and credits including other financial products are especially provided to the poor people in the society to enable them engage in micro business/enterprises and other profitable ventures.
Benin Metropolis: A metropolitan city comprising three Local government areas(Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba- Okha) located in the Edo State, South- South of Nigeria
Microfinance Institutions: Are specialized financial institutions set up for the purpose of providing loans to poor people and low income earners for the purpose of micro business.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This chapter focuses on the review of relevant literatures on poverty and microfinance and also the theoretical framework.
2.1 DEFINITION AND MEANING OF POVERTY
Poverty is a symptom of an improper society; the people are the victims
-Mohammed Yunus, 2011
Perhaps, one of the most contentious and serious problems facing humanity today is that of poverty. Poverty may include an inability to meet ones physical needs and other kinds of deprivations ranging from people’s lack of housing/ shelter, medical care, education including clothing and physical wellbeing, (Shillington et al, 2009; O’Boyle, 1991; Jitsuchon, 2001). Defining the concept of poverty in absolute terms is in fact difficult because there is no consensus measure or single meaning of poverty and defining who is poor (Rosenfield, 2010; Spicker, 1999; Akindola, 2009). However, some definitions are worth viewing.
According to O’ Boyle (1991, p.1) “Poverty is a problem in unmet human physical needs. That is persons and families in poverty lack the goods and services needed to sustain and support life and the income to purchase the goods or services which would meet those needs. Weisfeld & Andrzejewski (2008) distinguished between two types of poverty; vis-à-vis income poverty and human poverty. According to them, income poverty is based on the understanding or defining of poverty in monetary income terms, this measure popularly used by the World Bank and the United Nations (UN) is regarded as the poverty line method. According to World Bank, this means that people living on less than $1.25 are in extreme poverty, while those living on less than $2 per day are in moderate poverty. In other words, human poverty includes material deprivation of people. This includes lack of basic needs of life like housing/ shelter, clothing, proper diet and other social deprivations such as “denial of employment, participation in social institutions and education” (Weisfeld & Andrzejewski 2008, p. 2). The World Bank 2000 explained poverty as follows;
Poverty is hunger, lack of shelter, being sick and not being able to see a doctor, not having access to school and not knowing how to read and write, not having a job, fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom from servitude. Poverty is living in abject squalour and hopelessness (World Bank 2000, p. 52).
According to Townsend (2010, p. 99), poverty is defined by an inadequate resources of people which “fall seriously short of the resources commanded by the average individual or family in the community in which they live, whether that community is local, national or international one”. For the World Health Organization (WHO):
Poverty is associated with the undermining of a range of key human attributes including health. The poor are exposed to greater personal and environmental health risks; they are not well nourished, have less information and are less able to access health care. They thus have a higher risk of illness and disability…, The poorest of the poor around the world have the worst health (WHO, 2012).
This definition explains succinctly the devastating health consequences and risks associated with poverty. In a similar vein, the United Nations (UN), defines poverty as “a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs including food, health, shelter, education, and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services (UN, 1999: 57; quoted in Spicker 1999, p. 232).
Further more, Spicker (1999), opined that poverty has different meanings ‘linked through a series of resemblances’, he identified 12 clusters of meanings to poverty. The first is that poverty is a ‘material concept’, which means that people are poor because they lack the basic needs of life like shelter, food, clothing and water. The second meaning is that poverty is a pattern of deprivation; by this he means that it is not just as a result of lack of needs but the ‘pattern of deprivation’ and duration of time in which the deprivation persists. The third meaning is that poverty is associated with limited resources; that is, the unavailability of adequate income and resources to meet ones ‘essential needs’. This is particularly true of Nigeria because for instance, there are poor people that can barely afford to pay for transportation to the hospital even if they would get free medical care/service. The fourth definition or meaning according to Spicker is that poverty is as a result of one’s economic circumstances caused by low disposable income. Similarly, the fifth meaning sees poverty as a result of low standard of living of individuals or families falling below acceptable standard or level. Inequality is the sixth meaning of poverty. According to Spicker, people are said to be poor because ‘they are disadvantaged when compared to others in the society’ who are living in wealth and opulence. The seventh meaning which is similar to the sixth is that poverty is defined in terms ones socio-economic class and position in the society. According to Spicker, the social stratification of the society placed some members in a higher position/class and others in lower position/class that have poor means of livelihood and have little or nothing to cater for their needs.
Similarly, dependency, lack of basic security and exclusion are the eighth, ninth and tenth meaning of poverty. The eleventh meaning is Lack of Entitlements; according to Spicker, people are poor and hungry not because there is no food, but because they cannot afford to buy the food that exists. The twelfth and last meaning of poverty according to Spicker is that it is a moral judgment. Piachaud, 1981 quoted in Spicker, 1999 puts it thus; “poverty consists not just of hardship but of unacceptable hardship…, it carries with it an implication and moral imperative that something should be done about it. Its definition is a value judgment and should be clearly seen to be so”. The twelve clusters of meaning of poverty have to do more with the way the term is used by different people ‘rather than with the elements of definitions’ (Spicker 1999, p. 238).
Shillington, et al (2009, p. 2) defined poverty as “a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities; choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic; political and social rights”. For our purpose, poverty is defined as a condition of acute deprivation preventing a person from living a life of adequate wellbeing.
The following different definitions bring to fore the different perspectives and understanding of what the concept of poverty is all about. As a result, it will be germane to further espouse on the meaning of this concept of poverty by explaining four different approaches which are; Monetary Approach, Capability Approach, Social Exclusion Approach and Participatory Approach. These approaches serve as a clarification to the various definitions above and also provides an ‘alternative understanding’ of poverty or who is poor? (See Laderchi, Saith,& Stewart 2003).
The monetary approach to the understanding of poverty is mostly used by economics to define and measure poverty. This approach sees poverty as a phenomenon caused by lack of adequate monetary finance to meet the daily needs of life. It is popularly called the “Poverty Line” method.
The monetary approach originated from the famous works of Booth and Rowntree in their different studies of London and York in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century respectively. But Rowntree’s work on the survey of York which was undertaken starting from 1899 is generally believed to be the first major scientific study of poverty. According to Laderchi (2006), this research work of Rowntree is “generally described as the first scientific study of poverty mostly because of the high level of sophistication he applied in deriving a modern poverty line and in particular in estimating the minimal food requirements for maintaining efficiency on the basis of recently calculated nutritional standards. Such minimal requirements, together with those necessary for the purchase of clothing and rent, were added up to identify a poverty line, so that households whose income level fell below it were deemed to be in primary poverty” (Laderchi 2006,p. 6).
The Monetary approach has always been used to define and explain poverty in Nigeria; the understanding and definitions by most writers in Nigeria are usually focused on deprivation, inadequacy, consumption and income (Ugiagbe, 2012). This concurs with Tella 1997 (quoted in Ugiagbe 2012, p. 16), “people are poverty stricken when their incomes even if adequate for survival, fall radically behind that of the community… They are degraded, for in the literal sense they live outside the grades or categories which the community regards as acceptable (standard of living)”. Critics of the monetary approach believe that the definition of poverty around a single approach of monetary consideration is not sufficient. Laderchi (2000, pp. 3) puts it thus;”The main problem with the identification of the monetary approach as an analytical category is that different conceptual reconstructions might underlie similar practices, so that equating them with one homogeneous category is not only artificial but possibly misleading” Another problem with the monetary approach is that it focused too much on the ‘material aspects’ of poverty (income and consumption) and neglected the non material aspects which includes ‘quality of life, quality health and educational attainment’ (Odusola, 1997).
The capability approach was pioneered/originated famously from the works of an India scholar and noble price winner for economics Amartya Sen. The capability approach differs from the monetary approach that focus specifically on real income, wealth and consumption as explanations of poverty. This approach is concerned with evaluating a person’s ‘actual ability to achieve various functioning’s’ as part of a daily living. (Sen 1993, p.30).
The main tenets of the capability approach is that people should have the capability and freedom to do what they are effectively able to do , and also to live the type of life they are capable of living(Sen 1993, 1983,1985;Robeyns 2005;Laderchi, Saith & Stewart 2003). Consequently, the approach sees poverty as the result of lack of capability by the poor to be able to achieve a state of ‘adequate wellbeing’. This approach focused on some important functioning and the corresponding basic capabilities a person should have. Some of which includes; the ability to be well nourished, well sheltered and the ‘capability of escaping avoidable morbidity and premature mortality’ (Sen, 1993,p. 31).
According to Sen (1993), human capabilities are an important aspect of human freedom and that a person’s capability depends on different factors which includes ‘personal characteristics and social arrangement’. In relation to poverty for instance, factors like high level of inequality and the failure of some individuals to properly situate themselves in a good position in the society may impair their capability and freedom to live a better life. Similarly, he criticized the monetary approach and explained that the approach can be incorrect and ‘misleading’ in the ‘identification and evaluation of poverty’. Hence he opined that the problem of establishing and measuring poverty can be resolved much easily if a minimum ‘combination of basic capabilities are identified’ and that this can produce a different result entirely compared to when monetary approach that focus on some certain income criteria is used (Sen 1993, p.40).
SOCIAL EXCLUSION APPROACH
The social exclusion approach originated from Western Europe in the 1970’s. The approach was developed to explain the level of deprivation and marginalization that existed in wealthy nations that had good welfare provisions for the poor in the society. The term social exclusion was first used in 1974 by Rene Lenoir, a French sociologist and the then French secretary of state for social action in government. He used the term to describe people who did not fit into the principles and norms of the industrial societies that were excluded from social insurance and tagged as ‘social misfits’. The people that fall into this category according to him includes; the handicapped, drug users, delinquents and the aged. (Laderchi, Saith & Stewart 2003,p. 20).
According to the European Union, Social Exclusion is defined as a ‘process through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live’ (European Foundation 1995, quoted in Laderchi, Saith & Stewart 2003, p.20). This definition ‘echoes’ the work of Townsend. For him, ‘poverty is not an absolute state, it is relative deprivation’ (Townsend 2010, p. 99). He explained that people in the society are rich or poor depending on the share of the societal resources that is available to them.
The social exclusion approach with its focus on deprivation and marginalization adequately explains the poverty situation in Nigeria which affects more women and children. For instance, the 2007 UNICEF situational assessment and analysis of poverty in Nigeria lays credence to the fact of social and economic discrimination against women and children. According to the report, women and children make up 77 percent of the total population of people in poverty that year. The report also added that the estimated population of children in poverty is far greater than the combined population of both men and women in poverty. This is pointer to the fact that the rights of both women and children are still being greatly violated and consequently remain socially excluded and marginalized in the general societal arrangements in Nigeria.
The major difference between this theory and the previous ones (Monetary and Capabilities) is that the social exclusion approach focus more on the structural characteristics and more specifically on the marginalization of the (poor) socially excluded people in the society. The two previous approaches failed to lay emphasis on the socio-political and economic arrangements that contribute to deprive the poor people in the society access to basic needs that are ‘fundamental to their overall wellbeing’(Ugiagbe 2012). Laderchi, Saith & Stewart concurs to this. They put it thus; “Social Exclusion is socially defined, and is often a characteristics of groups –the aged, handicapped, racial or ethnic categories - rather than pertaining to individuals” (Laderchi, Saith & Stewart 2003, p. 21).
The participatory approach to the understanding of poverty emerged from the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) research work pioneered by Robert Chambers in 1994. This approach is a great departure from the three approaches explained above. It criticized the other approaches and noted that it was imposed from outside without seeking the views of the poor themselves. The main focus of this approach is to change this pattern and get the poor involved by seeking their views in ascertaining the true meaning of poverty and the problems associated with being poor and also having a say in ameliorating their plight (Chambers 1994; 1997).
Chamber, in pioneering the PRA was greatly influenced by Paulo Freire’s book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968). According to Chambers, the PRA have ‘three prescriptive ideas’ which are as follows: First is that poor people are creative and capable, can and should do much of their own investigation, analysis and planning. Secondly, that outsider has roles as conveners, catalysts and facilitators. Lastly, that the weak and marginalized can and should be empowered (Chambers 1994, p. 954).
Similarly, for any poverty reduction strategy to work successfully it must address the problems and needs identified by the poor themselves. This is necessary because their involvement and participation in promulgating and implementing poverty reduction strategies largely makes it possible for their knowledge to be used. Hence ‘participation is deemed to be the life-blood of contemporary poverty alleviation and rural development efforts’ (Chisinga 2003, p.131-132).
One major concern or problem about the participatory approach is that the poor most times are shy to talk about their plight to other people. Field work experiences have proved this assertion right. Most poor people do not really tell the true state of their situation, they rather prefer to be quiet (Dodson & Schmalzbauer, 2005). As Scott 1990 puts it;”people confined to social margins maybe reluctant to tell what they know because they understand doing so as giving information to the enemy (Quoted in Dodson & Schmalzbauer 2005, p. 950).
In sum, the following according to Maxwell (2009, p.1) summarizes how poverty is being generally described by different authors and approaches; Income or consumption poverty, Human (under)development, Social exclusion, Ill-being, (Lack of) capability and functioning, Vulnerability, Livelihood un-sustainability, Lack of basic needs and Relative deprivation.
2.2 MEASUREMENT OF POVERTY
The concept of poverty is very complex. Hence, the measurement is very crucial to determining the kind of method or ‘intervention strategies’ to be adopted in reducing poverty. Maxwell (2009) posits that “measuring poverty is not the same as understanding why it occurs” (p.1).
As explained earlier, ‘Modern scientific’ measurement of poverty emanates from the 19th and early 20th century work of Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree in their different studies of London and York respectively (Ringen, 2009; Laderchi, C. R. 2000; Laderchi, Saith,& Stewart 2003). According to Coudouel, Hentschel, & Wodon, (2002) measuring poverty requires three major ‘ingredients’. The first is to ‘choose the relevant dimension and indicator of wellbeing’. The second is to choose a ‘poverty line’ and lastly to ‘select a poverty measure to be used for reporting’ for the entire population (p. 30).
Firstly, wellbeing includes monetary and non monetary dimensions. The monetary dimension which according to them is quantitative includes income and consumption. While income have to do with the amount of money available to an individual or household when compared with other members of the society, consumption reflects the goods and services an individual or household ‘command’ or consume based on available income. The non monetary dimension measures other aspects of individual and family wellbeing ‘like health, nutrition, and literacy and with deficient social relations; insecurity, low self esteem and powerlessness (Coudouel, Hentschel, & Wodon 2002, p. 32). The second ingredient is choosing a poverty line. Poverty line they defined as ‘cutoff points in separating the poor from non poor. They can be monetary or non monetary’ and there are ‘two main ways of setting poverty lines- Relative and Absolute poverty lines’(Ibid, p.33). Relative poverty line defines the position of the poor in relation to other members of the society while absolute poverty relates to those people who do not have sufficient income to afford a minimum level of nutrition and basic needs based on estimates of the cost of basic food needs (Devas, 2004).The last ingredient after defining ‘wellbeing’ and choosing a poverty line according to Coudouel, Hentschel & Wodon, (2002) is to choose a poverty measure to be used for the entire population. This involves a ‘statistical function that translates the compared indicator of household well-being and the chosen poverty line into one aggregate number for the entire population or population sub-group’ (p. 34).
The poverty line method is mostly used by the World Bank in the measurement of global poverty. However, some observers and researchers alike have accused the World Bank of underestimating poverty by using its $1 per day line and opined that a higher amount should be used, while others have asked for the line to be reduced (Ravallion, 2003). This is a further proof that there is no consensus definition and measurement of poverty. Ringen (2009) have also criticized the monetary measurement of poverty noting that the income approach to poverty measurement has failed to produce results that ‘could be accepted as reliable’. He puts it thus:
“Income measures have turned out to be not persuasively sensitive to differences or changes in poverty. They have also turned out not to be robust as to the magnitude of poverty…, experiments show that minor variations in the specification and processing of income data often result in major variations in measurement results.
Finally, income measures have proved to not produce stable results that stand up to being tested against other evidence now included in the definition. The moment income data is supplemented with consumption or social indicator data, if only cautiously, measurement results tend to change strongly” (Ringen 2009, p. 3-4). One other major reason for the inadequacy of the ‘income/consumption based measures’ of poverty ‘is that these indicators relate to the means to achieve ultimate ends rather than the ends in themselves’ (Hulme,& McKay 2005, p. 4).
Other authors like Sen and Chambers have canvassed for a more qualitative and interdisciplinary approach to the measurement of poverty. These approaches goes beyond the economic growth model and looks at poverty in multidimensional ways covering all aspects of wellbeing including; capabilities, lack of freedom, and inability of the poor to participate in decision making and in the life of the community and lack of personal security(Sen 1985, 1993; Chambers 1994). Similarly, Sen’s capability approach and Chambers PRA gave a great impetus to the ‘bottom up approach’ in measuring poverty as they focused directly on the lives that people live and what they are capable of doing.
2.3 INCIDENCE OF POVERTY IN NIGERIA
It is true that poverty is a condition of deprivation affecting hundreds of million of people in the world today, and this phenomenon impedes adequate human development. Unfortunately, Nigeria according to the NBS 2010 data accounts for about 112 million of the World poor. Given the vast human and natural resources that Nigeria is endowed with, and the nation’s great economic potentials, poverty should not be a problem. In fact, the country should have no business with poverty. These endowments, if properly managed are capable of putting Nigeria among the richest countries of the world. Unfortunately, what occurs today is underdevelopment and massive poverty with the bulk of the countries wealth/resources residing in the hands of few elite’ class whom constitute an insignificant proportion of the country’s population (Omotola 2008; Oshewolo 2010; Chukwuma 2013).
The above picture reaffirms Omotola 2008, argument that the endemic and high level of poverty in Nigeria is a great betrayal of her rich resources and endowments. Hence this is described in Nigeria’s socio-political and economic ‘lexicon’ as a ‘bewildering paradox’ (Oshewo 2010).
Amakom (2008) records that poverty in Nigeria has many dimensions and includes ‘inadequate access to government utilities and services, environmental issues, poor infrastructure, illiteracy and ignorance, poor health, insecurity, social and political exclusion’ (quoted in Chukwuma, 2013, p. 2).Chukwuma, 2013 succinctly puts it thus: “The severity of poverty in Nigeria is most appreciated when viewed from its basic dimension. Rural deprivation in Nigeria constitutes one of the most basic dimensions of human misery, deprivations and poverty in the world. The poverty of rural dwellers in Nigeria is not because of lack of finance to lift them out of poverty, not because of lack of knowledge on how to go about curing the disease of poverty, but because of insincerity, corruption, cronyism and rent-seeking behaviors in governance” (Chuwuma 2013, p.3). Table 2.3.1 shows the severity of rural poverty.
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