The Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP 1997) defined poverty as deprivation and denial of choices and opportunities most basic to human development, as well as lack of the ability to make choices and use available opportunities purposefully (Africa News Service). Although poverty is a worldwide issue, Nigeria is a country that seems to be caught in its detrimental cycle. Many Nigerians are faced with the consequences of poverty: hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, life of misery and squalor, low life expectancy, socio-political insatiability, bribery and corruption, crime, violence, prostitution, alcoholism, drugs addiction, frustration despair, disillusionment, pessimism and moral decadence (African News Service).
d In Nigeria and other countries in the world there are many scenarios and leading factors that cause the scourge. According to the Africa News Service poverty at the domestic level is caused by having peregrinated through the disturbing scenarios of global poverty, it would be instructive at this juncture to mention the major factors behind the scourge. At domestic or national level, the factors include selfish governments with selfish priorities, economic mismanagement, corruption, embezzlement of public funds, failed economic reform initiatives like Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), inadequate social security programs to cushion the pains of economic and market reforms and social inequality and politics of exclusion. Other national factors informing poverty include low income, unimpressive level of investment in human capital (like in the areas of education, health and skill acquisition), inadequate provision of infrastructural facilities and social services, population explosion and social unrest (Africa News Service).
Nigeria, as well as numerous developing countries, has been inflicted by poverty. Sixty percent of Nigeria’s population is living in poverty (African News Service). Poverty in Nigeria is derived from hunger, homelessness, malnutrition, unemployment, economic decline, poor infrastructural development and little accessibility to social service. The lack of state supported social welfare has led to an infant mortality rate of 71 per 1,000 live birth and a life expectancy of 51 years (Encarta 2004).
The economic definition of poverty is typically based on income measures, with the absolute poverty line calculated as the food expenditure necessary to meet dietary recommendations, supplemented by a small allowance for nonfood goods However, many poverty researchers use a broader definition suggesting that “poor” means lacking not only material assets and health but also capabilities, such as social belonging, cultural identity, respect and dignity, and information and education.