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15 Causes of Poverty in Nigeria

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines poverty as ‘ the state of being poor’, some have even described poverty as a state of mind.  In any definition, the common factor still revolves around a sense of lack. Poverty is evidenced by inability to provide for one’s basic human needs, that is, food, clothing and shelter.

Food refers to things that people or animals eat. Foods contain nutrients which is a necessity for growth and development of internal and external body parts as well as mental faculties. When the food is either unavailable, insufficient or there is a seeming lack of varieties, this results in food insecurity and imbalanced growth, for example, Kwashiorkor, an off shoot of poverty.

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Clothings are garments we put on for beauty, to cover our nakedness and protect from the weather elements. Clothes could be dresses, shirts, trousers, skirts, head gear, neck tie etc. A lack of good clothes or inappropriate wears  could expose and make one vulnerable to sicknesses. A natural human instinct is to seek warmth in cold by putting on warm wears but when one is unable to afford it, sicknesses such as pneumonia emerge.

15 Causes of Poverty in Nigeria

Shelter according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary is the fact of having a place to live or stay, considered as a basic human need. A structure built to give protection especially from the weather or from attacks. Shelter provides a measure of security from human and animal predators. Inability to provide this basic human need is an offshoot of poverty.

Apart from the above stated needs, other important needs such as good medical attention, possession of transport for the weak, physically challenged and the aged. Inability to purchase needed goods and services is poverty.

Read Also: 12 Tips to Beat Poverty amid Difficult Times

15 Causes of Poverty in Nigeria

Poverty or this case of lack is not limited to the level of individuals but also reaches the national level. It is caused by a variety of factors which include but are not limited to: Poor saving culture, poor knowledge of investment strategies, unemployment, corruption, violence, laziness, underutilization of resources, inequality, absence of economy diversification, education system.

1. Poor saving culture

Many Nigerians lack the discipline to put aside a percentage of their income as savings, spend less than they earn. Instead they prefer to spend as soon as they get paid, some even owe debts beyond their expected income.

The urge to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ makes them indulge in compulsive buying of expensive items so as to impress their peers.

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2. Poor Knowledge of investment strategies

A way to keep above the poverty line is investment. However, most people are unaware of legal and profitable investment options; as such they experience great loss, are duped or purchase liabilities in place of assets.

3. Unemployment

Not being engaged at a paying job, or an under paying job which does not cover even half of basic needs, less talk about luxuries or emergencies such as sudden ill health drains and leaves one in a ln almost perpetual state of poverty.

Read: 10 Ways to Reduce Unemployment in Nigeria

4. Corruption

This is evident in the diversion of resources allocated for beneficial projects into private pockets. The continuous tasks of the people to the government is not poured back to the society, but to select individual(s) private purses.

As a result, salaries are either not completely paid or not paid at all; amenities that should have aided economic growth and development are not provided. The rich end up getting richer and the poor get poorer.

Read: Effects of Corruption on Nigeria Economy and the Way Forward

5. Violence

Riots, States of emergencies, Wars, Embargoes etc these destroy lives and properties, bring all of one’s efforts to naught, limit the flow of trade and consequently low finance in the society.

6. Laziness

Many Nigerians are unwilling to put in the effort required for successful business. They prefer being spoon fed or do things only when it is convenient. This laziness also prevents them from going in search of jobs, or proper utilization and conversion of brain power to financial resources.

7. Underutilization of resources

Resources can be classified into human and natural resources, Nigeria possesses both in abundance. However, not maximizing these resources limits the wealth reach of the nation. Agricultural specialists may be found working in a bank, a case of placing square pegs in round holes.

Read Also: 4 Ways to Eradicate Poverty in Nigeria

8. Inequality

This menace segregates the populace into sections either by race or colour or maybe even gender. Those who happen to fall on the wrong side of the coin find difficulty in making ends meet as they would get sidelined.

9. Absence of economy diversification

Economic diversification involves utilizing and maximizing resources in the various sectors of the economy. Nigeria’s overdependence on the oil sector, has resulted in diminishing returns of that sector and neglect of other sectors. As such, Nigeria is at a stand still until it revives the dying ,neglected sectors.

10. Education system

The education system in Nigeria is one in which students are taught majorly theories, and knowledge forcefully shoved down the throats. Grades are awarded on the basis of how much the student is able to cram or replicate the lecturer’s words and actions and no room given to exercise new routes and other creative channels.

This leads to a regurgitation of previous experiments and failures. If students, who are regarded as the leaders of tomorrow, are not encouraged to tow the line of wealth creation but are constrained to ‘la cram, la pour’ that is, cramming and writing what is crammed, Nigeria will continue to teeter on the poverty line.

Read More: 5 Tips to Improve Nigerian Education

11. Lack of Access to Education

Education is a tunnel that opens doors of opportunities, and makes one eligible to apply for a number of well paying jobs as well as get a license to indulge in certain businesses. However, due to a lack of access to education, these doors of opportunities to step up the ladder of financial freedom is closed.

12. Mental Illness

A person who is healthy with functioning thinking faculties is the person who can reason ways to escape poverty. Due to a lack of proper psychiatric care, many have become loony and mad, making reasoning and wealth creation impossible.

13. Over Population

The population of the country outweighs its available resources and with the constant and rapid climb in numbers as shown by population censuses, comes increase in difficulty to cater for everybody.

Read Also: Nigeria Population and its Economic Significance

14. Sicknesses

When a person or a nation is plagued by sicknesses or epidemics, the primary focus would be to purchase drugs and medical attention. Sicknesses, hunger, and its attendants limits the mind’s concentration and weakens the body.

15. Political instability

Political instability in the country keeps the nation in a persistent state change. The economic policies of one government is hardly put in place before it is overthrown by another. A democratic government leaves ample room for growth unlike a military government which is stricter and chortles ideas.

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Jessica Ezenagu

Jessica Ezenagu is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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