10 Causes of Underdevelopment in Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populated Nation in Africa but is one of the most under developed Nations of the world, which means it should have developed to a greater extent than it is today.

Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be of concern the people in power and so Nigeria’s state is getting worse with inflation, recession, the Naira losing value and so on.

There are several factors responsible for the current status of development today and we will look at a few of them in this article to help us understand where the problem is coming from and then we can find a solution to it.

Read Also: Problems of Nigeria Development Plan and Possible Solutions

10 Causes of Underdevelopment in Nigeria
Underdevelopment in Nigeria – Photo Source:

Causes of Under Development in Nigeria

1. Corruption

Corruption is such a big issue in Nigeria that it is implicated in almost every problem that faces the nation. Political leaders who have access to finances meant for developmental project take the finances and convert it to their personal pockets.

In fact the senators that are given constituency allowance amounting to billions of Naira through a four-year term. As a result, infrastructural development has been hampered therefore causing under development in the country. Money released by the government for capital projects are diverted and projects are not completed.

In other cases, supervisors assigned to such projects accept bribes from the construction firms to allow them carry out substandard projects which will not last.

2. Unfavouable Condition for Business

One of the things that help to develop a nation is the number and quality of industries that are in it. Without the presence of good industries there can never be serious development.

Nigeria doesn’t have the requirements for running industries because industries need steady power supply which is hardly available. Water supply is also lacking so the cost of running industries is quite high.

This is discouraging especially for people getting into business for the first time. Stabilizing power supply in the country will help to encourage investors both within and outside the country.

Read Also: 10 Effects of Illiteracy on Nigeria National Development

3. Over Dependence on Oil

Nigeria depends so much on oil that other sectors of the economy have been left undeveloped. Some of these sectors are agriculture and tourism.

This has limited the revenue potential of the country as it cannot embark on a lot of developmental projects. Tourism can attract foreigners and foreign investors to the country if it is tapped into but it has been neglected.

Therefore development is slower in Nigeria than is supposed to be considering the endowment of natural resources that we have.

If we develop the agricultural sector which is one of the most lucrative sectors in the world and we develop the tourism sector, the government will have sufficient revenue to carry out necessary projects in the country.

4. Unemployment

Unemployment is a serious problem militating against development in Nigeria. Because youths are unemployed, many ideas and technical skills that would have been useful in encouraging the growth of the country are left untouched.

This means most of the youths including graduates remain unproductive, which in turn causes reduction in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year and this has a negative effect on the development in the country.

Lack of employment also costs the government because taxes are collected from workers and the more people are employed, the more revenue is generated.

5. Poor Workers Welfare

Workers are not well cared for in Nigeria. Some don’t even get regular salaries to cater for their families let alone use it for any personal projects.

This increases the level of poverty in the country and thus hinders any further development in terms of housing, clean drinking water and proper sewage disposal.

Improved workers welfare will ensure that they live better lives and this will lead to economic development of the nation.

Read Also: The Rate of Unemployment in Nigeria and Its Effect on Socioeconomic Development

6. Poor Implementation of Government Policies

Nigeria is known for having many policies on paper with very little implementation. As a result, many developmental projects have stopped at the level of paper work and never get to be implemented to bring about the development that is much needed.

Unless policies start getting to the implementation stage, there can be no development and it is the responsibility of government to see that policies are followed through because there are individuals who don’t want such policies to be implemented.

7. Poor Supervision of Projects

Many projects die at the level of policy but they can still be thwarted even if they do get through to the implementation stage without proper supervision.

This is a common phenomenon as awarded projects are not completed or carried out using substandard materials and so will not be as durable as they are supposed to be.

This makes the country to return to its poor state few years after projects are executed and this is a major hindrance to development in the country.

Appointed supervisors should supervise projects until they are properly completed to the required standard to avoid repeating the same projects many times instead of investing in other aspects of the economy.

Read Also: Problem and Prospect of Rural Development in Nigeria

8. Insurgency

Insurgency has contributed a lot to the under development of Nigeria. Insurgents can blow up any place anytime and so there is no guarantee of safety for investment in any part of the country especially in the North Eastern part.

As a result, investors are skeptical about building industries because nobody wants to see his life investment go up in flames in one day. Some potential investors prefer to establish outside the country as there is more safety in those countries than within Nigeria.

9. Religious and Ethnic Sentiments

Because of Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversity, it is difficult to make decisions on where to site developmental project.

For instance if a project is to be sited in the north, other parts of the country will arise to protest and vice versa. There is so much argument even in the national assembly on restructuring because the southern part of the country feels cheated by the northern part.

This hinders development because it is difficult to come to a consensus concerning such matters. We must grow above religious and ethnic sentiments to be able to do what is required as at when needed to move this country forward.

10. High illiteracy

Another reason there is under development is because of the high illiteracy rate in Nigeria particularly in the northern part of the country.

This makes a large percentage of the population unproductive in every sense of the word. If the illiteracy level is reduced by educating citizens then the potential of development will increase greatly.

Read Also: Problems and Prospects of Community Development In Nigeria


The above mentioned are the causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria. Therefore we as citizens can make effort to see that we avoid those ones that we can avoid then we can look up to the government take care of the rest.

We must also mount pressure on the government to see that they do what is required to make our nation great again.

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Shedrach Kongvong is a Content Developer at 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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