Ending the poverty trap in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria
Nigeria is one of the most populous countries on the African continent. While the country is well-endowed in respect of natural resources, research has revealed a consistent increase in the incidence of poverty. The poverty level was 28.1 percent in 1980, 46.3 percent in 1985, 42.7 percent in 1992, 65.6 percent in 1996, and 54.4 percent in 2004. The trend shows no signs of abating. The country is divided into six geo-political zones, namely the South-West, South-East, South-South, North-West, North-East and North-Central. It is in the South-South zone that the Niger Delta region, which is the focus of this paper, is situated. The Niger Delta region is rich in terms of natural resources, including oil, and yet poverty is pervasive. This paper investigates the poverty trap in the Niger Delta region. The main focus is the determination of policy options that may enable people in the region to escape the poverty trap. The analysis shows that uncontrolled population growth and loss of capabilities are the fundamental causes of the poverty trap. Bad governance and corruption too were identified as major challenges to ending the poverty trap in the region. The suggested policy options are essentially hinged on population planning, development and capability development.
KEYWORDS: poverty trap, Niger Delta, policy options, governance, corruption, Nigeria