Successive Nigerian governments have established one form of poverty alleviation program or the other and they claimed the purpose is to fight poverty in Nigeria. Despite all these efforts, poverty is still starring many Nigerians in the eyes till today. In actual fact, the number of those living below poverty line is increasing.
The very first program established with a view to fight poverty was the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN). This program was started by General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979.
Focus of the program was to improve food production, since the government beloved that increase in food will lead to availability of cheap foods, which will then alleviate poverty and also improve on nutrition. The program however ended when Shehu Shagari became president in 1979.
Instead of continuing with the poverty alleviation program of the OFN, Shehu Shagari decided to establish his own when he became president in 1979. He came up with a program tagged the Green Revolution and the program equally placed emphasis on increased food production.
The lack of continuity of the said program however stalled its effort to effect change in the lives of Nigerians, as it was halted in 1983 after General Muhammadu Buhari became military president.
Since inception till date, poverty eradication in Nigeria has become nothing other than regime specific exercise and lack in continuity, leading to little or no impact at the end the day.
When Gen Muhammadu Buhari came into power, he too started his own poverty eradication program and he floated this via the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption. He believed that poverty could be alleviated by curbing indiscipline and corruption.
When General Badamasi Babangida came into power in 1983, he established Peoples Bank that provided also to entrepreneurs without attaching any stringent requirement in form of collateral. This provided cheap funds to members of the Nigerian communities.
He equally established Directorate of Foods Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) and the purpose was to open up the rural areas through feeder road constructions and to also make available basic amenities towards improving on the country’s economy.
Later, the Nigerian Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) came to being and the purpose was to reduce subsistence agriculture and replace it with commercial agriculture. The program provided farmers with required assistance, like provision of land and farm inputs at highly subsidized rates.
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) also came up under the Babangida administration and it had more impact than many of the other poverty alleviation programs of the past. The program had been on for many years now.
Late Gen Sani Abacha also came up with his own idea of poverty alleviation program, which was the Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP).
Purpose of the said program was to alleviate poverty the program committed funds to animal husbandry, soap making, Garri making and poultry production. His wife and Babangida’s wife too came up with the Family Support Program (FSP).
Most recent among these poverty alleviation programs are National Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) , Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES), Rural Infrastructures Development Scheme (RIDS), Social Welfare Services Scheme (SOWESS)and the National Resources Development and Conservation Scheme (NRDCS).