Academic journal article Public Administration Research

An Assessment of Local Empowerment and Environment Management Project (LEEMP) in Benue and Katsina States of Nigeria

Academic journal article Public Administration Research

An Assessment of Local Empowerment and Environment Management Project (LEEMP) in Benue and Katsina States of Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

It is generally claimed that in the past, poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria failed because the beneficiaries were not involved in the programme design and formulation. However, LEEMP was designed to be community driven and thus it was expected to record a level of success. This study, therefore, attempted to assess LEEMP in Benue and Katsina states. It was hypothesized among others, that LEEMP has reduced unemployment and poverty in Benue and Katsina states. The study used both primary and secondary data. The data obtained were presented in tabular form. T-test and cumulative percentages were adopted for analyzing and testing the hypotheses formulated. The study revealed among others, that LEEMP has not significantly reduced unemployment and poverty in the areas of study. In the same vein, the benefits of the LEEMP activities in the limited geographical coverage were subsumed by the general social infrastructural decay, hence no significant effect. It was suggested that LEEMP should be reviewed and expanded to ensure wider coverage.

Keywords: poverty, unemployment, empowerment, strategy, development, environment

1. Introduction

Poverty pervades in Nigerian society today. World Bank (1996) described Nigeria as a startling paradox given prevailing extent of poverty and statistics obtained in the country. Specifically, the country noted to be endowed with human, agricultural, petroleum, gas and large untapped solid mineral resources earned over US$300 billion from petroleum in the last three decades of the twentieth century. Yet instead of recording remarkable progress in national socio-economic development, Nigeria retrogressed to become one of the 25 poorest countries at the threshold of twentieth century, whereas she was the 50th richest in the early 1970s (Obadan, 2001). The National Poverty incidence also steadily increased over the period.

The initial national development plans in Nigeria indeed did not target empowerment/development via Poverty reduction. Thus, the main focus of the plans centered on ensuring rapid increase in the nation's productive capacity with a view to improving the living condition of the citizenry. Presumably therefore, the identifiable approaches to empowerment and development through poverty eradication featuring in the national development plans were the economic growth, which manifests in the trickling down of the benefits of growth to the poor. The second strategy is that of niral/agricultural development where efforts were made to enhance development of social and economic infrastructure.

According to Obadan (2001), formal empowerment and development strategies through conscious efforts at poverty eradication in Nigeria came to effect in 1994, when a poverty alleviation programme development committee (PAPDC) was inaugurated. By 1998, there were sixteen alleviation programmes or strategies set up specifically to address the continuous deterioration of living conditions. This laid the foundation on which poverty Eradication cum empowerment schemes emerged. Specifically, the National economic Empowerment Strategies (NEEDS) which formed the bedrock of LEEMP came up in 2004.

The evolution of LEEMP is as such anchored on the National Economic Empowerment Strategy (NEEDS). According to President Obasanjo (NEEDS, 2009: VI), the strategy is a response to the development challenges of Nigeria which most people had by 1999 grossly underestimated. The Obasanjo regime had on assumption of office therefore sought to mobilize the resources of Nigeria to make a fundamental break with the failures of the past. This was to enable the Federal Government bequeath a united and Prosperous nation to generations to come. NEEDS, is an institutional mechanism for achieving this onerous task required to achieve astute reorientation of values, poverty reduction, wealth creation and employment generation. It therefore, has a vision based on the Kuru Declaration of 2001. …

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