AN ESSAY ON THE EFFECTS, CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS OF POVERTY USING LAGOS STATE AS A CASE STUDY. Written by: TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INRODUCTION 2. INTRODUCTION TO STUDY AREA 3. CAUSES OF POVERTY IN LAGOS STATE 4. EFFECTS OF POVERTY IN LAGOS STATE 5. SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY IN LAGOS STATE 6. CONCLUSION INTRODUCTION TO STUDY AREA. Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa. The metropolitan area, an estimated 300 square kilometers, is a group of islands endowed with creeks and a lagoon. It is the most populous conurbation in Nigeria with more than 8 million people.
It is the most populous in Africa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa (7th fastest in the world), immediately following Bamako. Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, that fringe the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by long sand spits such as Bar Beach which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has spread on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja and Agege, now reaches more than 40 km north-west of Lagos Island.
The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria. [pic]In an effort to reduce massive urbanization in the metropolitan area, the Federal Government moved the capital from Lagos to Abuja. [pic][pic]The original settlers of Lagos, or Eko as it is called by the indigenous population, were of Benin and Awori Eko heritage. The city began in the fifteenth century as a Portuguese trading post exporting ivory, peppers, and slaves. It subsequently fell into the hands of the British, who began exporting food crops after outlawing slavery in 1807. Although Nigeria gained independence in 1960, a two-and-a-half year civil war broke out in 1967. pic]After the war, migration to the city, coupled with huge waves of refugees and migrants from other African countries, produced a population boom that has continued to the present day. [pic]Lagos is the commercial and industrial hub of Nigeria, with a GNP triple that of any other West African country. Lagos has greatly benefited from Nigeria’s natural resources in oil, natural gas, coal, fuel wood and water. Light industry was prevalent in post-independence Nigeria and petroleum-related industry dominated in the 1970’s, directly affecting the rapid growth of Lagos.
Energy and water access, sewerage, transportation and housing have all been adversely affected by haphazard development of a geographically disjointed city. Unlike the rest of Nigeria, 90% of the population of Lagos have access to electricity, with the city consuming 45% of the energy of the country. Despite the region’s endowment of water, the city suffers from an acute and worsening water supply shortage. And due to inadequate sewerage, much the city’s human waste is disposed of by the drainage of rainwater through open ditches that discharge onto the tidal flats.
With congested bridges, traffic congestion is a daily problem in Lagos: it takes an average of two to three hours to travel 10-20 kilometres. A high-speed, elevated metro-liner is in the planning stages. Metropolitan Lagos [pic] INTRODUCTION Poverty, condition of having insufficient resources or income. In its most extreme form, poverty is a lack of basic human needs, such as adequate and nutritious food, clothing, housing, clean water, and health services. Extreme poverty can cause terrible suffering and death, and even modest levels of poverty can prevent people from realizing many of their desires.
The world’s poorest people—many of whom live in developing areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and eastern Europe—struggle daily for food, shelter, and other necessities. They often suffer from severe malnutrition, epidemic disease outbreaks, famine, and war. In wealthier countries—such as the United States, Canada, Japan, and those in western Europe—the effects of poverty may include poor nutrition, mental illness, drug dependence, crime, and high rates of disease. Extreme poverty, which threatens people’s health or lives, is also known as destitution or absolute poverty.
In the United States, extreme poverty is traditionally defined as having an annual income that is less than half of the official poverty line (an income level determined by the Bureau of the Census). Extreme poverty in developing nations, as defined by international organizations, means having a household income of less than U. S. $1 per day. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. In developed countries, relative poverty often is measured as having a family income less than one-half of the median income for that country.
The reasons for poverty are not clear. Some people believe that poverty results from a lack of adequate resources on a global level—resources such as land, food, and building materials—that are necessary for the well-being or survival of the world’s people. Others see poverty as an effect of the uneven distribution of resources around the world on an international or even regional scale. This second line of reasoning helps explain why many people have much more than they need to live in comfort, while many others do not have enough resources to live. POVERTY AS A SOCIAL PROBLEM IN LAGOS STATE
CAUSES OF POVERTY IN LAGOS STATE Poverty has many causes, some of them very basic. Some experts suggest, for instance, that the world has too many people, too few jobs, and not enough food. But such basic causes are quite intractable and not easily eradicated. In most cases, the causes and effects of poverty interact, so that what makes people poor also creates conditions that keep them poor. Primary factors that may lead to poverty in Lagos include (1) overpopulation, (2) inability to meet high standards of living and costs of living, (3) inadequate education and employment opportunities, . OVERPOPULATION Overpopulation, the situation of having large numbers of people with too few resources and too little space, is closely associated with poverty. It can result from high population density (the ratio of people to land area, usually expressed as numbers of persons per square kilometer or square mile) or from low amounts of resources, or from both. Excessively high population densities put stress on available resources. Only a certain number of people can be supported on a given area of land, and that number depends on how much food and other resources the land can provide.
In countries where people live primarily by means of simple farming, gardening, herding, hunting, and gathering, even large areas of land can support only small numbers of people because these labor-intensive subsistence activities produce only small amounts of food. A country’s level of poverty can depend greatly on its mix of population density and agricultural productivity. At the other end of the spectrum, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have population densities of less than 30 persons per sq km (80 persons per sq mi).
Many people in these countries practice manual subsistence farming; these countries also have infertile land and lack the economic resources and technology to boost productivity. As a consequence, these nations are very poor. The United States has both relatively low population density and high agricultural productivity; it is one of the world’s wealthiest nations. High birth rates contribute to overpopulation in many developing countries. Children are assets to many poor families because they provide labor, usually for farming.
Cultural norms in traditionally rural societies commonly sanction the value of large families. Also, the governments of developing countries often provide little or no support, financial or political, for family planning (see Birth Control); even people who wish to keep their families small have difficulty doing so. For all these reasons, developing countries tend to have high rates of population growth. Most developed countries provide considerable political and financial support for family planning. People tend to limit the number of children they have because of the availability of this support.
Cultural norms in these countries also tend to affirm the ideal of small family size. Recently, however, some developed countries with declining population levels have begun experimenting with incentives to increase the birth rate. Overpopulation in Lagos causes a host of problems such as congestion, high demand for living space e. t. c. A combination of all these problems make living in Lagos expensive and hard for its inhabitants. 2. HIGH COST OF LIVING Because people in developed nations may have more wealth and resources than those in developing countries, their standard of living is also generally higher.
Thus, people who have what would be considered adequate wealth and resources in developing countries may be considered poor in developed countries. In addition, many people aspire to afford discretionary expenses—that is, purchases unessential to survival, such as cars, higher-priced foods, and entertainment. In contrast, people in developing countries may consider themselves to be doing well if they have productive gardens, some livestock, and a house of thatch or mud-brick. In rural areas, people may be accustomed to not having plumbing, electricity, or formal health care.
By the standards of developed countries, such living conditions are considered hallmarks of poverty. Developed countries also tend to have a high cost of living. Even the most basic lifestyle in these countries, with few or no luxuries, can be relatively expensive. Most people in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, western European nations, and other developed countries cannot obtain adequate food, clothing, and shelter without ample amounts of money. In some areas, even people with jobs that pay the legal minimum wage may not be able to cover their basic expenses.
People who cannot find or maintain well-paying jobs often have no spare income for discretionary or emergency expenses, and man rely on government welfare payments to survive. The cost of living in Lagos is one of the most expensive in the country after Abuja and Port- Harcourt. Transportation, price of food stuffs e. t. c are always in most cases to expensive for people to afford. This is part of the reasons why the use of Molue transport is quite popular in the Lagos metropolis. 3. INADEQUATE EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT Illiteracy and lack of education are common in poor countries. Governments of eveloping countries often cannot afford to provide for good public schools, especially in rural areas. Whereas virtually all children in industrialized countries have access to an education, only about 60 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa even attend elementary school. Without education, most people cannot find income-generating work. Poor people also often forego schooling in order to concentrate on making a minimal living. In addition, developing countries tend to have few employment opportunities, especially for women. As a result, people may see little reason to go to school.
Even in developed countries, unemployment rates may be high. When people do not have work, they do not make any money; thus, high unemployment leads to high levels of poverty. Availability of employment also tends to fluctuate, creating periods of high joblessness. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and Luxembourg have managed at times to keep unemployment as low as 2 percent. Unemployment figures during the 1990s in the United States and most of Europe, on the other hand, ranged from about 5 percent to more than 20 percent.
In countries with high populations, unemployment levels of only a few percentage points mean that millions of working-age people cannot find work and earn an adequate income. Because unemployment figures indicate only the number of people eligible to work who have no job but are seeking employment, such figures are not necessarily an accurate indicator of the number of people living in poverty. Other people may not be able to find enough work or may earn wages too low to support themselves. EFFECTS OF POVERTY IN LAGOS STATE 1. MALNUTRITION Malnutrition is one of the most common effects of poverty.
In developing countries, the poorest people cannot obtain adequate calories to develop or maintain their appropriate body weight. In Ethiopia, for example, it is estimated that almost half of all children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. Poor children in developing countries often suffer the most, commonly from a deficiency known as protein-energy malnutrition. In these cases, children lack protein in their diets, especially from an insufficient amount of mother’s milk. Protein-energy malnutrition leads to a variety of problems, including gastrointestinal disorders, stunted growth, poor mental evelopment, and high rates of infection. Prolonged malnutrition can lead to starvation, a condition in which the body’s tissues and organs deteriorate. Long-term starvation almost always results in death. In addition to caloric malnutrition, most poor children and adults suffer from severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These deficiencies can lead to mental disorders; damage to vital organs; failure of the senses, such as poor vision; problems conceiving or delivering babies; and gastrointestinal distress.
Even in the major cities of developed nations, the poor often have unhealthful diets. Resulting in part from a lack of health care and nutritional education and in part from the lower availability and higher cost of better-quality foods, the urban poor tend to eat too much of the wrong kinds of foods. The urban poor commonly eat foods that are fatty or fried, high in sugar and salt, and made of mostly processed carbohydrates. Their diets are often high in low-grade fatty meats, chips, candies, and desserts and low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and high-quality lean meats and fish.
Such diets commonly cause obesity and hypertension, both of which can contribute to heart disease and other ailments. A survey was conducted in a predefined 1% representative sample of Lagos, Nigeria to determine the incidence of kwashiorkor in various parts of the city as well as the following facts: the ages and sex of the children; the area of Lagos from which the child came; the status, education, religion, and income of the parents; the knowledge and practices of the parents as regards the feeding of their children.
The average age of the 200 children was 16 months, with a range of from 7 months and 72 months (105 males, 95 females); the peak incidence of the disease was between 13 months and 24 months; and 104 of the children came from a major slum area. Of the 200 children with malnutrition studied, the families of 138 (69%) of them were intact. Mothers of 116 children had no formal education, and 81 of the fathers of malnourished children had no formal education. 45 mothers did not express any taboos about the food given to their children.
All the mothers interviewed breastfed their infants from birth, and they continued for 14. 7 to 16. 8 months. Artificial milk was introduced into the child’s diet within the 2nd week of life usually by means of the feeding bottle. Apart from the fact that infants were breastfed for prolonged periods and artificial milk was given along with breast milk up to the age of 14-18 months, infants were also given semisolids between the age of 2 and 6 months. The 200 mothers studied had 598 children of which 111 had died. 152 mothers had had 1 previous child with kwashiorkor.
The part played by ignorance in the etiology of malnutrition can be deducted from the following facts: the parents were usually illiterate or semiliterate; taboos regarding the items of food which were most important in the prevention of kwashiorkor were widespread; and their belief as to the cause of the disease was very much off the mark. The sum total of all the factors responsible for malnutrition (kwashiorkor in this case) have their roots embedded in poverty. 3. LOW LIFE EXPECTANCY Exposure To Elements And Infectious Diseases. In addition to the effects of malnutrition, the poor experience high rates of infectious disease.
Inadequate shelter or housing creates conditions that promote disease. Without decent protection, many of the poor are exposed to severe and dangerous weather as well as to bacteria and viruses carried by other people and animals. In the tropics, monsoons and hurricanes can destroy the flimsy shelters of the poor. Once exposed, people are vulnerable to fluctuations in temperature that lower their resistance to disease. They also are more likely to become infected with diseases carried by insects or rodents. For instance, mosquitoes carry malaria, a debilitating disease that is common in the tropics.
In arid regions, drought leaves the poor without clean water for drinking or bathing. In temperate climates, including in the major cities of developed countries, homelessness is a growing problem. Many of the homeless poor are harmed by or die of exposure to extreme winter cold. Inadequate sanitation and unhygienic practices among the poor also lead to illness. Inadequate sanitation almost always accompanies inadequate shelter. Because the poor in developing nations commonly have no running water or sewage facilities, human excrement and garbage accumulate, quickly becoming a breeding ground for disease.
In cities, especially in ghettoes and shantytowns that house only poor people, overcrowding can lead to high transmission rates of airborne diseases, such as tuberculosis. The poor are also often uneducated about the spread of diseases, notably sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As a result—and because prophylactic devices such as condoms may be hard to obtain or afford, especially in developing countries—STI rates are high among the poor. In particular, the incidence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among poor people is higher than average. . HIGH CRIME AND VIOLENCE RATES Some experts believe that poverty leads people to commit acts of violence and crime. Anger, desperation, and the need for money for food, shelter, and other necessities may all contribute to criminal behavior among the poor. Other experts caution that the link of cause and effect between poverty and crime is unclear. In some cases, poverty undoubtedly motivates people to commit crimes, although it may not be the only factor involved. Other problems associated with poverty are often linked to crime.
For example, to obtain money some poor people commit the crime of selling illegal drugs; others may steal to obtain the money to buy drugs on which they are dependent. The Nigeria Police reported that presented the following statistics on armed robbery victimizations in Lagos State, for the period January 1 and July 4, 2001: cases of armed robbery recorded – 129; armed robbery suspects arrested – 274; armed robbery suspects killed by the police – 183; policemen killed by armed robbers – 14; policemen injured by armed robbers – 22; civilians killed by armed robbers – 41; civilians injured by armed robbers – 45.
More recent figures on robbery and related casualties in Lagos State indicated that between January and November 2004, 126 cases of armed robbery were reported as against 63 cases in 2003; 351 robbery suspects were arrested compared to 215 in 2003; 83 armed robbery suspects were killed by the police as against 94 suspects killed in 2003; 17 police officers were also killed compared to 12 in the previous year 2003 Vanguard December 30, 2004; p. 4).
Nationwide, a total of 3,787 cases of armed robbery were recorded; 1,694 robbery suspects were killed in 2004 compared to 3,100 that were killed in 2003; 54 police officers were killed during encounter with suspects compared to 58 in 2003 (The Comet, December 30, 2004; p. 1). Although armed robbery was perceived as the most common crimes in most of the LGAS, the perception was exceedingly high in Ikeja and Surulere both of which are mixed commercial and residential communities. Both also housed fairly large number of middle class and professional persons. In addition, a large number of banks are located in Ikeja.
Similar problem exists in the Mainland LGA, especially in Ebute Metta and Yaba areas. A number of LGAS can be identified as those in which several crimes were reported as common. They are Oshodi-Isolo; Lagos Island; Agege, Apapa, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ojo and Kosofe LGAS. Home breaking or burglary was reported as common crime in Agege, Oshodi-Isolo and Lagos Island. This from of crime is more common in the residential areas of low-income earners with high multiple household occupancy in single rooms and two rooms apartments, poorly served by public utilities such as electricity.
Several bank robberies were reported in the area during the past five years. Assault was reported as a common crime by respondents in Lagos Island and Mainland LGAs (table 8). The phenomenon of street urchins (commonly referred to as ‘area boys’) is a major problem in Lagos Island. These young people, many of who hawk and abuse drug, molest people and pick-pockets and snatch bags of ladies in the busy streets of the Island. 5. PROSTITUTION Prostitution can be defined as the performance of sexual acts solely for the purpose of material gain.
Persons prostitute themselves when they grant sexual favors to others in exchange for money, gifts, or other payment and in so doing use their bodies as commodities. A study of 150 hotel prostitutes in Lagos was undertaken to determine their socioeconomic identity and their main motives for delving into prostitution. The subjects were selected from 15 hotels, representing 20% of the estimated hotel universe in Lagos and different socioeconomic strata. Information was obtained from the subjects with the help of the hotel staff, who arranged pre-interview conferences with them.
Prostitution in Lagos is not organized and there are no figures on the prostitute population. Ninety-eight per cent of the women in the study population were aged between 15 and 44 and 70% of them had children. Forty per cent were married and 24% were either divorced or separated. The most important reason given was the undercurrent of poverty, especially in a low-income society. More than half (55. 3%) of the subjects selected their clients and the most important criteria for selection were ability to pay and physical fitness. Physical fitness was defined as the absence of signs of gonorrhea.
High unemployment in Lagos state has led many women to enter into a life of prostitution. The everyday living situations of poor and unemployed women have led them into this life in order to provide for themselves and their children. 6. JUVENILLE DELIQUENCY Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal acts performed by juveniles. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers. There are a multitude of different theories on the causes of crime, most if not all of which can be applied to the causes of youth crime. 7.
HOMELESSNESS Homelessness, condition of people who lack regular legal access to adequate housing. Homelessness has been recognized as a significant social problem in the United States since the early 1980s, when a rapid increase in the number of homeless people was caused by a weak economy and cuts in federal aid for housing and income assistance. Other periods of increased homelessness also have occurred many times in history, including during the colonial era. Most other industrialized societies also have experienced increases in homeless populations in recent decades. . LONG TERM EFFECTS People who grow up in poverty may experience lifelong problems because of it. They are at a disadvantage in things such as education because they have limited income and resources. All children also need adequate nutrition and health care for good physical and mental development, and poor children are often malnourished and sick from a young age. Studies have shown that people who grow up in persistently poor households experience more difficulties throughout their lives than those raised in households that are above the poverty level.
Overall, they do not do as well in school, have more difficulties in marriage, and more frequently become single parents. In addition, poverty tends to perpetuate itself. In many cases, those who had poor parents are poor themselves, earning lower-than-average incomes. They may also have learned a mindset that keeps them from getting out of poverty. All of these negative long-term effects are much more likely to occur if children experience prolonged poverty, an unfortunate circumstance much more likely to affect minority children. SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY IN LAGOS Direct aid The government can directly help those in need through cash transfers as a short term expedient. Especially for those most at risk, such as the elderly and people with disabilities. • Private charity. Systems to encourage direct transfers to the poor by citizens organized into voluntary or not-for-profit groupings are often encouraged by the state through charitable trusts and tax deduction arrangements. Improving the environment and access of the poor Numerous methods have been adduced to upgrade the situation of those in poverty, some contradictory to each other.
Some of these mechanisms are: • Subsidized housing development. • Education, especially that directed at assisting the poor to produce food in underdeveloped countries. • Family planning to limit the numbers born into poverty and allow family incomes to better cover the existing family. • Subsidized health care. • Assistance in finding employment. • Subsidized employment. • Encouragement of political participation and community organizing. • Implementation of fair property rights laws. • Reduction of regulatory burden and bureaucratic oversight. • Reduction of taxation on income and capital. Reduction of government spending, including a reduction in borrowing and printing money. Millennium Development Goals The government should strive to archive the millennium development goals in an attempt to eradicate poverty. There are 8 goals in all. They include the following. 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger o Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day o Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people o Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger 2.
Achieve universal primary education o Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. 3. Promote gender equality and empower women o Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015. 4. Reduce child mortality o Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. 5. Improve maternal health o Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio. Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases o Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. o Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it. o Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases. 7. Ensure environmental sustainability o Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss o Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation (for more information see the entry on water supply). o By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers 8. Develop a global partnership for development o Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory.
Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction—nationally and internationally. o Address the special needs of the least developed countries. This includes tariff and quota free access for their exports; enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; and cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction. o Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States. Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term. o In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth. o In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries. o In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications CONCLUSION
Poverty is a universal phenomenon that has no boundaries. it is not caused by a single factor working independently but is rather caused by a host of factor working in unison. Poverty is a major problem in our societies, especially in 3rd world underdeveloped countries where a sizable amount of the populace are poor and live off agriculture. As in the case of Lagos, the rapid urbanization and industrialization that has become a recent trend is one of the factors that fuel the prevalence of poverty as these two factors generally make the cost of living high.
This high cost of living ensures that those in the snarls of poverty remain there. The effects of poverty which is felt everywhere around us also degrade our culture and communities. The government and both the people have work to do as pertaining to the eradication of poverty as both have to work hand in hand. As the government works at the national level towards eradicating poverty, we as a people also have to work at the community level to see to it that poverty is reduced and eventually eradicated from our community.