1.1 Background to the Study
The prevailing predicament of poverty has remained a nagging crisis of underdevelopment among Third World Nations, especially African States since independence. Africa has remained the poorest continent on earth despite the concerns shown by various International, National Government, Non-governmental Organizations, Multinational Corporations, individuals etc in eradicating or reducing the level of poverty, (Atagher, 2008).
Poverty has been a serious challenge to government, particularly in Nigeria even before the declaration of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the World leaders in 2000 at New York. In effect, it includes lack and deprivation of the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, good healthcare, employment, affordable education, (Bradshaw, 2006). Poverty humiliates and dehumanizes its victims (Ukpong, 1996 as cited in Arogundade, et al., 2011). Poverty limits the growth and development of a nation because it affects performance, productivity and prevents people from contributing effectively to economic growth because of lack of skill and motivations (Aigbokan, 2000). Due to the prevalence of poverty in our society, government and people in authority have always strived to ensure that adequate poverty reduction programmes and policies are put in place to see that poverty if not eradicated in the society, or is reduced to a minimal level, (Zacheus and Omonigho, 2014).
The reduction of poverty is one of the most difficult tasks facing many countries in the developing world (including Nigeria) where the majority of the population is considered poor. According to Obadan (1996) poverty has earned recognition to the extent that the ravaging society and the affairs of humanity at the international, national and local levels, the need exists now for urgent actions towards its eradication and control, it is indeed a snare, dehumanizing and must be eradicated.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiative by United Nations (UN) is one of the efforts aimed at reducing poverty globally by the year 2015 (UNDP, 2009). According to the UNDP (2010) report, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represents the world‟s commitments to deal with global poverty in its many dimensions. Hassan Arif, Patel Shela and Satherwaite David (2005) as cited in Lawal et al., (2012) observed that MDGs represent a new attempt to increase the effectiveness of development assistance in reducing poverty with a time bound targets and strong commitment to monitor progress. They pointed out that in order to achieve these laudable MDGs objectives, it is imperative to address the need for water, sanitation, health care, schools, employment and poverty crises especially among the less developed economies. However, before the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria, the level of poverty has remained high.
The 1998 Nigeria Human Development Report and the 1999 Human Development Report of United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) launched in 1999 rated Nigeria as the twenty-fifth poorest nation in the world. Former president Obasanjo marveled and reacted to the report that it was an irony of faith that Nigeria in 1979 was ranked as one of the forty-eight richest nations in the world. Since then, the number of impoverished Nigerians between 1993 and 1997 was reported to be the highest in the history of modern Nigeria, the population of those in abject poverty was said to be between 28% to 40% in 1997 (Atagher, 2008). In another report, the number of Nigerians living below the poverty line has increased from 43% (1992) to well over 65% (1997), it has also revealed that only 34% of the over 160 million Nigerians have access to electricity, 43% have access to good water.
ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECT OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOAL I (MDG I) ON POVERTY REDUCTION IN WUKARI AND IBI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF TARABA STATE