AN ASSESSMENT OF POVERTY REDUCTION PROGRAMMES IN ENUGU STATE (2003-2011)
Since independence in 1960, successive governments in Nigeria have come up with various poverty alleviation strategies aimed at empowering Nigerians in rural and urban areas. Several of these programmes not withstanding, poverty in Nigeria remains an issue of great concern as over 75 per cent of the citizens live below poverty line. The study is an assessment of poverty reduction programmes in Enugu State from 2003 to 2011. The research sought to find out among others, if the various poverty alleviation programmes of government positively impacted on the people of Enugu State and Nigeria at large. The general objective of the study were to find out the effort made by Enugu State Government on poverty reduction within the period under study and make recommendations. The study adopted the elite theory as a theoretical explanation to understand the poverty reduction programmes in Enugu State and Nigeria at large. The elite theory of poverty posits that the structure of political power in a society determines the extent and distribution of poverty among the population. In this case, the ruling elite, constituted by the few, establishes and legitimizes an exploitative property system, through which it determines the allocation of opportunities, income and wealth, relying on the use of elite power, including the use of oppressive state agents such as the police and armed forces. Data for the study were gathered through primary and secondary sources. The research findings based on our empirical investigation revealed among others that the various poverty reduction programmes embarked on have not actually helped in the reduction of poverty of the beneficiaries in the State as there has been no positive change in the direction of their standard of living. The study recommended among others that poverty reduction in Nigeria requires real revolution and government must make deliberate efforts for paradigm shift from the status quo of dolling out money to the poor to adoption of wealth creation strategies. The poor should be made creative and productive as this will move them out of the vicious circle. The poor lack the capacity and power to transform their situations.