10 Causes of poverty in Nigeria and solutions

Poverty can be defined as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs such as shelter, food, clothing, education, etc. Oxford Advanced learner dictionary defines it as a state of being poor. However, poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon. 

Coming to Nigeria: Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has the majority of its citizens wallowing in abject poverty over the years.

As of 2016, 112 million Nigerians out of the 186 million estimated population were said to live in poverty. And most recently in 2022, according to the world resource institute, 71% of Nigerians live on less than $1 per day. That’s less than N600 every day. 

The truth is, it will keep increasing if people are not aware of its causes and the possible solution to escape from it. Therefore, In this piece, you will learn about the causes of poverty in Nigeria, and its solution.

Causes of Poverty in Nigeria and solutions

There are many causes of poverty In Nigeria, but in this guide, I will only talk about ten and their possible solutions. Here we go…

1. Poor Employment Opportunity

According to the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adeshina, 45% of Nigerian youths are unemployed, while many parents depend on their jobless children for food and other basic amenities of life. This explains why the poverty level in Nigeria keeps growing exponentially annually.

Solution: The government should create many job employment opportunities for Nigerians by establishing more companies, industries, schools, and other facilities that will improve the standard of living in the country.

They should embark on many projects that promise more job opportunities for both learned and unlearned citizens.

Likewise, the citizens should learn one or two entrepreneurship skills that will keep them busy while patiently waiting to get their dream job.

2. Corruption

We can’t discuss the causes of poverty in Nigeria without mentioning corruption because it is the bedrock of major problems in the country.

Many qualified graduates who can deliver quality services are denied the chance to show their capacity in government offices because they don’t have what it takes to ‘buy’ their way into the employer’s heart.

The abject poverty currently experienced in the country is one of the aftermath effects of corruption as there is little money in circulation. 

Solution: Leaders in all Nigerian sectors should be fair and trustworthy. Fathers and mothers should train their children in the best incorruptible way because charity begins at home. 

Everyone, including the common man, should develop worthy characters that will improve the state of the nation economically. 

3. Poor Education System

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s education system isn’t coined in a way that will reduce poverty in the country. 

Most schools don’t teach students skills that will help them make money during their job-hunting period. Instead, they are more concerned about school fees and other inexplicable charges.

Solution: All Nigeria’s high school and tertiary institutions should have workshops where students will be actively involved in skill acquisition programs and practical works. 

This will help them develop a skill they can explore when it is difficult to get a job immediately after graduation.

4. Poor saving culture

An average person in Nigeria doesn’t know how to save part of their earnings. They don’t know the importance of savings in their quest for a bright and wealthy future. 

Many people love wearing flashy wears and costumes at the expense of savings. They love living an extravagant life at the moment, even if it means living in penury in the future.

Solution: Saving won’t only guarantee a brighter future, but also ensure people have something for emergency purposes. 

Nigerians should know that saving increases their wealth because it attracts interest on a steady basis. 

You may also like: How do you decide when to save and when to spend?

5. Overpopulation

Nigeria is currently the 6th most populated country in the world with close to 217 million citizens. The numbers keep growing rapidly thereby increasing the country’s poverty level.

Solution: Government should find a way to make birth control a must for every family in the country. 

Nigerians in the rural settlements should be educated on the adverse effects of uncontrolled sex and reckless childbearing

It should be mandated that no family should exceed a certain number. This will regulate the country’s population and poverty rate.

6. Laziness

Though laziness has reduced drastically, it still remains one of the causes of poverty in the country. 

Some Nigerians aren’t ready to put in their best to be rich, yet they want the lord to set a table of milk and honey before them. 

Unfortunately, people in this category give birth to countless children without any sustainable source of income to train them.

Solution: It’s one thing to get a job; it’s another thing to be productive enough to make much money from the job. Nigerians need to work harder to eradicate poverty in the country.

7. Insecurity

Poverty is one of the aftermath effects of insecurity because people won’t be free to maximize their skills for more financial gains.

Insecurity has aggravated poverty rates in Nigeria because people are not comfortable working on their farms, companies, or banks due to the increasing number of kidnap and killing cases.

Solution: The security agencies in Nigeria should up their game in the fight against insurgencies.

Until they get it right in terms of security, poverty will keep ravaging the country because no one would want to risk their lives for money’s sake.

8. Poor Government Policies

Government policies play a significant role in increasing the poverty rate in Nigeria. The government sometimes makes irrational decisions that will make one imagine how they manage to get into power. 

They rarely focus on long-term projects that will facilitate the country’s economic growth in the future. 

Solution: Nigerians should start checking politicians’ records in their previous offices or positions before voting them into power. 

This will help them know if the upcoming government will make the right and beneficial policies. 

9. Poor Quality Health Care

Nigeria is known for its poor Healthcare service, no thanks to poor facilities and health workers’ treatment. 

You don’t expect a country with a larger percentage of weak and sick people to be financially buoyant because health is wealth. 

Solution: Government should encourage health workers by paying them well and providing quality health tools. Also, Nigerians should develop the act of checking their medical status regularly. 

10. Poor Investment Knowledge

A large percentage of the Nigerian population is duped by fraudsters after investing in a business they know nothing about. This also contributes to the increasing level of poverty in the country. 

Solution: Nigerians should take time to learn everything about a business before investing their hard-earned money.

They must know the business’ profitability, authenticity, and other important details before diving into it.

Also read: Ponzi schemes in Nigeria: How to identify and avoid


Poverty is a complex problem, occurs everywhere, and can be triggered by various things. To overcome this, it takes the role of cooperation from various parties, ranging from individuals, communities, and governments, to world-class organizations.

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Anthony Adewuyi

Anthony Adewuyi

Anthony is a Content Writer with MakeMoney.ng. He is passionate about Finance, Business, and Tech related topics. He is a Digital Entrepreneur with vast experience in Data Analytics and Advanced Google Analytics

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