Nigerian Government inadequacies in socio-economic development

By Priya Chetty on July 5, 2024

The Nigerian government is found to be inadequate in providing its people with basic amenities of living such as food, healthcare, shelter, education, freedom of movement, and protection. The figures state that approximately 2.5 million of the entire population of Nigeria is internally displaced as a result of life-threatening crime and terrorism. Security and assurance of private property are the key elements that guide a nation to economic independence, but in Nigeria, unpunished and uncontrolled violence has been restricting national growth (World Report, 2017).

Unemployment is a major challenge to Nigerian economic development

The unemployment trend in Nigeria signifies a disaster foretold for the nation as the numbers continue to rise. The unemployment rate in Nigeria reported an increase of 14.2% in the final quarter of 2016 registering the highest job-loss rate since 2009 (Trading Economics, 2017b). The country’s median age is 21 years and the age bracket of 15 – 24 years reported the highest underemployment and unemployment rates in the country. The unemployment rate for women is 16.3%, for men 12.3%, and the total unemployment rate in rural areas is 25.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016. High unemployment rates are leading to the underutilization of the country’s human resources (Yomi Kazeem, 2017; Trading Economics, 2017).

The inability of the Nigerian government to develop infrastructure

The economic development of Nigeria is significantly affected by the inability of the Nigerian government to make infrastructure services available for households, businesses, and other purposes of economic development. Infrastructure problems may appear trivial in front of other problems being faced by the country, however, it is responsible for the issues in power management, transportation, electricity, and other utility segments as well (Pwc, 2014). The unavailability of basic infrastructure further creates issues in the progress of the nation (Kabiru, 2016) such as lack of access to proper roads for transportation leading to the loss of agricultural produce as the markets become inaccessible, ultimately leading to monetary losses to the people. Similarly, the lack of infrastructure to support energy creation in the country restricts manufacturing segment growth and hampers the growth of the economy (World Bank, 2016).

The domestic equity market in Nigeria has been declining for a few years, indicating the weakening state of the economy. The market condition in Nigeria is dominated by poor sentiments in financial markets, and fast rising inflation in the country. Falling oil prices in the international market have resulted in the downward movement of the Naira against the US Dollar in the exchange market (AFRInvest, 2017). A large 30% dip in Naira against the US dollar was observed in the period June 2016 to June 2017. The Central Bank of Nigeria had to impose several restrictions and foreign exchange controls to prevent the currency from falling further in the market. However, the restriction imposed led to a record high in the dollar–naira black market exchange rate of around $520 per Naira early in 2017. Dollar shortage, empty reserves, and floating exchange markets are piling on to the problems of Nigerian markets (Giokos, 2017).

The inability of the Government to curb crime and terrorism in Nigeria

The US embassy report details that criminal elements are a serious threat across Nigeria. There are high rates of incidences of assaults, violent crimes, residential crimes, and property crimes across the nation. The residential crime problems include extortion, kidnapping, and armed robbing, among others, whereas other criminal threats include pirate attacks and kidnapping incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in recent years (US Embassy, 2017). Global Terrorism Index, (2016) scores Nigeria 9.314 on the scale of 10 and ranks the country 3rd in the list of nations impacted by terrorism.

However, the data also mentions a decrease in deaths from terrorism due to the decline in activities of Boko Haram in the country. The total number of attacks in the country decreased from 588 in the year 2015 to 466 in 2016, in the same period, the number of deaths decreased to 1832 from 4940 (Bureau Of Counterterrorism, 2017).

Social issues surrounding the Nigerian government

Nigeria is facing a substantial crisis when it comes to the environment and health concerns of its people. The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of Nigeria indicate that the largest health and environmental issues in the country arise due to the poor quality of drinking water and poor sanitation facilities. A report by UNICEF indicated that open defecation in Nigeria is as high as 28.5%, and 110 million people do not have access to improved sanitation leading to further worsening of the situation (Iloani & Clement, 2017). Other health issues prevalent in the nation are the disposal of untreated sewage in Lagos, the dumping of solid wastes in open sites in the states of Abuja, and reported cases of lead poisoning in the northern state of Zamfara. The enhanced need for petroleum has led to unchecked mining, and large-scale deforestation in the country (Caravanos, 2017).

The failing education system and its far-reaching ill effects can be witnessed across all tiers in Nigeria. The standard of education has witnessed a sharp decline in the last two decades. The education sphere suffers from poor funding structure, poor infrastructure for schools, non-payment of teachers over a long period, and absence of necessary teaching aids. The country even faces the dire situation of unavailability of quality teachers, the inability of the Ministry of Education to provide for the timely training of the teachers, and failure of the ability to accommodate the rising population of the country worsen the situation further (David, 2017).

Corruption has crippled the economy of Nigeria

Nigeria conducted its first-ever corruption survey with the help of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The findings of the report showed that the total bribe paid to public officials amounted to $4.6 billion in terms of purchasing power parity terms. The extent of corruption was equivalent to 39% of the federal and state budgets on education for 2016. Among the people who dealt with all public offices such as the office of police, judges and prosecutors, 46.4% of them reported corruption while dealing with police, 33% reported corruption against their prosecutors, and 31.5% against the judges. Only 3.7% of people who had faced bribery reported in office against it. The prevalence of corruption in the country can be estimated from the corruption in the public offices expected to maintain law and order in the country (Kazeem, 2017).

Even today Nigeria grapples with these issues. The volatility and inefficiencies in the equity market specifically impact investor confidence and economic stability. Although the government has taken initiatives aimed at tackling corruption, promoting inclusive education and healthcare, and creating job opportunities are underway, it has not seen much success. Collaborative efforts between the government, civil society, and international partners are crucial in driving sustainable solutions and fostering positive change. More efforts are required, such as strengthening governance structures, fostering a conducive business environment, investing in human capital, and promoting social equity and inclusion.


  • AFRInvest. (2017). The Nigerian economy and financial Market – 2016 review.
  • Bureau Of Counterterrorism. (2017). Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: Annex of Statistical Information.
  • Caravanos, J. (2017). Environmental Contamination in Nigeria. Journal of Health and Pollution, 7(13), 1–1.
  • David, A. (2017). Challenges facing education in Nigeria.
  • Giokos, E. (2017). Nigeria’s currency problem: Multiple exchange rates, wild swings and dollar shortages – May. 2, 2017.
  • Global Terrorism Index. (2016). MEASURING AND UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF TERRORISM. The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
  • Iloani, A. F., & Clement, S. P. (2017). Poor sanitation, water top environmental challenges in Nigeria.
  • Kabiru, S. A. (2016). Socio-Economic Infrastructure and National Development: An Analytical Assessment from Nigerian Perspective. IOSR Journal of Humanities And Social Science, 21(4), 36–42.
  • Kazeem, Y. (2017). Nigeria’s first ever corruption survey is as bad as most people imagined.
  • Kazeem, Yomi. (2017). The unemployment rate in Nigeria has climbed for nine consecutive quarters — Quartz.
  • Pwc. (2014). Nigeria.
  • Trading Economics. (2017). Nigeria Unemployment Rate – 2006-2017.
  • US Embassy of Nigeria. (2017). Nigeria 2017 Crime & Safety Report: Abuja.
  • World Bank. (2016). Transformation through infrastructure. In The World Bank Group.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).