1.1 Background to the Study
One of the greatest social problems in the contemporary Nigerian society is the threat of poverty. Nigeria as a nation is characterized by the acute poverty and this has presented itself as a clog to child rights and development. According to Ajakaiye and Olomola (1999), poverty is a living condition in which an entity in faced with economic, social, political, cultural and environmental deprivations. To them, it in a state of involuntary deprivation to which a person house-hold, community or nation can be subjected.
Although, poverty is a universal phenomenon, it has been observed that Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world (Oladunni, 1999). The situation has reached an alarming state as more than 45% of the population lives below the poverty line, while 67% of the poor are extremely poor (Anyanwu, 1997). For example, the Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) report for the period 1980-1996, indicated that about 67 million Nigerians were living below the poverty level (Aluko, 1995).
There is a direct linkage between poverty and child abuse. According to Asonibare (2003), poverty in Africa and most places in the world is the major generic source of child abuse. Bankston (2000) notes further than there is a relationship between poverty and child abuse. The lower class in this respect is seen to perpetuate the act of child abuse than other classes in the society. While the lower class are more recognized with the problem in all societies. In global term however, the less developed countries of the third world were also identified to perpetuate in the act of child abuse than those in the developed nations as a result of their under-development and perpetual poverty.
In Nigeria, the economic crisis, which started during the 80s, has made life worse for the children of the poor whose parents have either lost their jobs or suffered a dramatic decline of their income. Problems such as malnutrition,...