Social protection in Nigeria: an overview of programmes and their effectiveness

Briefing papers
September 2011
Rebecca Holmes and Banke Akinrimisi with Jenny Morgan and Rhiannon Buck

In recent years, the Nigerian government and its development partners have sought to develop social protection instruments to tackle the country’s high rates of poverty and vulnerability. This Project Briefing is part of a project funded by UNICEF Nigeria to support the Government of Nigeria in realising its overarching development strategy and development of a national social protection strategy, and is one of five thematic outputs (the others relate to cash transfers, HIV/AIDS, child protection and fiscal space).

Specifically, this Project Briefing discusses the current social protection policy and programming landscape in Nigeria and the effectiveness of social protection in addressing poverty and inequality in the country. It argues that social protection in Nigeria is falling short as a response to the needs of the poor and puts forward a number of policy recommendations for consideration by government and development to strengthen the nascent social protection agenda in the country.

This brief draws on a desk-based review of secondary literature on social protection policy and programming in Nigeria as well as primary research (key informant interviews, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews) conducted in Abuja and selected states (Adamawa, Benue, Edo and Lagos).