1.1 Background of the Study
There has been an increased migration of people from rural to urban areas in search of greener pastures. These urban economies however do not have the capacity to absorb and retain the continued inflows of migrants, either skilled or unskilled labour. This leads to the depopulation of rural settlements. It is usually the economically active the in rural areas that migrate out thereby increasing the poverty levels of those left behind.(Adepoju, 2010).
The decision to migrate in rural areas is usually influenced by push and pull factors. The pull factors attract migrants to urban centers whilethe push factors force them out of their communities of origin. These factorsare influenced by the strength of the local economy.The availability of jobs and social amenities act as pull factor in urban center while the lack or inadequacy of these act as push factors in rural communities (de Haas, 2008).For instance, the absence of a rural credit market could push people to migrate toprovide remittances in order to overcome the rural credit constraints and to finance rural productive investments (Katz and Stark, 1986). Rural to urban migrations could have a negative impact on rural areas by removing workers from productive rural economic activities. Rural-urban migration also has negativesocial consequences such as the deterioration of family, community structures and norms.
In post-independent Nigeria, there has been considerable growth of the urban population due largely to increased movement of populations from rural to urban areas (Centre for Migration Studies, 2011).
In Nigeria, rural areasare usually characterized by limited health and educational facilities, small industrial output, limited economic opportunities and poverty, especially non- agricultural employment.
These conditions usually motivate rural folks to migrate to towns and cities in search ofgreener pastures. Therefore, one significant way to stem the flow of rural-urban migration is to see to the development of rural areas (Nasiru, 1997)
Rural areas fall within the jurisdiction of district assemblies and hence the district assembly in Nigeria has the ultimate task of promoting economic development at the local level.
The government of Nigeria shared Growth Development Agenda 2012-2013 plans indicated that it is developing special initiatives such as the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) as a way of contributing to the improvement in infrastructure, especially at the local level. This is expected to lead to the creation of new economic poles especially in the rural areas. The initiative would enhance employment creation and income generation activities, which in the long term would contribute to the reduction of social, spatial and economic inequalities as well as rural-urban migration.
Government recognises the weak employment generation capabilities at the district level and intends to, as a policy objective, mainstream the concept of local economic development planning at the district level. The strategy as stated earlier is to provide support in order to facilitate, develop and implement employment programmes at the local level based on natural resource endowments and competitive advantage (GSGDA, 2010:195)