1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social institution is the structure and machinery through which a human society organizes, directs and executes the multifarious activities required to satisfy human needs.
When man relates himself with others he creates what have been described as forms or structures in order to enable him meet his needs and function in other ways of life. These forms constitute the framework, channels or means through which he functions in society. Thus, the man is creator of forms in society, the formulator of rules, regulations, procedures, and forms or behaviour, is governed and controlled by them, in order to function effectively in fulfillment of needs (Ball, 2001).
Social institutions are a system of behavioral and relationship patterns that are densely interwoven and enduring, and function across an entire society. Social institutions are important structural components of modern societies that address one or more fundamental activity and/or specific function (Joas and Knöbl, 2010). Without social institutions, modern societies could not exist. Societies consist of a range of institutions that play myriad specific roles in facilitating human social life, and which themselves are dependent upon one another for the performance of their respective functions. A given institution can also perform different functions at once and/or over time.
Rural areas have traditionally been a field for primary production. Additionally, they have not only supplied industrial areas with food and raw materials, but also used to be the main source of human resources and original capital accumulation, which provided the basis for the economic and demographic growth of the center. At the same time, there are a number of values, which are generally considered to be positive and have been sustained better in, rural, than in urban areas these rural values are clean environment, natural beauty and cultural traditions. These are natural parts of rural life and nobody thought about them as important resources for economic development (Nemes, 2005). But these rural areas are suffering from many problems as Ghauri (2009), expressed that the world has been experiencing worst food crisis and hunger in rural areas is nothing new. Rising food prices have developed into a global crisis. Indeed the 800 million people estimated to be living in hunger in the world; the vast majority is in rural areas. It is indeed a cruel irony that those workers and small farmers who feed the world often have the least resources to feed themselves and their families.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
For decades, Nigeria is one of the Africa’s most populous country, has experienced severe economic hardships. As a result of this ugly situation, poverty has been running unchecked, job opportunities have vanished, and Nigeria’s prosperity has dwindled considerably. However, social institutions have been created by man form social relationships in society to meet basic needs such as stability, law and order, clearly defined roles or authority and decision making.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To find out the role of social institutions in the development of rural areas in Nigeria.
2. To determine the challenges facing Nigerian government in development of rural areas.
3. To find out the various social institutions in Nigeria that help in development of rural communities.
4. To make useful recommendations based on the findings of this study.