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5 Social Issues Dividing NigeriaNigeria, one of the biggest exporters of oil and the most populated country in Africa, is living through severe poverty. In one day, Nigeria can produce 2.5 million barrels of crude oil. Starting at only $30 per barrel, Nigeria is battling high production costs with extremely low oil costs. With oil prices falling, high unemployment rates and rampant poverty, Nigeria stands divided. As of 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics shows that 40% of the population in Nigeria is living below the poverty line. But poverty is not the only thing halting Nigeria’s progress, social issues also stand in the way of furthering the country. Organizations such as Global Giving, a nonprofit that gives people a chance to fundraise globally for up and coming charity projects, is targeting some of Nigeria’s social issues.

5 Social Issues Dividing Nigeria

  1. Poverty — Even though Nigeria is one of the top crude oil producers in Africa, its government has neglected to spread the wealth into rural communities. Instead of funding necessities such as proper infrastructure, much of oil producers’ revenue is given to the “rich elite.” With a population of 195 million people, 40% are living below the poverty line. To live below the poverty line means that families in Nigeria make less than 137,430 Naira per year. This is equivalent to $381.75.
  2. Unemployment — Currently Nigeria’s unemployment rate is at an all-time high, with 27.1% of the population left without a job. This accounts for every one in two people. According to Quartz Africa, 27.1 million people are out of work in Nigeria. This is due to the government struggling to create new jobs to boost the economy. According to the World Bank, “Given that the economy is expected to grow more slowly than the population, living standards are expected to worsen.”
  3. Corruption — Transparency International has declared Nigeria one of Africa’s most corrupt countries as of 2016. Listed 146 out of 180 countries, corruption in Nigeria is a significant factor holding its people back from raising themselves out of poverty. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, bribery, nepotism and voter buying and three other factors all contribute to the corruption and poverty in Nigeria. “Some of the Nigerian politicians and people in ruling offices in just one year make as much as other citizens would make in 65 years,” states Effecting Change In Nigeria in its platform.
  4. Education — In Nigeria, education inequality is a major issue. Due to gender-based biases, girls’ education is not valued as much as boys. Additionally, Muslim girls receive favor over Christian girls when it comes to receiving a proper education. What region you live in also plays an important factor in education. Girls living in the northeast are more likely to get an education than those living in the northwest although the numbers are not that far from each other. According to UNICEF, 47.7% of girls are out of school in the northeast compared to 47.3% of girls in the northwest. This is almost half of all girls in Nigeria.
  5. Terrorism — Boko Haram, meaning “western education is forbidden,” is a terrorist group in Nigeria. Boko Haram is against adopting western culture; this includes voting, dressing differently and secular education. Since 2011 this terrorist group has killed more than 35,000 people and continues to attack villages, police stations and religious or political groups. The group gained national attention in 2014 when they kidnapped more than 200 girls from a local school.

Global Giving

Global Giving is an organization that connects other nonprofits with potential donors. It works with individual donors, other nonprofits and companies to help them safely donate anywhere in the world. Since 2002, Global Giving has assisted in raising $526 million for causes around the globe. So far, 27,941 projects are in place in 170 different countries.

One project Global Giving is helping with is the Empowering Victims of Boko Haram Violence in Nigeria project. The Center for Sustainable Development and Education In Africa started this project to help victims of Boko Haram. The project aims to build a “skills acquisition center” in North-Eastern Nigeria to give support to rape victims, widows and others the terrorist group affected. In two years, the project raised $28,500.

The CSDEA has another project called Save Street Children in Nigeria. The goal of this project is to help 1.5 million homeless children get off the streets. If the project raises $25,000 then 10,000 children can go to school and receive food and shelter. In the past two years, the cause has collected $1,055. One can make donations at Global Giving’s projects.

– Jessica LaVopa
Photo: Flickr 

Teachers in NigeriaWhile Nigeria’s population makes up only 2.8% of the world, 20% of the children not in school live in Nigeria. Education in Nigeria is especially lacking in the northern states, where more than 50% of the children are not in school. Although education is supposedly free and mandatory, the Nigerian government has long failed to provide its citizens with the tools to improve their education. The president of the country has recently made a commitment to prioritize teachers in Nigeria.

Unrest in the North Affects Schools

The northeastern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, have been victims of significant violence from the Boko Haram insurgency, a terrorist group whose name translates to ‘Western Education is Forbidden.’ Currently, 800 schools in this region are closed and 500 more have been destroyed due to conflict. Furthermore, less than 50% of girls in the north are in school due to cultural practices and attitudes discouraging girls from receiving an education.

The Link Between Poverty, Population & Education

The lack of education in Nigeria has deep effects on the nation’s present condition and future direction. There is a close correlation between girls receiving less education and fertility rates soaring. In 2018, Nigeria’s total fertility rate was 5.4 children per woman. This rate is far higher than the global average of 2.5 and above the sub-Saharan African average of 4.7. Consequently, Nigeria is one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, with a population of about 200 million people and an average age of 18. Furthermore, the population is projected to double to more than 400 million by 2050.

Although Nigeria is Africa’s biggest exporter of oil, its economy’s growth rate has stagnated since oil prices collapsed five years ago. In developing countries, when population growth overtakes economic growth, resources become scarce and the people suffer. Nigeria’s population growth rate of 2.6% is outpacing its economic growth rate of 2%, thus further perpetuating the already widespread poverty. In 2019, 82 million Nigerians lived below the poverty line.

A Commitment to Education in Nigeria

While past Nigerian leadership has failed to emphasize education or recognize it as a means to reduce poverty and provide opportunity, President Muhammadu Buhari has signaled a commitment to establishing education as the backbone of society and prioritize teachers in Nigeria. In order to strengthen education in Nigeria, the government has committed to guaranteeing employment for students graduating with a Bachelor’s of Education. President Buhari underlined the need to incentivize students to become teachers by providing fiscal stability to the profession. He believes that this will attract a higher quality and quantity of teachers, which will in turn improve the system as a whole.

Additionally, these graduates will receive a university stipend and a special teacher’s salary. The retirement age and duration of service will both be extended by five years as well. The effects of Nigeria’s new commitment to prioritize teachers in Nigeria and education remain to be seen but certainly is a step in the right direction for the country to progress out of poverty.

Adrian Rufo
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Nigeria
Nigeria is currently experiencing extreme global poverty. According to the World Poverty Clock, the poverty rate in Nigeria is 44.4 percent out of a population of about 198 million.

ActionAid Fights Poverty in Nigeria

As poverty continues to rise in Nigeria, there is definitely hope for a better future. ActionAid, a global humanitarian organization, is trying to eradicate poverty in Nigeria and continuing their service despite the growing statistics.

ActionAid in Nigeria seeks equal rights for all genders, social justice and fight the growing epidemic of poverty. It is hoping to create a world where Nigeria’s population doesn’t have to suffer anymore. They work with communities, social movements and the poor in order to provide aid needed in the country.

ActionAid’s Work in Nigeria

ActionAid’s programs involve health, education, food and agriculture, human security in conflict and emergencies, women’s rights and democratic governments. These projects are needed to ensure a better future in Nigeria.

ActionAid has been continuing their work in Nigeria, including their aid and assistance in 2018. According to Vanguard, in October 2018, ActionAid is finding ways to help displaced persons in Nigeria. It has donated about N3million toward relief materials. This donation will help many of those in the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons camp who have suffered the herdsmen crisis.

According to the ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Ene Obi, they “‘brought about 380 mattresses, 350 bags of rice, 436 packs of sanitary pads, 341 packs of diapers for babies, five sets of baby bath, five cartons of baby food and 436 packs of bar soaps for washing and personal hygiene use.'” These materials will help many who are currently displaced and are suffering poverty.

Women and Children in Nigeria

ActionAid also focuses on women and children. It has provided start-up kits to about 100 women in Nigeria. This organization provided assistance to many women in the Northeast in order to give them an opportunity to create and begin building small businesses.

According to Obi, the women are being trained to gain skills and knowledge to provide for their families by starting their own microbusinesses. Whether it’s tailoring, producing food or sewing, ActionAid is doing everything it can to make sure these women escape poverty and are able to provide food to their children.

Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria and Nonprofits

There are other organizations that are trying to end poverty in Nigeria. The MacArthur Foundation, for example, has been supporting organizations and work that has been done to eradicate inequality and the lack of education in the country. The foundation has been creating grants with the purpose of supporting higher education for girls.

The Youth Education and Leadership Initiative or YELI is an organization that wants to reduce education-related issues and challenges in Nigeria. Their goal and mission are to provide programs that enhance both primary and secondary education and help build effective leadership. This is to not only reduce poverty but also help build peace among the youth. These projects include providing the poor with small libraries, scholarships, seminars and even workshops.

Conclusion

ActionAid as well as other nonprofits are working to end poverty in Nigeria. Although poverty is becoming an increasing epidemic in the country, there is still hope for the people and the future.

– Charlene Frett

Photo: Flickr

Nigeria
Like in many developing nations, the fight for girls’ education in Nigeria has been an ongoing battle against poverty, the costs of schooling and long-held notions of the unimportance of educating girls. To understand the progress that has been made and the struggles that persist in Nigeria, here’s what you need to know:

Five Facts About Girls’ Education in Nigeria

  1. Enrollment and Completion of Primary School Improving. Although Nigeria continues to face struggles getting its young females to enter and remain in school, the nation has made considerable progress in recent years. According to the World Bank’s Education Data, the number of girls enrolled in primary school increased from 79 percent to 92.3 percent between 2008 and 2013. Enrollment of boys likewise rose, from 89 to 95.2 percent, continuing to remain slightly higher than that of girls. In addition, rates of primary school completion are also on the rise. In 2008, 64.1 percent of girls (while, by comparison, 75.3 percent of boys) completed primary school; in 2010, those numbers had risen to 68.9 and 78.4 percent, respectively. Despite progress, there is still considerable room for improving girls’ education in Nigeria — especially regarding school retention. In fact, a significant portion of girls enrolled in primary school are not completing it.
  2. Financing Education. Officially, education is free and mandatory for all children in Nigeria, both boys and girls, between the ages of six and 15. That being said, Adamu Hussaini, Nigeria’s Secretary of Education, said in 2017 that an estimated 10.5 million kids were either not enrolled in or not regularly attending school. Many schools, especially rural ones, continue to charge unofficial school fees. The reasons for not attending school for girls range from ideological beliefs about the unimportance of education for females to being unable to afford the unofficial school fees. Beliefs persist that girls’ education in Nigeria is unimportant. Many who are willing to pay school fees for their sons would rather keep their daughters at home and working. However, eliminating these unofficial fees can be one of the easiest ways to increase female enrollment and attendance. Groups like the Global Partnership for Education and the Peace Corps offer scholarships, paying the school fees for a girl whose parents promise to let her complete her mandated 10 years of education.
  3. The Role of Mentorship. The importance of mentorship and having female role models should not be underestimated. As more women pursue higher education and enter careers, younger girls will have role models to show them that higher education is attainable for females. Also, these role models will demonstrate that pursuing education opens doors to opportunities otherwise forever unavailable to girls. Many schools in Nigeria hoping to increase female attendance have begun peer mentorship programs in which older girls connect with younger ones, giving the former an immediate sense of meaning for their education (helping younger kids) and the latter both academic and social role models to hopefully encourage them to keep coming to school.
  4. Women at Nigeria’s Universities. Increased participation of women in the education sector is also visible at the university level — when Nigeria gained independence in 1960, only 7.7 percent of Nigeria’s college students were female. By 2001, that number had skyrocketed to 41.7 percent and it continues to rise. In 2009, 45 percent of all university students in Nigeria were female.
  5. Societal Benefits of Educating Women. Levels of female education correlate directly with improved health and an overall increased quality of life. Educated women are more likely to seek proper medical care both for themselves — especially maternal care — and their children. Likewise, higher rates of female education correspond with lower HIV and STD rates. Women also are less likely to get married or give birth as teenagers if pursuing an education. The benefits of extending education to women reach not only those specific women, but society as a whole. Many experts agree that focusing on women’s education is one of the best investments a developing nation can make, for female education rates are directly correlated with national economic growth. Educated women are more likely to hold stable jobs, less likely to be in poverty, and more likely to contribute to the overall economy.

Strides Since Independence

Girls’ education in Nigeria has made tremendous strides during the 60 years since Nigeria gained independence. More girls than ever are attending and completing primary school as well as pursuing higher education. But the fight for education equity in Nigeria is not over.

By continuing to advocate for the importance of girls’ education, encourage older educated women to act as role models for younger generations and help finance girls’ education, Nigeria can and will reap the benefits associated with girls’ education.

– Abigail Dunn
Photo: Flickr

Why is Nigeria PoorNigeria is poor. OXFAM, an international NGO, released an index this July that listed 152 nations from best to worst in terms of efforts to end economic inequality; Nigeria was named at the bottom of that list.

Nigeria is overflowing with oil wealth. It is the sixth-largest exporter of petroleum in the world. However, almost 100 million out of 180 million are living in poverty. Wealth is so concentrated among the rich in Nigeria that the top five richest people own enough capital to completely end extreme poverty in their country.

So why is Nigeria poor? There are several factors. Firstly, as indicated by OXFAM’s index, the country’s government and economic elite have shown little effort to end poverty. Education and health spending make up a dismal five and three percent of the national budget, respectively, despite the government’s oil revenue.

Years of poor funding and neglect have caused illiteracy rates to be as high as 66 percent. Moreover, according to UNICEF, more than 10 million children are out of school in the country.

The public healthcare system in Nigeria is unable to cover the Nigerian populace. In Nigeria, 3,000 women and children die each day because they lack access to basic healthcare. The infant and under five mortality rates remain especially high. HIV/AIDS, in particular, is a major problem, with a prevalence of 4.4 percent; approximately 2.9 million Nigerians live with the virus. The virus has already increased the orphan population in the country to seven million.

Labor laws in Nigeria are largely ineffective. The country’s minimum wage is extremely low and there is a significant gender wage gap. Nigeria was ranked as one of the worst in Oxfam DFI’s Global Gender Gap Report. The average female Nigerian worker makes $3,000 less annually than her male counterpart.

Finally, according to Ventures Africa, Nigeria’s taxation system benefits the rich and burdens the middle class. Arbitrary and multiple taxes on the use of commodities like radios and TVs hurt not only the middle class but also small businesses. Meanwhile, big business and wealthy individuals benefit from tax waivers and concessions. A 2014 report cited in Newsweek found that $2.5 billion was given out in tax breaks for the rich between 2011 and 2013.

All these factors intensify in the northern part of the country, where the poverty rate ranges from 76 to 86 percent. Why is Nigeria poor? Economic inequality, poor healthcare and lack of access to education have all contributed. For economic inequality to no longer be a problem, the world needs to step forward to improve health, economic conditions and education in the country. The people of Nigeria are poor, but we have the means to improve their lives.

Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax

 

Photo: Pixabay