Last week as I sat in car on a journey to the Sunshine State, I was driven at speeds of up to 140kmph by a Nigerian, who maybe thought he was invincible along roads with the usual obstacles of potholes, goats, children, motorbikes and oncoming traffic. As I admired the beautiful greenery, of bananas, palms, and mountainous countryside I pondered this rich poor country and I remembered that Jesus wept.
He wept over Jerusalem, and I am sure he is weeping over Nigeria, this country that is full of joy, laughter, noise, vibrancy, enthusiasm, and poverty, this country of potential and poverty, this country where the happiest people in the world live, you don’t have to have Jesus’ compassion to weep over Nigeria.
Nigeria is rumoured to have the highest paid politicians in the world, at least some of whom have private jets, it is the sixth largest exporter of oil, the most populous country of black people, has the 37th largest economy, and hopes to be in the top 20 economies by 2020.
Who would wish the burden of oil on a country, one of Nigeria’s poorest areas is known to be the Delta, which has for years experienced pollution as a result of the oil trade, a recent UN report ordered a clean up by Shell. Meanwhile this oil rich country has almost no electricity, with only around 40% of people having access to electricity, even those who do have electricity rarely see it, today I have had none for example – in fact official reports describe Nigeria’s electricity supply as “epileptic.”
A quick look at Nigeria’s Millennium Development Goal report 2010, reveals some harsh facts
· In 2004, 54.4% of people lived on under $1 a day
· In 2008, 23.1% of children were underweight
· In 2008, 88.8% of children were enrolled in primary education, but only between 2 and 98% completed depending on the State.
Nigeria also recently earned a new “claim to fame” as the second worse place in the world to be pregnant. The MDG report states an under-five mortality rate of 157 per 1000 live births and a maternal mortality rate of 750 per 100,000 births.
As if all this wasn’t bad enough, since the election Boko Haram, allegedly responsible for Friday’s bombing in Abuja, have carried out a number of fatal bombings of police stations, markets and churches in their campaign for adoption of Islamic Law in the Northern States.
Sometimes I wish Nigeria’s people would stop being happy, and hold both their political and religious leaders to account, surely if the people in Nigeria are the 25th poorest in the world, but the economy is the 37th largest, something is wrong?
Jesus is weeping and so am I
Some facts above from this interesting article
Nigeria: Rich country, poor people