Nigeria

A reader emails on his experience of aid in Africa

Following on from the discussion yesterday about aid, particularly in the South Pacific another reader emailed his experiences in the 1960s in Africa.

Hi Whaleoil Team,

The current debate in your blog on the moral ethics of what has now become the ‘Aid Industry’ reminds me of the fascinating (but probably valueless) years I spent giving ‘Aid’ in several third-world countries.

My rather ominous introduction came when we arrived at the headquarters of the aid organisation in Accra, Ghana in the days when the country was a bankrupt communist dictatorship under the regime of Kwame Nkumah.¬† The local head of the aid organisation I was to work for, a Scandinavian, asked us not to take photos of the headquarters campus as ‘People back home might not understand’. What he was referring to were the palatial houses the administrators (all Europeans or Americans) lived in.¬† ¬†The one long-serving couple, who actually lived in a tiny single-bedroom house which used to be servant’s quarters, told us they first lived in a mud-brick house and made their own furniture from the wood of their packing cases.¬† How things had changed!

I spent three years working up country and finished up very cynical about it all.¬† The hospital I worked at had two doctors and served about a quarter of a million people.¬† Our own figures indicated that probably 50% of the children born were dead by the age of 5 years. What killed them were the Big Three – Malaria – Measles – Malnutrition.¬† The annual measles epidemic early each year would kill between 100 and 150 children (that we knew about!) in our area.¬† Most of these children would arrive at the hospital dead or dying, generally from a combination of pneumonia and sickle-cell crisis triggering heart failure.¬† There was effectively nothing we could do.¬† We didn’t even have an oxygen supply.
Incidentally, the ‘official’ figures for infant mortality were much lower.¬† Of course these were derived only from recorded deaths in the major cities – Accra and Kumasi – and, since death registration was optional, probably under-reported even these.

Of course the local women would have possibly 10 to 15 pregnancies and most would result in live births.  The fact that they would only raise about half of these children was accepted as normal.
We offered – rather limited – birth control advice but, apart from a miniscule number of educated Ghanaians, it wasn’t used.¬† Cultural reasons – such as the fact that a man’s status in the community was raised by the number of children he fathered – ensured that women did nothing to prevent repeated pregnancy.¬† Polygamy was legal, though less common than you might think since bride-price meant getting wives was expensive.

As was pointed out in one of the comments in your blog, it was disaster trying to save these children unless matched by measures to limit the birthrate.¬† Starvation was a daily fact-of-life. ‘Kwashiorkor’, due to protein starvation in children getting adequate calories, was named after the Ghanaian word for the disease.¬† It, unfortunately, has irreversibly damaged the brain by the time it is diagnosed.¬† I saw many, many cases of it. ¬† ¬† Read more »

Boko Haram Islamic terror group kills 2000

The tough Islamists of Boko Haram, scared of getting shot at by real soldiers have killed 2000 in Nigeria, mostly women and children.

Hundreds of bodies ‚ÄĒ too many to count ‚ÄĒ remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International suggested Friday is the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, said fighting continued Friday for Baga, a town on the border with Chad where insurgents seized a key military base on Jan. 3 and attacked again on Wednesday.

“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement.

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.¬† Read more »

Sheik Mohammed comments on ISIS

 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai and he has penned an opinion piece on ISIS.

That¬†alone makes me want to read it. A Middle East leader of a vibrant modern nation commenting on ISIS…its worth a read in full.

The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognize that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIS.

If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.

ISIS certainly can ‚Äď and will ‚Äď be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three other ingredients: winning the battle of ideas; upgrading weak governance; and supporting grassroots human development.

Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalized threat requires a globalized response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Cristina de Middel is a documentary photographer and artist based in Spain. Her book The Afronauts was awarded the Infinity Award for a Publication in 2013.

Cristina de Middel is a documentary photographer and artist based in Spain. Her book The Afronauts was awarded the Infinity Award for a Publication in 2013.

Cristina de Middel’s Nigerian Journey

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Ebola… coming to a metropolis near you

1412594909460_wps_1_Assessing_the_Internation

The graphic above shows the number of passengers that flow between Nigeria/Ebola Central and various countries. ¬†You may note that the UK is facing the largest risk. ¬† Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

Jenabu, 13, waits for her teacher to arrive at school in a village in Guinea Bissau in May 2011. Her photo was used without permission and out of context in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Photo Credit: Ami Vitale/AlexiaFoundation

Jenabu, 13, waits for her teacher to arrive at school in a village in Guinea Bissau in May 2011. Her photo was used without permission and out of context in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Photo Credit: Ami Vitale/AlexiaFoundation

Safeguarding Truth in Photojournalism

Ami Vitale’s Survival Guide

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Photo Of The Day

Unknown source

Unknown source

 

The Hyena Handlers of Nigeria

 

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Beating the gayness out of you in Nigeria

Nigeria has strict laws against homosexuals, so strict that the penalty for gay sex is death by stoning.

But if you are lucky you will get a lenient ‘judge’ who will simply arrange a whipping to beat the gayness out of you.

The young man cried out as he was being whipped on the courtroom bench. The bailiff’s leather whip struck him 20 times, and when it was over, the man’s side and back were covered with bruises.

Still, the large crowd outside was disappointed, the judge recalled: The penalty for gay sex under local Islamic law is death by stoning.

‚ÄúHe is supposed to be killed,‚ÄĚ the judge, Nuhu Idris Mohammed, said, praising his own leniency on judgment day last month at the Shariah court here. The bailiff demonstrated the technique he used: whip at shoulder level, then forcefully down.

The mood is unforgiving in this north Nigeria metropolis, where nine others accused of being gay by the Islamic police are behind the central prison’s high walls. Stones and bottles rained down on them outside the court two weeks ago, residents and officials said; some in the mob even wanted to set the courtroom ablaze, witnesses said.

Since Nigeria‚Äôs president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a harsh law criminalizing homosexuality throughout the country last month, arrests of gay people have multiplied, advocates have been forced to go underground, some people fearful of the law have sought asylum overseas and news media demands for a crackdown have flourished.¬† Read more »

The 6th most visited newspaper in Nigeria…

Hotel Selling Cooked Human Meat Found In Onitsha *Police Arrests 11 With Fresh Human Heads

Yes, at Whaleoil, we’re not scared of bringing you the hard news. ¬†But I’ll spare you the picture.

On Thursday Onitsha police arrested 11 people after they discovered 2 fresh human heads in a hotel (name withheld) very close to the popular Ose-Okwodu market in Anambra state.2 AK47 rifles & other weapons were also discovered in the hotel.

The arrest followed tip-offs from area residents on Thursday morning.

The hotel owner, 6 women and 4 men were arrested.

After police got access to the hotel, they made a startling discovery of two human heads wrapped in a cellophane bag, two AK47 rifles, two army caps, 40 rounds of live ammunition and so many cell phones.

I love how the name is withheld, but “very close to the popular Ose-Okwodu market” is close enough, I’m sure. ¬† But dude… “so many cell phones!”. ¬†Forget about a couple of aK47s. ¬†It’s the cell phones that rattle that reporter. ¬†A victim per cell phone, perhaps? Read more »

Prostitutes offer free sex if national team wins

xlargeJust because it’s free, doesn’t mean I want it. ¬†But that doesn’t stop¬†The Association of Nigerian Prostitutes from offering a great deal to those who are soccer fans as well as clients:

The Association of Nigerian Prostitutes (ANP) has congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria for moving on to the quarter finals stage of the Orange African Cup of Nations, South Africa 2013, urging them to go for gold. ¬† Read more »

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