Learn more about specific causes in Nigeria that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentThere are widespread environmental issues that stem from oil operations in the Niger River Delta, which also has the world’s highest deforestation rate. After years of oil extractions, the toll on the environment has been devastating with ecosystems deteriorating and clean water sources disappearing. Nigeria also faces desertification.1
FamilyHaving a large family is traditionally highly important in Nigerian culture. Polygamy is sometimes practiced in the Muslim dominated northern regions.1 Marital rape and other forms of domestic abuse are prevalent, and it is not uncommon for women to be raped by extremist groups in the North.2
Human RightsNigeria has a poor human rights record. Although there are protections for human rights in the constitution, improvements need to be made in order for these laws to be properly implemented. Even though the situation has greatly improved in recent years, Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, still wreaks havoc through bombings and kidnappings in northern parts of Nigeria. Security forces and police officers are known to accept bribes, and the government has failed to address this corruption corruption issue which inspires other groups to respond with violence.1
EducationWith the immense spike in Nigeria’s population, there has been an increased strain on the educational resources. Many classrooms are overcrowded and lack supplies and qualified teachers. This, combined with poverty and violence, prevents many children from attending school. Nearly half of Nigerian children do not attend primary school.1 Attendance is dramatically lower in the northern region and predominantly Muslim communities. Boko Haram targets schools with acts of terror in order to discourage the western education system.2
PovertyNigeria’s history of social and political unrest has exacerbated the issue of poverty. The poverty rate is estimated to be above 50%. While the economy has gotten stronger and larger, most Nigerians do not see the effects of this growth because of wealth inequality.1
Religion50% of the population practices Islam, 40% practice Christianity, and 10% practice local religions.1 Religious affiliation within Nigeria is strongly based on ethnicity and is divided along regional lines. Increased religious tensions between Muslims and Christians have escalated because of extremist attacks. The two groups fight for political dominance, and some northern states have begun to institute Sharia law into their secular legal systems.2
Clean WaterOver 50 million Nigerians do not have adequate access to safe water. Furthermore, two-thirds of the population does not have adequate access to sanitation infrastructure. The lack of clean water and sewage systems causes many to die from preventable diarrheal diseases. Nigerians largely rely on nonprofits and international aid organizations to provide clean water resources as the government is failing to provide these services.1
EconomyGovernment corruption and the power of terrorist group Boko Haram make implementing economic reforms nearly impossible. Due to this corruption, there is very little economic transparency and vast wealth inequality. In addition, 90% of export earnings come from oil revenue, but falling worldwide oil prices have slowed the Nigerian economy and contributed to joblessness and poverty.1 Even with these economic hardships, Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa, and the government is working to increase transparency to encourage economic growth and diversity.2
GovernmentNigeria is a presidential republic with President Muhammadu Buhari serving as both the head of government and chief of state.1 Nigeria has a tumultuous political history, but elections have been becoming more fair and free. The 2015 election marked a fair and peaceful transition between political parties. The tension between religious groups has spurred internal violence and accusations of favoritism within government systems. While corruption remains a pervasive issue, the newly elected government has attempted to improve transparency by restructuring state run businesses and appointing a committee to investigate government fraud.1
HealthSome of the most concerning health issues facing Nigerians are tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Nigeria has the world’s second highest incidence rate for HIV, and the disease has left thousands of children orphaned. Because of corruption, public funds allocated for health services rarely reach local hospitals.1 Additionally, the current number of medical professionals is insufficient to treat the ever growing population. The estimated life expectancy is 54, and the infant mortality rate is 7%.2
ChildrenOf the 171 million people in Nigeria, approximately 45% are under the age of 15, and the population continues to grow rapidly.1 However, insurgency group Boko Haram has disrupted life for children, and many have been displaced, forced out of school, or recruited as child soldiers by the terrorist group. Over 300,000 kids suffer from severe malnutrition.2 In addition, 17% of girls are married before age 15 and 40% before their 18th birthday, often in place of completing their school and in order to escape poverty.3
AnimalsBecause of rapid population growth and urbanization, many animals have lost their habitats. Camels, antelopes, lions, giraffes, monkeys, and gorillas used to roam the Nigerian landscape, but now these animals can only be found in nature preserves.1
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