Princess Margaret Agbim goes home: Aged 86 Pictures and Videos

22 04 2016




Bube Iyizoba and Chino Paint Uli Red: Igbankwu 2016

29 03 2016






The Boy who Caught the Wind to Save his family: William Kwankwaba

3 05 2015

William Kamkwamba was forced to drop out of school because his parents couldn’t pay $80 a year for his schooling. But he did not loose hope. Instead he educated himself using a local library.

In 2002, following one of Malawi’s worst droughts, which killed thousands of people and left his family on the brink of starvation, he built a windmill to pump water into his father’s farm. “I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water and I thought to myself: that could be a defence against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself,” William told the BBC.

He described how he stumbled on a drawing of a windmill in a tattered book, and began to dream. He dreamt of bringing water to his father’s farm — it was a matter of surviving or dying from hunger. So, against formidable odds and penniless, he began to work. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, he worked on his project mostly in the night, with no other light except a smoking paraffin lamp, enduring bites from the mosquito’s and insects attracted by the light.

The taunts of sceptical family and friends made things even worse. “Many, including my mother, thought I was going crazy,” he recalled. “They had never seen a windmill before”.

For spare parts, Kamkwamba rummaged through dustbins and refuse dumps. He used bicycle spokes, a tractor fan blade, an old shock absorber and fashioned blades from plastic pipes, which he flattened by holding them over a fire. Neighbours, shocked to see him sifting through rubbish, concluded that he was on drugs,

“People thought I was smoking marijuana,” he said,

Can you catch the wind?

Finally, Kamkwamba finished work: a 5-metre (16-ft) tall, blue-gum-tree, wooden tower, swaying in the breeze, looked more like a tinker’s folly than a work of engineering, “I received quite an electric shock climbing up that tower,” Kamkwamba told the BBC.

But, glory was soon to follow. The neighbour’s jeers soon turned to amazement when Kamkwamba scampered up the tower and hooked a light bulb to the turbine, and, as the blade began to spin in the wind, the light bulb flickered alive and the crowd of astonished onlookers went wild.

Soon the whiz kid’s 12-watt wonder was pumping power into his family’s mud brick compound. Before long, locals were queuing up to charge their mobile phones and the Daily Times wrote an article on him.

He expanded the 5-metre windmill to build a 12-metre model and a year later succeeded in bringing solar power to his village. Then he installed a solar pump. As the fame of his renewable energy projects grew, he was invited to the prestigious Technology Entertainment Design conference in Arusha, Tanzania. By the middle of last year he had built a “Green Machine” windmill for pumping well water. By last September he had received a scholarship to study in the elite African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The moral for Africans is clearly that we must learn never to give up trying to change our environment. Unfortunately, many Africans are still waiting for things to happen. Recent surveys show that 64 per cent believe that success is determined by forces outside their own control. In my own country, Nigeria, the refrain is: “God will provide”.

Young William’s story is a challenge to African youth, who, often faced with incredible limitations, give in to despair. This example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity should spur all Africans to get rid of lazy attitudes and start working, using personal study and self help, to overcome the myriad of problems caused by deficiencies of education. As Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, put it: “When we are no longer able to change a situation… we are challenged to change ourselves. Difficulties test men’s virtues and sometimes spur them to do the impossible.” In short, Africans are called to do the impossible.

In addition, William’s story is a good example of why Africans should continue to have lots of children in the face of opposition from western population control enthusiasts. William is the second eldest of Trywell and Agnes Kamkwamba’s seven children (he has six sisters). Africans have lots of children not because they have never heard of contraceptives or abortion pills. These are available over the chemist’s counters in Africa, and many young unmarried girls are familiar with them. We have children because we love them and we believe they provide our greatest potential. William has taught his family to maintain the windmill when he’s away at school. His sister, Dolice, and cousin, Geoffrey, can quickly climb up the tower, as it sways and clatters in the wind, to make repairs — a living proof that people are the solution to Africa’s troubles, not the problem. Every child comes with one mouth to feed, two hands to help and a brain to innovate. Poor countries don’t need less children but more dynamic people.

It is sad and ironic that in super-rich countries people don’t want children. The Americans, the Swedes and the French, on average are much richer than Ivorians, Ghanaians, and Togolese or even Indians, yet fertility in these countries is below replacement level. This often makes young people in such “advanced” countries comfort-freaks. It can be argued that they are so spoilt by infinite luxuries and comforts from a tender age that even the smallest setback can become intolerable. The caving in of European societies to euthanasia and birth control is a result of Western culture’s lost ability to cope with suffering, pain and self denial of any kind. As one American lady said to me: “My biggest fear is suffering, and I am so scared of pain.” Thus, the high suicide rates in these countries.

In Nigeria, our large population creates a huge market for businesses. MTN, a mobile phone company in Nigeria that pioneered the GSM mobile phone here in 2001, making phones available to street vendors and artisans, declared $800 million profit early last year. Africans have hope because of their children — hope in the future, hope that one of the many little ones running around will be another Barrack Obama or better still, another William Kamkwamba.

Finally, the great margin for improvement in Africa is often a source of excitement and enthusiasm for the adventurous. I recall letters from a German friend who returned to his native Germany after spending one year in Enugu. “I feel like coming back to Nigeria immediately,” he wrote to me. “I would be back in Nigeria this minute if I was given the chance.” He says he is feeling choked by the infinite rules and regulations of Germany where everything seems to have already been done. He longed for Enugu, where he could be himself, where he felt needed and where he could contribute something. Challenges are important. The abundance of challenges in everyday life — though trying and unpleasant — may directly or indirectly contribute to making Africans happier.

William Kamkwamba, who has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and flown to conferences around the world, is determined to return home after his studies and to bring power not just to the rest of his village, but to all Malawians, only 2 percent of whom have electricity. “I want to help my country and apply the knowledge I’ve learned,” he says. “I feel there’s lots of work to be done.”

Chinwuba Iyizoba

The Color of Love: Ezinma & Adam Igban-Nkwu 3 Jan 2015

13 01 2015

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Amazing! Nesochi And Uche Paint Agulu Red:Igba Nkwu 2 Jan2015

4 01 2015


A Help for Nigeria Women and Children

9 08 2014

Niger Foundation Hospital and Diagnostic Centre (NFH) is a project of Niger Welfare Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Nigeria. NFH is a non-profit institution that has been set up to offer good quality medical care to the general. The project is meant to make a tangible contribution to the healthcare system in the country, which suffers from poor healthcare facilities. The medical care given at the hospital is based on Christian principles of respect for human dignity. The hospital strives to maintain sound ethical practices in the care of each sick person.

A community development initiative of Niger Foundation Hospital, Iwollo Rural Health Centre has the overarching goal of promoting the social, health and economic well-being of the local population, with particular reference to women and children. Amongst the services provided to Iwollo and its surrounding communities are free medical

The Slave Girl Who Gave Her Life To The Man Who Bought Her

19 04 2014

The Slave Girl Who Gave Her Life To The Man Who Bought Her

Several hundred years ago a wealthy plantation owner was attracted by the heartbreaking sobs of a slave girl who was about to step up to the auction block to be sold. Moved by an impulse of compassion, he bought her for a very high price and then disappeared into the crowd.
When the auction was over, the clerk came over to the sobbing girl and handed her her bill of sale, telling her who her owner now was. To her astonishment the unknown planter had written the word FREE across the paper that should have delivered her to him. She stood speechless as, one by one, the slaves were claimed by their owners and dragged away. Suddenly she threw herself at the feet of the clerk and exclaimed, “Where is the man who bought me? I must find him. He has set me free. I must serve him as long as I live!”
Christ paid with his blood to ransom you from the slavery of sin on Easter day. What ought You do for Him?

WMTI ( First week of lectures)

15 04 2014






















Module 1: The principle and technology of air-conditioning & refrigeration

Module 2: How to install split unit air-conditioners in both residential and office settings

Module 3: How to troubleshoot air conditioner and refrigeration faults

Module 4: How to build air-conditions and refrigerators like cold rooms, deep freezers, etc.

Module 5:  How to install and troubleshoot central air-conditioning units

Module 6: The principle and technology of automobile air-conditioners

Module 7: How to install, trouble-shoot and repair automobile air- conditioners

Module 8: The rudiments of gas welding –latest pipe work and brazing, gas

welding techniques, leak-proof  Joints etc.

Participants can choose to take any of above modules separately at a reduced cost.

Our trainers are highly skilled field engineers and professionals who use computer aided tools to make learning easy and take participants into the practical mechanism of the objects of the training.

Our training includes business development sessions and field excursions to bring participants in contact with potential clientele even before they conclude the training programme

At Fees You Can Afford  We offer life-changing skills that will  earn you income for a lifetime.  (Discount for students and special need participants is available, please call)

WHO CAN ATTEND? Anyone who wishes to acquire In-demand, market-ready skills:  Students, Graduates of  Higher institutions, technicians, Engineers, etc.


Admission Officer

Tell: 08057080678 email:


WorkMan Training Institute

(WMTI) is a non-profit, technical, vocational training project that aims to offer hands-on practical skills training especially to youths. It targets school leavers, students and graduates of institutions of higher learning, Youth Corp member, etc., and provides them with relevant technical-vocational education suitable for them to earn income as they continue to build their careers. Participants of our programmes are easily employable; many are self-employed and advance rapidly in their careers, improve their family income, and enhance their socio-economic condition.

WMTI is a project of Center for Academic and Professional

Excellence (CAPE), a non-profit Incorporated Trustee with   Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registration no. RC22476

For Man To behave Like Woman Is Not A Choice: Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill

24 02 2014

For Man To behave Like Woman Is Not A Choice: Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill

Statement on Homosexuality by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda Responding to H.E. Obama’s statement on Homosexuality
18th February 2014
I have seen the statement H.E. President Obama of the USA made in reaction to my statement that I was going to sign the anti-homosexual Bill, which I made at Kyankwanzi. Before I react to H.E. Obama’s statement, let me, again, put on record my views on the issue of homo-sexuals (ebitiingwa, bisiyaga in some of our dialects). Right from the beginning of this debate, my views were as follows:
1. I agreed with the MPs and almost all Ugandans that promotion of homosexuality in Uganda must be criminalized or rather should continue to be criminalized because the British had already done that;
2. those who agreed to become homosexuals for mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly punished as should those who paid them to be homosexual prostitutes; and
3. exhibitionism of homosexual behavior must be punished because, in this part of the World, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.
The only point I disagreed on with some of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and other Ugandans was on the persons I thought were born homosexual. According to the casual observations, there are rare deviations in nature from the normal. You witness cases like albinos (nyamagoye), barren women or men (enguumba), epa (breastless women) etc.
I, therefore, thought that similarly there were people that were born with the disorientation of being attracted to the same sex. That is why I thought that that it was wrong to punish somebody on account of being born abnormal. That is why I refused to sign the Bill and, instead, referred it to our Party (the NRM) to debate it again.
In the meantime, I sought for scientific opinions on this matter. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that there could be some indications that homosexuality could be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health. Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do.
I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality. What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.
After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa. Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.
It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement. I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation. I would be among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.
I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.
“Valued relationship” cannot be sustainably maintained by one Society being subservient to another society. There are a myriad acts the societies in the West do that we frown on or even detest. We, however, never comment on those acts or make them preconditions for working with the West.
Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose their views on us. This very debate was provoked by Western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality. It is better to limit the damage rather than exacerbate it.
I thank everybody.
Yoweri K. Museveni Gen. (Rtd)
18th February 2014.

Sex-slave trafficking in Africa by Chinwuba Iyizoba

14 09 2013

Sex slaves

The grim finding in Austria a truck containing up to 70 decomposing bodies of trafficked person on highway near Hungary border has once again brought to the world the grim reality of human trafficking.  US state Department report on Trafficking in Persons Report released in 2009 estimated that there are still over 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time in the world. About 1.4 million of these are victims of commercial sexual servitude.

Even President Obama has acknowledged that slavery still exists in the US: “Sadly, there are thousands who are trapped in various forms of enslavement, here in our country… oftentimes young women who are caught up in prostitution… It is a debasement of our common humanity”. According to John R. Miller, former US ambassador at large on modern day slavery, as many as 17,500 slaves may enter the United States every year. As elsewhere, contemporary American slaves work in brothels, massage parlors, and other sex businesses, or as domestic servants. The abolition of transatlantic slave trade last century made slavery illegal, yet it did not end it. Rather, it has evolved into human trafficking.

According to the head of America’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis CdeBaca, it nets human traffickers, worldwide, about US$31 billion in profit a year. An anti-trafficking organisation, the Polaris Project, calls it “fastest growing criminal industry in the world”. And it is this, rather than glass ceilings or “reproductive rights”, or flexible working hours, which must be the biggest feminist issue of our time. Miller says: “Sex servitude — of which 80 percent are women or girls — is one of the largest discrete category of trafficked humans”. In fact, one of the major drivers of the flow of women and children slaves from underdeveloped countries to developed countries is the increasing demand for commercial sex and pornography.

Legalised prostitution in Europe and the US is supposed to make it “safer” by keeping prostitutes off the streets and protecting them from exploitation by criminal gangs. Experiments such as the Dutch “red light district” or “tolerance zone” where prostitutes are concentrated and the granting of brothel licenses by Australia and Germany, however, have failed. On the contrary, they have aided the expansion of sex industry. But the West seems blind to the fact that permissive attitudes are fuelling modern slavery. Significantly, the State Department’s report this week had a few recommendations for decreasing human trafficking in the Netherlands – like continuing “anti-trafficking awareness initiatives aimed at educating clients of the commercial sex trade”.

Nothing at all about criminalising, or even discouraging, the sex trade. Sex workers are hard to recruit in prosperous welfare states, because it is a shameful profession and because there is always an alternative. A 2008 poll in the UK showed that it was young people who were the most opposed to prostitution – 64 percent of youths said that paying for sex was “unacceptable” and 69 percent believed that selling sex was “unacceptable”. About 60 percent would have felt ashamed if they found out a family member was working as a prostitute.

One fortunate consequence of Europe’s generous social welfare system is that it helps to keep women out of prostitution As a result, the sex industry looks overseas. According to the US State Department, millions of people are trafficked yearly across European borders.

In Amsterdam, Netherlands, 80 percent of prostitutes are foreigners, and 70 percent have no immigration papers, suggesting that they were trafficked. Contrary to what most people in Europe and the US read in their media, Africa is not a hell-hole. However, poverty and insecurity often encourage many Africans to migrate to Europe. Traffickers exploit this desire.

In Nigeria, there are appalling cases. The southeastern city of Edo has the highest number of girls working as prostitutes in Europe. A survey a few years ago found that one in three young women in Edo had received offers to go to Europe. An estimated 20,000 Nigerian women are working as prostitutes in Italy and almost all of them come from Edo. Some of them prosper and build mansions back in their villages. To stem the tide, European countries impose stringent visa requirements, but these are circumvented by traffickers with the connivance of corrupt government officials.

Criminal syndicates obtain false papers for flights to Europe or border permits for land trips. The land trips are often harrowing. A Guinean official told an anti-trafficking website that agents usually take the girls to Guinea via the Republic of Mali where false Guinean passports are procured for them using fictitious names. The girls are then returned to Mali where they are sold to other syndicates that transport them through long and torturous land routes.

They travel by foot and by car; through Morocco, through Gibraltar, through Spain and then to Italy or other European countries. Upon arrival, the traffickers confiscate the girls’ papers for “safekeeping” until they pay back fictitious “travel expenses” which often run into hundred of thousand of dollars. The slaves are thus bound for years, toiling to pay these debts. Not knowing anyone, and having no papers, they have no choice. They cannot find legitimate work and in a strange country without language skills they cannot escape.

There are even latter-day Timbuktus where buyers haggle over human flesh. Nazir Afzal, of the Crown Prosecution Service told the BBC in 2006: ” We are now seeing ‘slave auctions’ being held in public places at airports where brothel keepers are bidding for women destined for prostitution.” One took place outside a coffee shop at Gatwick Airport, and others at Heathrow and Stansted. Intimidation and violence are common.

The traffickers make the girls take oaths on pain of death. One slave rescued by anti-trafficking agencies said: “They promised me a job as a waitress, but when I arrived here they forced me to work as a prostitute. They told me I owed them a lot of money for my trip, and they took my passport and said they would hurt my family back home if I did not do what they wanted.” If traffickers suspect that a slave is trying to escape they may kill her. In the early 1990s, the number of foreign women murdered in Italy – mainly Albanians and Nigerians – accounted for 6 percent of all murders. Since then, the figure has risen as high as 23 percent. Sex-slave trafficking in Africa is a difficult to fight because its impoverished victims want to go abroad for a better life — though normally not as a prostitute. In addition, most of them are afraid of testifying in court against their traffickers for fear of reprisals against relatives back home.

That is why the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related Matters, an anti-trafficking agency based in the Nigerian capital Abuja, wants a comprehensive witness protection law. Slavery is a difficult issue to solve, but the rise of 21st century slavery is partly due to Western attitudes towards sexual morality. Progressive social legislation accepts rather than challenges prostitution. Europe and the US need a new Wilberforce to convince people that private vice has public consequences. Only then will women slaves be able to shake off the shackles of their degradation.

– Chinwuba Iyizoba

How Busy Moms Fuel Child Slavery By Chinwuba Iyizoba

5 09 2013

slave child

In A World Congress of Families annual conference held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. One speaker, Don Feder, an American journalist, told his largely African audience “Everything the West asks you to do, please do the opposite”. He praised the rich family values that he had observed. Nigerian families are largely intact; divorce is rare; children live with their parents; intergenerational ties are strong. The other side of the coin is that people without a family are at sea without a lifejacket; they will receive almost nothing from the government. Infected with an insatiable desire for a higher standard of living, without strong human values, every society has the possibility of exploiting a poor underclass leading to terrible abuses. One of these is child slavery.

Traditionally, as in much of Africa, domestic work used to be the duty of a family’s own children. But if a couple was wealthy, poorer relations would sometimes lend a hand. An older cousin from the country would live in and care for the toddlers. This, however, obliged the parents to pay for the schooling of the nanny-relative. Domestic help is more necessary than ever for educated couples, as often both parents work outside the home in professional jobs — just as they do in London or New York. But relatives are expensive, so many families prefer to buy children in order to work in their homes. They are cheaper to maintain and there are fewer family complications. According to the Child Welfare League of Nigeria, Nigeria may have the largest number of child domestic workers in the world, since nearly every household has a child domestic servant – at least the households of every government employee. Most of these children end up being physically, emotionally, and if they are girls, sexually abused.

Modern day slavery Investigative journalism is weak in Nigeria and it took the New York Times to document what everyone here knows as a brutal fact of life. A State Department official commented that the word “trafficking” failed to convey the brutality of what was happening. “A child does not consent,” he said. “The loss of choice, the deception, the use of frauds, the keeping of someone at work with little or no pay, the threats if they leave — it is slavery.” Last year, according to a report in the Times, Nigerian police stumbled upon 64 girls aged 14 and younger packed inside a refrigerated truck built to haul frozen fish. They had traveled hundreds of miles from central Nigeria and were destined for work as housemaids in Lagos. This was scandalous, but not unusual. Dealers buy 5 or 6-year-olds from their parents in poor countries such as Togo and Benin and take them to work at quarry sites where they break stones or they as farmhands until they are about 13.

This purges the children’s minds of memories of family and homeland. Without these, they work better as house-help. “The best house-helps are those without father or mother; without a past to which they can return” says one of the slave dealers, since they are entirely dependent on their masters. According to the Times, in 2003 Nigerian police rescued 194 malnourished children from stone quarries north of Lagos. Police claimed that at least 13 other children had been buried in graves near the pits. The dealers sell the slaves to busy working mothers in Lagos who remit about 3,500 Niara monthly to the dealer’s bank account. Although women may know that the children have been trafficked, they excuse themselves by saying that if they do not hire these children someone else will. As Naija Pundit wrote last year in “Even some of our most affluent and educated ‘leaders’ see nothing wrong with getting some small boy or small girl from the village and using them for nothing but menial labor, sure it can be argued that living in Lagos, Abuja or Port-Harcourt beats living in some hamlet in the middle of Ogun state, but do economics trump a person’s inherent right to dignity?” Child-slaves from other countries are preferred in Lagos because they are completely docile.

A local house-help might have relations and could be unruly and demand rights such as schooling. Generally dealers insist that the children should not be enrolled at school. Inspection before purchase Busy professional women usually demand tests for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and pregnancy before purchasing a child to ensure that they have made a good bargain and to protect their own kids from infections. Back at home, the busy mothers often act as if their homes were too good for their help.

I remember while living in Lagos that one of the slave children used to take her bath hurriedly in the public taps hoping that no one was looking. The neighborhood boys enjoyed peeping at her. “My master would not allow me to take my bath in the bathrooms. I am too dirty to wash myself in the same place where his children bathe,” she told me between sobs. Family convenience trumps everything. One of my friends remembers a woman who fell pregnant and yanked her child-slave out of school just before final-year exams. The slave had to wait nine months before resuming her education. A doctor friend, Ambrose Anegbe, told me about his encounter with a child-slave in the teaching hospital in the city of Ibadan: “The child-slave was 13 years old and was owned by a busy mom with two daughters. The slave was withdrawn, spoke in a low voice, and shied away from me. The woman brought the child-slave to hospital because she suspected her of transmitting flu to her daughters. The slave had been coughing for three weeks but she took no notice until her daughters began to cough.

In my presence, the woman accused this child-slave of deliberately infecting her daughters. The child-slave smiled, in a lovely way. I tried to imagine how much torture she must have undergone to react this way. I also watched as the daughters of the woman used the child-slave for sport. They would hit her hard and in response she would smile.” “Many of them are treated like animals,” a United Nations official told the Times. “They are second-class citizens, little slaves. You feed them a little and they clean your house for nothing.”

Why would a mother treat a child like this? Perhaps the adults vent their frustrations from a day at the office on these children who have no formal training in home management and are often very clumsy. Besides, a child-slave is still a child. Every child can tell when it is not accepted and treated like the other children, and thus becomes emotional and gives in into sulking and other anti-social behavior, which further irritates their employers. The rising numbers of nannies in Nigeria are the result of parent’s misplaced priorities caused by ambition to earn more, to climb up corporate ladder and to give their own children everything, including freedom from household chores. What the Nigerian experience shows is that it is naive to think that modernisation and a rising standard of living will eliminate exploitation and abuse. It can even spread it further and make it worse. That’s why we Africans have to be alert to keep our spiritual values from being eroded by Western secularisation. They are our only firm protection against the defects in our own societies.

Nigeria to grow to 1 billion People by 2100? “We are rejoicing,” By Chinwuba Iyizoba

16 06 2013


LAGOS1The United Nations recently published its two-yearly update of world population projections. These suggest that Nigeria could rise to 725 million people by 2100. Western media are shrilly calling for Nigeria to put a check on her population growth.

No way, sorry. We Nigerians are rejoicing.

Africans love children. First for financial security. In the past children helped in the farms and the more of them the better. Today, with little or no social security, children are needed to support their parents in old age. Their contributions constitute an informal pension scheme. And having more children means a better pension.

Second, many children ensure that we avoid the problem of ageing populations. We know that in Europe and America, birthrates are far below replacement level. Their populations are ageing and a huge pension debt is resting on the shoulders of a shrinking number sof their working youths. A day of reckoning is looming for them. Nigerians want to avoid this.

Third, our large population supplies our economy with the dynamic and youthful workforce it needs to grow, as well as huge markets for all types of businesses.

Why are Westerners so nervous? Perhaps they believe that Africans will consume all the food. Critics of large population argue that population grows geometrically and food production arithmetically and that soon the human population will outstrip food production and we will all starve. This theory was first floated by Thomas Malthus.

What Malthusians fail to take into consideration is the human spirit of enterprise. Necessity is the mother of invention. This was the case with the breakthrough of Norman Boulaug, the famous scientist who invented high yield crops. Even though Boulaug did not realize it, he had refuted Malthus.

Nor is our large population the primary reason why we are poor. “For these countries to overpopulate themselves like this is a burden on themselves and the world. They are driving themselves into poverty. I suppose they will be expecting other nations to accept their overflow when their irresponsibility makes life in their own countries unbearable,” sniffs a Malthusian reader of The Economist. “High rates of population growth is the number one indicator of under-development,” shouts another.

Such nonsense is often based on ignorance. Even that paragon of exactitude, The Economist, mixed up Niger and Nigeria in its comment on a graph of population growth. But this is a salutary mistake. Let’s compare the two countries. Niger has a population of 15 million and suffers from high unemployment, poverty and an unskilled workforce. It is poorer than Nigeria with its 150 million people by a long margin. Are population and poverty really linked?

The real reason for poverty is corrupt rulers, not a lack of birth control.

Most Africans are ruled by sit-tight leaders who are supported by Western countries because they guarantee secure access to resources. “Rivalry between the United States and the USSR for the rich resources of Congo culminated in General Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule, an extremely corrupt regime that lasted 32 years and sapped the country of its income and stability,” says Paul Johnson in his book Modern Times. African democracy – with some exceptions like Ghana and Botswana — is replete with power-hungry men who cling to power even if it destroys their country. Just think of Kenya, Gabon and recently the Ivory Coast. Such men loot and steal the resources entrusted to them for the development of their people. In many cases they stash their loot in Western banks while the Western governments look the other way.

In 2009 US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton flew around Africa and spoke tough words to many African strongmen. But she sadly refused to comment when asked what the US and its allies are doing to ensure that embezzled funds are returned. Surely this evasive and insincere attitude keeps many Africans poor. Until corrupt leaders know that Europe will not shield them because of their wealth, they will not stop bleeding Africa dry.

Yet the Western propaganda that people make us poor blares on. It is often parroted by our own local media and now many Africans fear having many children. When I was young, I was taught that the world was overpopulated by my primary school teacher. My relatives complained about my mother’s seven children. “A modern woman,” they said, “shouldn’t have so many.”

But we all grew up to be healthy, normal adults and are now a great source of joy and support to my mother and father in their old age. Many of those relatives are envious because in their twilight years they have to deal with few children whom they spoilt silly.

The comfort of a small family is deceptive. Many young people in advanced countries are so spoilt by luxury that even the smallest setback feels intolerable. Euthanasia and birth control result from an inability to cope with suffering, pain and self denial. As one American lady said to me: “My biggest fear is suffering and I am so scared of pain.” No wonder they have high suicide rates!

According to The Economist, “many people in the rich world live alone and die alone.” Even in the US, white people will be in minority in the next ten years because of their low birth rate.

Nigeria and other African countries stand a good chance of becoming world leaders in the coming decades. They will helping Europe and the US to fill gaps left by acute shortages of manpower. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that a Nigerian father of five is the new head of the United Nations Population Fund. “A world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity,” says Dr Babatunde Osotimehin.

I totally agree with him.

Chinwuba Iyizoba

Silent heroes of Africa

25 05 2013

                                 Silent heroes of Africa

When I first saw the famous picture of a Sudanese child dying while a vulture waits impatiently, I trembled. Every death of a child violates, but to see an African child reduced to something less than an animal broke my heart. I felt ashamed of being African, of living in a continent of fratricidal wars. Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, the Congo, Uganda, and Sudan were all summed up in that frightful image.
But then I read the small print and discovered something even more iniquitous. South African photographer Kevin Carter had been awarded a Pulitzer prize for this incredible picture in 1993. As soon as it was published in the New York Times, hundreds of people asked what had happened to the child. Carter didn’t know. Here is Time’s description of how he took the photo:

“Seeking relief from the sight of masses of people starving to death, he wandered into the open bush. He heard a soft, high-pitched whimpering and saw a tiny girl trying to make her way to the feeding centre. As he crouched to photograph her, a vulture landed in view. Careful not to disturb the bird, he positioned himself for the best possible image. He would later say he waited about 20 minutes, hoping the vulture would spread its wings. It did not, and after he took his photographs, he chased the bird away and watched as the little girl resumed her struggle.”

I could not believe it. What ethical justification could there have been for such detachment?

Reading further, I learned that before Carter came to Sudan; he was desperate for a good picture that could put him in the limelight. When war and famine in Sudan broke out he jumped on a plane. And Lady Luck was on his side: as soon as he stepped off, he saw a baby being stalked by a vulture. What a great photo! So many rich people in America donated to their favourite African charity when they saw it!

Well, you know, I’m tired of Africans being reduced to pathetic victims in the Western media. There’s something destructive about it. It’s not good for us because it fosters an entitlement mentality. And it’s not good for developed countries either, because they are tempted to despair. In fact, the sad coda to this story is that Carter was driven to drugs and desperation by the bloody mayhem he photographed in his career. Just weeks after receiving his Pulitzer, he gassed himself to death. “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain,” he wrote in a suicide note.

The reality of daily life in Africa, chaotic though it may be at times, is not victimhood but courage. I wish the Western media would highlight that instead of misery and wretchedness. I lay no claim to being a hero, but I often hear about them and it makes me proud to be a Nigerian.

This is something that I witnessed in 1990. I was caught in a war between Christians and Muslims in Kano city (the Muslim northern part of Nigeria). I hid in a friend’s house the whole day as fighting raged. The next morning as I moved around; there were dead bodies on the streets. Then, right there in front of me, a mob of angry Christian southerners, mostly Igbos, descended on a Hausa Muslim man with clubs and machetes. Perhaps they wanted his blood in retaliation for the deaths of hundreds of Christians the day before.

I was petrified. Suddenly a man rushed up to the blood-thirsty mob and shielded the victim with his own body. Some of the blows fell on him. The mob was surprised and stalled momentarily. The man quickly pushed the victim into the open door of his car and sped away. That was my first encounter with a real-life super hero.

A friend told me another story. A woman driving to drop her child at school came across an asthmatic slumped on the roadside. She put the man in her car and raced to the hospital. (There are no ambulance services in Nigeria, as the available ones are used for transporting coffins to villages for funerals.). By the time she arrived the man had died and the doctors told her to take the body away. So she was stuck with a corpse and she had not a clue where his family could be found. She went to the police for help. They arrested her and charged her with murder. She was behind bars for almost a week until a relative bailed her out, having paid a huge sum of money to the police and taking care of all expenses for the burial of the dead man.

Another type of heroism is needed not to succumb to widespread corruption. A good friend stumbled into my office one day with bloodshot eyes. He had quarreled with his wife all through the night. “About what?” I asked. He said that since he had become the director of a government ministry, he was offered bribes every day. He always refused. And because of this, he was a disappointment to his kinsmen. They had expected to share in the loot from his job. Even his beloved wife thought he was a fool. She kept telling him, “money is the only thing that will shield our children from the degradation out there. After all, everyone does it”. This constant humiliation had brought him to the limits of his endurance. But he would not give in.

Western newspapers always focus on the generous financial aid that their governments give to needy African nations. But you know what? I think that Western nations need generous foreign aid from us, too. A while ago, I became friends with a 20-year-old German fellow here in Enugu. He played street football with the street kids. They loved him and were always running up to touch his white skin. He learned a lot from us about the warmth of friendship, about the infinite value of children, about the joys of family life. He learned that life is better than lifestyle. He began to see that Europe’s plummeting birth rates are demographic suicide. And of course he learned to appreciate Germany, too — the thousand varieties of ice cream, the super fast internet, roads without pot-holes.

In some ways I feel sorry for the rich nations of Western Europe. Which is the real Dark Continent? They are burdened with so much loneliness, so much angst about the future, so much moral confusion. Efficiency, wealth and order are wonderful treasures. But sometimes I think that the West needs missionaries of courage, joy, detachment from consumerism, and generosity. That was what this German lad learned here. If only more could have his experience, Europe would be a richer place.

This article was written by Chinwuba Iyizoba. It was first published in

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