This story from the Economist is about Niger – the largest country in West Africa (by size) – and the country with the highest fertility rate in the world (7.6 children per woman). Although Niger does not have a large population by world standards (17 million) this number is set to more than triple between 2014 and 2050. That wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for the fact that the country cannot feed itself even now and even when there are no droughts. Unfortunately, there are consistently droughts and the harvest regularly fails:
“Niger is, by the reckoning of the UN’s Human Development Index, the poorest place on earth…An estimated 2.5m people out of a total of 17m have no secure source of food. When harvests fail, which they do almost annually, that number shoots up. In 2012, when the worst of the recent food crises ravaged the Sahel region, almost a quarter of Niger’s population was said to be going hungry…”
The reality for poor, undernourished children is heartbreaking. The Economist introduces Haowa, a mother of eight children (her last pregnancy resulted in triplets) who cannot feed her children:
“Now, when her babies scream for food she often finds herself helpless. ‘If they cry and I have nothing to give them, then I must let them cry,’ she says, cradling two infants who bear the hallmarks of malnutrition. Their hair is yellowing, their bellies are distended and their expressions glazed. They lack the energy to shake the flies from their faces.”
I can’t imagine the pain that that mother must go through – knowing that her children are hungry and unable to do anything about it. My heart breaks every time my son bangs his head and starts crying – but at least then I know that I can comfort or distract him and he will be off and running again in a couple of minutes. I have never known what it is like not to be able to feed my family. Not only does that make me extremely fortunate but it means that the suffering that mothers like Haowa go through is incomprehensible. The poor, poor woman.
So why do Niger’s population continue to have so many children when its current population cannot be fed? The Economist points to a number of factors:
“Poverty, ignorance and poor access to contraception are contributing factors, as are cultural issues like competition between wives. Men in Niger tend to be polygamous, and local doctors note that their spouses often try to prove their value by outdoing each other in child births.”
The UN is seeking to change this:
“At present the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the only importer of contraceptives, flying in millions of dollars’ worth this year. It runs a ‘school for husbands’ which teaches men, who traditionally tended to obstruct women seeking birth control, about family planning. The schools hope to dispel wild rumours about contraception. One woman living outside of Zinder, the country’s second-biggest city, used to believe the pill would cause haemorrhages or make her unborn child anaemic. ‘I was scared for the first two months,’ she says.”
While it is good that Nigeriens are being informed so that they can make choices about their families, it appears as if Nigeriens may not want to change their current family structures:
“And the appetite for change among the population is limited. Only about a quarter of women express any desire to space out their births, let alone reduce their number.”
If that’s the case, if three-quarters of Nigerien women want to have eight children despite the misery being suffered by Haowa mentioned above, then what on earth can the UN do about it? Set up schools to re-educate women about how 2.1 would be a much better number of children to have? If this mindset largely comes about through the polygamous practises, then what should the UN do? Ban it? Do we then get back to the argument about which is more paternalistic: should we ban an apparently mysognistic practice even though women might want to be part of it? (See for example the hijab debate…) What do you, dear readers, think about this all?
PS Before we look down at the ignorance of Nigeriens about contraceptives and the pill, what do we in the west generally know about it? What do girls (I use the term deliberately) know when they are put onto the pill by their doctors? What are they told about the long term effects? The risks etc? Do we even know the longterm effects of it? Or are there none? As a final aside, I smile to think about how we are so keen to have “organic” food and to make sure no additives/chemicals are in our food and yet we take (or ensure our girlfriends/wives take) a pill every day that is pure hormone and tricks a woman’s body into thinking she is pregnant. But I’m sure there is a difference there somewhere.
About 480 government soldiers, who had previously fled into Cameroon after heavy fighting with Boko Haram insurgents are currently being repatriated to Nigeria by Cameroonian Authorities.
As previously reported by an AP news article, civilians fleeing into Cameroon gave accounts of being joined by Nigerian soldiers who were retreating from heavy fighting with Boko Haram insurgents in the border town of Gamboru.
The Nigerian army had previously referred to the unscheduled arrival of 480 Nigerian troops into Cameroonian soil as a “tactical maneuver."
A SaharaReporters source has revealed that’s the troops re entered Nigeria on a longer route through Adamawa state, rather than Borno state, after being transported in a long convoy under tight security escort.
The source said a long convoy transporting the troops entered Nigeria through a longer route from Adamawa state, rather than Borno state, and will soon join their units to continue operations against the Boko Haram militant fighters.
A security source based in the Maidugiri had previously informed SaharaReporters that Boko Haram sought to control the expansive areas of the Gamboru-Ngala for the strategic location and vibrant commercial infrastructure conducive for establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
Despite Nigeria’s government’s imposition of a State of Emergency in the Northeatern state of Borno late last year, Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in many areas of the region with hi-profile activities including successfully capturing the Gwoza Training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF) last week and several army barracks and police installations, and towns.
Boko Haram has also successfully conducted cross border raids into neighboring Cameroon including the highly publicized kidnapping of the wife of Cameroon’s Vice Prime Minister Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata in late July.
The group has increasingly developed a violent nature in its operations since the killing of its founding leader, Mohammed Younus, in 2009.
Zimbabweans battered by economic problems have flocked to Nigeria to visit faith healers and collect lucky charms, but their government is urging them to stay away because of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the AP has reported.
According to AP, Zimbabwe's state-controlled Chronicle newspaper, on Friday quoted Health Minister David Parirenyatwa as saying citizens of the southern African country should instead pray for good fortune at home.
The minister says a group of 50 Zimbabweans returned from Nigeria last week, and such a large group can jeopardize efforts to keep Ebola out of the country.
The AP reported that Nigerian preacher, T.B. Joshua is particularly popular among some Zimbabweans.
The current Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria has killed more than 1,300 people, including five in Nigeria. No cases have been reported in southern Africa.
With the Ebola crisis now hitting fifth West African nations, African communities in California’s capital, Sacramento, mobilized for their people back home –by setting up an event –the African Church Ebola Donation Drive, which was held at Friends In Jesus International Church, 8115 Elder Creek Rd. Sacramento, CA 95824; it was really a successful outcome –warehouse full of donations and ready to be shipped directly to Ebola’ victims in the West African affected regions: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.
Pastor Tim Wulah Jr, head pastor of Friends In Jesus (the African church), gave up the church’s main hall for the Ebola donation drive events; the African communities and other Sacramentans came together, from all regions and held two back to back Ebola donation drive events, which ran on Saturday, August 23 and the following Saturday, August 30 from 9am to 6pm.
The Ebola donation drive event had many peoples’ attention, and even the press, such as Sacramento’s news agencies: KCR3, News10, Fox40 and many other news-media -which did very well by putting the message out there -was there to shoot part of the event; as a result, the Ebola donation drive ended up with a warehouse full of medical supplies, foods, hospital equipments, and many more.
And not only did the people showed up to donate and support, they came together to talk about how to reach the donated supplies directly to the needed –and that’s going to “those people who need it the most, without going through any government’s agencies or systems,” said Pastor Tim Wulah Jr, who was the head speaker of the California’s Ebola donation drive committee.
The African Church Ebola Drive A Success
The African church Ebola drive was a success due to those who were there from the beginning to the end, and particularly, special thanks and appreciation to those women who were behind the donation drive, and they are namely, Mother Padmore, Mrs. Mrs. Manoh Tor Wulah, Ms. Otherlia Marwieh, Ms. Zinnay Barclay and many more names.
And applaud to Mark, who was named a hero for helping to unload a lot of the donations from trucks, cars, and he did get the donations off the hands of those who came to donate.
The donation drive needs an addition people to help assist them to unwrap those donations and set up an inventory –which will be used to send the donated supplies to any affected West African Ebola region.
Nigerian pop duo P-Square have shot a music video with American rapper T.I. for a song "Ejeajo" on their forthcoming sixth studio album.
Their album is one of the most anticipated albums in recent times in Nigeria, it will be interesting to hear the direction they’ll be taking their body of work.
P-Square’s older brother and manager Jude Okoye was also present at the shoot.
But many African music lovers believes that P-Square, which is considered one of Africa's top musicians, did not really surprised their fans -the way they used to; this is how one fan of P-Square put it: "Psquare! i love you guys but you let me down with this song! for christ sake,this is just like lionel richie going into rap or afrobeat.....stick to do what you do best.
you guys are still my number one :)."
But according to P-Square, the music is all about saying what is true -the fact:
This new video "Ejeajo" is nothing but testament to that fact. Raising the bar a bit higher this time around, PSquare went all out to recruit one of the U.S’ hottest rappers and hitmaker, T.I. With their 6th studio album set to drop in a jiffy, the magical duo overcame a family rift and subsequently released 3 singles off the upcoming album. "Ejeajo" is a contemporary pop tune spiced with a sprinkle of Afrobeat and archetypical Michael Jackson dance steps even the late singer would be proud of. Directed by the ever reliable Clarence Peters and elder brother to the duo, Jude 'Engees' Okoye, the video does absolute justice to the song itself. If you're a fan of electric pop and quick dance steps, you'll definitely love this one. Check it out!