Data show Nigerians the most educated in the U.S.

Data show Nigerians the most educated in the U.S.

In America, Nigerians’ education pursuit is above rest – Whether driven by immigration or family, data show more earn degrees
LESLIE CASIMIR, Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Published 05:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 20, 2008
David Olowokere
Nigerian David Olowokere, chairman of TSU's engineering technologies department, says the goal for his children is to do "as good as us — if not better." Photo Credit: ERIC KAYNE, CHRONICLE / HC
  • For Woodlands resident David Olowokere, one of Nigeria’s sons, having a master’s degree in engineering just wasn’t enough for his people back home. So he got a doctorate.

His wife, Shalewa Olowokere, a civil engineer, didn’t stop at a bachelor’s, either. She went for her master’s.

The same obsession with education runs in the Udeh household in Sugar Land. Foluke Udeh and her husband, Nduka, both have master’s degrees. Anything less, she reckons, would have amounted to failure.

“If you see an average Nigerian family, everybody has a college degree these days,” said Udeh, 32, a physical therapist at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “But a post-graduate degree, that’s like pride for the family.”

Nigerian immigrants have the highest levels of education in this city and the nation, surpassing whites and Asians, according to Census data bolstered by an analysis of 13 annual Houston-area surveys conducted by Rice University.

Although they make up a tiny portion of the U.S. population, a whopping 17 percent of all Nigerians in this country held master’s degrees while 4 percent had a doctorate, according to the 2006 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, 37 percent had bachelor’s degrees.

In comparison

To put those numbers in perspective, 8 percent of the white population in the U.S. had master’s degrees, according to the Census survey. And 1 percent held doctorates. About 19 percent of white residents had bachelor’s degrees. Asians come closer to the Nigerians with 12 percent holding master’s degrees and 3 percent having doctorates.The Nigerian numbers are “strikingly high,” said Roderick Harrison, demographer at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank that specializes in researching black issues. “There is no doubt that these are highly educated professionals who are probably working in the petrochemical, medical and business sectors in Houston.”

Harrison analyzed the census data for the Houston Chronicle.

Stephen Klineberg, a sociologist at Rice University who conducts the annual Houston Area Survey, suspects the percentage of Nigerian immigrants with post-graduate degrees is higher than Census data shows.

Of all the Nigerian immigrants he reached in his random phone surveys 1994 through 2007 — 45 households total — Klineberg said 40 percent of the Nigerians said they had post-graduate degrees.

“These are higher levels of educational attainment than were found in any other … community,” Klineberg said.

There are more than 12,000 Nigerians in Houston, according to the latest Census data, a figure sociologists and Nigerian community leaders say is a gross undercount. They believe the number to be closer to 100,000.

Staying in school

The reasons Nigerians have more post-graduate degrees than any other racial or ethnic group are largely due to Nigerian society’s emphasis on mandatory and free education. Once immigrating to this country, practical matters of immigration laws get in the way.The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 made it easier for Africans to enter the U.S., but mostly as students or highly skilled professionals — not through family sponsorships, Klineberg said.

So many Africans pursue higher levels of education as an unintended consequence of navigating the tricky minefield of immigration, said Amadu Jacky Kaba, an associate professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., who has done research on African immigrants in the U.S.

“In a way, it’s a Catch-22 — because of immigration laws you are forced to remain in school, but then the funny thing is you end up getting your doctorate at the age of 29,” Kaba said. “If you stay in school, immigration will leave you alone.”

Although Kaba, who teaches Africana Studies, is not from Nigeria (he is Liberian), he said he, too, found himself pursuing a master’s and then a doctorate to remain in this country legally.

But not all Africans have to go this route. Some say their motivation is driven by their desire to overcome being a double minority: black and African.

Take Oluyinka Olutoye, 41, associate professor of pediatric surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. He came to this country already as a medical doctor but decided to pursue his doctorate in anatomy to help set himself apart.

“Being black, you are already at a disadvantage,” said Olutoye, whose wife, Toyin Olutoye, is an anesthesiologist at Baylor. “You really need to excel far above if you want to be considered for anything in this country.”

Family expectations

All this talk of education creates high expectations for children of Nigerian immigrants. The eldest child of David Olowokere, chairman of the engineering technologies department at Texas Southern University, for example, is already working on her master’s degree in public health in Atlanta; the middle child is pursuing a bachelor’s in pre-medicine. His youngest, a son, attendsThe Woodlands High School. He already has aspirations to go into engineering, just like his parents, Olowokere beams.”The goal is for them to do as good as us — if not better,” he said.

Oluyinka Olutoye put it another way.

“The typical saying in a Nigerian household is that the best inheritance that a parent can give you is not jewelry or cash or material things, it is a good education,” he said. “It is expected.”

Secondary source HERE

Africa Malaria

Africa Malaria Control day

The African Union has established April 25 as a day to raise awareness of the damage caused by malaria in Africa. Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that disproportionately affects poor and vulnerable populations on the African continent. Approximately 90 percent of global malaria cases occur in sub-saharan Africa.

Africa Poverty Stats

Statistics on Poverty in Africa


1. Absolute numbers
2. Relative numbers
3. Alternative numbers
3. International vs national numbers


According to the World Bank poverty estimates, Africa hasn’t seen much progress in terms of the absolute numbers of poor people. Compared to China, for instance, the number of poor people has grown steadily in Africa:

poverty in south and east asia, compared to Africa


The numbers almost doubled from 200 million in 1981 to 400 million in 2005, although in 2008 it fell by 12 million (source).


However, a lot of the growth in the absolute numbers is due to population growth. If you look at the relative numbers, the percentage of poor Africans has actually been falling during the last decade. Less than half the population is now extremely poor:

poverty in Sub Saharan Africa


poverty in africa



This paper tells the same story but with an alternative and even more optimistic set of numbers. In the graph below, the rate of the population surviving on less than $1 dollar day has fallen to 32% in 2006 from a high point of 45% in the late 1980s. How come? As you can also see in the graph, at the time poverty began to decline around 1995, GDP began to grow (after three decades of zero or negative growth). The graph shows a striking correlationbetween poverty reduction and economic growth (something I have written about before in another context, see here and here).

one dollar a day poverty and gdp growth in subsaharan african


Of course, poverty reduction isn’t the automatic result of GDP growth only. Other factors are at work as well.

What’s interesting is that this African growth spurt since 1995 (probably briefly interrupted by the current recession) isn’t just caused by growing oil prices. If that had been the case, we would have seen increasing income inequality, since revenues from the oil industry are typically appropriated by elites. But that’s not the case. Poverty reduction in Africa has gone hand in hand with a reduction in income inequality. You can see the extent of this reduction in the following two graphs:

income inequality in Africa

african income distribution 1970-2006


This means that growth has benefited the poor.

It’s a development that is remarkably general across African countries and that is not just explained by good news in a few large countries. Poverty is falling even in countries which are believed to burdened by geography, bad agricultural prospects, a history of slave trade, war, or lack of natural resources.


Notice the often large discrepancies between the World Bank poverty estimates and the different national estimates using a national poverty line:

poverty in Africa World Bank and national poverty line


Credit for the content of this page goes to  Filip Spagnoli. See HERE

Harvard Executive Training

Executive Education Programs By Date

Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy School offers programs for leaders from around the world. We bring together experienced professionals, a world-class faculty, and a dynamic curriculum in a setting where the common denominator is a shared commitment to public value. The result is a lasting transformational leadership experience. We have developed the most comprehensive range of executive education programs in public leadership available anywhere in the world.

Below is a listing of program offerings by date for the upcoming year– please click on the program name for a more detailed overview of each program.


Driving Government Performance: Leadership Strategies that Produce Results

3/18/2012 – 3/23/2012

Provides a number of explicit strategies that public executives can use in a variety of complex circumstances to establish and implement performance improvements in their organizations and agencies.

Strategic Management for Leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations

3/25/2012 – 3/30/2012

Designed for senior executives in non-governmental organizations committed to improving the performance of their organizations.

Leadership in Crises: Preparation and Performance

4/1/2012 – 4/6/2012

Whether it’s a natural disaster, an industrial accident, or a terrorist attack, or other catastrophe, a crisis usually hits with no warning.

Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies

4/1/2012 – 4/6/2012

Designed to examine the distinctive strategic and managerial challenges that surround government agencies’ regulatory and enforcement functions.

Strategic Frameworks for Nonprofit Organizations

4/9/2012 – 6/15/2012

An online program designed to help nonprofit and non-governmental organization leaders in the developing world use strategic management frameworks to improve their organizations.

Click for Details.

Mastering Negotiation: Building Agreements Across Boundaries

4/15/2012 – 4/20/2012

Addresses the challenges of negotiating across cultures, organizations, and sectors in a world of various economic, political, and social problems, where sustainable solutions require consensus among multiple stakeholders.

Click for Details.

Senior Executive Fellows

4/16/2012 – 5/11/2012

Designed to help promising senior officials prepare for promotion to Senior Executive Service. Focuses on OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications.

Click for Details.

General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar

4/24/2012 – 4/27/2012

The General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar is designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Crisis Leadership specifically for the National Guard and the United States Coast Guard.

Click for Details.

Women and Power: Leadership in a New World

5/6/2012 – 5/11/2012

Women and Power is designed for senior executive women from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. It is an intense, interactive experience designed to help women advance to top positions of influence.

Click for Details.

Art and Practice of Leadership Development: A Master Class for Professional Trainers, Educators, and Consultants

5/11/2012 – 5/18/2012

Designed to engage participants as learners, teachers, and as leaders. Experienced professionals analyze a variety of leadership teaching methods and techniques.

Click for Details.

Global Change Agents: Leading with Commitment, Creativity and Courage

5/12/2012 – 5/19/2012

Designed to challenge fundamental assumptions about how we can courageously and effectively exercise leadership and authority for the purposes we care about most.

Click for Details.

The Cutting Edge of Development Thinking

5/14/2012 – 5/18/2012

Develop the tools needed to formulate growth strategies and development policies.

Click for Details.

Innovation for Economic Development (IFED)

5/28/2012 – 6/2/2012

Provides leaders with a unique opportunity to integrate science and technology into a national development policy. Focuses on meeting human needs, participating in the global economy, and making the sustainability transition.

Click for Details.

Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations

5/29/2012 – 6/1/2012

Designed to help senior leaders of nonprofit organizations think about new strategies for creating and sustaining high organizational performance. Offered jointly by Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School.

Click for Details.


5/29/2012 – 10/12/2012

With the guidance of APL+ faculty, facilitators deeply immersed in the APL material, and your APL colleagues, you will begin by designing your own experiment for applying adaptive leadership practices into your work.

Click for Details.

Public Leaders in Southeast Europe

6/3/2012 – 6/7/2012

Designed to provide critical skills, knowledge, and strategy to leaders operating in an era of global uncertainty and complexity.

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Senior Executives in State and Local Government

6/4/2012 – 6/22/2012

provides a balance of traditional and hands-on learning experiences to help seasoned public officials meet the changing needs of their constituents and communities.

Click for Details.

Leaders in Development: Managing Change in a Dynamic World

6/4/2012 – 6/15/2012

Designed for senior leaders in public affairs from developing, newly industrialized, and transitional economies who face complex economic, political, and social challenges.

Click for Details.

Comparative Tax Policy and Administration

6/18/2012 – 6/29/2012

Examines the design and implementation of tax systems around the world. Provides practical tools to help formulate appropriate tax policies and tax administration.

Click for Details.

Using Evidence to Improve Social Program Effectiveness

6/24/2012 – 6/29/2012

Addresses the challenge that managers face in identifying useful strategies for evaluating and improving program effectiveness.

Click for Details.

Infrastructure in a Market Economy: Public – Private Partnerships in a Changing World

7/8/2012 – 7/20/2012

Designed to help officials from public and private sectors develop public-private partnerships in infrastructure that are technically defensible, economically feasible, and politically acceptable.

Click for Details.

Senior Executives in State and Local Government

7/9/2012 – 7/27/2012

provides a balance of traditional and hands-on learning experiences to help seasoned public officials meet the changing needs of their constituents and communities.

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Senior Managers in Government

7/22/2012 – 8/10/2012

Designed for senior government officials and their counterparts in international government, the military, and the private sector. Focuses on policy development and performance management.

Click for Details.

Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development (FIPED)

7/29/2012 – 8/3/2012

Designed to aid in the sustainable provision of financial services for micro, small, and medium enterprises. Focuses on the management skills and operational tools needed in a market economy.

Click for Details.

Shaping Healthcare Delivery Policy: Understanding the Challenges, Managing the Change

8/5/2012 – 8/10/2012

American healthcare is changing. Understanding, managing, and leveraging change in the healthcare sector are at the center of this one-week program.

Click for Details.

Senior Executives in National and International Security

8/12/2012 – 8/24/2012

Provides a setting for senior executives to deepen their understanding of current security issues in an intellectually stimulating, non-attribution, academic environment.

Click for Details.

Mastering Trade Policy: Understanding and Acting in Today’s Economy

8/26/2012 – 9/7/2012

Designed to enable trade practitioners at all levels to analyze, formulate, negotiate, and implement effective policies and practices in the field of trade.

Click for Details.

Leadership for the 21st Century: Chaos, Conflict and Courage

9/9/2012 – 9/14/2012

Designed to challenge fundamental assumptions about how to courageously and effectively exercise leadership and authority for the purposes you care about most.

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Expanding Impact: Non-Governmental Organization Legitimacy, Advocacy and Partnerships

9/10/2012 – 11/16/2012

In a world of highly constrained resources, the ability of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) to optimize its impact on society requires both clarity of purpose and flexibility.

Click for Details.

Senior Executive Fellows

10/14/2012 – 11/9/2012

Designed to help promising senior officials prepare for promotion to Senior Executive Service. Focuses on OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications.

Click for Details.

Nonprofit Financial Stewardship: Concepts and Techniques for Strategic Management

10/15/2012 – 12/7/2012

An online program designed to help nonprofit and non-governmental organization managers improve their financial literacy.

Click for Details.

Creating Collaborative Solutions: Innovations in Governance

10/21/2012 – 10/26/2012

Designed to help senior officials think about new ways of working together across traditional political and organizational boundaries in order to solve complex public problems.

Click for Details.

Leadership Decision Making: Optimizing Organizational Performance

10/28/2012 – 11/2/2012

Leadership Decision Making: Optimizing Organizational Performance offers important new insights into leadership based on breakthrough scientific discoveries about decision making.

Click for Details.

Investment Decisions and Behavioral Finance: Identifying and Capitalizing on Irrational Investment Practices

11/15/2012 – 11/16/2012

Designed to help participants understand the common biases and irrational investment behaviors that significantly influence the behavior of financial markets and produce suboptimal outcomes for investors.

Click for Details.

Senior Executives in National and International Security

11/25/2012 – 12/7/2012

Provides a setting for senior executives to deepen their understanding of current security issues in an intellectually stimulating, non-attribution, academic environment.

Click for Details.

Leadership for the 21st Century: Chaos, Conflict and Courage

1/27/2013 – 2/1/2013

Designed to challenge fundamental assumptions about how to courageously and effectively exercise leadership and authority for the purposes you care about most.

Click for Details.

Leading Economic Growth

2/10/2013 – 2/15/2013

Enables participants to diagnose their current municipal, regional, or national economies and develop new investment promotion strategies for optimal growth.

Click for Details.

Driving Government Performance: Leadership Strategies that Produce Results

3/10/2013 – 3/15/2013

Provides a number of explicit strategies that public executives can use in a variety of complex circumstances to establish and implement performance improvements in their organizations and agencies.

Cambridge Advanced Leadership

Highly recommended leadership training.
Note: This training provider has no affliation whatsoever with the NDi. The training is only being recommended because it was selected by a member of NDi who earlier benefited from the training.


This three week general management and leadership programme offers the opportunity for seasoned general managers and senior executives to step back from their professional and personal lives and dedicate time for themselves in a learning environment second to none. Aside from refreshing their thinking and fine-tuning their leadership agenda, participants will benefit from discussions and exchange with top Faculty members and outstanding speakers from Cambridge Judge Business School and Cambridge University, as well as from other top business schools.

Innovative and leading-edge

All Cambridge Advanced Leadership Programme delegates receive an iPad 2 *.

This unique and exciting technology enabler allows our ALP delegates instant and exclusive access to important programme materials. Providing programme materials in this format significantly reduces the amount of paper printing and handouts, and allows delegates to easily and simply view their programme material in the most up-to-date, electronic format.

* included within programme fees

Programme Structure

Three major themes span the programme, helping to weave the discussion and debate into a coherent fabric on which participants can chart their next moves. Please click on the + signs below in order to expand the content around each programme theme:

Making sense of turbulent times

Taking the lead through innovation

Leadership into action

Would you like to learn more?

For further information and an in-depth discussion about the programme please feel free to contact Allison Wheeler-Héau, Director of the Cambridge ALP. She would be delighted to speak to you, and help you decide whether this programme is the right choice for you and your professional development.

Allison Wheeler-Héau
Director of the Cambridge Advanced Leadership Programme
Tel: +44 (0)1223 765855
Mobile: +44 (0)7879 116776

Experts pick holes in ICT Policy draft

Report written by DAYO OKETOLA | Published in the Nigerian Punch Newspaper | MARCH 12, 2012

Information Communications Technology stakeholders, who discussed the draft ICT policy document at a public forum in Lagos, on Friday, offered constructive criticism to make the policy more robust for industry growth, writes DAYO OKETOLA

There was a deluge of constructive criticism against the draft National Information and Communications Technology policy released by the Ministry of Communications Technology on January, 9, 2012.

Most stakeholders, who gathered at the Lagos City Hall, venue of the public forum on the draft ICT policy documents on Friday, offered more constructive criticism of the document than commendations.

From simple shortcomings such as the composition of the Ministerial Committee on ICT Policy Harmonisation to complex issues regarding the substance and content of the policy, which experts said lacked depth and was not inclusive enough for holistic transformation of the ICT industry, the forum created an opportunity for stakeholders to air their views on the ICT policy.

Experts said the policy harmonisation committee, which consisted only members from agencies under the Ministry of Communications Technology, was not representative enough as it failed to include private sector players who were the real drivers of ICT growth in the country. As such, they called for the immediate re-composition of the committee.

To the more critical issues, however, stakeholders generally criticised the policy for not making adequate provisions for broadband and computer penetration; tackling multiple taxation and regulation, and providing support for local computer manufacturers.

Other shortcomings, according to experts, include inadequate provision for women, children and people living with disabilities; inadequate provisions for local content and Internet governance; as well as proper convergence in the ICT sector and failure to make provisions that will categorise ICT equipment as critical national infrastructure fully protected by the government.

More specifically, the Nigeria Computer Society expressed worry that the policy did not set a target and time line for broadband penetration, which currently stands at seven per cent in the country.

In view of this, the Chairman, Education and Manpower, NCS, Dr. Vincent Asor, said it was important for the government to drive broadband penetration in the country. He urged the government, via the draft ICT policy, to target a 50 per cent broadband penetration within a stated time line.

Omobola Johnson
Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson. Photo credit: Nigerian Punch Newspaper (file)

Asor further said it was equally imperative for the country to focus on outsourcing as an economic enabler as it was done in India.

The President, Information Technology Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Florence Seriki, who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer, Omatek Ventures Plc, lamented the poor PC penetration in the country, adding that the IT segment of the ICT industry was not properly provided for in the draft policy document.

Seriki, who called on the Federal Government to drive local PC manufacturing as the epicentre of ICT industry development in the country, said, “We want to develop IT industry but we cannot achieve this without encouraging local manufacturing of PCs and other IT devices.”

The ITAN president, who emphasised the need to establish IT departments in schools across the country, said the draft policy document must specify policies for youth empowerment, foreign investments, and local content.

She argued that there was no way the ICT policy would make significant impact without developing manufacturing in the IT sector.

The Omatek boss explained that the policy enjoyed by local Original Equipment Manufacturers during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime was no longer there and this was affecting their operations.

In view of this, Seriki urged the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, to facilitate the restoration of those policies for the benefits of local OEMs in the country.

Speaking in the same vein, the President, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Tuni Balogun, called on the Federal Government to encourage local PC manufacturing in the country.

He stressed that this was important if the country wanted to be self reliant in the area of ICT development like countries such as India and China among others.

The President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Mr. Deolu Ogunbajo, said the draft policy didn’t make enough provisions on how to tackle multiple regulations and taxation in the country.

While urging the ministry to focus on those areas, Ogunbanjo advised the Federal Government to categorise telecoms equipment as critical national infrastructure fully protected by the law.

The Executive Director, Development Information Network, Mr. Bankole Olubamise, recalled that the draft policy document failed to make any provision for women and children despite mentioning them in the opening of the document.

He advised that the Ministry of Communications Technology should adopt universal access to ICT as a human right.

“ICT divide is still very wide in the country. There is no way we can achieve vision 2020 with the current ICT access,” he said.

According to him, Internet governance is an important issue that the draft policy document does not mention. He also advised that this should be looked into.

Similarly, the Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Network for Cybersolution Limited, an anti-cybercrime campaign and cybersecurity solution organisation, Mr. Segun Olugbile, said the draft policy failed to make provision for cyber security in the country.

He said this against the backdrop of the rising cyber fraud and insecurity in the country’s cyber space and urged that measures should be put in place to address the problem through the ICT policy.

According to the President, Open Source Association of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Adesomo, open source is a key area in most developed countries’ ICT policies. He called for adequate policy provision for open source in the country while urging the government to encourage mobile software applications locally.

Despite the robust growth recorded in mobile telephony, the lack of convergence in the nation’s ICT sector has been said to be responsible for the fragmentation and inefficiency in the management of resources in the sector.

Experts had, therefore, underscored the need for convergence in the ICT sector, in line with the global trend.

They, however, lamented that the draft ICT policy did not provide adequate ICT regulatory framework that could guarantee complete convergence in the sector.

Speaking on behalf of the ICT Publisher Alliance, the Publisher, eWorld Magazine, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, stressed the need for proper convergence in the ICT industry, adding that this was the only way to fast-track the growth of the industry.

According to the document, the main objective of the National ICT Policy “is to create a conducive environment for the rapid expansion of ICT networks and services that are accessible to all at reasonable costs, and for the transformation of Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Mr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, who expressed satisfaction with the level of response received at the public forum, lauded ICT stakeholders present for their constructive crtiticisms.

He said, “The contributions were fantastic. What happened here today was constructive criticisms because in making a policy, you are trying to chart a course. If somebody says don’t go there, there is a pit there; don’t go that way, there is danger there, it is not criticism, it is advice. You will see that it is the ministry that presented itself for criticism because it wants to get all issues addressed. At the end of the day, the policy document that will be released will be an all embracing and comprehensive one that will reflect where we want the ICT industry to be.”

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the objective of the public forum was to get critical inputs from industry stakeholders, adding that the contributions would make the final ICT policy more robust for proper execution.

Paper 72: Energy – fuel subsidy

The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove subsidy on the 1st of January 2012 was ill-timed. There are competing alternatives to the specific decision that offer mutually rewarding and a win-win prospect for the government and people of Nigeria.

The country’s House of Representatives’s resolution asking the executive to reverse the decision strongly indicated that there was no consensus on subsidy at the topmost level of government.

A major argument canvassed by government has been the need to eliminate avenue for corruption and waste and the ultimate need to turn such subsidy expenditure into savings. It is however unlikely that ordinary folks would show sympathy for government’s position or her quest for additional funds if they are yet to see the impact of previous monies. Africa’s most populous nation must therefore actively and effectively utilize existing traceable income from crude-oil to fix her ailing infrastructure and her moribund refineries before embarking upon complete deregulation of her downstream. Such actions would enable the people of Nigeria to have confidence and hope in government.

Nigeria’s Poverty Map

Nigeria poverty map
Nigeria poverty map

About 61 percent of oil-rich Nigeria’s citizens lived in absolute poverty in 2010, existing on less than $1 a day and unable to afford the bare necessities, a report by the National Statistics Bureau stated.

The NBS announced yesterday that the number of impoverished Nigerians “rose to 60.9 per cent in 2010, compared with 54.7 per cent in 2004″.

Statistician General of the NBS, Mr. Yemi Kale, said that even though the nation’s economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty continues to grow every year in Africa’s most populous nation.

Kale explained that the fastest-growing industries in Nigeria – wholesale, retail and oil and gas – “are not significant employers of labour” and without the creation of new jobs, poverty is expected to climb even higher.

Mr. Kale estimates that this trend may increase further in the 2011 report if the potential positive impacts of several anti-poverty and employment generation intervention programmes are not taken into account.

He suggested boosting the agricultural sector, which the central bank estimates accounts for 42 percent of gross domestic product, will aid poverty alleviation in Africa’s top oil-producer.

The report further reveals that the northeast and northwest geo-political zones are the poorest regions in the country while the southwest, which hosts the commercial city of Lagos, has the lowest levels of poverty.

Copyright: Channels Television

Botched Nigeria rescue bid: UK and Italy defuse row

Bullet holes in the building where the men were heldThe house in Sokoto, Nigeria, where the two hostages were held, came under heavy fire Continue reading the main story on BBC


Italy and Britain’s foreign ministers have moved to defuse a row over the UK’s failure to inform Rome of a planned hostage rescue bid in Nigeria.

Giulio Terzi and William Hague issued a statement saying Italy and the UK would continue to fight terrorism together.

Briton Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara died on Thursday as Nigerian and UK forces tried to free them from Islamists in Sokoto in Nigeria’s north.

Mr Terzi had asked Britain for “utmost clarity” about the operation.

He met Mr Hague earlier at a meeting in Denmark, and on Friday evening they released a joint statement.

It said Mr Hague had made it clear that there had been “a limited opportunity” to secure the release of the hostages whose lives were “in imminent and growing danger” and it had been possible to inform Italy only once the operation was already getting under way.

The statement went on to say: “Mr Terzi expressed deep sorrow and disappointment over the tragic outcome of the operation and both ministers agreed on the urgency of sharing full information to facilitate the reconstruction and understanding of these events.”

“Start Quote

The urgency is evident from the fact that the raid took place in daylight. It was deemed too risky to wait even 12 hours for dark”

image of Gordon CoreraGordon CoreraSecurity correspondent, BBC News
  • It continued by saying they had reaffirmed that the UK and Italy would continue to work together closely in the fight against “such horrific terrorism and hostage-taking”.

After the ministers’ meeting, Italian news agency ANSA reported sources from the prime minister’s office in Rome as saying Italy remained firm in its demands for clarity, but that it had no intention of escalating the diplomatic row.

The BBC’s Alan Johnston, in Rome, said this was the first sign that some of the heat may be going out of this diplomatic row.

The row – which has been rumbling since news first broke of the failed operation on Thursday evening – appeared to peak on Friday afternoon when the Italian president said it was “inexplicable” that the British government had not told Rome about the rescue attempt until it began.

Giorgio Napolitano said the UK needed to explain itself.

The victims

Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara

“The way the British government has behaved is quite inexplicable. To have failed to inform or consult Italy, with regard to a military action which could have such consequences,” he said.

“A clarification is needed on both the political and diplomatic levels.”

Earlier, UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the attempted rescue had been launched after information was received that the hostages “were about to be moved – possibly executed”.

“These hostages were taken, they were held at an unknown location for a very long period of time despite extensive efforts to track them down.

“And when a window of opportunity became available, a well-trained Nigerian force with British support, went in and tried to rescue them,” he said.

Heavy fighting

Number 10 said the UK and Italy had been in contact ever since the men were kidnapped.

Gunmen seized Mr McManus, 28, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, and Mr Lamolinara, 48, in the town of Birnin Kebbi in the north of Nigeria on 12 May 2011.

They had been working for Italian firm B Stabilini in the construction of a local headquarters for the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Sequence of events

Locator map of Nigeria
  • Arrested suspect gives location of hostages
  • Intelligence received suggesting hostages’ lives at risk
  • Prime Minister David Cameron authorises raid
  • Hostages murdered by the time forces reach them

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s office said he had asked Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to provide a “detailed reconstruction” of events as soon as possible.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said it was a Nigerian-led operation, with UK support involving the UK’s elite Special Boat Service. BBC reporter Haruna Shehu Tangaza, in Sokoto, described several hours of heavy fighting where the men were being held.

The house where the men were being held had been under surveillance for some time.

Mr Cameron and Mr Jonathan said they believed the kidnappers had killed Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara.

But an unnamed official from the Nigerian state security service quoted in local reports said the hostages had died in crossfire.

Boko Haram

Mr Jonathan said that the men’s captors had been seized and “would be made to face the full wrath of the law”.

He said they were from militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has carried out a number of attacks on police, politicians and clerics who oppose it.

Reports have emerged that a senior member of Boko Haram was captured on Tuesday, and he gave information which led forces to the house where the two construction engineers were being held.

However, on Friday, a spokesman for the group told reporters that Boko Haram had not been behind the deaths.

“We have never taken anyone hostage. We always claim responsibility for our acts,” he said.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said Boko Haram had become more violent and capable in recent years and there was a suspicion this might be a sign of the growing influence of the group known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has a track record of kidnapping Westerners in north Africa and trying to extract ransom payments to fund its violence.

Development: China gets world fastest train

As China’s economy and population expand, so do its transport needs. Although car ownership is on the increase, the Government is investing more in the railways.
China now has the fastest train in the world. It runs from the central city of Wuhan down to the south coast, at a speed of more than 380km/h.
Jenny Wivell reports.