A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
With a population of over 160 million people, Nigeria is endowed with huge human and natural resources. However, in 2010, 52 percent of the population lived in rural areas and 64 percent of the population on less than US$ 1 per day. Oxfam’s work in Nigeria focuses primarily on improving livelihoods, women's rights, and good governance.
Nigeria is a major contributor to peacekeeping in the region, playing a central role in the West Africa regional ECOWAS body, and contributing 70% to its budget and hosting the Secretariat in Abuja.
On the political front, the country returned to civil rule in 1999 and has since maintained a democratic government ushering in an era of opportunity for people-driven development, poverty reduction and wealth creation.
However, Nigeria manifests an array of contradictions:
- It is a rich nation of poor people and decaying infrastructure.
- Though the 6th largest producer of oil in OPEC, Nigeria imports fuel and contends with regular fuel scarcity.
- It has about 79 million hectares of arable land, and over 3 million hectares of irrigable land.
Until the 1960s and prior to the oil boom, Nigeria was amongst the world's leading producers, a net exporter of agricultural products including cocoa, groundnut, rubber, cotton, hides and skin, Yet today Nigeria is a net importer of raw materials and food, and currently faces the risk of food crisis.
Though it is the main generator of foreign exchange and government revenues, the Niger Delta region remains one of the most neglected regions in Nigeria. It suffers from the environmental impact of oil production on agriculture and fishing, traditionally sources of livelihood.
The number of elected women in politics, at less than 7% remains the lowest in West Africa. The country has however made strides in appointing women to key positions never before held by women, including the strategic ministries of Finance and Petroleum, as well as Education and Aviation. Nonetheless, there are concerns about achieving the MDG goals with human, women’s and children's rights still widely violated.
Oxfam in Nigeria
Our work in Nigeria focuses on:
- Economic justice and improving livelihoods.
- Gender justice and female leadership.
- Good governance and the Niger Delta.
- Disaster risk reduction and responding to humanitarian crises.
Central to our work is the belief that power relations need to change to enable poor people to demand and claim their rights.
Oxfam's vision for Nigeria includes a transparent and accountable government, active citizens, and private sector that works toward shared growth that is equitable to meet the needs of the people, especially the vulnerable poor.
To this achieve this we work with a wide variety of partner and allies, such as community organizations and regional groups at the local, state and national levels.
In Nigeria, we are providing people with emergency food, clean drinking water and improved sanitation. We are distributing emergency shelters and cooking equipment, as well as seeds and tools to help traders and farmers get back on their feet.