By Orji Uzor Kalu, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Orji Uzor Kalu is a former governor of Nigeria’s Abia State and Chairman of the G37, a non-partisan group proposing alternative policy options for Nigeria. The views expressed are his own.
Reports this week that some economists predict Nigeria will overtake South Africa as Africa’s largest economy, in GDP terms, in the next several years highlights how the country is at an inflection point in its great history.
Over the course of the last few years, the country’s spirit of entrepreneurship has stood at the heart of its integration into nearly every sector of global culture, finance and trade. The country is blessed with a bevy of natural resources and aspires to take its place amidst the BRIC nations. And, notwithstanding the seemingly perpetual squabbling, the country is increasingly looking for leaders that can ensure the government works for the people.
However, despite the dream of a new Nigerian century, citizens from all walks of life scattered across the globe would tell you that there is overwhelming concern when looking at the country’s future.
By Shobana Shankar, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Shobana Shankar is a visiting assistant professor in the History Department of Georgetown University. She is finalizing a book, ‘Who Shall Enter Paradise? Christian Missions and the Politics of Difference in Muslim Northern Nigeria.’ The views expressed are her own.
The violent Islamist group Boko Haram has escalated attacks throughout Northern Nigeria since last year, murdering civilians and destroying government and private property. Understandably concerned by news reports and appeals from the expatriate community, members of the U.S. Congress have proposed designating Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), a label that would trigger actions affecting business and aid that could hurt many Nigerians. It would also exacerbate religious tensions that Boko Haram itself has fomented, which all who seek peace in Nigeria must steadfastly contest if its people are to rid themselves of violence and fear.
Capitol Hill certainly has cause for concern. Attacks on Christian churches have intensified in the last six months, yet leading traditional Muslim leaders have not publicly condemned Boko Haram since May of this year, when the Sultan of Sokoto – one of Nigeria's most prominent Muslim leaders – denounced the group. No Muslim authority has emerged to clearly champion the rights of both Muslims and Christians to live together peacefully in Northern Nigeria. A great responsibility rests on the shoulders of Muslim leaders to speak out against Boko Haram at this critical moment.
Editor's Note: John Campbell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria from 2004 to 2007, is the Ralph Bunch Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
By John Campbell, Foreign Affairs
On New Year's Day, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ended the country's decades-old federal petroleum subsidy, which had kept gasoline and other petroleum products available to Nigerians at substantially below market price. In days, a liter of gas more than doubled to 93 cents. Despite the country's abundance of crude oil (it extracts more than 2 million barrels a day), Nigeria lacks refining capacity and has to spend billions (in the first quarter of last year, $1.34 billion, to be exact) importing fuel not only for transportation, but also to power the diesel generators that provide much of the country's electricity. FULL POST
By Stephanie Busari, CNN
Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, ended oil subsidies on New Year's Day that had kept gasoline prices artificially low.
The cost of a liter of gasoline shot up from 65 naira (40 cents) to at least 141 naira (86 cents) virtually overnight.
Furious Nigerians have since taken to the streets, staging 'Occupy Nigeria' protests and mass demonstrations across the country.
Police have responded forcefully with many arrests. At least one person has died amid the unrest: 23-year-old student Muyideen Mustafa was allegedly hit by a police bullet in Ilorin, Kwara State, on January 03.
A police spokesman in Kano State also confirmed to CNN that they fired teargas into a crowd staging a midnight protest last weeka in order to disperse a largely peaceful demonstration by Muslims and Christians.