Children in Nigeria

Nigeria is home to some 75 million children under the age of 18 with 41 million of them living in poverty, despite Nigeria potentially being one of the world's richest nations due to its oil reserves. Its a sobering thought that these dire statistics would be even worse if one in five Nigerian children didn't die before their fifth birthday and few will see past their 53rd birthday (2021). The reason in part for this is not just poverty but because only around 13% of Nigerian children are immunised against basic childhood illness, and, due to corruption and incompetence, the Nigerian government spends less per capita than virtually any other country in Africa on healthcare. This lack of healthcare and associated education and resources means that of all Nigerian children 1.2 million have been orphaned by AIDS, a further 220,000 are infected themselves with 70,000 born each year with HIV.

UNICEF report that, according to the most recent figures from 2018, more than 47 children and adolescents die every day from AIDS-related causes (Only 35% of children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment in the country) and 300,000 children die each year from malaria in Nigeria. Malnutrition affects just under a third of all Nigerian children under the age of five mainly because, outside of the oil industry and urban areas, 90% of the population of Nigeria relies on subsistence farming with almost half struggling to make a living on smallholdings barely one hectare in size and agriculture has been in decline for many years particularly around the Niger Delta where much of the land has been contaminated by oil spills.

Eleven million Nigerian children don't attend school with an estimated twelve million children between the ages of 10-14yrs forced into domestic servitude; some even sold to keep their family's head above water with Gabon, Cameroon, Nigger, Italy, Spain, Benin and Saudi Arabia being known destinations. Some parents sell their children in the belief that they will have a better life away from often single houses in urban areas that are home to up to ten other families with no private space, bedrooms and shared sanitation facilities. Cont/...

Boys in Nigeria
Children in Nigeria

Children in Nigeria

Children in Nigeria

Children in Nigeria

Children in Nigeria



Children in Nigeria: Slum2school

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Nigerian Village Children

Children in Nigeria

Most Nigerian children have between 4-5 siblings. Bizarrely, perhaps due to the exponential growth of Evangelical Christianity in parts of Nigeria, thousands of Nigerian children are being blamed for these poor living conditions in the country and are accused of witchcraft often prompted by church pastors. It is estimated that some 15,000 children have been accused of this practise over the past decade and a horrifying one thousand of them murdered. There have been reports of children being buried alive, forced to drink acid and having their limbs broken.

Ill-informed families are being preached to that "once a child is said to be a witch to be possessed with a certain spiritual spell capable of making the child to transform into, like cat, snake, vipers, a child could cause all sorts of havoc like killing of people, bringing about diseases, misfortune into family." And what is the motivation for these pastors? Money. The pastors claim they can 'cure' the child witches for between £200 - £1300. Of course, because there is nothing wrong with the children in the first place they can't be 'cured' so then the pastors claim the children are beyond help and should be abandoned. Many would assume that a belief in child witches goes back to old traditions in Nigeria, however, in fact, its a fairly recent phenomenon, spurred on by 'Nollywood' movies and fuelled by a desperation to simply account for rampant AIDS/HIV and other misfortunes. And why children? Again, their are strong spiritual beliefs in Nigeria that blame all wrongs on witchcraft and these movies that are doing the rounds, particularly in the Niger Delta, are promoting a belief that older 'witch' spirits can more easily assimilate children due to their innocence and susceptibility. The video above gives some insight into children's lives in Nigeria together with details of projects and programs you can support to help them. For more about girls in Nigeria click here.


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