"Poverty and violence are handmaidens. Here in Nigeria this is a stark reality. As soon as you arrive, drive from the airport at night and you see people destitute, huddled beside the freeway trying to make a home. Some attack vehicles. ... Why is this happening in Nigeria, the 10th largest oil producing country and its economy the fastest growing in Africa? "

- Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Correspondent

2' TALKING POINT is a new format produced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It presents a pressing issue or a news item developed with a personal touch by our AlertNet and TrustLaw correspondents, in two minutes or less.

Filming: David Sanni, Angela Ukomadu
B-roll sequence: Sharon Atseyinku
photography: Reuters
Editing: Shanshan Chen
Design: Ye Li

More on: trust.org

Transcript:

Poverty and violence are handmaidens. Here in Nigeria this is a stark reality. As soon as you arrive, drive from the airport at night and you see people destitute, huddled beside the freeway trying to make a home. Some attack vehicles. Military police carrying rifles escort you by convey to your hotel. Kidnappings -- once restricted to the oil-producing states -- now have reached into the heart of Lagos, the commercial capital.

Why is this happening in Nigeria, the 10th largest oil producing country and its economy the fastest growing in Africa? Only a tiny elite benefits from the oil riches. 70 percent of its 170 million people live on less than $2 a day. Here in Lagos they wash in drains, live in shacks in alleyways behind the villas of the rich. Roads are potholed sinks. Power breaks down daily. Public buildings crumble. Corruption is rampant. A former vice president stayed in the hotel room opposite me. A line of supplicants visited him all day. I heard them discuss the bribes they might offer.

When poverty is this extreme and corruption has undermined all trust in government, violence frequently erupts. It appears to be spreading in Nigeria. The past month, two or three foreigners each week have been held for ransom in Lagos. This week, President Goodluck Jonathan sent the army to quash Islamists in the deeply impoverished north. Poverty breeds violence.

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