Nigeria: National conference starts in Abuja

Despite its vast resources Nigeria is among the most unequal countries in the world. Poverty in the north is in stark contrast to the developed southern states, while residents in the oil-rich south-east complain that all the wealth they generate flows up the pipeline to Abuja and Lagos.This week, one hundred years after the mainly Muslim north and largely Christian south were united, Abuja hosts a National Conference of 500 delegates representing ethnic, linguistic and religious groups to discuss Nigeria's future. The conference will last three months and division of oil money and powers will be the main issues. Some Nigerians want more powers to be delegated to the country's 36 states. Some believe President Goodluck Jonathan wants to use the conference to change the constitution.The conference comes ahead of next year’s elections and amid almost daily attacks by militants wanting Islamic law in the north. (See Article 4 below). Discussing whether the country should be divided is barred. Some say they will still raise this issue.

Pray: that God’s purposes would be central to all discussions around economic and social situations. May every group discussion be free of hostile dialogue; may every ethnic group have a say in the nation’s future. (Ps.85:8)