Blessed with some of the world's largest oil reserves, Nigeria has the potential to build a dynamic economy. But high levels of corruption and violence plague the country and stifle its development.
A closer look 說古論今
Nigeria's greatest resource is also its greatest curse. Immense oil reserves lie in the Niger Delta and have helped make Nigeria the eighth largest oil exporter in the world. But violence caused by fighting over the oil, along with high levels of corruption, stifles the country's development.
Billions of dollars flow into the country's coffers because of the oil industry - and then flow right back out because of corruption. Very few people end up benefiting from the oil money, and the country lacks the funds to provide even basic services like electricity and running water to most of its citizens.
The government often says, "plans are in the pipeline" to develop the country. Militants in the Niger Delta have taken it upon themselves to counter those plans by literally blowing up oil pipelines, not to mention kidnapping foreign oil workers and making parts of the region unapproachable by even the country's police and military.
Olusegun Obasanjo, president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, made reducing corruption one of the main goals of his presidency. Most analysts feel his intentions were for the most part sincere, but little progress was made.
The country's current president, Umaru Yar'Adua, took over at the end of May and has vowed to continue to fight corruption and to reign in the militants. He has an uphill battle to fight, especially considering that most outside observers feel the elections were a sham and should be nullified.
(Michael Kearney, Staff Writer)
WHO KNEW? 你知道嗎?
In a study published in 2003, New Scientist magazine found that Nigerians are the happiest people in the world. Also ranking near the top were people from Latin American, North American and Western European countries. Ranking near the bottom were people from Russia and Eastern European nations.
Although Nigerians were found to be very happy, they ranked near the middle of the list of 65 countries for satisfaction. Ronald Inglehart, chair of the survey's steering committee, said, "The Nigerian public has a striking tendency to give more very high and very low responses than other publics."
The five happiest nations were Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico. The US ranked 16th and Britain ranked 24th, demonstrating once again that money cannot purchase happiness.
WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? 現在那邊幾點?
Nigeria is seven hours behind Taiwan. When it's 10pm in Taiwan, it's 3pm in Nigeria.