Opinion: Is Africa Investing in Religion at the Expense of Basic Housing & Feeding?

A few months back the UAE cancelled the issuing of 3 months tourist visas to Nigerians. You have either the 1month, 96 hours or 48-hour visas.

Not long ago in 2018 Israel gave an ultimatum for Africans to receive $3500 and go back home or be imprisoned. This plan, though it was not implemented, may resurface.

Turn the table around and look at Nigeria. In 2017 it was estimated that the government spent N136.5 billion sponsoring hajj pilgrimage. Only plateau state alone spent N2 billion in 2019 on Jerusalem and Hajj pilgrims.

65 thousand pilgrims went to Hajj in 2019. Christians pay up to N715, 000 for a seat on a plane to Israel.

What this describes is a people seeking an identity in places that they will never find it.

Africans have been taught by both religions to demonize their identity and in a world where there’s no vacuum, replace this lack of identity with investment in cultures that only set them up against each other; politically, financially, and spiritually.

If these pilgrimage visits had resulted in better diplomatic relations with Israel or the UAE, we might somehow justify these waste of wealth.

Neither the UAE or Israel is invested so much in peacekeeping within Nigeria. Neither of them has made any effort to assist Nigerians without any religious colourations.

Whatever you get from these states, is a bribe for you to see your African brother as an enemy of God.

Everyone needs religion as a tool to stay grounded in their understanding of our reality. However, we do not need religious observance at the time expense of our identity, at the expense of our love for our own country, at the expense of the lives of our loved ones.

Religion has its place. At our bedsides, in our holy books, contemplating how to be better satisfied with our conditions as human. However, when it comes to politics, the state, the security, the identity of Nigerians, or Africans, religion has to be crucified and cut off like malignant cancer.

Religion that can be bought by money is never going to serve its purpose to promote charity, love of others and a check against tyranny in leadership.

Our obsession with demons, enemies, spiritual and unseen forces has left us as slaves to nations that continue to shackle us with their own conflicts while taxing us for the money we don’t even have.

I hope Nigerians wake up. God is not expensive, food is.

Did you know that the cheapest house in Africa is located in Nigeria? The cost of building Africa’s cheapest house is $8,040. The house was designed by Millard Fuller Foundation.

$8,040 is N 3 million approx.

The poverty rate for Africa is 41%, and 27 out of the world’s poorest countries are in Africa.

Church of Nigeria Abuja costs N1. 38 billion. A list of the 17 largest church auditoriums has between 10,000 – 120,000 capacity. As far back as in 1984, one of Africa’s largest mosques was built in Abuja.

Nigeria has a 22 million housing deficit. That’s thousands of healthy Nigerians who should contribute to growth either living on the street, or in slums, exposed to crime, drugs, and lacking the opportunity to reinvent their fortunes.

If we must end extreme poverty in Nigeria, we need to prioritize where we spend our money. Where most of your population cannot afford the cheapest house in the continent, maybe you shouldn’t be spending on holy pilgrimages that will last only a few days.

Nigeria’s problem is not a lack of ideas, its problem is investing in jinnis, demons, sprites and intangibles at the expense of real humans that we can see.

How come we are so obsessed to prove our love for God while we hate the humans he created in his image?

Sources:

Figure of the week: Understanding poverty in Africa – Brookings

Solving Nigeria’s 22 million Housing Deficit With The Blockchain – Africa.com

List of the largest evangelical church auditoriums -Wikipedia

Israel wants African migrants out so badly, it’s offering $3,500 to each—or prison – Quartz Africa

HOUSING FINANCE IN AFRICA A review of Africa’s housing finance markets – Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa

Despite recession, states, others spend over N136.5bn on Hajj – Punch News

Photo by Stephanie Braconnier on Unsplash

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