Boom time in Nigeria?

femi kuti

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"There is no boom here," said Nigerian musician and activist Femi Kuti, putting his trumpet down on the sofa and tuning the television to live coverage of the Nigerian parliament's discussions about corruption in the oil industry.

"It's like a big joke. The politicians are stealing billions - corruption is an incurable cancer," he declared.

As for Nigeria's economic growth - likely to be around 7% this year - "it's just a big propaganda by multinationals, the British government and African governments… to pretend that Africa is doing well," said Mr Kuti, pointing to the endemic poverty that surrounds his home in one of the distant suburbs of Lagos.

Like his famous father, Femi Kuti is a Nigerian icon who has woven his music and political activism into a powerful, compelling brand. He and his band played to the crowds who gathered earlier this month in protest against the lifting of Nigeria's controversial fuel subsidy. "We're kind of scared [to protest] - nobody wants to die here, but if people see my band then many people - and many middle class people… would be encouraged to come out," he said.

The government eventually bowed to public pressure and reinstated part of the subsidy. "I'm still very disappointed," said Mr Kuti, arguing that the protesters "shouldn't have backed down" until the price of fuel was lowered to its original price.

If you feel Mr Kuti is being too harsh on Nigeria, do take a look at the film we put together about Nigeria's "boom," which includes several other perspectives.

Nigeria at the heart of African economic renaissance

Sadly I didn't get a chance to see Femi Kuti perform at the Shrine - the famous Lagos club where his band plays twice a week. He's been nominated for a Grammy again this year, but says isn't planning to attend the ceremony. I left him at the gate of his comfortable, but fairly modest house, where he was waiting for his youngest children to return from school.

Andrew Harding Article written by Andrew Harding Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    @monkeydeyworkbaboondeychop That is funny!!!!!!!!!! Boom that is killing people. Not sure which planet the writer came from. Well, ten pecernter can go a loooooo-ng way in your wallet and make you write fictitious stories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Femi Kuti: "The politicians are stealing billions - corruption is an incurable cancer". That's a fact that no one who has dealt with Nigerian bureaucracy can deny. British MP Diane Abbott once said "when it comes to corruption, Nigerians make Jamaicans, and every other nationality in the world, look like mere amateurs".

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    The only thing booming is the Bopko Haram bombings in the northern parts of the country. It is unthinkable that the economy grew about 7% with all that has happened during the last 12 months. With the unemployment rate increasing, I think that it is not a true reflection of the Nigerian economy

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    The country has been plagued by bombings, armed robbery, etc. The economy suffered another blow when the Labour Congress declared a nation wide strike which shut down businesses in some parts of the country. The Finance Minister said that the country lost about 300-500 billion Naira. With all these i don't think there has been any boom ion the economy

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The only thing booming in Nigeria is corruption, unemployment and poverty. Hence Nigeria cries, she cant' bear it any more. The rich gets richer why the common man dies. Our leaders see the masses as isomers that they can play thus without prior notice they removed the fuel subsidy. Bad roads, no drinking water, no food and no electricity for the common man yet we call ourselves giant of Africa.


Comments 5 of 28



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