With its vast natural resources, the African country of Nigeria has the wherewithal to lift itself out of poverty without foreign help. If it would put its oil money to work educating its population, building a first-rate infrastructure, and creating an industrial base, it could be another Japan.
But the West is trying to impose another agenda on the African giant. Instead of encouraging industrialization, the West talks about “sustainable development” (read: slow or no development). Instead of urging it to expand its petroleum industry, the West talks about “reducing carbon emissions.” Instead of suggesting the building of schools, the West talks up the need for more family planning clinics. And instead of helping to reduce infant and child mortality, the West continues to pour money into programs to reduce the birth rate.
Of course, the UNFPA doesn’t say, in so many words, that they want fewer Nigerian children to be born. That would be politically incorrect. Instead they claim that they are interested in reducing maternal mortality.
The women of Nigeria could certainly use help in this area. The average Nigerian woman has a one in thirty chance of dying in childbirth. The most common causes of death for Nigerian women are hemorrhage (bleeding) or infection of the genital areas, which leads to fever, peritonitis, and death.
Western aids agencies argue that the best way to fight maternal mortality is not by improving access to quality healthcare for women, but by fighting maternity itself by chemically and surgically sterilizing women.
This is why the United Nations Population Fund, which spends about 21 million dollars a year in Nigeria, states that its priorities for maternal health are:
“UNFPA’s strategy for preventing maternal mortality includes:
- Family Planning to reduce unintended pregnancies
- Skilled care at births
- Timely emergency obstetric care” [emphasis added].
This same Family Planning uber alles approach also characterizes U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs. USAID spends about $173 million on health programs in Nigeria every year, but spends more on family planning than it does on nutrition, water, sanitation, and basic education combined.
According to the perverse logic of population control, if women have fewer children, fewer women will die in childbirth. (We would add that, if women have no children, none would die in childbirth; a reducto ad absurdum if there ever was one.)
As we showed last week, however, Nigerian women want children. They just don’t want to die having them.
More than half of Nigerian women state that money is a serious barrier to accessing maternal health care, while more than one in three Nigerian women says distance or transportation is a serious barrier when trying to access health care. By contrast, only one in five hundred (500) women cites money or access as a reason for not accessing artificial contraception.
Theresa Okafor, the Nigerian director of The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, speaks for many when she writes: “Linking maternal mortality with lack of access to contraception—I’ve never heard of such a contradiction! And that ignores the real needs of Africa which is attention to antenatal [care]; which is attention to skilled birth attendance and other forms of health issues that are affecting mothers—that are affecting a mothers desire to have a baby which has nothing to do for a mother's desire for “safe abortion.”
Is it too much to ask Western aid agencies to take the views of Nigerian women into account in designing their programs? Or to directly address the problem of maternal mortality instead of just treating it as a Trojan Horse for population control programs?
 "At a Glance: Nigeria Statistics." UNICEF. N.p., 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 05 Aug. 2014. <http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/nigeria_statistics.html>.
 Guerrier, Gilles, et al. "High maternal and neonatal mortality rates in northern Nigeria: an 8-month observational study." International journal of women's health 5 (2013): 495.
 "REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH." UNFPA Nigeria Reproductive Health. United Nations Population Fund, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2014. <http://nigeria.unfpa.org/reproductivehealth.html>.
 "Health in Nigeria." Dollars to Results. United States Agency for International Development, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2014. <http://results.usaid.gov/nigeria/health#fy2012>.
 National Population Commission (NPC) [Nigeria] and ICF Macro. 2009. Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2008. Abuja, Nigeria: National Population Commission and ICF Macro