Why Is Buhari Using Nigeria’s $1 million to Do Giveaway for Afghanistan?

March 7, 2022

The hallmark of great philanthropists is that they don’t boast about every good deed they do. We assume that is why the most generous President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t announce that he gave away $1 million of Nigerian taxpayers’ money to Afghanistan.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave away $1 million to Afghanistan

He would have got away with it too, if not for the big mouth of the people he donated the money to. The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, announced on March 3, 2022 that Nigeria donated the $1 million to the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan.

Remember the Taliban?

When the United States of America withdrew its military presence from Afghanistan in August 2021 after 20 years of fruitless war, the country’s democratic government quickly fell to the Taliban. The jihadist group taking over the country was a bad look for America, so sanctions rolled in. International organisations froze billions of dollars in aid and assets to Afghanistan, plunging the country into a huge humanitarian mess. As a result, millions of Afghans are now facing starvation.

The OIC resolved at a December 18, 2021 meeting to launch the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan to address the humanitarian crisis. The organisation begged its members to help prevent an economic collapse in Afghanistan by making donations to help millions of Afghans that are in danger.

What’s Nigeria’s business with an Islamic group?

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”. The organisation exists to safeguard Muslim interests in economic, social and political areas. It was founded in 1969 by 30 Muslim-majority countries following the burning of a mosque in Jerusalem. Today, the OIC has 57 member states including Afghanistan, and Nigeria, even though our country is not a Muslim-majority state. 

So how did we get in?

In 1969, the Nigerian government was fighting a civil war to prevent Biafra from breaking away. General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian from Plateau state, desperate to win the war, tried to shake hands with every potential ally he could find.

This was his groove:

The OIC held its first Islamic Conference in Morocco in September 1969, over two years after Nigeria’s war started. Gowon sent a delegation with Nigeria granted an observer status, which is like the talking stage of a relationship. Over the next nearly 20 years, the OIC fell in love and started pressuring Nigeria to regularise and fully enter into a proper marriage. Many Nigerian governments, including Buhari’s military administration of 1983 to 1985, refused to cement the relationship because of Nigeria’s status as a multi-religious state.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave away $1 million to Afghanistan

General Ibrahim Babangida eventually made Nigeria a full member in 1986 without the approval of the governing organs of the military government at the time.

Critics have always condemned Nigeria’s membership as a ploy to “Islamise” the country, a theory that gained more ground since Buhari became president and attended an OIC meeting a day after his second term inauguration in 2019. But former Christian presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, have similarly attended OIC meetings and ignored calls to pull Nigeria out of the organisation. The late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua also attended.

Back to that $1 million

President Muhammadu Buhari gave away $1 million to Afghanistan

The Nigerian government has failed to address last week’s announcement, but it’s easy to draw a straight line between Buhari’s donation and Nigeria’s OIC membership.

And despite whatever good intentions were behind it, critics have questioned why a country that’s a recipient of foreign aid itself is spreading aid around. 

Some critics are also quick to point out that the humanitarian problem Buhari is trying to solve with that donation is also an immediate concern in Nigeria. 22.8 million Afghans face acute food shortages, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP). The same agency estimates that 13 million Nigerians are facing hunger, including 4.4 million of them in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Other critics are just worried the money is going into the pockets of the Taliban even though the OIC has pledged to have safeguards against that.

More than anything, the big picture of this whole episode is that Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution forbids Nigeria from adopting any religion as the state’s religion. Yet, Nigeria is a member of an OIC whose overriding objective is to safeguard the interests of Islam. 

Buhari’s donation should once again resurrect debates about whether Nigeria should continue to be a member.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 29, 2020

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is one of the most important bills that hasn’t been passed in Nigeria. If it is passed, there will be a clear separation of roles in Nigeria’s oil sector. Corporations like the NNPC will also become profit-oriented companies, and “host” communities in the Niger Delta will get better deals from […]

September 17, 2020

A short poem: Roses are red Lagos traffic can leave you dead Nigeria will always “fight” corruption But we need more action! Gist: The Federal Government has approved a bill for the management of assets recovered from corruption. If this bill is signed into law, the “Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Act” will create […]


Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

December 29, 2021

A new year is right around the corner. Before we go into 2022, enjoy some of our top quizzes from this year. 1. QUIZ: Only Nigerian Gen Z’ers Can Make It To The End Of This Musicians Quiz Forget about your age. If you can make it to the end of this quiz, you’re definitely […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these quizzes.

More from Citizen

October 1, 2022

“I can’t tell you how much I miss Lagos conductors.” When Tega got into Harvard in March, she didn’t anticipate how much of her life was bout to change. Now, it’s been a week since she moved to Cambridge and she shares how it feels navigating a new city with no family or friends.


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.