Under 18s in Lagos and Nairobi reveal their opinions in BBC poll

A BBC World Service global poll of 15 to 17-year-olds has uncovered some radical opinions in teenage attitudes to current news and social issues. More than 3,000 teenagers from ten cities – Baghdad, Cairo, Jakarta, Lagos, London, Moscow, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York and Rio de Janeiro – were asked for their views on terrorism, climate change, immigration, education, religion, population growth and crime.

Lagos was the only city polled where the majority thought that women should not have the same rights as men (52%). In Nairobi, 71% though that women should have the same rights as men.

Those surveyed in Nairobi scored highest among all other cities (35%) in believing that Aids was the most important global issue at the moment. In Lagos the majority (63%) said it was education. The most important personal issue for respondents in both cities was education (46% in Nairobi, 79% in Lagos).

Respondents in Lagos overwhelmingly (96%) thought that their education had prepared them for their future. This figure was 64% in Nairobi.

Finding a good job is a major concern in Lagos (89%) – the second highest proportion after New Delhi (97%) – and Nairobi (75%).

Despite living in an overcrowded city, the majority of Lagos respondents (60%) said that governments should not be allowed to limit the number of children people have. This contrasts with Delhi, a similarly overcrowded city, where 91% said the government should have this power. But In Nairobi, the majority of those surveyed (55%) thought that the government should be allowed to limit the number of children people have.

On emigration, 87% in Lagos and 79% in Nairobi think that people should be able to live in whatever country they choose. A large proportion of respondents in both cities – Nairobi (81%) and Lagos (76%) – said they would emigrate to secure a better future.

When asked whether money can buy you happiness, 46% of those living in Nairobi said it could while only 4% of respondents in Lagos thought money was the answer.

Global warming is a hot topic right across the world but 52% of those polled in Lagos said they hadn’t heard of it and only 22% said they had heard of it and understand what it is. This contrast with Nairobi where 62% had an understanding of global warming and only 8% hadn’t heard of it.

Over a quarter polled in Nairobi (26%) thought that America’s ‘War on Terror’ is making the world a safer place – the highest proportion of all 10 cities; 9% said the same in Lagos.

When asked whether they would consider taking action which may result in innocent people dying if they felt very strongly about a cause, 15% of respondents in Nairobi and 10% of respondents in Lagos said they would.

The survey was conducted by research agency Synovate in 10 major cities around the world during October 2006. Over 3,000 teenagers were questioned; all interviews were face-to-face, except in New York where polling took place online.

The poll was commissioned by the BBC as part of a week-long season of special programmes about under 18s called Generation Next.

For more information on the poll and the season visit bbcworldservice.com.

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Name: Lala Najafova