March 20, 2009 / 3:42 AM / 8 years ago

Nigeria re-brands to shed chaotic image

<p>A boy kicks a ball in Iwaya, one of the poorest areas of Lagos, in this undated photograph taken by a child, part of an exhibition in which hundreds of Nigerian kids from the richest and poorest homes in Lagos have documented their lives through pictures.Maxim Zannu/Handout</p>

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria is hoping a new patriotic slogan emblazoned on T-shirts and baseball caps can restore self-confidence and overturn its battered reputation.

Africa's most populous nation is known for corruption, is poor despite decades of oil production and is increasingly used as a drug transit route and for e-mail scams and online fraud.

Under the slogan "Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation," Nigeria hopes to eschew that image and "entrench a culture of moral re-armament," President Umaru Yar'Adua said in a speech.

"At international airports, in trains, in shopping malls, and almost everywhere, every Nigerian is a marked person," Dora Akunyili, information minister and self-styled chief image maker said at the launch of the re-branding campaign this week.

"We are pulled aside for questioning. We are seen as potential drug pushers or fraudsters. We are unfortunately denied the benefit of the doubt," she said.

But many Nigerians wear their country's reputation for mayhem and chaos as a mark of pride -- if you can survive Nigeria, you can survive anywhere, they say.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ )

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Nick Tattersall

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