Chabad in Nigeria is set to embark on a massive expansion just five years after its launch. The new center, set to be built on a parcel of land incorporating a recently opened mikvah, will bring all of Chabad Lubavitch of Nigeria’s activities under one roof.
Currently, Chabad-Lubavitch is spread across four different locations in Abuja.
“Chabad is doing holy work,” says Shay Wittner, an Israeli expat in Nigeria. “They create a warm family, and it’s been such a blessing to have them here.”
“The new institution will include our Chabad House, guest houses, a Jewish school, a kosher store and a center for our humanitarian work,” Rabbi Israel Uzan, co-director of Chabad Lubavitch of Nigeria, tells Chabad.org.
Uzan, along with his wife, Haya, are based in Abuja, the country’s capital. They estimate that there are about 1,200 Jews, mostly Israelis, in Nigeria year-round. Some 50 families live in Abuja and 20 families in Lagos, the country’s largest city, some 467 miles away. Most of Nigeria’s Jews tend to live there for several years while employed at Israeli-based companies in the fields of construction, agriculture, technology and security.
There are also thousands more who come for business or humanitarian work.
“[The Uzans] came here five years ago,” says Guy Feldman, Israel’s Ambassador to Nigeria. “Since then, this place has completely changed. I can only imagine that what will happen in the coming years will be even more amazing.”