Sometimes it is hard being Nigerian and these events are proof.
The Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode has since his inauguration, run a government notorious for its lack of inclusivity. Less disadvantaged people and the urban poor have borne the brunt of government’s inhumane policies as seen with the well-documented case of the Otodo Gbame community. Members of the riverine settlement in Lekki were sacked, forced to flee for their lives on boats and canoes, amidst a hail of bullets and tear gas. This despite an injunction from a Lagos High court restraining the state government from carrying out further demolition exercises.
Horror story at Falomo Secondary school
A Good Samaritan, Michale Matthew, through a post on social media, brought to light, a modern horror story. In what had become an annual ritual, female pupils of Falomo Senior High and surrounding schools were sexually molested by their fellow pupils from Ireti Grammar School in broad daylight upon completion of their final examinations. Matthew’s direct intervention led to the rescue of some of the students and the post sparked an outrage that led to the arrest of some of the culprits.
Ile Ife massacre
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, an altercation between a Yoruba woman and a Hausa man in Sabo, Ile Ife, Osun resulted in the loss of dozens of lives and property worth millions of naira. According to reports, after a brief argument between the two, some irate young people took the law into their hands and went on a rampage, resulting in the killing of about a hundred persons, and destruction of property worth millions of naira. Consequent to this, a mass exodus of the Northern community was activated for fear of further attacks.
Book Haram abduction of UNIMAID lecturers
In July, four lecturers of the University of Maiduguri, Borno, were abducted by Boko Haram in the Magumeri area of Borno during an oil exploration designed to locate oil in the Chad Basin. No fewer than 48 persons were killed by Boko Haram during the exploration to the Lake Chad Basin area on that day. The dead included 18 soldiers, 15 civilian Joint Task Force members, five staff of the university and four drivers with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The lecturers are still yet to be brought home.
We usually hold our armed forces in high esteem, especially those risking life and limb to keep us safe in the northeast but it is hard to feel anything but disgust at the Airforce personnel responsible for dropping a bomb on an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Rann, Borno. This singular act of carelessness led to the death of at least 54 people including aid workers, with over 120 more injured. Defence Headquarters blamed the error on a ‘’lack of appropriate marking’’ and it is a wonder how no one has been punished for this lack of thoroughness.
On June 23, 2017, the Federal Ministry of Health officially declared the end of the 2016/2017 meningitis outbreak in the country, about 8 weeks after the number of new meningitis cases reported each week during this outbreak fell below the epidemic and alert thresholds in all Local Government Areas. A total of 14,513 cases were recorded, with 1,166 deaths. The states which were most affected by this outbreak were Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina, accounting for nearly 89% of these cases.
Bloody Sunday in Ozubulu
In August, 13 persons were killed, while about 22 were injured at the St Philips Catholic church, Ozubulu in Anambra when a gunman suddenly opened fire randomly in the middle of a Sunday Mass. According to reports and investigations, the deadly attack was the fall out of a drug war that has been raging in South Africa involving Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonu, who built and donated the church and was expected to be attending services. Four men have been arraigned for their involvement in the attack.
ASUU strike (again)
It is sad to report that Nigerian students in 2017 still have to deal with interruptions in their calendar because their lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), tired of government non-commitment, decided to down tools. The issues this time? Non-payment of salaries and earned academic allowances, non-release of the operational license of NUPEMCO; non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 pension reform act with respect to retired professors and salaries, removal of universities staff schools from funding by government and funding for the revitalization of public universities. The strike lasted five weeks.
The NGO Regulation Bill
In one of the most backward pieces of legislation to heat up the policy in a while, legislators in the lower house led by Umar Buba Jibril of Kogi state proposed a bill to regulate the activities of Non-Governmental Organisations and check their excesses. However, the letter and spirit of the bill constitutes a deliberate violation of the guarantees of freedom of thought, opinion and expression, and freedom of association, as contained both in the constitution and in international law to which Nigeria is a signatory.
26 Nigerian girls who drowned tragically on their way to Italy
The international community was shaken by the gruesome discovery of bodies of twenty-six migrant girls– all of them Nigerian – in the Mediterranean Sea. The girls, ranging 14 to 18 years of age lost their lives while attempting the dangerous journey from Libya to Europe on sea. The girls received the dignity that eluded them in life in death when they were buried in a decent ceremony by the Italian government. They join the 2,800 migrants who have died attempting the journey.
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.