2020 really was that year.
On October 20, between the state and federal governments, armed officers were deployed to the Lekki toll gate center where they opened fire on people who gathered to protest police brutality and demand good governance. According to Amnesty International, at least 12 people died with many more injured.
The government did not just stop at this, they avoided responsibility for the trauma and deployed the state machinery against active citizens. Government officials seized passports of people involved in the protests, blocked account numbers and put some citizens on no-fly lists. Shame.
Channels TV Reporter and the benevolent governor
A medical doctor, Ifeyinwa Angbo was forced to cry out publicly via a two minutes and 13 seconds video that promptly went viral in which she accused her husband, a Channels television reporter and Imo state correspondent of serial infidelity and repeatedly carrying out various acts of violence against her person.
The couple was invited by the governor and first lady of Benue state to reconcile their differences and pose for the cameras.
No one could escape the coronavirus pandemic this year, a global pandemic originating last year in Wuhan, China forcing countries into lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing for months.
Aside from the devastating death toll- about 1.8 million and counting- the global economy was hit hard. The first case was reported in Nigeria in March and since then, almost 85,000 cases have been reported Businesses were hit hard and Nigeria entered yet another economic recession.
D’Banj vs Seyitan
A woman, Seyitan Babatayo accused D’banj of rape on Twitter before following up with an offline police petition three days later. Babatayo claimed she was subsequently targeted by police and then held hostage by the pop star.
She accused police officials of forcing entry into her apartment to arrest and detain her overnight without charge. They then handed her over to D’banj’s management team, who took her to a separate location where she was held against her will and forced to issue some kind of retraction. Both parties eventually reached an out of court settlement.
Don’t Leave Me Challenge
This one started inauspiciously. In March, comedian Josh2funny posted a skit on Instagram in which egged on by his hypeman, he played around with the word “leaf.”
The skit was parodied in Zimbabwe prompting a new life months later. Other versions began to gather more and more views and then in June it exploded. Videos of the challenge have since been viewed more than 6m times on Josh2funny’s Instagram page. Videos on TikTok have gained more than 2bn views.
Don’t Rush Challenge
Because everyone was at home for the better part of the year, viral trends were a big hit this blasted year. The USP was anyone could partake regardless of location. Some of the biggest like the Don’t Rush and Don’t Leave Me challenges had Nigerians at the helm.
The TikTok challenge named after the song Don’t Rush by Young T & Bugsey ft. Headie One was a way of connecting people locked down by stay-at-home orders. The whole essence was to virtually interact with relatives and friends flaunting your best transformation, from donning regular outfits to the best fashionable and showy attire.
For almost three weeks, young Nigerians took to the streets in their numbers from Lagos to Abuja, Ibadan to Jos, blocking major roads across cities and grinding commercial activities to a halt. Their demand? The complete shutdown of the notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The #EndSARS protests in October were only the beginning of a new dawn of youth engagement and participation. The government may have temporarily halted the momentum, but history makes it clear that it is impossible to stop an idea whose time has come.
Hushpuppi is a scam
This one played out like a movie. In the month of June, United Arab Emirates investigators swooped into a Dubai apartment belonging to Ramon Abbas better known on the internet as Hushpuppi. They arrested him and handed him over to FBI agents, who flew him to Chicago according to federal officials.
He was then transferred to Los Angeles to face accusations of conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through cyber crime schemes. Apparently, Hushpuppi was leader of a global network. Investigators seized nearly $41 million, 13 luxury cars worth $6.8 million and phone and computer evidence.
Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student of the University of Benin was raped and brutally assaulted in a church near her home in May. Uwa died a couple of days later from her injuries.
Days later, another 18-year-old student, Barakat Bello died after she was reportedly raped during a robbery in her home. Her killers butchered her with machetes. The tragedies sparked a national discourse on rape, sexual violence against women and justice for all victims of sexual and domestic violence.
NIN registration deadline for SIM cards
The federal government issued a rather sudden directive for citizens to link their NIN to to all SIM cards within two weeks prompting a mad scramble that had people abandon social distancing measures.
Following an outcry, that deadline has now been extended by a minimum of three weeks, according to the National Communications Commission.
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.