This week in Nigeria

by Lagun Akinloye

This week: news

– Floods Ravage Lagos, Oyo and Katsina

Lagos State witnessed an unprecedented level of rainfall over the weekend, which led to many areas of the commercial capital being submerged in water and at least 25 deaths. In what is one of the wettest years in recent history, floods also hit Katsina, where seven people died, and heavy rainfall is expected to continue into this week and to spread to Port Harcourt, Enugu and Abuja. The Lagos drainage system, which is limited and in an a state of disrepair where it does exist, was overwhelmed by the rainfall, described by National Emergency Management Agency as “phenomenal“.

– Aganga Named Minister of Trade and Investment

Former Minister of Finance Olusegun Aganga has been handed a new portfolio by President Goodluck Jonathan.  Aganga, who before his foray into Nigerian politics was a London based executive for Goldman Sachs, has been saddled with the role of leading Nigeria’s drive for foreign and private sector investment. The new Ministry of Trade and Investment stated that in order for Nigeria to move forward N34trillion ($224 Billion)  is needed in the next four years, with N15trillion ($98 billion) coming from the private sector.

– Army Takes Over Abuja

The army is on full alert and has drafted soldiers to all major entry points in the nation’s capital, Abuja. Security alerts indictate that Islamic militants Boko Haram may be in the latter stages of a plot to bomb targets in the city. Two weeks ago Boko Haram bombed the headquarters of the Nigerian police force in Abuja. Since then it has killed people in attacks in Niger State and Borno State.

– Corps Members Recieve Pay Rise

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members have a reason to rejoice as their monthly allowance has been raised by the government from N10,050 ($65) to N19,800 ($130). The NYSC, which is compulsory for university leavers who harbour hopes of working in the public sector, is based around the integration of students into the wider Nigerian community. The NYSC has been targeted in attacks during the 2011 elections and in a subsequent attack carried out by Boko Haram. Members are posted to a state to work for an equivalent of one school year.

– Three Nigerians Beheaded in Saudi Arabia

– Saudi Arabian authorities have beheaded three Nigerian nationals accused of robbing and murdering a fellow Nigerian. The accused forcibly gained access to the victims’ home, then proceeded to attack Omar Mohammed Adam and his wife. After the ordeal they ransacked the house only to be caught a few days later. They take the number of people executed this year in Saudi Arabia to 31.

– South West Governors set up Regional Integration Committee

Governors of the western states of Edo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Lagos and Ondo converged on the city of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital,  last Friday. After intense discussions which lasted for over three hours, a communiqué was read out in which an agreement was made to set up a 21-member technical committee with the objective of reigniting regional integration and advancing socio-economic development through regional economies of scale.

– Dangote to Build Biggest Fertiliser Plant in Africa

Africa’s richest man, Nigerian business mogul Aliko Dangote, is making strides towards enlarging his already vast empire. Dangote has concluded arrangements with Italian company Saipem to build Africa’s largest fertiliser plant, to be located in Edo state. Dangote has previously queried why a country like Nigeria imports fertiliser to the detriment of its balance sheet – he claims the plant will make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser as the country’s significant gas resources will be harnessed. If achieved, self-sufficiency in fertliser production will also be a significant boost for the agriculture sector.  The construction of the plant will also create several thousand jobs.

This week: politics

The creation of the Ministry of Trade and Investment has opened up another frontier in Nigeria’s quest to boost its economic development. Olusegun Aganga has to repay the faith that Goodluck Jonathan placed in him by transferring the skills he used in rising to one of the highest positions in one of the world’s leading investment banks for the benefit of the country.

The integration of skills and resources of the western states of Nigeria is slowly coming to the fore of political discussions. The meeting of western Nigerian governors last week signalled the seriousness of Action Congress of Nigeria in consolidating its recent electoral gains. Such ideas of integration hark back to the days of Obafemi Awolowo and the golden times of the western region. Whether those days can be replicated is another question entirely.

The return of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has brought a increased level of confidence to the agenda of the Jonathan presidency. Okonjo-Iweala, who leaves her post as managing director at the World Bank, is a seasoned and well respected technocrat. If she is allowed to carry out her work unhindered, it will be of great benefit to Nigeria. One hopes that her new appointment will not end as abruptly as her last posting as Foreign Affairs minister.

Writers of the week:

The Nigerian musical icon also referred to as “The Lady of Song”, Christy Essien Igbokwe, passed away on Thursday, June 30. Blessed with an abundance of talent, her music was laced with uplifting lyrics which cut across ethnic lines. Charles Okegene of the Nigerian Independent newpaper details the life and times of the late icon.

Tolu Ogunlesi takes a journey through satirical brilliance in 234Next with his depiction of social networking in modern day politics. The diminished stature of the State Security Service is mixed in with the recent arrest of Nasir El-Rufai alongside many other anecdotes that bring to life the current state of the nation. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Media outlet of the week:

YNaija is the online platform of the leading Nigerian youth culture brand, Y! With a focus on entertainment, culture and lifestyle, YNaija is a hub for well written feature stories, news, reviews and updates, ranging from careers to fashion, relationships to faith and much more, including a useful series of Twitter  updates. Known as the new high priest of Nigerian youth culture, YNaija is a popular and reliable source for all things hip and fresh in the world of young, upwardly mobile Nigerians.

Lagun Akinloye, a British Nigerian, studied Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. He is particularly interested  in the History and Politics of West Africa and more specifically Nigeria.

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