A bloody year
ANA president owing student
President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Denja Abdullahi exhibited proof that he has no business leading an association of creatives via his cruel and unusual treatment of Ernest O. Ògúnyemí, a budding writer whose only error was winning a prose prize for young writers organized by the ANA. After his win in 2018, a then 18-year-old Ògúnyemí tried unsuccessfully to claim his 100,000 Naira prize money. Abdullahi showed bad faith by threatening and intimidating a young, upcoming writer. What does this say about us though?
Death at a funeral
At least 65 people lost their lives while another 10 were hospitalized after suspected Boko Haram militants opened fire on a funeral in Nganzai district in Borno state. Gunmen arrived on motorcycles and in vans at the village near the state capital, Maiduguri, on Saturday, eyewitnesses reported. A number of mourners were reportedly killed immediately, while others died trying to chase off the attackers. Muhammad Bulama the local government chairman described the terror as a reprisal attack, occurring in response to a civilian self-defense group killing 11 Boko Haram extremists while countering an ambush a week earlier.
Death of Corper Precious Owolabi
Precious Owolabi, a 23-year-old youth corper who was interning with ChannelsTV as a reporter was shot dead in July as police clashed with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise referred to as Shiite, in Abuja. Owolabi died of a gunshot wound he sustained while in the line of fire, covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters.
Electoral violence still a thing
It is disheartening that we are still unable to conduct elections without loss of lives and property. This electoral year was no different as the process that brought President Muhammadu Buhari back into office for a second term was marred by political violence, some of it by uniformed officers even. According to a report by SBM Intelligence, an organization that monitors sociopolitical and economic developments in Nigeria, 626 people were killed during the 2019 election cycle, starting with campaigns in 2018. From Kogi to Port Harcourt, it was sorrows tears and blood.
Killing of aid workers
Action Against Hunger, an international aid group revealed that Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), an increasingly influential group splintered from the main terror group, Boko Haram kidnapped and killed four humanitarian workers in northeast Nigeria. The group said in a statement that one of its employees, two drivers and three Health Ministry workers were kidnapped on July 18 near the town of Damasak in Borno. One of the hostages was killed earlier in September.
Lagos school building collapse, students perish
About twenty people were confirmed dead after a three-story building housing a school collapsed in Lagos Island. Most of the victims were pupils from the school which according to government, was operating illegally in the collapsed building. The collapsed building had been marked for demolition about three times, but the building regulatory agency failed to demolish it. The State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) conducted integrity testing on buildings in the area and found that 150 buildings were in certified structural distress. The LASBCA procured court approval to demolish 80 of these buildings and began demolition efforts two days following the collapse
Onitsha tanker fire
In October, a tanker lost control and fell into a drainage at MCC Bus stop near Toronto Hospital, Upper-Iweka, Onitsha. The tanker promptly spilled its content and exploded, burning many houses along Iweka Road before entering parts of Ochanja Market. According to witness accounts, the fire raged for hours with no fire service truck or emergency services available in the entire state to provide immediate relief. The images from the fire were some of the most indelible media content to be published this year.
Presidency riding roughshod
Muhammadu Buhari won a decisive second term victory at the polls this year and perhaps his presidency did some things right. But all of it was overshadowed by the governments casual disregard of the rule of law as well as disrespect for the human rights of the citizens it was elected to protect and defend. Weeks to the elections, Buhari suspended Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, a mere 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against him. A successor was soon announced. Then there is the utter disgrace of the Omoyele Sowore matter.
The church response to the COZA scandal
This paper started an avalanche via an emotional interview with Busola Dakolo where she accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the trendy Commonwealth of Zion Assembly of raping her repeatedly when she was a teenager. Other women came forward and YNaija was on top of the story, pursuing it to wherever it would lead. While some pastors chose to stay on the side of truth and justice, other high profile men of God were less than forthcoming. Some jokers, now discredited went to felicitate with COZA shortly after the news broke while KICC’s Matthew Ashimolowo would wait months later to stand with Biodun Fatoyinbo. There was also the one who used the scandal as an excuse to show his misogyny. Shame.
The trials and tribulations of Omoyele Sowore
In a direct and revolting attack on human rights, free speech and the rule of law, officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) violated the sanctity of the courts when they swooped in in dramatic fashion to re-arrest journalist, political activist and former presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore hours after he was freed on bail. Sowore is detained for calling for a nationwide demonstration against President Muhammadu Buhari and is charged with treason, money laundering and cyberstalking the President.
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.