#YNaija2021Review: IPOB ghost Mondays, Tokyo Olympics disgrace…10 Moments that Made Us Worry About Nigeria (seriously)

It is a dog-eat-dog world out here. But does it have to be? Arranged in alphabetical order.

Invasion of the judiciary

On Friday, October 29, the Abuja residence of Honorable Justice Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili, the second highest ranking justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria was invaded by security agencies under the cover of darkness. The controversial operation was carried out on the basis of a dubious warrant issued by a chief magistrate. The Magistrate now claims that he was misled. The Attorney-General of the Federation and the heads of the other agencies involved in this unfortunate incident, have denied playing any role.

IPOB ghost Mondays

The Indigenous People of Biafra vowed to cripple the economy if their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is not released from detention, starting with the southeast where it holds considerable sway and sympathy. The group declared an indefinite and compulsory sit-at-home every Monday till Kanu reportedly abducted in Kenya is released. On Ghost Mondays, the entire southeast aka “Biafraland” is locked down from 6am to 6pm with little economic activity including banks, schools etc. This seemingly parallel government has gone on for months.

Female soldier punished for getting engaged

In the year of our lord 2021, a video of a male corps member proposing to a female soldier at the Yikpata Orientation Camp of the NYSC in Kwara state recently surfaced online and went viral. Why not? Its romantic. He pulls out a ring. She says yes. They kiss. People cheer. Young love, right? The Nigerian army was found shaking. The female soldier was detained by the army authorities, an action that received wide condemnation on social media. Military sources said she had not served the mandatory three years’ service as stipulated by the Armed Forces Act before marriage. It took the intervention of the Chief of Army Staff to release her on compassionate grounds.

Murder on social media

The collective power of social media for good was deployed sometime in April when a nationwide search for 26-year-old Uyo based graduate Iniobong “Hiny” Umoren began on Twitter after a concerned friend cried out about her disappearance under suspicious circumstances. A #FindHinyHumoren hashtag started trending and one Uduak Frank Akpan was identified as the prime suspect. Sadly, these heroic efforts arrived too late as Umoren was sexually assaulted and murdered by Akpan who had invited her for a job interview. He is awaiting trial and remains in police custody.

Nigeria bans Twitter because Buhari’s feelings were hurt

In June, the federal government of Nigeria placed an indefinite ban on Twitter, restricting it from operating in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted tweets made by president Buhari warning Igbo people of a potential repeat of the civil war due to insurgency in the South eastern states. The government claimed that while the deleted tweets factored into their decision, the ban was ultimately based on other problems “where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences.” The meltdown was instant and played out beyond Twitter into other platforms.

NIN registration and the public health breach

Nigerians were needlessly subjected to the harrowing experience of compulsorily queuing in crowded spaces to capture data to register and obtain the elusive National Identification Number (NIN). This at a time when social distancing measures were still in place to prevent spread of covid. The irresponsible and impossible deadlines imposed by the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to link all phone lines with NIN threw people into panic, as they scrambled to get linked. And get exposed to covid-19.

Regulators vs fintechs

For a while it seemed that the financial technology sector despite connecting millions of Nigerians to services was facing hostile pushback from regulators. The CBN banned trading in cryptocurrency before launching its e-Naira. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned capital market operators against partnering with unregistered online investment platforms facilitating trading in securities listed in foreign markets. The CBN barred non-banking institutions from using BVN validation of their customers. A federal high court granted the request of the CBN to freeze accounts of six fintech companies for 180 days pending the completion of investigations of illegal foreign exchange trading.

The Sad death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni

Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, a Junior Secondary School 2, student of expensive but shifty private school Dowen College, Lagos died under controversial circumstances. The school authorities claim Sylvester sustained injuries while playing football, but his family says he was tortured by school bullies. The 12-year-old student succumbed to the wounds allegedly suffered from this violent beat-up triggering a massive outcry and condemnation. Following the incident, the Lagos State government sealed off the school pending the outcome of an investigation into the case.

The spectacular fall of Abba Kyari

A United States grand jury indicted Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner in the Nigeria Police Force and head of a police unit that tracks suspected kidnappers and terrorists, as well as five others for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. Kyari was charged by US authorities over his alleged role in Instagram influencer Hushpuppi’s scam to steal more than $1 million. Apparently, Hushpuppi could get Kyari, head of the police’s Intelligence Response Team to imprison persons preventing him from carrying out his frauds. So much for being a super cop.

Tokyo Olympics disgrace

Nigeria’s summer Olympics campaign started and ended in disgrace. Ten of the country’s athletes were disqualified from taking part in the Olympic Games by the Athletics Integrity Unit for their failure to undertake the mandatory three out-of-competition tests expected of athletes in competition. The athletes took to the streets of Tokyo to protest the negligence of sports administrators. Then there was the matter of the Galaxy phones issued as souvenirs to accredited athletes by Samsung. The souvenirs for the disqualified athletes were held back by Nigerian officials. But after pressure from the affected athletes, the phones were released to them. Another athlete, a finalist was given only one jersey and shared a video of himself washing his competition jersey for his next outing. Shame.

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