In West Africa, Nigeria is making headlines for politics, crime, social movements, and its economy. The Amazing fact about NewsNow Nigeria.
Gunmen attacked a church in southwestern Nigeria and killed at least 25 worshippers.
Nigerian education standards have steadily declined, prompting a volunteer book drive to change that. Furthermore, hundreds of children were recently abducted from an all-girls boarding school in northern Nigeria.
Nigeria’s new currency notes
Nigeria’s Central Bank announced plans in October 2018 to revamp its 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes to strengthen control over cash circulating outside banks and prevent vote buying before presidential elections scheduled to occur within months. Unfortunately, their haste in implementing this policy met stiff resistance.
Activists expressed concerns that the new currency would dampen economic activity. Some even noted its suspiciously timed release; despite calls by the National Assembly and Supreme Court to revisit their policy, the central bank insisted that old notes would cease being legal tender on January 31.
With banks being unable to distribute enough new notes, many Nigerians have been left scrambling for funds – with ATMs often operating below capacity and point-of-sale vendors taking advantage of the shortage in commission payments for transactions. Experts remain dubious that the new currency can effectively combat inflation and corruption.
Climate activists globally have become more vocal in demanding “climate reparations” from wealthy nations as floodwaters lashed Pakistan and Nigeria, heat waves scorched India and Kenya, and hurricanes caused massive destruction across the United States. Their demands mark an innovative twist on long-running movements seeking reparations for slavery and colonialism.
At the recent international climate talks, a movement led by former colonized countries and Indigenous communities sought to include a discussion of “loss and damage” compensation as part of the negotiations; however, this term remains rarely mentioned.
Developing countries have also called on developed nations to fulfill their promise of $100 billion annually by 2020 to help them reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Still, according to Jubilee Debt Campaign studies, many poor nations spend five times more on debt repayment than on climate-related projects – loans often incurring interest charges, further trapping them in an unjust system of debt accumulation – thus prompting activists to call for funding that comes as grants instead of loans.
Niger’s junta shows no sign of relinquishing power; instead, it attempts to consolidate its position by appointing civilian prime ministers and military officials and blocking mediation efforts. They even barred a joint UN, African Union, and ECOWAS delegation from entering their country, citing “population outrage against ECOWAS sanctions as making their safety impossible to guarantee.”
The junta has also suppressed civilian protests while encouraging public displays of support – purporting to show its legitimacy by waving flags – yet key players have generally denounced its coup and called for its immediate return to democratic rule.
Recalcitrance among the Niger junta can be explained by its attempts at stirring anti-imperialism sentiments a la Burkina Faso and Mali. They have closed off airspace, banned sales of uranium and gold to France (their former colonial master), frozen state assets, threatened renunciation of membership of ECOWAS, which has sanctioned them, etc. Yet anger against Western powers cannot justify overthrowing the Niger government.
Nollywood’s Jade Osiberu
Jade Osiberu has established herself as an indispensable player in the movie industry. She has written and directed movies such as Gidi Up, Nigerian Trade, and Isoken. Additionally, she served as a producer on Sugar Rush, starring Dakore Akande, Funke Akindele, and Joseph Benjamin.
Jade graduated with a BA from Pan-Atlantic University with a concentration in Media and Communications. Following this, she worked professionally as a software developer before switching careers and transitioning into filmmaking as she is the founder and CEO of Greoh Studios.
She has written and directed several films, but Isoken was her breakthrough work. This film chronicled unmarried working-class women’s challenges due to familial pressures and romantic interracial relationships.
This movie is a direct challenge to patriarchy, which considers women second-class citizens and should only speak in low voices. It has inspired numerous more Nollywood films that challenge masculine stereotypes.
Niger’s helicopter crash
Terrorists reportedly shot down a Nigerian Air Force helicopter that crashed in Niger on Monday. The aircraft was on an evacuation mission in the north-central region when it was struck by fire from terrorist positions nearby. Daily Trust reported that the MI-171 Helicopter had taken off from Zungeru Primary School with plans of transporting injured soldiers for evacuation but was struck down by gunfire from terrorist positions nearby.
General Edward Buba confirmed the incident and indicated that three officers and 22 soldiers had perished. Military authorities are taking measures to rescue those on board and conduct further inquiries into what caused this tragic event.
Niger, an expansive Sahelian country on the edge of the Sahara desert, has been besieged by violent Islamist extremism since 2015. Niger has since sought to strengthen its military to combat these militants while receiving logistical support from Western countries. Despite a failed coup attempt last month, popular President Mamadou Issoufou remains in office and has announced his candidacy for reelection in 2022.