Nigeria: Big issues of 2017
By Charles Kumolu
For a year that started with scarcity of tomatoes, it is coming to an end today with the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol.
The year witnessed the highs and lows never before imagined.
Take, for instance, the Abdulrasheed Maina scandal – a known fugitive, meeting with Nigeria’s number one law officer in a foreign land, with the knowledge and participation of the Director General of the Department of State Service, DSS, Lawal Daura, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Mongunu, respectively. Worse, he returned and settled at the Ministry of Interior with a promotion to boot.
Yet, it was not all about scandals. Contrary to naysayers and evil elements, President Muhammadu Buhari, though out of office for quite a long time, survived, came back healthier and is today looking much younger than ever. Talk about the Grace of the Almighty.
In all, 2017 represents a year many Nigerians would love to forget in a hurry. The reasons are many.
Below are just a few events that captivated Nigerians; as well as some that sent chills through their spine.
January 19: President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria for the UK on medical vacation
February 5: The President asked parliament to extend his medical leave
March 10: Buhari returned home but did not resume work immediately
March 15: The Nigerian Senate again rejected Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC.
Whistle blowing as a fad
April 12: The EFCC found $38 million, £27,000 and N23 million in a private residence on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
April 12: Buhari missed second cabinet meeting feuling speculations about his health.
April 28:Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, finally regained his freedom around 6:40pm after he perfected all the bail conditions that were handed to him by trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Anxiety over President’s health
May 3:-The President missed third cabinet meeting
May 7: Buhari left for the UK for further treatment
The capture of Evans
June 11:Barely three weeks after the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, placed a N30m bounty on notorious kidnapper, Evans (as he is simply known in some circles), he was arrested by the police in Lagos.
Months of IPoB, Arewa Youths and quit notices
July: A coalition of Northern youth groups at a press conference in Kaduna asked Igbo residing in Northern Nigeria to leave. The Igbo were given October 1, 2017 to leave.
September 8: The Nigerian Army commenced its second phase of military exercise tagged Operation Python Dance in South Eastern part of Nigeria.
September 11: At least two persons were shot while many were injured when the supporters of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and soldiers clashed in Umuahia, Abia State.
Barely 24 hours after the Nigerian army said it would begin its second phase of Operation Python Dance II in the South Eastern states, video a showed soldiers in armoured tank and some patrol vans allegedly invading the home of the leader of IPOB.
September 15:South-East governors rose from an emergency meeting in Enugu and announced a ban on all the activities of IPOB.
September 15: The Nigerian military declared the pro-Biafra separatist group, IPOB, a terrorist organisation.
Kachikwu stormed October; Maina/Attorney General enacted a show of Shame
October 4: Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, accused the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, of insubordination, and called for the cancellation of appointments in the NNPC in a leaked memo to President Buhari.
October: Sacked Chairman of Pension Task Force on Pension Reforms,Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina reinstated and promoted.
October 23: Just some hours after the Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, confirmed the resumption of duty by former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, as an Acting Director in his ministry, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for the immediate sack of Maina from service.
October 30: After many months of dillydallying, President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.
Ekwueme dies, Tinubu parleys Afenifere, Atiku goes back home to PDP
November 19: Former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme died in a London clinic.
November 24:National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu formally reconciled with Pan Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere following his visit to Chief Reuben Fasoranti in Akure.
November 24: Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar dumped APC describing it as a dying party.
Amid fuel scarcity, Buhari’s son, Yusuf, involved in power bike accident – Prayers on for his recovery
December 27: President Buhari’s son, Yusuf, was involved in a ghastly power bike accident last night in the Gwanripa area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja according to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media.
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