Major Events That Shook 2020
2020 is a year many would not forget for a long time to come. The year has been heavily defined by the COVID-19 pandemic amongst other events which has impacted the lives of millions around the world.
We have curated a list of events that shook 2020 both around the globe and in Nigeria:
At the start of the year, death came knocking on the doors of football legend, Kobe Bryant who was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna and other seven victims in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Southern California. Kobe was a generational leader who received his flowers while living and even after his death. Immediately the news filtered through the airwaves, Staples Centre which coincidentally was host to the Grammy Awards on that day, saw an influx of flowers- yellow and purple.
Kobe was not just your regular player. The 41-year-old had in his portfolio: 5 NBA championship titles, was a two-time NBA Finals MVP twice, Olympic gold medalist, an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 12-time All-Defense Team member. In an iconical move, he is the only player to have two both jersey numbers retired for the same team.
In 2013, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Nigeria’s Opal Tometi started a movement called the #Black Lives Matter on the shoulders of the death of Trayvon Benjamin Martin. This revolutionary movement will become in 2020, one of the largest movements in US history with an estimated 15 million to 26 million people, taking to the streets to say enough of systemic racism, the illusion of freedom and will also start an active conversation about the equality of races.
In 2020, “I Can’t Breathe”, was the phrase used by African American, George Floyd, before his murder by the police force. A recording revealed that he told the officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes,“I can’t breathe” several times. His phrase, “I Can’t Breathe” will become the anthem for the #blacklivesmatter protest which would also cause a chain reaction around the world with an average of 140 demonstrations per day.
The coronavirus pandemic – which is still ongoing at the time of this writing – is unarguably the biggest happening of 2020.
It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 22 December 2020, more than 77.3 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.7 million deaths attributed to COVID-19
The pandemic has caused global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It has led to the postponement or cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruption and food shortages, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.
However, the world is seeing for the first time, the health practises of individuals put to test.
Interestingly, in Africa, the case has not been the same. With the least amounts of recorded deaths, not many have taken the pandemic seriously. In Nigeria, for instance, despite the cautionary methods put in place, Nigerians are treating with laxity, the virus.
And just when Nigerians thought that the virus expires on the 31st of December, a new variant that the UK authorities have described as “out of control” is mutating and fast. Sadly, research is still ongoing as to the extent of immunity. On the other hand, countries have begun placing a ban on flight coming in from the UK. Nigeria has since joined in imposing COVID-19 restrictions but the question remains: what are the plans to help cushion the pandemic?
The future of the country may not lie in the hands of the younger generation in Nigerian public tertiary institutions. Why? The older generation is yet to realise that the success and longevity of the country rests in the hands of the younger ones and education is one of the solid foundations upon which this is built.
December officially makes it 51 months out of 11 years that the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) has gone on strike due to the successive governments’ inability to improve on the educational system and meet their demands for “Funding for Revitalization of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, Visitation panels to universities and renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement.”
As the government and ASUU fail to reach a compromise, the union has advised students to acquire skills, travel and have fun. Meanwhile, the government has argued that they have fulfilled and is allotting N70m for the revitalisation of universities.
One of Nigeria’s Instagram celebrities, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka “Hushpuppi, was arrested alongside 12 others by the Dubai Police Force in a special operation tagged “Fox Hunt 2.” After six raids, the suspects were caught while asleep in a viral video. The police found over $40 million in cash, 13 automobiles worth $6.8 million, 47 smartphones, hard disks and about 2 million emails of victims.
Although the source of his wealth was sometimes questioned by inquisitive Nigerians, the social media celebrity was a source of inspiration to his 2 million influencers. Besides having luxury cars, using private jets, and exclusive designer pieces, he received praises from international football stars and was friends with some Nigerian politicians.
Hushpuppi was identified as one of the brains behind the Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, hacking corporate emails, redirecting financial transfers and stealing bank details.
Before his arrest, the former second-hand clothes trader in Lagos conspired to launder funds worth $14.7 Million cyber-heist from a foreign financial services firm. United States authorities also said an English Premier League club was among the victims he conspired to defraud.
He has since been extradited to the US, where he faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years if found guilty.
Chadwick Aaron Boseman
The death of Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing the superhero Black Panther, came as a shock to the world.
Boseman’s role as T’Challa / Black Panther earned him a spot on the 2018 Time 100 as one of the world’s most influential people.
Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which eventually progressed to stage IV before 2020. Boseman died at his home as a result of complications related to colon cancer on August 28, 2020, with his wife and family by his side.
On August 29, 2020, the day after Boseman died, the tweet in which his family announced his death on his Twitter account became the most-liked tweet ever, with more than 6 million likes in under 24 hours, and accumulating over 7 million by August 31.
Exactly 12 years before the commencement of the #EndSARS protests that culminated into an international cry and movement against police brutality and injustice in Nigeria, Modebayo Awosika was driving home in his SUV in the early hours of October 1, 2008, when he was shot in the head at Lekki first roundabout, Lekki in Lagos. The Police set his car on fire and claimed he died from injuries he sustained when his vehicle hit a stationary police patrol vehicle.
That was just one just one out of numerous cases of extra-judicial killings which saw thousands of young Nigerians take to the street protesting for the disbandment of the notorious police unit, SARS that have been accused of kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings and extortion of Nigerian citizens.
Protests took place in several cities across Nigeria and gained international attention with similar demonstrations organised by the Nigerian diaspora in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and other countries.
The hashtag #EndSARS became the number one trend on social media and also sparked reactions from public figures such as Cardi B, Rihanna, Trey Songz, Big Sean, Jidenna, John Boyega, Kanye West, Victor Osihmen, Drake, Diddy, Lewis Hamilton, Marcus Rashford, Odion Ighalo amongst others.
The protests seemingly came to a climax in what has been tagged “Lekki Massacre” on the night of 20 October 2020, when officers of the Nigerian Army opened fire on peaceful End SARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos State, Nigeria. Amnesty International stated that at least 12 protesters were killed during the shooting. The Nigerian Army denied the shooting.
A month after the incident, on Saturday 21st November, in response to the fallout of a CNN documentary on the shooting, the Nigerian Army admitted to the Lagos Judiciary panel of inquiry into the shooting that it had deployed its officers to the toll gate with both live and blank bullets.
Palliatives was one of the most used words this year as countries sought to help quell the impact of the COVID-19. Countries like Canada gave its unemployed citizens CAN$2,000 monthly. In Nigeria, the poverty capital of the world, the reverse was the case. In the past few years, we have had a snake and a monkey interfere in allotted missing finances. This year took a rather unexpected turn. Some Nigerian politicians were seen to be hoarding palliatives for use as birthday hamper packages while others kept them in unexpected places. Like people awakened from slumber, a part of the 86 million Nigerians living in absolute poverty discovered warehouses, where the Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) palliatives worth N23b were stored and carted away food items include noodles, pasta, and garri. Some of the items, destroyed by the storage.
Whatever 2021 has in store, we’d keep the faith.