During the outgoing week, the Chibok Girls crept into our consciousness, reminding us of the existential threat terrorism poses to the world; and more poignantly, the untold hardship they must have been subjected to, living with their abductors for more than two years.
We were reminded, also, of the dire condition of the Nigerian economy and why the country will need to rely on a $20 billion loan from China to buoy it. We have a summary of news on these and others below.
For a long time, Chinese products, within the Nigerian context, were associated with inferior quality. But when it comes to a loan as huge as $20 billion, Nigeria may only have to look to China for a lifeline. But then, the lifeline comes with stringent conditions.
Apparently to secure firm repayment plan and to understudy viability or otherwise of key sectors for which Nigeria is seeking a $20b loan from the China EXIMbank, the Chinese government has listed certain demands to be met by the Federal Government.
Part of the conditions, The Guardian learnt, is for the Federal Government, through representatives from key ministries such as Finance, Budget and National Planning, Foreign Affairs, among others, to fine-tune terms and agreements, including possible repayment plan with the China Ministry of Commerce.
As the country’s leadership was dealing with the task of meeting the stringent conditions, the terror group, Boko Haram, released a new video of some of the Chibok Girls who were kidnapped from their school on April 14, 2014.
The video was the latest release from embattled Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who earlier this month denied claims that he had been replaced as the leader of the jihadist group.
“They should know that their children are still in our hands,” said a man whose face was covered by a turban in the video posted on YouTube.
A Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, who claimed to have received the video ‘exclusively’ from the terror group before it was uploaded on YouTube, and two other persons were declared wanted by the Nigerian Army.
“The Nigerian Army hereby declare the two gentlemen and the lady wanted for interrogation. We are relying on the relevant laws of the land and in particular the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (as amended) where Nigerians could be punished for failure to disclose information about terrorists or terrorist activities,” said Sani Usman, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army.
He said, “My status as a Nigerian journalist who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006 is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community,” he said in the statement.
“Equally, my total allegiance and sacrifice to the Federal Republic of Nigeria are self-evident. I have stayed within the creed of professional journalism in my work.”
Though, he had no criminal links, still, he was shot dead, execution style, on the street of New York.
Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant, 64-year-old Thara Uddin, were shot in the Ozone Park, Queens, during a brazen attack carried out in broad daylight. Both men were taken to nearby Jamaica Hospital with gunshot wounds and were pronounced dead there.
Their lives were eclipsed by a man suspected to be Oscar Morel.
The annular solar eclipse that will be visible all over the country with different degrees of totality on September 1, 2016, even as astronomers in the United States (U.S.) prepare for a spectacle of a solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.
Another thing the United States had to deal with is the fall of the dollar, albeit temporary.
The dollar dropped Thursday as records from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting dampened hopes of an imminent US interest rate hike.
Minutes from the US central bank’s July gathering said policymakers were keeping their “options open” but remained divided on the threat of inflation.
In the bid to stem the tide of rising inflation and cut costs of governance, the Nigerian government in July banned the procurement and distribution of souvenirs at events organised or financed by the government. The move was examined in the Guardian editorial on Wednesday.
The Guardian thumbed up the move and called on Nigerians to review their ways of life and decide what desirable amendments can be made to survive at a time like this when national revenue has significantly declined.
In Tanzania, the need to enhance human survival has led to an usual alliance between two mortal enemies: man and rat. So we learnt during the week.
Africa’s giant pouched rats have a lesser-known but equally critical vocation – saving lives by speeding up tuberculosis detection. It’s all in the nose, says the Belgian non-governmental organisation APOPO.
You can also do your health big favour by quitting one of the sweetest you can find around – soft drinks or soda.
Drinking soft drinks or sodas is an easy habit of falling back into, it’s everywhere, and it’s easy to consider diet versions to be a relatively harmless vice. Maje Ayida told us emphatically: soft drinks aren’t just bad for you – they are barely even liquid. He did not stop at that, he told us what exactly happens to the body when soda is consumed.
Like soda, paracetamol, a drug widely available over-the-counter drug, can be injurious to health. Paracetamol is the world’s most popular painkiller and is the only one deemed safe to take during pregnancy.
But new research suggests that mothers-to-be who take paracetamol are more likely to have children with behavioural problems.
Scientists have found an association between mothers who took the drug in the first and third trimester of pregnancy and hyperactivity and emotional problems in their seven-year-old children.
On a lighter note. As the EPL resumed, Antonio Conte’s reign as Chelsea boss started on Monday and he has Diego Costa to thank for a winning start.
Costa thrust himself back into the headlines with an 89th-minute winner as Chelsea edged West Ham United 2-1.