2020 and its many scars
Sir: Year 2020 is a year that will definitely remain engraved in the mind of every creature in Nigeria and across the globe, as the year came along with so many shocking and tragic events.
The year featured a string of wildfire, airplane crashes in Iran and Pakistan, the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, social unrest over the killing of George Floyd, the deadly explosion in Beirut, and various natural disasters –all under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic.
The beginning of this year witnessed a dramatic escalation in hostilities between the U.S. and Iran, especially after the former launched a drone strike, killing Iran’s most notorious commander Qassem Soleimani.
Here in Nigeria, on the 6th of January, the insurgency prone Borno State witnessed a very devastating moment where 30 people were killed and 35 injured in a bomb explosion in Gamboru –apparently by Boko Haram. Similarly, in January, Kogi State recorded the deaths of 19 people that were killed while homes and property were burnt to ashes by unknown gunmen in Tawari. Same month, 24th of January, the shocking outbreak of Lassa Fever resurfaced in 11 states in Nigeria, including Bauchi State. The Auno attack will not be forgotten in Borno State; at least 30 people were lost.
On February 28, the Federal Ministry of Health announced an Italian citizen who had been confirmed as the first case of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria. By March, the Emir of Kano, Sunusi Lamido was dethroned over what was described as “disrespect to lawful orders.” An explosion in Abule-Ado in Lagos killed 15 people and destroyed 50 buildings. The Chad and Nigeria Massacre: almost 70 soldiers were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram in Goneri, Borno on March 24.
In April, 47 people were killed by bandits in Katsina State. This tragic event was unprecedented in the northeast. In Gubio, Borno State, suspected gunmen killed 81 villagers. Another 20 were killed in an attack in Katsina State.
Amidst the Coronavirus, an aide of the Nigerian First Lady on June 11 was arrested for shooting at President’s nephew and another aide Sabiu Yusuf when he was denied access into the Villa for flouting the COVID-19 precautionary measure. Moreover, the 36 state governors declared a state of emergency over rape and gender-based violence against younger ones and women.
On August 11, a singer Yahya Sharif was sentenced to death by hanging in Kano for blasphemous utterances against Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The yearly Muslim pilgrimage was not performed.
The Lekki shooting during the #EndSARS protests was significant. Hoodlums hijacked the protest and caused havoc on private and public properties. On October 31, United States Navy from the Naval Special Warfare rescued an American hostage held captive by armed gunmen near the border with Niger. In December 2020, more than 300 students were captured by gunmen at Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, coming on the heels of the Zabarmari massacre in Borno State and the recession affecting Nigeria’s economy.
Way back in March, ASUU embarked upon strike, and students in tertiary institutions were sent back home. I commend Nigerians for their resilience and tenacious strength.
Usman Abdullahi Koli wrote from Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi.