ONE: James Ibori, former governor of Delta State has been convicted by the Southwark Crown Court in the UK on corruption charges. Ibori has been jailed for 13 years for fraud totalling nearly £50 million. He admitted to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering and to fraud in excess of £50 million. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that it will still prosecute Ibori at the appropriate time as majority of Ibori’s offenses while governing Delta State will be charged before Nigerian courts.
TWO: Meanwhile, Nigeria’s total debt is now at $44 billion, $5.9 billion in external debt and N5.6 trillion domestically. The corrupt fuel subsidy programme has cost Nigeria $6.8 billion from 2009 to 2011. A parliamentary probe said that state oil firm, private marketers and the regulator owe N1.07 trillion in unpaid debts to the government and that the state oil firm owes oil trading companies around $3.5 billion for fuel. The probe called for an overhaul of the state oil firm and ministry. With all this in consideration, it is no wonder that the planned return of $250 million stolen by Ibori to Nigeria was met with angry outcry.
THREE: Not to mention, N6 billion belonging to the Police Pension Fund has vanished in thin air. Stolen pension funds have been traced to over 73,000 fake bank accounts that were opened by corrupt officials in two federal pension departments. The bank accounts were used to steal millions of dollars. In relation to the Police Pension Fund, six civil servants have been arrested namely Permanent Secretary Atiku Abubakar Kigo and top senior officers in the Federal Civil Service, Esai Abubakar; Ahmed Inuwa Wada; John Yakubu Yusufu; Mrs Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula; and Sani Habila Zira.
FOUR: In 25 years, 300 million people will be living in Nigeria at the current rate Nigeria is growing. Living standards for many are falling, with large numbers of people struggling to share basic amenities. There are worries as to how this massive spurt in population is going to affect urban housing. This massive increase in population could prove detrimental as from the historical and economic view, development tends to precede large population change but this is not the case with Nigeria which as we all know is plagued with high poverty and unemployment levels. The Nigerian middle class my be unable to stop this change.
FIVE: Nollywood is facing economic challenges with low returns. The Film, Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) have signed a declaration for DSTV’s Africa Magic channel to stop showing Nollywood films before they were released elsewhere.
SIX: President Goodluck Jonathan has been listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Persons in the World by Time Magazine, a citation on President Goodluck was written by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who pointed out that President Goodluck “exemplifies the African political renaissance”.
SEVEN: There has been a decline in school attendance in Northern Nigeria due to Boko Haram’s activities. In this year alone, 14 schools have been burnt down and over 7,000 children are not out of formal education. There has also been a reduction in enrolment rates.
EIGHT: What does a cramp down on “fake” marriages in Zimbabwe have to do with Nigeria? Apparently, West Africans in Zimbabwe, Nigerians in particular, have been accused of getting married to locals in order to easily receive resident permits. The government is cracking down on marriages of convenience much to the annoyance and frustration of genuine couples.
NINE: A school specifically for the almajiri street kids has been inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan. The first Almajiri Model Boarding School in Gagi, Sokoto is widely seen as a good initiative to curb what has been referred to as the “Almajiri syndrome in the North”. However, I wonder how successful this school will be in attracting street children. Also, by “almajiri” are they only referring to male street kids, what about the girls who roam the streets begging for alms, are they not potential tools for political, religious and ethnic violence?
TEN: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will not be the next president of the World Bank after losing out to Jim Yong Kim from the USA. Although Kim’s victory was largely expected, this will go down in World Bank history as the first-ever challenge to the US nominee. The president of the World Bank has always gone to a citizen of the USA due to the large donations the country makes to the institution so some think that Okonjo-Iweala never had a chance at winning. Jim Yong Kim has called for changes to the US-led selection process.