Events that shocked Nigerians in 2020

As the world ushers in the New Year, MYKE UZENDU took a look as some events that triggered national uproar, condemnation and controversy in 2020.

Murder of Seminarian Michael Nnadi and Mrs. Ataga

On January 8th 2020, Michael Nnadi and three other seminarians from the Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna state were abducted by Boko Haram. Sadly, while others regained their freedom, Michael Nnadi was killed by the sect.

Confirming the killing, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah in a statement said, “With a very heavy heart, I wish to inform you that our dear son, Michael was murdered by the bandits on a date we cannot confirm. He and the wife of a doctor were arbitrarily separated from the group and killed”.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ataga, wife of a Kaduna based medical doctor, Philip Ataga who was abducted with two of her kids was killed after the abductors collected a ransom of N15 million. The abductors later freed the two children on January 25, 2020.

Supreme Court Judgement on Imo State that sacked Emeka Ihedioha.

The country was in turmoil after a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad on January 14, sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in Imo state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ihedioha winner of the election with 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu, who scored 190,364 votes while Ifeanyi Ararume of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came third with 114, 676 votes ahead of Hope Uzondinma of APC who occupied the fourth position with 96,458 votes.

Uzodimma had challenged the declaration of Ihedioha as the winner but lost at the election petition tribunal and at the appeal court.

But the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun said that Uzodimma actually won the election.  

“It is thereby ordered that the appellant votes from 388 Polling Units unlawfully excluded from the appellant vote declared shall be added and that the first respondent, Emeka Ihedioha, was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the said election.

“It is hereby declared that the first appellant (Mr Uzodinma) holds the majority of lawful votes cast at the governorship election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019” the apex court declared.

Execution of Adamawa CAN Chairman, Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram.

The beheading of Lawan Andimi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika, Adamawa State on January, 20, 2020 caused national outrage and condemnation.

Rev. Lawan Andimi, 58, had gone missing on Jan. 2 after a Boko Haram raid on Michika, a town in Adamawa, northeast Nigeria.

Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist covering Boko Haram activities in Nigeria and across the Lake Chad region, in a tweet disclosed that Andimi with a soldier were killed by the terrorists.

Supreme Court Judgement that sacked David Lyon as Bayelsa governor-elect.

In an unprecedented judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday February 13, sacked David Lyon of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as governor-elect of Bayelsa State 24 hours before his inauguration.

A five-member justices of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili nullified the election on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to INEC.

The justices ordered that INEC should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread winner which incidentally was the PDP candidate, Sen. Diri Duoye.

COVID-19 Lockdown.

Following the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari declared a lockdown of major cities like Lagos, Abuja and Ogun state with effect from March 30 for an initial 14days to contain the spread of the virus.

Eventually, the entire country was locked down for over 90 days.

With the unprecedented lockdown, economic, social, religious and political activities came to a halt in the entire country except medical supplies and other essential services.

The index case of 27th of February 2020 was imported by an Italian citizen who returned from Milan on the 25th of February 2020.

Abba Kyari’s death

One death that shocked the country was that of the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari. He died on April 17 in a cardiology hospital in Lagos at the age of 67 after contracting COVID-19.

It is believed that Kyari contracted the virus during a visit to German where he went to seal energy deal with Siemen.

Sack of APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole

The Appellate Court on June 16, upheld the decision of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on the suspension of Oshiomhole as the national chairman of the APC. The judgment destabilized the ruling party and caused rupture in political calculations ahead of Edo governorship election.

In a unanimous judgement, the court asked Oshimhole to stop parading himself as APC chairman and withdrew his rights and privileges including his security details.

Demolition of Nigerian Embassy in Accra, Ghana.

Part of the Nigerian Embassy in Accra, Ghana, demolished on the 19th of June, sparked diplomatic row between Nigeria and Ghana.

A businessman who claimed that he owned the land where the building was cited, led the demolition exercise.

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama called the demolition “outrageous and criminal” and urged Ghanaian authorities to protect Nigeria’s diplomatic buildings.

Ghana’s foreign ministry said it regretted the incident and guaranteed that an investigation would be conducted.

#ENDSARS Protest

Activities in the country came to a halt on the 8th of October following #ENDSARS protest on the extra judicial killing championed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The protest which locked down the country for weeks was organized by young Nigerians using the social media. Without visible leadership, they organized peaceful protests simultaneously in almost all the states of the country, demanding for an end to police brutality and the disbarment of the dreaded squad. 

Throughout the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, young people mobilized and drove their message through social media culminating in the disbarment of the police special squad and establishment of judicial panel of enquiry in all the states to investigate police brutality and compensate victims.

Killing of 43 Zabarmari rice farmers

Northern Nigeria was thrown into mourning as Islamic militant group on November 29, killed at least 43 rice farmers as they were harvesting crops in Zabarmari, Borno state. The assailants tied up the farmers and then slit their throats in the village of Koshobe.

The bodies were burial in a public ceremony organized by the Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum.

Abduction of 344 students of GSS Kankara, Katsina State

On the 11th of December, about 344 students of Government Boys Science Secondary School, Kankara were kidnapped from a boarding school on the outskirts of Kankara, Katsina State. A gang of gunmen on motorcycles attacked the School, with a population of more than 800 pupils and abducted over 300 students in an operation that lasted for several hours.

The incident goes down in history as the largest abductions in Nigeria. Despite the retinue of security personnel attached to the President who was in the state for a week holidays, the kidnappers executed the dastardly act and held the students in captivity for over one week.

One of the abducted students Mansur Musa, recounted how the gunmen recorded them in a video which was made public.

“The bandits told us that some members of Boko Haram were arrested, and that if the authorities want the students to be released, they must first release our boys, otherwise we will kill all of you,” he said.

Another boy in the video, called for the closure of all non-Qur’anic schools in the north.

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