This report presents the biggest headlines of the week.
Nigerians hope to swap Grammys for AFCON; protests hit Kogi, Niger, Rivers as Nigerians lament high cost of living; states get N3.3tn allocations even as Nigerians, including Labour leaders, urged state governors to justify increased allocations by addressing the increasing hardship among the masses.
Here are the highlights of the week’s biggest news stories, from February 4 to February 10, 2024.
On Sunday night, the 66th Annual Grammy Awards were held in Los Angeles, United States, to kick off the week. A record number of Nigerians were represented at the Grammys, with Davido, Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Asake, and Olamide nominated, thanks to the Best African Performance category.
But on Monday morning, it was all about how they returned home empty-handed. Their fans took to the internet to lament the losses.
South Africa’s Tyla won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best African Music Performance with her single ‘Water’, edging out Nigerian stars.
Interestingly, because Nigeria would play against South Africa on Wednesday in the AFCON semi-finals in Ivory Coast for a chance to make it to the final, netizens challenged the Super Eagles to avenge the Grammy loss to Tyla by beating the Bafana Bafana of South Africa. This led to a tense semi-finals fixture that kept Africans at the edge of their seats.
After a fierce 90 minutes of play, the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, were tied 1-1 and forced into an additional 30 minutes of extra time. It all came down to a penalty shootout, which Nigeria won 4-2. The Grammy loss had been avenged and Nigerians had a field day on the internet taunting South Africa with Tyla’s ‘Water’. Nigerians also claimed that ‘Amapiano,’ a music genre that has its roots in South Africa, now belongs to Nigeria. Several celebrities joined the internet banter.
Kelechi Iheanacho scored the decisive kick that secured Nigeria’s spot in the final. But one hero reigns supreme…
The Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, clinched the Man of the Match award after saving two penalties in the shootout.
With several clean sheets and remarkable saves, Nwabali is poised to secure the tournament’s Golden Glove award. In the tournament, Nwabali kept a tally of four straight clean sheets, which helped him break the clean sheet record held by Alloy Agu and equal Best Ogedegbe’s 44-year-old record.
In addition to his clean sheets, Nwabali has made numerous crucial saves at critical moments in matches. Fans praised his crucial saves, hailing him as Nigeria’s key to winning the tournament.
The final against Ivory Coast will be played on Sunday (tomorrow), 9 pm Nigerian time.
In what can only be described as a bitter victory, PUNCH Online reported five deaths after the AFCON victory, with many reportedly dying during the penalty shootout. The individuals who lost their lives include a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, Dr Cairo Ojougboh; the Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University, Alhaji Ayuba Abdullahi; a sales representative named Mikhail Osundiji; a National Youth Service Corps member identified as Samuel; and an Anambra-born businessman based in Cote d’Ivoire, Osondu Nwoye.
Many experts have cautioned Nigerians, especially those with pre-existing health conditions, to avoid excessive emotional stress during such events. Some have even warned wives to keep their hypertensive husbands away from the AFCON final on Sunday
President Bola Tinubu returned to Nigeria after a two-week private visit to Paris, France. The President came back at a time when protests were erupting in parts of the country over rising food and living costs, with angry youths and women taking to the streets.
Tinubu directed immediate interventions to address the situation, while discussions are ongoing to increase food supply and reduce prices in collaboration with millers and commodity traders.
After a series of meetings, more than 102,000 metric tons of various grain types from the National Food Reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria were released to address the food crisis. The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, announced to State House correspondents the release of 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri, and other commodities from the strategic reserve.
Additionally, discussions with the Rice Millers Association led to a commitment of 60,000 metric tons of rice. The government said it is prepared to import commodities if necessary and is ready to take punitive measures against food hoarders to ensure food security for Nigerians.
Protests erupted in various parts of Nigeria, including Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Kano, and Niger State, over the rising cost of living, food prices, and poor power supply. In Port Harcourt, scores of married women protested outside the office of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company due to prolonged blackouts, which they said affected their personal lives, including marital relations.
Some of the placards carried by the Rivers women read, “‘We lack romance with our husbands’ and ‘Our husbands no longer touch us at night’.”
Similarly, in Kano, angry youths and women took to the streets to voice their grievances over the economic challenges facing the country and the high prices of food items. Meanwhile, in Niger State, residents protested against the high cost of living, demanding government intervention.
Another wave of protests followed the ban imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control on the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small bottles. A coalition of civil society groups protested at the National Assembly. The Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees rejected the plan, citing potential job losses for over 500,000 workers.
The House of Representatives has directed its committee on NAFDAC to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ban on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles by the agency.
Allocations from the Federal Account Allocation Committee to 36 states and 774 local governments from July to December 2023, increased to N3.34tn, a 19.5% increase from the previous half-year according to figures obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics earlier in the week.
The bulk of the revenue shared at FAAC meetings comes from oil exports, taxes, and other statutory allocations, with the Federal Government receiving 52.68%, states 26.72%, and local governments 20.60%.
Despite increased allocations, some governors have faced criticism for failing to alleviate the impact of fuel subsidy removal, with complaints about poor infrastructure, rising kidnappings, and insecurity.
Labour leaders and Nigerians have urged state governors to justify the increased allocations by addressing the hardships faced by the masses.
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines