What’s Going On: Nigeria’s Severe Floods, Burkina Faso-Russia Connection, ASUU Strike & More
some of the latest and biggest stories from the continent
some of the latest and biggest stories from the continent
“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.
Since last month Nigerian states have endured severe flooding. About 27 states across the country were reported to have been affected, with casualties running in the hundreds. Over half a million people have been displaced and even more losing valuable property, stoking great conversation in recent times. With images online revealing just angles of the disaster, a number of people clamoured for more awareness about the destruction by water going on in Africa’s most populated country.
For years now the message of adjusting to climate change has fallen on the government’s deaf ears, with Nigeria essentially failing to plan for rainy seasons and their typical turbulence. Poor environmental practices and unplanned infrastructure are some root causes, while Nigerian officials say this year’s flooding was caused by overflowing rivers, rainfalls that have long stretched beyond the usual season, and more historically, the release of excess water from Cameroon’s Lagdo dam.
So far, many states from Kogi to Benue, Taraba, Jigawa and Anambra have been heavily affected by these floods. Residents have fled their homes, and farms destroyed, which economic forecasters predict will have an adverse effect on the availability of food going into the festive period. “In terms of the supply of agricultural production,” said Mai Farid, who heads the African department at the International Monetary Fund, “it is going to drop which will put even further pressure on prices. And in addition, the floods have affected some of the transportation networks which makes it even harder for food to transfer into the country or even out in any essence storage”.
Over 300 people have been killed in floods affecting most of Nigeria.
Officials said they expected flooding to be worse this year due to excessive rainfall brought on by the climate crisis and overflowing nearby water. pic.twitter.com/3Pia50moZ7
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 5, 2022
Recently, we reported that Burkina Faso had gone through its second military coup in nine months. This one was spearheaded by 34-year-old Capt. Ibrahim Traore who overthrew the former President Lt-Col Paul-Henri Damiba who, subsequently, fled to the neighbouring Togo from where he sent well wishes to the current administration.
Many were left to consider the frequency of military coups across West Africa in the event’s aftermath, especially with Guinea and Mali having had successful coups since last year. Political observers have made connections between Burkina’s coup and Russia; in the capital of Ouagadougou, young people were seen waving the Russian flag. Quite telling was the congratulation passed to Capt. Traore by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the founder of the Wagner Group—which the BBC describes as “a shadowy mercenary organisation active in several African countries”.
Describing the captain as “a truly worthy and courageous son of his motherland,” he said: “The people of Burkina Faso were under the yoke of the colonialists, who robbed the people as well as played their vile games, trained, supported gangs of bandits and caused much grief to the local population”. As widely reported, Yevgeny was playing to the dissatisfaction of many former French colonies towards the establishment of France. On his part, Captain Traore called for support from any world powers “willing to help” the country in its security fight against insurgents and militants.
–@VOANews report: “During the coup in Burkina Faso last Friday, civilians and troops took to the streets with Russian flags, saying they wanted the country’s security partnership with France replaced by one with Russia”
— Lucas Webber (@LucasADWebber) October 7, 2022
Way back in July, it was reported that Ghana was suffering its highest inflation fall-out in two decades. Traders and other business people bemoaned the high cost of importation and as well the ludicrous cost of clearing them from the ports. A then-recent hike in fuel prices also had an adverse effect on the West African country, an offshoot influence of the cedi’s depreciating value.
Three months later, the complaints are still plenty. Ghanaians have taken to social media to bemoan the persistently rising cost of living, as the dollar continues to rise against the local currency. In an address to the UN General Assembly in late September, the Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo related the problem to a global economic crisis and rallied the need for African economies to react progressively. He also drew connections with the World Bank’s observation that these were unprecedented times since the seventies, which was a direct consequence of the pandemic which brought “our world [to] a thundering halt, as we cowered from a health pandemic from an unknown, malicious virus, coupled with a devastating global economic pandemic. High budget deficits were no longer a concern of only developing nations”.
Still, Ghanaians have had credible reasons for voicing out their complaints, considering how President Akufo-Addo’s administration has positioned the country as a cultural utopia for internationals looking to experience the African vibe—which is bolstered by the burgeoning status of Afropop—up close. It would therefore be in the interest of all to place local issues at the forefront of the government’s concerns even as other affairs continue to be run with the pragmatic assurance that Ghana has shown.
People need to understand what’s going on in #Ghana. They don’t get it!!!!! Forget the PR.
A decade ago $89 was 180 cedis.
Last year it 89 was bout 400 cedis.
Today $89 is 1000 cedis.
I had to double staff salaries last month so they can earn a living wage! NPP fokup! https://t.co/NWUWhKOSMt
— Vickie Remoe (@VickieRemoe) October 9, 2022
Yesterday there were widespread reports that Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had reached an agreement with the country’s Federal Government. Since February 14th, millions of university undergraduates across the country have stayed at home due to the strike declared that day by ASUU.
In a series of back and forths, both parties—with the intermediary of the Education and Labour Ministers—had failed to reach a compromise. President Muhammadu Buhari began to personally involve himself in negotiations some two months ago, but even after an unconfirmed report that he’d given two weeks for the settlement of the strike, nothing actually resulted from the emergency meeting. In recent weeks, he’s positioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila as an intervening party in the negotiations, and that’s brought the desired results.
A clip which circulated yesterday saw the ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke laud Gbajabiamila for the way he’s handled the talks which had been holding since last week. This was coming after the court fracas between the Government and ASUU which resulted in the Court of Appeal ordering an immediate resumption from the union. “Please, let all of us work to put a beautiful end to this thing we have started,” said Osodeke during the meeting, “so that every Nigerian will be proud that we have universities we can be proud of…So, once again, thank you very much and we hope that working together, in the next few days, we can put an end to this particular imbroglio in the Nigerian educational system”.
— ASUU_NGR (@ASUU_NEWS) October 10, 2022