Five Biggest News Stories Abroad, About Nigeria

Nigeria is always in the news abroad. Indeed, the biggest stories from Africa at the moment come from Libya, Sudan, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. Expectedly, Africa is in the news for the wrong reasons. Only South Africa comes to the positive spotlight; and yet its President, Zuma sometimes gets hard knocks for different reasons, including his extravagant lifestyle. For the rest, it is much of the ugly side of life: tyranny and war in Libya, death of 150 people fleeing Libya on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the disgraceful trial of the Mubarak dynasty in Egypt, killing of over 1,500 in Sudan over the Abyei region, and the post-election crisis in Nigeria, among other issues. In this piece, I explore the American media (print, electronic and internet) and the “hottest” stories about Nigeria. In order of ranking, I do a brief on each of the issues.

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Boko Haram Assaults

This is much mentioned and analysed in the US media. There is a growing speculation that Boko Haram is more than a religious group that abhors western education. Their meddlesomeness in local politics and assassination of prominent political and traditional leaders, and security agents; and the manner of organization and use of high-tech devices to carry out their acts of impunity, demonstrate sophistication, characteristic of modern terrorist operations. It is popularly believed that Boko Haram is another name for Al-Qaeda in Nigeria; and the fact that the Abdumutalab case is still fresh, happenings in Nigeria (the plethora of bomb blasts) before and after, is often explained away as implying that the country is afterall becoming a hub for terrorism.

Dimeji Bankole’s Arrest and Indictment

This is one of the low-sides of Nigeria’s external image. The arrest and indictment of the immediate Speaker of the House Reps by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a 10 billion naira theft scandal and the earlier story that the Nigeria Inspector-General of Police was trying to prevent his arrest, are described in such a way that shows how very bad the corruption situation in Nigeria is. Though not frequently mentioned in local media here, it has generated hot topics for discourse in enlightened quarters.

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Army-Police Clash

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As air is cleared on an embarrassing issue, another one emerges almost immediately. The ugly incident of clashes between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army personnel in Badagry Lagos some weeks ago is still big news here. The act can simply not be comprehended by the American public. The fact that it resulted in mutual killing could not make sense to anyone. They particularly wonder at the misdirected assault, and why the security agencies would be on war-path when there is more to do in terms of curbing Boko Haram, post-election explosions, and the escalating crime rates all over the country.

FIFA Investigation of the Argentina-Nigeria Match

This particular story is a very big one. One wonders why this story is bigger than the feat of walloping Argentina itself. An African team, for once since Cameroon’s feat in Italia 90, beats the former world champions. For Nigeria, it was a grand accomplishment trouncing the overrated nation 4-1! However, the media barely mention the victory; it is rather interested in the outcome of the FIFA investigation of the match, expecting an indictment of both parties for match-fixing. This line of expectation is borne more out of the fact that the Nigerian sports leadership has been on the firing line recently on corruption charges, the most recent of which was the dumping out of “General” Amos Adamu from FIFA on allegations of, and indictment for bribery.

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The FoI Bill Signing

The signing of the Freedom of Information Bill by President Jonathan on May 28 is receiving attention by media practitioners, the media and academics in the US. While commending the Nigerian government for breaking the jinx that had surrounded information bill for a very long time; they study the details and await the manifestation. Some section of the press, including FOX News even commended the Nigerian example to the Obama administration, which they lampoon for “gagging” opposition news media.

The foregoing developments make headline news. However, what creates the headache is the endless discussion after, and the embarrassment of being confronted by friends and colleagues as if one is the cause of all these things. Yet, there are other stories that fortunately do not get much attention, more because there is a load of troubles yet unsettled. Such stories include the wife-battering incident of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya, shooting by a German female cop of a Nigerian woman in Frankfurt over 500 Euros payment row, and the inauguration of Dr. Jonathan as the fourth executive president of Nigeria.

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However, we deserve more of positive stories from the country that will make us proud. Stories of Nigeria’s exploits in domestic economy, political stability, religious peace, advances in education, giant strides in technology, security at home and progressive leadership in global politics, are anticipated.

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