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Nigeria: Our 7 biggest stories from 2020 – Sanusi, Covid-19, Davido

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Thursday, 31 December 2020 09:18

A sell-out gig at London's O2 Arena for Davido in January 2019/ MATT CROSSICK/PA WIRE/ABACA

Here are our most best-read stories from Nigeria from The Africa Report in 2020; from the dethroning of Lamido Sanusi, to the reign of Naija musicians Davido and Burna Boy, to the impact of coronavirus and the Lekki Massacre.

1. The Dethroning of Lamido Sanusi

Emir of Kano, Muhammad Lamido Sanusi II (C), rides on a dressed camel during the Durbar festival, on the second day of Eid al-Adha celebration in Nigeria's northern city of Kano

Lamido Sanusi was pushed out of the Nigerian Central Bank for calling out massive corruption.

He lost his position as Emir of Kano in similar circumstances.

2. BUA Group signs France’s Axens for new refinery project

Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Group, at the signing ceremony in Paris on 1 September / Bruno Levy for The Africa Report

France’s largest hydrocarbons group Axens won a contract to license key refinery technologies to one of Nigeria’s leading industrial conglomerates, the BUA Group.

For Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Group, the economics of the project are a ‘no-brainer’: “Nigeria imports 90% of it’s petroleum products. We spend 35% of our foreign exchange on importing petroleum products.”

3. How Nigeria is faring nearly two weeks into COVID-19 lockdown

A police officer is pictured at a road block while the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Abuja, Nigeria 9 April 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The Nigerian government rolled out measures to fight off the coronavirus after launching lockdown procedures on 30 March.
A Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus urged state governments to ensure that they have isolation facilities in their localities.

4. Nigeria encouraged to let naira fall further as currency market locks up

Nigerian naira banknotes
Further “adjustments” to the value of the naira may be needed. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

As the coronavirus pandemic bit, pressure mounted on Nigeria’s currency. The Nigerian central bank’s move to adjust the value of the naira represents what is likely the first instalment in finding a sustainable level for the currency.

The central bank in March weakened the parallel market rate to 380 naira to the US dollar from 365, with the central bank calling the move an “adjustment” rather than a devaluation.

5. President Buhari opens land border at Seme, Illela, Maigatari, and Mfun

Nigeria’s land border with Benin at Seme in July 2019 /Afolabi Sotunde

The Nigerian president finally opened the land border at Seme, Illela, Maigatari, and Mfun.

The land borders were closed to goods in August 2019, with partial openings and closings for people prompted by the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020.

6. Davido, Burna Boy, Rema… Nigeria’s musical moment

A sell-out gig at London’s O2 Arena for Davido in January 2019/ MATT CROSSICK/PA WIRE/ABACA

Davido, D’banj, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage… Nigerian musicians are global stars.

But behind the VIP-studded after-parties, and signings with major labels, is the 100% Naija ecosystem that got them there.

7. Lagos burns after army accused of ‘Lekki massacre’

A demonstrator wearing a blindfold with an inscription "End Sars", gestures during protest against alleged police brutality in Lagos
A demonstrator during protest against alleged police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria October 17, 2020. Picture taken October 17, 2020. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

The attack on protestors last night was a new chapter for the #EndSARS protests, with far-reaching consequences for the future politics of the country.