Located 65kms east of Lagos, in the immediate vicinity of upcoming Lekki Deep Sea Port, the Lagos Free Zone aims to enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), the first privately owned special economic zone in Nigeria with an integrated deep sea port, is home to several reputable global brands. Located 65kms east of Lagos, in the immediate vicinity of upcoming Lekki Deep Sea Port, the Lagos Free Zone aims to enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

Developed by the Singapore based Tolaram Group, the LFZ, reflects their more than four decades of commitment to doing business in Nigeria, says Tejaswi Avasarala, General Manager, Strategic Marketing, Lagos Free Zone, who was speaking ahead of the 6th annual West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) Virtual Summit taking place this week (25-26 November 2020).

Regarded as the only premier regional real estate investment and development conference that provides access to more than 600 local and international decision makers, this year’s WAPI Virtual edition will provide attendees with unique content, networking opportunities and a platform to showcase projects and services to an international audience.

With currently more than 15 operational entities, the 830-hectare (ha) LFZ site will eventually host more than 100 businesses and provide more than 50,000 residents with a place to live, work and play, and will offer real estate investors and developers with appealing prospects.

“We are convinced that Nigeria bears immense growth opportunity and will continue to be a formidable growth engine amongst the emerging market economies. While there are some challenges that are typical of emerging markets, the government has taken steps in the right direction that have resulted in tangible improvement in the ease of doing business in the country over the past 5 years,” said Tejaswi.

In addition to the industrial manufacturing and port-based logistics cluster at LFZ, there are opportunities in the area of commercial developments such as multi-tiered housing, office spaces, business and leisure hotels as well as healthcare and educational projects which are extremely exciting and deliver on the LFZ’s objective of enhancing the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

This effort, as Tejaswi added, begins by providing business and developers with access to un-encroached, secured and developed land in the immediate vicinity of the deepest sea port in Nigeria, which is expected to start commercial operations by the end of 2022.

While the new deep sea port solves a lot of historical challenges of the country’s existing shallow and congested ports, investors at Lagos Free Zone would also enjoy access to reliable plug-and-play infrastructure such as access to power, gas, trunk infrastructure, ready-built facilities such as warehouses and standard design factories.

A perspective, which WAPI host Kfir Rusin shares. “The development of the Lagos Free Zone is an exciting development for the Nigerian economy and the industry as whole, as it will unlock new development opportunities for real estate investors and developers across the value chain. In what has been an extraordinary year, West Africa’s real estate leaders have demonstrated their resilience and their willingness to adapt and innovate to ensure returns in challenging conditions.

We believe that the future is bright and mega projects such as the LFZ, which is attracting world class tenants such as Kellogg (USA), Colgate (USA), Indofoods (Indonesia), Arla Foods (Denmark), BASF (Germany) and others is evidence that there are significant opportunities in the market, and we look forward to this week’s discussions.”

Despite having the largest oil reserves and resources in Africa, Nigeria only benefitted five per cent investment within the last five years.

This was disclosed in Abuja yesterday by the Managing Director, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mike Sangster at the ongoing virtual Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) Conference and Exhibition with the theme: ‘Accelerating Growth in Nigeria’s Hydrocarbon Reserves: Emerging Concepts, Challenges and Opportunities.’

Delivering the keynote address at the management session of the conference, titled ‘Future of Oil and Gas Industry in Low Oil Price Environment: Survival Strategies,’ Sangster raised concerns over the country’s inability to optimise its opportunities and strengths.

Represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water District, Total E&P, Mr. Victor Bandele, he stressed the need for innovative technology deployment, collaboration by all industry players, reduction in the incidence of oil theft and the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to drive down costs and attract more investments into the sector.

According to him, a progressive and win-win PIB would, no doubt, be the catalyst needed for a new wave of hydrocarbon exploration and development investment in the country to further attract more capital investment in an ever more competitive world.

His words: “Nigeria has only benefitted from less than five per cent of all investments in oil and gas in Africa between 2015 and 2019 despite having the largest reserves. This is a fact; we are the giant of Africa, we have the resources in Africa, but the investment that has come to Nigeria in the last five years has been 5% of what has been put into Africa.

“That is to say that, the $3 billion invested in Nigerian projects, which took final investment decision between 2015 and 2019 accounts for five per cent of all oil and gas funds invested in Africa. When we say it’s $3 billion, it appears to be big, but I dare say, it’s a far cry.

“No major investment decision was taken in deep water Nigeria between 2015 and 2019, despite a number of available potentially viable projects and almost all the companies have one or two projects that are in the pipeline, that they have discovered and been working on.

So, it’s not a matter of resources being there; resources are there discovered, but we have not developed in the last five years.

“Uncompetitive fiscal terms and increasing cost are the major drivers of this decision that is not making us to go forward. Most of the licences are also getting to expire, the question is: what happens when my license expires, where will I find myself based on the fiscal terms we have on ground?”

While urging the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment for investors, he maintained that Total E&P had invested approximately $10 billion in the country from 2013 till date, and would continue to hold faith in Nigeria.

Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Olatunji Akinwunmi, decried the huge gap between exploration achievements and the enormous potentials in the oil and gas sector in the past decade.

Akinwunmi, who is the Executive General Manager, GSR Deepwater in Total E&P, further raised concerns over the several stranded but potentially cash-accretive major discoveries in the deep water, with no immediate development strategy in sight

A Nigerian company E.F. Network Ltd, has developed a mobile application that can make a device unusable by thieves, to curb theft or resale of mobile phones and other gadgets in the country.

Mr Ameh Ochojila, the company's public relations officer said this in a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Ochojila, said that the application named 'ephonetaxi' will help provide solution to the growing number of stolen phones in the country and across the globe.

"The application 'ephonetaxi' helps to lock out anyone who is unauthorised to use the phone, making it unusable and unsellable," he said.

According to him, the application is designed to protect phone owners and the information stored on their phones from being compromised in the event of a phone theft.

"The application helps retrieve and send the user's stored contents to his email.

"It also locks the phone, prevents either unauthorised access to stored pictures, videos, messages, or contacts of the phone owner.

"The app alerts the phone owner of any change in SIM card, monitors, and tracks the phone location including taking pictures of criminals in possession of the phone and sending the pictures to the email address of the owner," he said.

Ochojila added: "The owner can do all these remotely in spite of the phone being lost or stolen. 

"Once a phone is locked remotely by the owner, buying it will be a mere waste of money."

The technical manager of the company, Mr Kelvin Raymond said that the application could also be used to trace kidnappers as it can reveal real-time location of mobile phones.

Mr Gideon Egbuchulam, Chairman of the company said that the application was one of the application lined up by the company to meet technical and software needs of Nigerians.

Egbuchulam said that the company had opened an incubation centre in Abuja where he planned to recruit brilliant young Nigerian Information Technology (IT) professionals.

"Given enabling environment, Nigerian youths will take Nigeria to the next Silicon Valley in Africa.

"Almost all giant tech companies in the world are interested in the Nigerian market and that is the reason our company is recruiting over 1000 people by the end of 2020 to support talented youths," he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that available data showed that in 2016 alone, over 400,000 phones were stolen in the UK, with a good number of them shipped abroad for resale.

The data also showed that many of the stolen phones were first sold to criminal gangs who tried to access them for information that could be used to hack bank accounts of their owners, before selling them to end users.

 

(NAN)

 
 

Protests in Nigeria against police brutality and specifically the Special Anti Robbery Squad, a police unit accused of human rights abuses, have mostly been by young Nigerians, aged 30 and below.

This age group, which forms close to 70 percent of the country’s population, have bore the most impact of bad governance. For instance, unemployment figures stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The youth account for 13.9 million of this. So, beyond the campaign to end police brutality, current protests have other underlining factors. To better understand these factors and what Nigeria can do to fully benefit from the strength of its young population, Adejuwon Soyinka asked Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, Professor of Demography and Dr. Funke Fayehun, senior lecturer and population scientist, both at the University of Ibadan, to unpack the issues.


How would you characterise the demographic profile of Nigeria?

Nigeria, with an estimated population of about 206 million, is the seventh most populous country in the world. The high growth rate of Nigeria’s population, about 2.6 percent, is a product of persistent high fertility over time and consistently declining mortality. Nigeria’s total fertility rate is 5.3 with crude birth rate of 38 per 1000 population. With the high growth and fertility rates, the population is projected to increase to 263 million in 2030 and 401 million in 2050 when Nigeria would become the third most populous country in the world. That would be a jump of about 49% in 20 years

According to population projections by the United Nations for 2020, about 43 percent of the Nigerian population comprised children 0-14 years, 19 percent age 15-24 years and about 62 percent are below age 25 years. By contrast, less than 5 percent is aged 60 years and above. This makes Nigeria a youthful population with a median age of about 18 years, which is lower than African and world estimates of 20 and 29 respectively. Children and adolescents make up a large segment of the population, a product of many couples having too many children.

What role would you say the fact that 70% per cent of Nigeria’s population is under age 30, played in the ongoing #EndSARS protests?

The protests that are being held in major cities in Nigeria are led by youths. Young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 30 years are the major victims of extortion and police brutality in the country. They are often framed as lazy and fraudulent and are constantly harassed by the police. This, coupled with the fact that 34.9 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed, has led to outcries about the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Unemployment stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The youth account for 13.9 million of this.

The alleged brutality of the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force include ill-treatment of young Nigerians, torture and extra-judicial execution and have made earning a living difficult for young entrepreneurs. The protests have, to a large extent, influenced government to dissolve SARS, replacing it with the Special Weapons and Tactics unit almost immediately.

Why do you think the ongoing protest has been largely driven by young Nigerians?

Nigeria has been unable to maintain a trajectory of improving economic development (currently about 2 percent to match its population growth of close to 3 percent). Hence, the country’s inability to provide the education needs, create more jobs for the expanding workforce, and provide basic infrastructure and services such as roads, electricity, and stable food supplies.

A possible result of remaining trapped in this state is that the government may reach a state of “demographic fatigue”. This is a condition where the state lacks the financial resources to stabilise its population growth and the capacity to manage available resources. It becomes unable to deal effectively with threats from diseases and population-induced crises such as communal clashes, banditry, insurgency and insecurity. The recent protests suggest that Nigeria may have reached this state because there is a huge backlog of youths whose capacity was not developed over the years and high rates of unemployment. These are compounded by lack of political will by the government to address the needs of the youth. This has led to discontent and frustration which are expressed through this protest.

How do you think Nigeria should handle its youthful population?

Large numbers of young people in Nigeria can represent great economic potential, known as demographic dividends. However, this can happen if families and governments can adequately invest in their health and education, and stimulate new economic opportunities for them.

The government should, as a matter of urgency, prioritise pro-poor policies. It should invest massively in education and youth empowerment, as well as health programmes for children and women that include an efficient family planning initiative. And it should implement sound economic and governance policies to create new business and economic opportunities. It goes without saying that carrying out these policies can be challenging for Nigeria’s social and government structures, making it difficult for Nigeria to take advantage of a demographic dividend in the next few decades.

In fact, simulation models constructed by Scott R. Moreland suggest that Nigeria can enter the ranks of lower middle income economies and obtain a demographic dividend only by 2050, if it adopts appropriate family planning, education and economic strategies. Meanwhile, the total population would have almost doubled to 401 million on the same total land mass of 910,770 sq. km (or 351,650 sq. miles). Only decades of purposeful, proactive and well-informed statesmanship can avert the impending catastrophe that will befall Nigeria.The Conversation

 

Funke Fayehun, Senior lecturer, University of Ibadan and Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, Professor of Demography, University of Ibadan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Following weeks of nationwide protests against police brutality, led by young Nigerians who complain of being targeted by the police, Adejuwon Soyinka asked Oludayo Tade, a sociologist, to help us understand what it feels like being a young Nigerian living in the country today.


Why have the protests been driven by young Nigerians?

The immediate trigger of the protest has to do with the brutalisation of young Nigerians by the trigger happy and extortionist Special Anti-Robbery Squad, now disbanded. Members of the unit extorted and abused the privacy of the young people through negative profiling. Most of those killed by the police tactical team are young and have not committed any crime.

Efforts by families and friends of these victims to get justice have mostly hit brick walls. While the ‘uniformed offenders’ walk free, the victims are left to mourn their losses.

Young Nigerians have been at the receiving end of bad governance since the return of democracy in 1999. Their education is poorly funded, with poorly equipped laboratories, uninhabitable hostels and unmotivated lecturers. About 14 million young Nigerians are out of school, partly because of insecurity and education affordability. About two million young Nigerians write the university matriculation examination every year. But only about 500,000 get admitted to university. Over 90% apply to public funded institutions, most of which suffer from infrastructural decay.

In addition, young Nigerians are the worst affected by unemployment. There are 21.7 million unemployed Nigerians with the youth accounting for 13.9 million of this number.

There is increasing hopelessness and dashed hopes. Young Nigerians watch a system where the ruling class takes all.

What does it feel like being a young Nigerian living in Nigeria today?

Young Nigerians are called the iPhone or Twitter generation. President Muhammadu Buhari has described them as being lazy cohorts who are looking for free things. Apart from this presidential framing, any successful young person is falsely labelled as involved in internet fraud. This is what the disbanded police unit feasted on, pouncing on anyone on the road carrying laptops, having iPhones or driving posh cars. They do this not to prevent crime but to harass and threaten; to frame them with robbery or threaten them with death. Cases abound of such behaviour.

Thus, it seems to be an offence to dress well, look nice and have items such as a laptop.

More broadly, young Nigerians live largely on the margins of the society.

Why is this particular protest different?

It coincides with people reaching boiling point on many issues which the Nigerian state has failed to address. The economy has been on lockdown due to COVID-19. But intimidation and killing by the police hasn’t stopped during the pandemic.

This protest is coordinated online combined with people gathering physically. It is superbly organised.

A number of groups have been part of the demonstrations. There are students who have been at home due to a seven month strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to force government to fund public universities properly. Then there are unemployed youth who have graduated from the universities but either have never had a job or have lost their job during the pandemic. Lastly, there are the victims of police brutality, their families and relations who have also mobilised.

This protest is largely organised by young Nigerians who have never experienced military rule. Is this material?

Democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999 – more than 20 years ago – but things have not improved. This generation is the internet generation. They hear of stories of Nigeria’s glorious past from their parents and in literature but are served with a bitter present. They also know what happens and what citizens of other countries enjoy. They do not need to have encountered military experience to speak up against a system that is not working or meeting their needs and aspirations.

What would you consider as important takeaways from this protest?

The first is that the way in which the protest was organised suggests there is a future for the country. The protesters showed empathy and created job opportunities. They showed the importance of taking care of people by providing food and drinks for protesters. They treated the injured and provided support for the vulnerable.

They also crowdsourced for funding and they accounted for the money without needing to set up a committee as their government would do.

And they showed that religion, party politics and ethnicity are divisive tools used by the ruling class to keep people divided while they exploit them.

Secondly, they used their protest to show their love for Nigeria. They show why people need to speak up against the tyranny of the ruling class.

Thirdly, the protest has woken up many from their slumber to act on the need to reform the Nigerian police.

Lastly, a new wave of rights-demanding citizenship is rising in Nigeria. If sustained it could reset the country and make the government responsible, responsive and accountable.The Conversation

 

Oludayo Tade, Researcher in criminology, victimology, electronic frauds and cybercrime, University of Ibadan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Nigerians have been protesting for years against police brutality, so why did this October's protests gain international attention and support at a scale never seen before?

Over the last two weeks, an outpouring of support for Nigerian protesters has played out on Twitter, with various hashtags, but predominantly #EndSARS.

Sars stands for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

Accusations of Sars officers robbing, attacking and even killing people go back years but a new wave of protest started at the beginning of October.

Nigerian technology news site Tech Cabal tracks this wave down to 3 October.

A tweet by someone with just 800 followers received more than 10,000 retweets:

EndSars Tweet1

The Tweeter, who calls himself Chinyelugo, told the BBC that he normally keeps a low profile on Twitter but that he personally had been harassed by the police previously so when a friend told him about what appeared to be another attack by police he felt the need to tweet it.

"If Sars see you as a young person who is successful with a nice car, they will harass you and extort money from you," he explained.

He later tweeted video of what he said was the young man shot by police.

The video appeared to be from an Instagram stories post by an account by someone who describes themselves as Azakaza Sarah - a brand ambassador.

Her posts are normally a mixture of posing in fishnet tights and promoting body scrubs.

It's possible that this video had already passed from the person who filmed it, through many different people, and WhatsApp groups before it reached Azakaza Sarah.

But now it was on Twitter.

EndSars Protest1 Reuters Most Protesters are young

A few people who the Nigerian press described as social media influencers, and later described themselves as "accidental leaders" took up the cause.

The BBC's Nduka Orjinmo says the real energy was injected on Wednesday 7 October, four days after the tweet about the man being shot, when Rinu Oduala, a woman who describes herself as a media strategist, persuaded other protesters to spend the night outside government house in Lagos.

In the early days of the protests BBC Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones observed an interesting digital protest which could explain why this protest got so much more attention than previously.

The organisers appeared to be attempting to shame brands and journalists by tagging their twitter handles in tweets and asking them why they weren't covering the protests.

Here's one directed at broadcaster DSTV.

EndSars Tweet2

Other tweeters piled in by cutting and pasting the text of the tweet and tweeting it on their own accounts.

It was like a "swarm of shame," our correspondent says.

It was very effective - within a day it was trending and more people were talking about it, she says.

Then protesters started bombarding celebrities.

On Friday 9 October Dípò Awójídé, who describes himself on Twitter as a senior lecturer in strategy, strategically tweeted Nigerian-British boxer Antony Joshua and Star Wars actor John Boyega asking them to tweet about it.

In his request, he equated the protests to the Black Lives Matter protests earlier in the year.

EndSars Tweet3

Again, streams of Twitter accounts bombarded the tweet underneath.

A little over an hour later, Boyega obliged.

EndSars Tweet4

The hugely popular Nigerian musicians Davido and Wizkid had also been bombarded with messages about the protests and they followed closely after Boyega in tweeting their support for the protesters.

EndSars Tweet5 Davido

EndSars Tweet6 Wizkid

By the end of that day the #EndSars hashtag was trending worldwide.

Over the weekend celebrities who had no tie to Nigeria, like German-Turkish Arsenal player Mesut Özil, also tweeted their support.

EndSars Tweet7 Ozil

Özil alone has 25 million followers on Twitter.

The discussion on Twitter reached a peak of 661,340 tweets on Sunday 11 October.

By the middle of the next week, the CEO of Twitter himself, Jack Dorsey, tweeted, asking for donations to the protesters.

EndSars Tweet8 Jack

Two days later, he tweeted a new Twitter emoji, showing a raised fist in the colours of the Nigerian flag, designed especially for the protests.

As of Friday 16 October, there were nearly 3.3 million tweets with 744,000 retweets of posts containing the #EndSARS hashtag.

 

Credit: BBC

Two days after Nigeria celebrated its sixtieth year of independence, a video of a young man brazenly killed by a member of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad or SARS caught the attention of netizens.

The Twitter user who posted the viral video claimed the man’s body had been left at the side of the road and his Lexus stolen. It sparked a wave of protests across most of Nigeria’s urban metropolises. Under the moniker #ENDSARS, the protests have garnered support from Nigerian celebrities, Nigerians in the diaspora and even international stars such as John Boyega, Mesut Özil, Kanye West and Cardi B.

The protests could be said to fit neatly into the ongoing global campaign against police brutality, especially against black people. One could even argue that the restrictive context of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to tensions behind this sudden civil eruption. Whatever the case, one thing is sure: Nigerians have been driven up the wall by an autocratic political system disguised as a liberal democracy.

I argue that the protest placards demonstrate the idea that #ENDSARS on social media and on the streets is as much an expression of a will to modernity by Nigerian youths as it is a yearning to be treated with dignity.

(Young) Nigerian lives matter

As a unit of the Nigeria Police Force, SARS was set up in 1992 to stem armed robbery, car snatching and kidnapping. It appears to have metamorphosed into a pernicious force, called out by Amnesty International as early as 2016. In fact, the #ENDSARS hashtag had been in circulation since at least 2017 and the Nigerian government has reportedly disbanded and reinstated SARS four times in the past four years.

A young man with a beard displays a placard reading, 'To be young and Nigerian should not be a crime #ENDSARSNOW' as protesters move past in the background.
Placards highlight young people’s issues. Akintunde Aiki, CC BY

Amid fury at SARS brutality and killings, protesters and online accounts also accuse the police unit of unfairly profiling young Nigerians – especially those who use iPhones, drive luxury cars and wear brands such as Nike or Adidas. The squad is also accused of having maltreated young people with piercings, tattoos and dreadlocks. In other words, Nigerian youths (once scornfully referred to as lazy by the nation’s president) are at the forefront of the #ENDSARS revolution precisely because they are commonly the main targets of SARS’ violence.

A man holds up a square white placard reading, '#To be Modern is Not A Crime'
Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Many of the #ENDSARS placards contain phrases such as, “To be modern is not a crime”; “iPhone, laptops, styled hair and living fresh isn’t a crime”; “We are techies not thieves”.

It is quite absurd that people get arrested and tortured simply because of how they look or what gadgets they possess, but this is the daily reality of many young Nigerians. In my view, the iconic #ENDSARS protest placards flooding social media have wider implications. One of these is that they reveal Nigeria’s ongoing and deep-seated struggle to establish itself as a modern democracy. They also point to a new generation of Nigerians (the ENDSARS generation?) rising to take their place in national affairs. This seemingly courageous and woke crop of young Nigerians use social (and traditional) media to make their voices heard to fight for their country’s endangered democracy.

To be modern is not a crime

The placards raise many questions: Why is being modern criminalised in 21st century Nigeria? Why is it so important that Nigerian youths claim their right to be modern? What and whose modernity are they alluding to? These questions may seem peripheral in the face of the daily lived violence young Nigerians are subjected to but they are, in the long run, important.

The demand for the decriminalisation of modern sensibilities in the protests is not necessarily a demand for periodised modernity because, by many standards, Nigeria is a modern country. Also, it is not that SARS is pre-modern in its operation but rather that it is anti-modern in its persuasions. Hence, the expression of the will for modernity in the context of the protests is an ideological and ontological quest for freedom, rationalisation, professionalism and representative democracy as well as rejection of tradition.

The fact that SARS reportedly preyed on signs of ostentatiousness among young people is reflective of Nigeria’s still prevalent embrace of oppressive orthodoxies. It reflects paternalistic social relations and work culture – which extends to the entire Nigerian civil service – that fuel the infantilisation of Nigerian youths. It also partly explains the blanket disavowal of post-traditionalism and the demonisation of the technology and fashion of progressive youth culture.

Put differently, the #ENDSARS movement is symbolic of many things, one of which is a generational divide in ideological posturing. The older generation seems intractably establishmentarian while the younger generation is becoming increasingly radical.

Also, at the heart of the issue is the policing of appearance and mannerism. In my view, SARS officers and the Nigerian government in general conflate the aesthetics of modernity – displayed among young Nigerians – with vices such as scamming, debauchery and insolence. The #ENDSARS protest is, among many other things, a yearning by young people to be respected as full human beings. It is also a wilful engagement in acts of civil disobedience as a way of fashioning a truly civil society.

‘A freedom to be, to do’

As I write, SARS has been dissolved. The victory for the protesters came at a price. Some were reported dead and countless others injured at the hands of the police during the protests.

However, one cannot be celebratory when one considers that SARS has a history of reinventing itself. As we speak, SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), a replacement for SARS, has been announced to the displeasure of many Nigerians.

The #ENDSARS revolution attests to the idea that the Nigerian people, especially young Nigerians, are capable of challenging the systemic failures and deteriorating public services that plague their country. The #ENDSARS protests (arguably the biggest civil revolt in Nigeria since the time of the last military regime in 1999) are still unfolding. Many hope they will form a social movement that marks the genesis of a long walk to radical change in the structures of governance in Nigeria.

Watching the protests, I am reminded of a scene in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, a novel which allegorically portrays the repressive regimes of former leaders Sani Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida in Nigeria. In it, the young protagonist, Kambili, longs for a different kind of freedom, “a freedom to be, to do”. In the same manner, the #ENDSARS protest is a yearning for freedom, a freedom to be, a freedom to do.The Conversation

 

Sakiru Adebayo, Postdoctoral fellow, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Since Apple announced the release of the iPhone 12, potential customers began showing interest in what the new device will offer. After officially launching the product, interest in the device on Google search has hit new levels from different parts of the world.

Data presented by Stock Apps shows that global interest in the keyword ‘iPhone 12’over the last 12 months has skyrocketed attaining a peak popularity score of 100 by the week ending October 11.

The research also overviewed countries driving the interest in iPhone 12 and Nigeria holds the pole position with a popularity score of 100. Ghana ranks second with a score of 96 while Singapore is third with a score of 92. Notably, interest originating from the United States ranks 23rd globally with a score of 50.

Iphone Table

The data on the iPhone 12 interest is retrieved from the Google Trends platform. The platform analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. The platform then ranks popular topics based on scores ranging between 0 to 100, where 100 is the most popular while 50 indicates a topic is half as popular.

Why the U.S records low iPhone 12 interest on Google

From the data, the United States, one of Apple’s largest markets trails other regions in terms of iPhone 12 interest due to factors like existing local promotions. Like other Apple products, the company carried out promotions in the US gearing up people on what to expect once the new device is out. The promotions, therefore, equipped most Americans with some general knowledge about the device before the launch.

The point of purchasing has also played a role in reduced interest. Most Americans are accustomed to purchasing devices from online retailers like Amazon and specialized stores. Through these purchase mediums, potential iPhone users are made aware of what to expect.  Additionally, Apple usually carries out customer retaining campaigns that offer customers with knowledge on the upcoming releases.

The iPhone 12 was launched on October 13th with new features like the new A14 Bionic processor which, according to Apple, offers the fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50% compared to the fastest competing smartphone chips. The processor enables console-quality gaming experiences, powerful computational photography with great battery life.

Most importantly, the device has 5G technology capabilities that offer the fastest browsing speeds. Apple seeks to leverage the technology considering that rivals have rolled 5G compatible devices. For example, Huawei has already released high-end 5G devices compatible with China’s upgraded telecoms networks.

iPhone 12 receives mixed reactions

Despite competitors already rolling out 5G devices, Apple banks on its loyal customer base seeking to upgrade to 5G. Currently, the technology is becoming a common smartphone feature.

With the surge in interest, the iPhone 12 has received a mixed reaction from potential customers with a section holding the opinion that it offers already existing technology. For example, the 5G capability has seen some analysts view Apple as joining the party late.

Furthermore, iPhone 12’s price tag has been a hot topic with many complaining it cost too much based on features. For example, Apple’s omission of power chargers and earbuds are the reasons why the price tag is unreasonable. Apple revealed that it left out the components citing environmental reasons. Furthermore, the pandemic put more strain on the finances of most people hence the need for a reasonable price tag.

Nigeria is to go ahead with a plan to rehabilitate the narrow-gauge railway between Port Harcourt, on the Atlantic coast, and Maiduguri on the border with Chad, a distance of around 1,000km.

The plan was announced by Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transport, in September. On Wednesday, he told reporters that it had received official approval.

Amaechi said: “The Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow-gauge railway, with new branch lines and transshipment facilities.”

He added that the council had also approved the construction of a deep-sea port in Bonny and a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt.

According to the minister, the reconstruction of the railways would cost around $3bn. The industrial park is expected to cost $240m and the port $480m. These last two projects would be developed as public–private partnerships “at no cost to the federal government”.

The port at Bonny will have a rail connection to the Port Harcourt line. Other connections will be built to Owerri, the capital of Imo State, and Kafanchan in Kaduna State.

In the past, the 1,067mm gauge line between Port Harcourt and Maiduguri was known as the “eastern line”. The main and branch lines cover a distance of about 3,500km, and before it fell into disuse relied on a semaphore signalling system.

 

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is determined to end police brutality, introduce reforms and bring "erring personnel... to justice".

His comments came after two days of protests sparked by a video of a man allegedly being killed by police.

The protest movement initially targeted the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture and murder.

The protesters say they want the unit disbanded rather than reformed.

Previous commitments to change the behaviour of the police have not had an effect, critics say.

In a series of tweets, the president said that his government's "determination to reform the police should never be in doubt".

Nigeria Buhari Twitter Response

He added that he was being "briefed... on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct".

But he called for calm and emphasised that most police officers were committed to protecting Nigerians.

On Friday, in the capital, Abuja, police fired tear gas at protesters who were highlighting police harassment and brutality.

Nigeria EndSARS Protest2

                                                                                    On Friday, protesters could be seen running from tear gas in the capital, Abuja (Reuters)

A police spokesman said minimum force had been used but demonstrators told the BBC that some people had been beaten and one said she had heard gunshots.

The hashtag #EndSARS was trending worldwide on Twitter on Friday with celebrities including the Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Davido tweeting their support for protesters.

British-Nigerian Star Wars actor John Boyega has also expressed his backing on social media.

'Targeted for being flashy'

The #EndSARS hashtag was first thought to have been used in 2018, but it emerged once again a week ago following the alleged killing of a young man by officers from the Sars unit.

Many people were using the opportunity to share stories of brutality attributed to the police unit, which has developed notoriety for unduly profiling young people, reports the BBC's Nduka Orjinmo from Abuja.

Those considered "flashy" often attract the Sars officers' attention and very few walk away without having to hand over money, while others are arrested or jailed on trumped-up charges and some have been killed, our correspondent adds.

Nigeria EndSARS Protest3 Getty

On Sunday, Nigeria's inspector general of police Mohammed Adamu banned the Sars unit from carrying out stop and search duties and setting up roadblocks.

He also said members of Sars must always wear uniforms and promised the unit would be investigated.

But protesters want the unit disbanded completely.

Past promises

Two years ago, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo tweeted that he had directed that the "management and activities of Sars" should be overhauled "with immediate effect".

Then last year, a specially formed Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad recommended reforms along with the dismissal and prosecution of named officers accused of abusing Nigerians.

At the time, President Buhari gave the head of police three months to work out how to implement the recommendations, but critics say little appears to have changed.

 

Source: BBC

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