It was another week of sorrow, tears, and blood as at least 70 more persons were killed by violent groups across the country, following the 244 persons that were killed the previous week. Besides this, the Nigerian Airforce allegedly misfired again, this time shelling a Nigerian army location, killing a number of Nigerian soldiers in the process.
This year’s World Malaria Day called for a review of the progress made in the fight against the disease. The last malaria report showed that the country is doing better at cure than prevention. There was a 16% increase in infections and a 15% decrease in deaths from the disease.
There are also reported cuts in the country’s health budget from the expected 15% of the total annual federal budget. There was also a cut in the value of the cash in the hands of the people in Nigeria, as the inflation rate increased by over 18%. However, the country enjoyed one comforting cut in the threat level of the COVID 19 pandemic. The number of confirmed COVID 19 cases dropped by 70% from 24,224 in February to 7,315 in March.
In the space of two weeks, between the 18th and 29th of this month, not less than 397 people were affected by the grave insecurity situation in the country. Across the 6 geopolitical regions of the country, 83 were abducted and 314 were killed.
As shown in the map below, the violent attacks ran like a stream from the North – from Katsina, through Zamfara to Kebbi and Kaduna, then from Kaduna to Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Imo till it touched the Atlantic ocean at Rivers state, in the country’s south.
There were also blocks of violent attacks in the northeast states of Borno and Yobe. Attacks were also reported in the southwest states of Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, and the neighbouring north-central state of Kwara.
From the 18th to the 24th of April, 66 persons were kidnapped and 244 killed in 14 states of the federation. In the second week, 17 persons were kidnapped and 70 killed in 10 states. This situation has left thousands of family members in sorrow, tears, and blood, as groups including Boko Haram, Eastern Security Network (ESN), unknown gunmen, and bandits ravaged the country with terror.
These figures also contain the 20 abducted students of Greenfield University. These were abducted on the 20th of the month. 3 of them were killed on the 23rd, another 2 killed on the 26th while the kidnappers insist on taking N800 Million ransom before the students can be freed. However, the state government led by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai insists it will not pay a dime.
It was the fifth known attack on a school or college since December 2020.
Greenfield University is located at Kasarami village, off Kaduna-Abuja Road in Chikun Local Government Area of the state, where there have been many reported cases of abduction and kidnapping, among other security challenges.
In this same week, some soldiers in the Nigerian Army were killed after a Fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force reportedly fired a bomb on ground troops in Mainok, Borno state. While the air force “accidentally” hit the wrong coordinates while targeting Boko Haram insurgents who had attacked the troops on Sunday. This is the third incident of a misfire by the Nigerian Airforce.
On April 13, 2020, the air force allegedly made the same mistake as the air force “mistakenly” bombed a village in Damboa LGA of Borno, killing 17 people including women and children. A similar incident occurred in January 2017 when the air force killed more than 100 internally displaced persons (IDPs) during an accidental bombing.
Abuja declaration of 15 percent budget for health since 2001 met zero implementation in the last 20 years amidst the increasing population and higher demand for health care. On April 27, 2001, Nigeria, among other Africa nations, made a 15% pledge on annual budgets to provide adequate resources needed to improve health care across the continent. Per a new report by PACFaH@Scale, the country’s Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies’ budgets between 2001 and 2021 fell below the landmark agreement. Its findings showed that Nigeria neglected to follow through on its promise, oftentimes barely reaching a third of the pledged target for the health budget.
Nigeria recorded some progress in the fight against malaria. Data showed that despite the number of infected persons increasing, there was a decrease in the deaths due to malaria. The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that malaria infections increased from 52.5 million in 2015 to 60.9 million in 2019.
However, those who died of the disease decreased from 112,874 to 95,802 within the same period. This implies a 16% increase in infections and a 15% decrease in deaths.
That however does not change the fact that Nigeria is still the country with the highest infection rate in the world. Nigeria had a total infection rate of 61 million in 2019 out of 229 million in the world. This incidence shows that one out of every four people infected with malaria in the world in that year is from Nigeria.
Also, out of 408,769 persons that died around the world due to malaria in 2019, 95,802 of them are from Nigeria. Meaning one out of every five deaths to malaria is from Nigeria.
Nigerians now pay more for food and other items as general inflation rose from 17.33% in February to 18.17% in March, marking a 1.56% increase in the inflationary rate between the months. Per Dataphyte’s research, it also holds one of the highest rates in prices of food and other related items across West Africa.
Top three products with the highest price index in the March inflation rate were food, food and food! From imported to locally produced food items, Nigerians bled from their pocket.
With the month’s inflation score, Nigeria also led the sub region on the inflation pathway, followed by Sierra Leone which recently celebrated its 60th independence anniversary graced by the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo.
In the first quarter of this year, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 75,212. A total of 43,673 and 24,224 cases were reported in January and February, respectively. March’ cases amounted to 7,315, the lowest since the beginning of the year.
This shows that Nigeria witnessed a drop in the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases by 69.8% between February and March.
A review of month-to-month cases for 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) showed a downward trend. However, the number of confirmed cases in Adamawa in March more than doubled the previous month, jumping from 131 confirmed cases in February to 289 in March. Bauchi and Yobe states also reported increases in confirmed cases within the first quarter.