Recession and other Troubles

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Eddy Odivwri

Long before the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the second consecutive negative growth of the nation’s GDP, many Nigerians had begun to feel the impact of recession.

Yes, economists are arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered this round of recession. I cannot argue against this because of the crushing effect of the pandemic on small and medium-scale businesses in the country.

With many jobs lost, companies closed, and businesses shut, it was only a matter of time for the statistics to bear witness that Nigerians are suffering, and dying gradually.

I am no expert in economic matters. But how much expertise is required to feel the pinch, no, the sharp pierce?

With inflation biting very hard and fierce, there is no home that does not feel the crunch, perhaps except those who feed fat from the treasury of government. Will the recession cause the political leaders to reduce the cost of governance? Or would the belt-tightening measures apply only to the ordinary man on the streets?

Even though the economists say this is the worst recession in over 30 years, the Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed is optimistic that we shall soon be out of the recession, if not in the 4th quarter of this year, then in the first quarter of 2021, given the Economic Sustenance Programmes (ESP) of government, plus the efforts being made in Agriculture, cement production etc.

But while we await this recovery, we are worried that the threat of sanctions from some powerful countries like the United Kingdom could further lengthen our night of recession. UK parliamentarians which debated our fate following the alleged killings at the Lekki tollgate last month during the #EndSARS protests, promises to tighten the noose around our necks.

Matters were not helped when the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed threatened to sanction CNN for airing a report that purportedly confirms that the soldiers indeed shot the protesters with live ammunition. The report riled government and had been saying the report is fake.

Mr Mohammed went ahead to write a lengthy letter to CNN poo-poohing the report.
I think Mr Information minister merely worsened a bad case. The revelations by the army General at the Lagos panel does not quite agree with the position and storyline of the federal Government. Until the soldier testified under cross examination, the narrative had been that the soldiers fired only blank bullets. Even though the government does not agree that soldiers killed some persons at the venue of the protest, insisting they fired into the air, they have refused to explain how live bullets fired into the sky killed people on the ground. Were those shot protesters living in the sky?

And pray, how does Mohammed really want to sanction CNN?

The best measure to address the anger triggered by the CNN report is for Lai Mohammed to release reliable and undoctored report (including video footages) of what happened at the Lekki tollgate on October 20. Any other effort is sheer political shenanigans.

But if we have survived the violence that followed the peaceful #End SARS protests, and we have survived the lethal effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, what is the guaranty that our own internal insecurity will not send us to early graves?

So, that’s another source of worry: the worsening state of insecurity in the country. From the recent abduction and killing of the APC Chairman in Nasarawa State, Mr Philip Shekwo, through the abduction of some nine ABU students and yet another abduction of some staff in the same ABU campus, abduction of policemen and even soldiers, down to the killing of some soldiers in Borno State by Boko Haram fighters, etc etc, the land is literally flowing with blood and disquiet.

A nation struggling to invite foreign businesses and investments will work towards making the home front less warlike and more welcoming. But not with the daily report of killings in all corners of the land.