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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Memorable year of many mixed blessings for struggling Nigeria

by Bosun Awoniyi LAGOS Nigeria (Xinhua) -- Each year comes with its defining moments and events that make it memorable. The year 2018 was no exception. For Nigeria, it was a mishmash of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The outgoing year is not one of the best for Africa’s most populous nation that is facing a tough fight against terrorism.

President Muhammadu Buhari, at a recent gathering, acknowledged that 2018 was a mixed year of mindless bloodletting and the recovery of the economy from recession, among other challenges.

He said 2018 would go down as a year of mixed blessings for Nigerians.

On the pleasant side, Buhari said, Nigeria’s economy has made significant progress since coming out from recession, as the government implements its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Experts say economic prospects for Nigeria remain positive despite slow recovery.

Agricultural production has improved markedly, contributing to a surplus in the country’s trade balance.

Infrastructural deficit has been greatly reduced, with significant improvement in roads, railways, aviation and power generation.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has not relented in the fight against corruption, while the business environment has been improved through institutional reforms.

The country’s anti-graft body secured more than 300 convictions between January and late December, a major surge from the previous year’s total of 189 convictions.

The convicted this year included former governor of Taraba State Jolly Nyame and serving senator and former governor of Plateau State Joshua Dariye.

Nyame and Dariye are currently serving time at Kuje Prison.

On the downside, many Nigerians were killed in violent clashes between neighbors, in floods, fires, road accidents, and by insurgents.

More than 2,000 persons have died since January in violence that swept through the country’s central states.

Boko Haram militants have waged a decade-long war in Nigeria’s north, using calculated attacks that have killed thousands, including security personnel, and displaced millions internally.

According to Nigeria’s relief agency, more than 30,000 Nigerians have fled their homes in affected states, placing a heavier burden on the military and security agencies, who should be countering the Boko Haram insurgency in the north.

In addition, interior minister Abdulrahman Dambazau said, persistent attacks on residents of the northwest state of Zamfara by bandits will affect food security in the country.

Since those affected by the killings are largely agrarian rural dwellers, the activities of the bandits will have a serious impact on agriculture and food security, the minister added.

Hundreds of people have been killed in attacks linked to cattle-rustling gangs in Nigeria’s northwest Zamfara state this year alone.

Cattle raiding has become rampant recently in Nigeria, with the northern part of the most populous African country being the hardest hit.

             

 

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