As the year 2022 gradually winds down, it will continue to remain a reference point for the world, particularly Nigeria, when it comes to how everyone fared – the very difficult and challenging moments.
Like always the year began with lots of expectations, expectations for all-round growth. But like a dream of the night, the majority of those expectations were not met or fulfilled. This is as a result of occurrences or events that unfolded earlier in the year and even to the end of the year.
In Nigeria, inflation and extreme poverty became the order of the day. About 133 million Nigerians are estimated to live in abject poverty. This is the most challenging times since Nigeria got it’s independence.
There are so many events that took place in the year under review. However, one that stands out prominently was the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is because of the impact of the invasion on the entire world.
The second event was the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The third most notable event in the year 2022 was the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
2022 year in Review: Below is the ten most notable events/occurrences in the world and Nigeria in particular in the year 2022.
1. Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
In February 2022, Russia and its President Vladimir Putin declared a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Recall that Putin had already annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and supported the seizure of territory by separatists in the Donbas region.
So, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia could be said to be a direct assault on the country’s right to exist.
Reports say over 14 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees since the war started. It is considered the largest refugee crisis since World War II, more than 300,000 Russians have also fled their country.
Also, Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged, a fifth of Ukraine’s territory is in Russian hands, and thousands of people have died.
The international community imposed sanctions on Russia including putting a price cap on Russian oil, and the mass exodus of Western companies from Russia. These companies included Toyota, Pepsi, Volkswagen, Daimler, LG, Adidas, Burger King, Sony, Siemens Visa, MasterCard Xerox, and many others that have either suspended operations in Russia or have left completely.
The country was also kicked out of SWIFT, the international payment system, thus disconnecting its financial institutions from the global network. A US-backed global task force has frozen more than $330 billion of assets from Russian oligarchs and the country’s Central Bank. Members of the task force include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and The European Commission.
Affected Russian oligarchs include Suleiman Kerimov whose yacht was seized. Roman Abramovich, the former Russian owner of the English football club, Chelsea FC was forced to sell it off without any direct profit.
There is no gain in saying the war also inflicted so much pain on the world. It is known that Russia supplies about 40% of the gas used in Europe. Russia decided to weaponize the energy supply by shutting down Nord Stream 1, the biggest gas pipeline from Russia to Europe which can deliver 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year, thus creating an energy crisis across Europe. Before then, Gazprom, the Russian energy giant had insisted on payment for supplies in rouble -the Russian currency – until Russia eventually shut down supplies, compelling European countries to seek alternative sources of supply and adopt the rationing of power. The cost of energy of course went up, throwing many households into a panic. Power cuts are something developing countries in Africa are familiar with, but it is becoming a pattern in Europe due to the war in Ukraine.
The war also resulted in a spike in oil prices up to $92.81. This resulted in higher revenues for oil-producing companies which made huge profits, and also, the oil-exporting countries. Unfortunately, Nigeria, which is a member of OPEC could not take advantage of this, it could not even meet its OPEC production quota due to crude oil theft, the collapse of infrastructure, and general decay in the country’s oil and gas ecosystem.
On the other hand, Russia was said to have profited from the war it started: within 100 days, it had earned about 93 billion Euros from exports of oil, gas, and coal. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has continuously asked the world to stop trade completely with Russia. China, India, and United Arab Emirates continue to buy from Russia. The bigger blow was the disruption of the global supply chain.
Between them, Russia and Ukraine control about a third of the world’s supply of wheat, 19% of the world’s supply of corn, and 80% of the world’s trade in sunflowers. Russia is also the third-largest supplier of nickel, copper, and platinum. In the course of the war this year, Russia blocked ships from carrying grain exports across the Black Sea. Over 300 ships were stopped from moving, and the effect was seen in terms of the food supply crisis and food price inflation.
The impact was felt all over the world, even more so in Africa where most of the countries including Nigeria and Ghana and 23 others that depend on wheat imports from Russia, lack spare capacity – the cost of basic items like bread skyrocketed. The IMF warned about a looming food crisis. The pandemic had made things bad enough, the Russo-Ukraine war worsened the people’s plight. In Europe, people complained about the cost of food, petrol, gas, and the high cost of living.
Inflation took and still taking a toll on Nigeria. In Nigeria, the inflation rate is at 21.47%, which may be higher than that. Scarcity of fuel added to the people’s woes, the cost of travel is not just expensive, but the cost of living is high. For an average Nigerian, he/she is just existing, not living.
2. Queen Elizabeth II of England’s death
While the world continued to grapple with the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth II of England passed on. She was aged 96 and was the longest reigning British monarch ever having ruled for 70 years and 214 days (February 1952 – September 2022). She was one of the most influential figures of the 20th and 21st centuries and under her, Britain colonized so many countries including Nigeria.
Her Funeral witnessed an immense outpouring of love for her from Britain and across the world. This is not also forgetting the pomp and pageantry that characterized the burial.
Her demise no doubt, will for a long time, remain the most striking highlight of the year 2022. In line with tradition, her son, the then Prince Charles II, Prince of Wales, is now King Charles III of England.
3. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
2022 can not go by without the mention of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, as Argentina, through dint of hard work and determination, won her third World Cup after 36 years.
Needless to say that the star of the team’s sterling performance at the Doha FIFA World Cup 2022 was Lionel Messi.
For some unexplainable reason, the world appeared to have a unison wish – let Messi’s Argentina win the Cup. True to that wish, Argentina won the cup after beating France on penalties.
Messi became everyone’s favorite to lift the exalted trophy. Marvelous Messi in the course of an 18-year glittering career had won 7 Ballon d’Or, 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey, 4 UEFA Champions Leagues, 14 Argentina’s Footballer of the Year awards, 6 European Golden Shoe, 2 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, and in Qatar, he won the trophy that had seemingly eluded him: the World Cup to put a seal to his all-round accomplishment as one of the greatest footballers in history. His story was a positive confirmation of his legend and personal triumph.
This was indeed one World Cup in which history was made on all fronts, with Morocco finishing in Fourth place, the first African country to go as far as the semi-final in the history of the World Cup.
4. Terrorists/bandits Attack Abuja-Kaduna Train
One notable event that happened in Nigeria in 2022 was the terrorist train attack on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
Nigerians woke up to the shock that bandits had attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train in Katari, Kaduna State on March 28, 2022. Eight persons were killed, several were injured, and 62 passengers were kidnapped. The kidnapped persons including the elderly, women, the sick, and infants were subjected to untold hardship by the bandits. The victims were eventually released in batches, the last batch on Thursday, September 6.
5. Terrorists Attack Kuje Prison
2022 will not be forgotten without the mention of an attack on Kuje prison by terrorists in July.
After the very successful attack, it was discovered that over 64 Boko Haram commanders were set free by the terrorists.
6. Killing of Deborah Samuel by Muslim fanatics in Sokoto
Also in May, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a Christian student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was killed in a gruesome manner by her fellow students who accused her of blasphemy.
7. ASUU strike
2022 will for a long time be remembered by almost every Nigerian university student as a “bad year”. In the year, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on strike for increased funding and other issues. The University teachers went on strike from February to October.
8. Terrorists attack Ondo church
Over fifty (50) people lost their lives in June 2022, after gunmen attacked St. Francis’s Catholic Church, Owo while the Sunday church service was ongoing. More than 80 people sustained injuries.
9. Terror alert by USA, UK, Canada, Others.
The travel advisories came a few days after the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada had warned of a possible terror attack in Abuja.
But the federal government through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed dismissed the advisories and specifically said the United States was also not safe.
10. CBN Redesigned Currency
Unfortunately, the redesigned currency notes did not meet the expectations of most Nigerians, who slammed the CBN and the government. They argued that it was thought that the apex would do a total or complete redesign of the currency and not just a change of colors using filters.