2015 In Retrospect


Let me officially welcome you to year 2016, of a truth, we have been through the tough times as a nation, as a continent and as individual. For the very first time, we exchanged a dollar at a rate of 280 naira per dollar, bu we survived… These are happenings that happened in 2015, This piece is written by  SirLegal, a forumite on Nairaland.com

2015 to some has been a great year, to a few a year not so good and equally no so bad, to many a year to forget. 2015 brought alongside it some ray of hope for so many people who wanted to forget the ghost and bad happenings of 2014 and find succour in the year 2015.
This year came so fast and equally went so fast. So let’s take a look into what transpired in the year 2015.

This year started with the unsolved mysteries of the past year spearheaded by the traumatic missing of the Malaysian Airline MH370 which got missing on March 8 2014. But July 2015, an aircraft wing part washed up on Reunion Island. French officials confirmed debris was from MH370. Also is the abduction of the Chibok girls by the Islamic sect Boko haram who till now, have not yet been released or recovered.

Three(3) days after the calendar turned 2015, when Nigerians were still in the Euphoria of the new year, tragedy struck. The terrorist Sect Boko haram reportedly massacred the village of Baga Bornu state. According to the CNN, the described it as a gory sight in which people were killed like mosquitoes. The number of deaths/fatalities varied with western media reporting “2000 deaths” while local media reported “at least 100 deaths” while the Nigerian Ministry of Defence said not more than 150 dead. As Nigerians and the world were still mourning this deaths, a powerhouse of the world was attacked. France witnessed the first of two attacks. The first, Charlie Hebdo attack. A French satirical weekly magazine featuring cartoons, Polemics, jokes, etc who because of their controversial Muhammad cartoons were attacked leading to the death of 12 persons. That was an eye opener for France. And they were later shocked to their ribs on the night of Friday Nov. 13, 2015 on a cool serene evening in the most beautiful city in the world, Paris when the Parisians were having a good time, the terrorist group ISIS attacked yet again, now in 6 different locations in Paris killing 128 persons and injuring hundreds. The world looked unto Paris with pity and sympathy and in unison Prayed for Paris. #PrayforParis.

Also in Baghdad Iraq, a refrigerator truck parked with explosives blew up inside the heart of a busy market in August killing 67 people and leaving hundreds hospitalised in its wake. ISIS equally claimed responsibility. In Ankara Turkey, two suicide bombers blew up near Ankara’s main train station, killing 97 people and wounding nearly 250 others.
Al Shabaab Sect continued their menace in Kenya and Somalia, killing dozens, injuring hundreds and rendering thousands homeless and out of jobs.
The Syrian war has lived up to its 4th year with ISIS and oppositions making life a living hell for President Bashar Al-Assad. It has been described as the worst event to happen since the end of WWII that has left more than 300,000 people dead and displaced 10.6 million.

(XENOPHOBIA- FEAR OF FOREIGNERS) The world focused her lenses on South Africa following the killing of foreigners, triggered by the comments of Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini on 21st March 2015 when he said that “Foreigners should pack their bags and go”. By April, violence escalated leading to the death of some foreigners, looting and destruction of properties owned by foreigners. An inhuman act which prompted the African oldest cum Strongest leader Robert Mugabe to say… “South Africa will kick down a statue of dead white men, but won’t even attempt to slap a live one. Yet the can stone to death a black man simply because he’s a foreigner.”– R.G MUGABE.

This year saw so many countries head to the polls. Sri Lanka were the first to head to the polls on 8th January. History was made in which incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa lost to his former minister of health Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. A great shock to Mr. Mahinda. More shock was to come as our own nation Nigeria, whose elections were postponed from Feb. 14th to March 28th provided the biggest surprise of elections in the year, as Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Presidential candidate of the APC(a party which was barely 21/2 years formed), captured Nigeria with aplomb and removed the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP from power. A party which have ruled for 16 years.
There were equally elections in Ivory coast(where Alassane Ouattara was re-elected), Burkina Faso, Benin, Egypt, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, Central Africa Republic, Sudan, Comoros, Burundi, India, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Andorra, Croatia, Greece, Canada, Argentina etc.

As Muslim faithful’s headed over to the holy city to observe their annual Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Pandemonium arose as pilgrims who were throwing 7(seven) stones at Pillars called Jamarat(which represents the devil) met with other pilgrims moving towards them from the opposite direction thereby leading to chaos and inadvertently, a stampede occurred. 717 people lost their lives with an 863 injured in the incident. Deaths varying from the old, young and even little children. The deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

With the ongoing war in Syria and Iraq, European continent have witnessed a huge rise in migration from the Arab world. Thousands of people flee their countries in the middle East. Many flee due to the war over there, Others with the sole purpose to find comfort in Europe. Countries like Spain, Germany, France, Sweden, etc opened their borders to allow the migrants in. With the only means of transport been the sea, there has been series of loss of lives and capsizing of boats. Top of the bunch was a pathetic picture which went viral of a Syrian refugee who was in tears carrying the corpse of his 3year old son, Aylan Kurdi who drowned and was floated ashore in the Turkish beach. Very pathetic indeed.

Just two days(May 31st) after a new government was installed in Nigeria, the nation witnessed hell in physical form when a tanker loaded with Premium Motor Spirit(PMS)equally known as petrol, lost control and rammed into Asaba Motor Park at Upper Iweka in Onitsha Anambra state. 69 Nigerians were burnt to death beyond recognition. Bodies were littered like roasted goats. A horrible sight to behold. Also in various parts of the country, there were reports of various fire outbreaks notably in Lagos and Kano states.
Equally in Indonesia, there have been nearly 100,000 active fire detections in 2015, with Indonesia’s fire outbreaks producing more daily emissions than entire emissions in US Economy.

In 2015, there were more days with a mass shooting than days without a mass shooting according to Sarah Frostenson of VOX. There were 208 days with mass shootings and 146 days with none. In 2015, 457 people have died from mass shootings. In San Bernardino California, a couple killed at least 14 persons and wounded 21. June 18th 2015, Dylan storm Roof opened fire at a Methodist Episcopal black Church in Charleston S.C after first praying with them. Oct. 1st, Christopher Sean Harper, 26, shot and killed eight fellow students and a teacher at Umpqua Community college Roseburg and injured nine. He killed himself after exchanging fire with police. In Tunisia, June 26th an Islamist mass shooting occurred at the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui, when an armed gunman attacked a hotel and killed thirty eight people, thirty of whom were British.

This year has seen so many air disasters happen leading to deaths of thousands of persons. November 2015, we saw a Russian Passenger jet crash 22 minutes after take off killing all 224persons on board. The black box audio recording confirmed that the plane was brought down by a bomb which ISIS claimed responsibility. A bomb brought in from outside and planted in the plane. Russia offered a $50 million reward for information on how the bomb was put on the plane.
30th June, Indonesian Hercules C-130 military plane crashed killing 122 on board. 24th March, Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, all 148 perished. 13th August, a Bristow helicopter crashed into the lagos lagoon, four people were reportedly dead. Some day later still in August, Nigerian Airforce Plane crashed in kaduna ten minutes after take off killing all 7 on board.

The oil industry with its history of booms and busts is in its deepest downturn since the 90’s. More than 200,000 oil workers around the globe have lost their jobs. But why the sudden fall in Oil Prices? The answer is quite simple. The U.S who through the years has been a major importer of the black liquid gold has seen its domestic Oil production doubled over the last six years thereby pushing out oil imports. Countries like Saudi, Nigeria and Algerian oil that once was selling in U.S is now competing for Market in Asia and the producers are forced to drop prices. The current price of Brent crude now sells at $36 a barrel(This same crude as at 2013 sold at $158 a barrel). The biggest losers in this scenario includes the oil producing nations like Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, Ecuador, Brazil, Russia, etc who are suffering economic turbulence. Chevron and Royal Dutch shell recently announced cuts to their pay rolls to save cash.

Just like it happened in Sudan Jan. 9th 2011, when the southern part of Sudan decided to secede and formed the world’s newest country… South Sudan. Some countries are currently been plagued incessantly by regions within them demanding for a withdrawal/split. Taking Nigeria as a case study, this year has seen a huge rise on demands made by the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) to secede from the nation Nigeria. There has been series of protests and demonstration around the South Eastern and South South regions of Nigeria which have led to death of Individuals and destruction of properties. With the movement been spearheaded by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, a U.K based Nigerian who uses the media through his Radio Biafra network to propagate the split from Nigeria.
Equally in Spain, Catalonia one of Spain’s richest and most highly industralised regions are driving to get her Independence from Spain. Several attempts has been made within the years to vote out/secede from Spain which have until now proved futile. Nov. 2015, the Catalan govt vowed to move forward with its secession process defying orders from Spanish high court. Also in the U.S, the state of Texas are in a tussle to secede from the United states and are currently backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The most devastating natural disaster of 2015 was the earthquake in Nepal. A 7.9 magnitude quake hit just outside Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. More than 2100-9000 people were reportedly killed. April 22, Chile’s Calbuco Volcano erupted for the first time in 54years. It caused 6,000 local residents to evacuate the area. In April 2015, there was wildfire in Siberia that swept through 60 villages, and left 23 dead, more than 900 injured and left 5,000 homeless. The fires were set by Russian farmers preparing for spring planting.
In Afghanistan, Feb. 2015, series of avalanches caused by heavy snowstorms killed 196 people in the mountainous province of Panjshir. Over 40 avalanches occurred in a period of one week. Also there was wildfire in Australia that burned down dozens of homes and threatened many more in January. A state of emergency was declared in Texas in May after heavy rains covered the state. Homes were wiped out and 22 people died.
Dec. 20th, a massive landslide occurred in Shenzhen Hengtaiyu Industrial park of China leaving 91 people missing. The landslide buried 33 buildings.

13. WARS
According to Pablo Escobar, the great drug lord of Columbia … “We fight wars to make Peace”. I’m still trying to decipher this assertion. This year has seen so many countries engage in war. The war in Afghanistan has continued to grow on yearly basis since its inception in 1978. The Taliban has continuously been a thorn in the flesh of the Afghan government.
Syrian war has so far been the most deadliest in the year. There has been various groups of fighters ranging from the Syrian government, The Kurds, Islamic state, Al Nusra front and the opposition. It has been described as another world war which has involved so many countries like Iran, Iraq, Qatar, U.S, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc some who entered the war to support the Syrian government, while some came to oust the current president.
Also there is a Civil war going on in Yemen, Burundi, Congo, Central Africa Republic, Iraq, Pakistan, Ukraine, South Sudan, not forgetting the war against terrorism in Nigeria.

2015 is about to become history, we can only but anticipate for a better 2016.