November 1, 2019Nigeria
On the same day that President Buhari spoke, his government ignored a court ruling ordering the release on bail of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, the founder of Sahara Reporters, a New York-based online news website that has reportedly extensively on government corruption in Nigeria. In fact, several Nigerian journalists and activists are unlawfully held in detention by the Nigerian government for reporting on widespread corruption and human rights violations.
November 6, 2019South Africa
Jennifer Davis, an American anti-apartheid activist, died on October 15. Among her many legacies, she mobilized public pressure on Congress to overturn President Ronald Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.
October 23, 2019Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone currently ranks as one of the least developed countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of less than $300 and high levels of poverty. But President Julius Maada Bio has charted an ambitious development plan for the small West African country. Since 2017, President Bio has overseen increased investment in advanced technologies in the hopes of spurring development.
October 29, 2019Nigeria
Nigeria’s criminal justice system is in urgent need of reform. Prisons are overcrowded, holding 73,314 people despite having capacity for only 50,153. Of those held, an estimated 70 percent are awaiting trial and have not yet been convicted of a crime; reports find that some people have been awaiting trial for as long as thirteen years. The chronic underfunding of the justice system exacerbates overcrowding and pre-trial detention.
October 30, 2019Nigeria
Nigerian security services say that they have been requiring residents of the northeast—where Boko Haram is active—to produce identification cards on demand. The army claims that citizens are “cooperating” with the requirement, though it is hard to verify that claim. The army has now announced that it will extend the policy to the entire country in early November.
October 28, 2019Nigeria
This update represents violence in Nigeria and related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger from October 19 to 25, 2019.
October 25, 2019Religion
The Kenyan John Mbiti, an Anglican priest, theologian, and academic, died on October 5 at the age of eighty-seven. He led the reappraisal of traditional African religions that sees them as equal to other world religions. He argued that traditional African religions were specifically congruent with Christianity, and that Christianity was more than Europe.
October 24, 2019South Africa
On October 23, Mmusi Maimane resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). His resignation was preceded by that of the DA mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba on October 21, and immediately followed by that of the party’s federal chairperson, Athol Trollip.
October 17, 2019Nigeria
In August, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered closed Nigeria’s land border with Benin, preventing the import of goods. The move significantly affected trade in foodstuffs. It is part of an effort to tackle smuggling and associated corruption, but also, apparently, to spur the domestic agricultural industry. On October 14, Nigeria ordered closed all of Nigeria’s borders with Benin, as well as those with all other countries, for the same reasons.
October 22, 2019Nigeria
A work by the late Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu fetched $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London on October 15. The painting, “Christine,” is a 1971 portrait of the Caribbean-origin American wife of a missionary. After her death, the portrait hung on the wall at her family’s home. Unaware of the origin of the piece, a stepson eventually reached out to Sotheby’s to see if it had any value.