Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari says he will be stepping down when his second term in office ends in 2023.
In a New Year message, Mr Buhari said he would not attempt to exceed the constitutional mandate.
The president said he was determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, and cited his primary concerns as the security of the nation and the safety of Nigerians.
A BBC correspondent says speculation that Mr Buhari planned to remain in power has been rife in recent days.
The Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers are set to square off in a Pacific Division matchup at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the Staples Center in the final game on the New Year’s Day NBA schedule. Los Angeles is 26-7 overall and 11-4 at home, while Phoenix is 13-20 overall and 7-8 on the road. The Lakers have the second-best record in the NBA. Los Angeles is looking for its third consecutive win after getting past a four-game losing streak. The Suns have won two straight after snapping an eight-game losing streak. Los Angeles is favored by 11.5 points in the Lakers vs. Suns odds, while the over-under is set at 226.5. Before entering any Suns vs. Lakers picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated NBA spread and money line picks. It’s already returned almost $1,800 in profit on all its top-rated NBA picksduring the 2019-20 season and entered Week 10 on a blistering 23-11 run on all top-rated NBA spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Los Angeles wrapped up 2019 with a 108-95 victory over Dallas. Anthony Davis had 23 points along with nine rebounds. The Lakers held the Mavericks to a season low in points and limited Dallas to 36 percent shooting from the field.
LeBron James had 13 points and 13 assists against the Mavericks. He leads the league in assists with 10.8 per game.
Phoenix didn’t have too much breathing room in its game with Portland on Monday, but still walked away with a 122-116 win. They overcame a 19-point first half deficit and outscored Portland in the final quarter, 39-27.
Devin Booker scored 33 points to go with seven assists and made all 15 of his free-throw attempts. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 29 points, hitting a career high seven 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio had 18 points and 13 assists.
Deandre Ayton returned from a five-game absence because of an ankle injury and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Lakers won the first meeting between the teams,123-115 on Nov. 12.
The Lakers enter the contest with a 48.2 field goal percentage, good for second best in the league. Less enviably, Phoenix has allowed opponents to shoot 47.8 percent from the floor on average, which is the fourth highest shooting percentage allowed in the league.
The UK and US considered a navy-backed oil embargo against Nigeria, following the 1995 execution of writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, a document released by the UK government reveals.
Saro-Wiwa and eight other campaigners from the Ogoni ethnic group were hanged on 10 November 1995.
They had been found guilty by a secret military tribunal of the murder of four Ogoni chiefs by a mob.
The nine denied the charge and said they had been framed.
Saro-Wiwa led mass protests against oil pollution in Nigeria's Ogoniland.
The protests were seen as a major threat to Nigeria's military ruler at the time, Gen Sani Abacha, and Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell.
The executions led to Nigeria suspension from the Commonwealth.
The UK's then Prime Minister, John Major, called it a "fraudulent trial" and described the executions as "judicial murder".
Notes of a meeting between Mr Major and US President Bill Clinton, nearly three weeks after the executions, show the steps the leaders contemplated to isolate Nigeria.
The two men met while Mr Clinton was on a visit to the UK.
According to the notes, the UK believed that an oil embargo would "only be effective" if done through the UN Security Council and "could only be made to work by a naval blockade".
Such steps would result in "wrecking Nigeria's economy" as it was heavily reliant on oil exports.
'Sycophants surround Abacha'
Mr Clinton agreed, but said the US would only implement an embargo if "all other parties" were willing to do so, pointing out that sanctions would be vetoed by China if brought before the UN Security Council.
There had been pleas from across the world for Nigeria's military leader at the time, Sani Abacha, to exercise clemency, but Western governments had struggled to reach the leader.
Mr Clinton's special envoy to Nigeria, Donald T McHenry, had been unable to see Abacha and concluded that he was "almost wholly insulated from the outside world" and "information was filtered by sycophants: they had no idea of genuine opinion within Nigeria or internationally".
The hanging of the Ogoni campaigners took place just as Commonwealth heads of state were meeting in New Zealand for their biennial gathering.
The UK issued a statement condemning the executions, but it was South African President Nelson Mandela who led the international criticism.
He called for Nigeria to be suspended from the Commonwealth "at once" and that the suspension should not be lifted until the country had shown "much quicker" progress in returning from military to civilian rule. All political prisoners should be released, he argued.
In this, Mandela was backed by his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe and Kenya's Daniel arap Moi, but the suggestion was criticised by a number of other African leaders, including Ghana's President Jerry Rawlings.
The Commonwealth went ahead with the suspension, but Mandela was determined that the measures should not end there.
He continued his international engagement, making phone calls to Mr Clinton and keeping in touch with Mr Major by phone after the Commonwealth summit ended.
In demanding strong action Mandela appeared to have been isolated from the rest of his government.
Newspaper reports at the time indicate that then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and the Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, had been reluctant to pursue sanctions against Nigeria.
The UK, together with the European Union (EU), took a number of steps.
Ambassadors to Nigeria were recalled, military training and aid were suspended and an EU-wide arms embargo was instituted.
While Mr Major was willing to consider wider economic sanctions, he was unwilling to do so alone.
The UK accounted for just 1% of Nigeria's oil exports, while the US took 40%.
As a result, Mr Major told Mr Clinton, "we were not well placed to press for [sanctions]".
The UK also had a good deal to lose if Nigeria retaliated.
Pressure from Shell
There was a considerable British expatriate community in Nigeria and UK investments in the country totalled between $3.9bn and $6.5bn (£3bn and £5bn).
This included Shell, which extracted half of the country's oil and was contemplating building a major natural gas project.
The Shell chairman at the time, Cornelius Herkströter, wrote to Mr Major at the height of the controversy, pointing out just how important these investments were.
He argued that the gas liquefaction plant would "make a major contribution to environmental improvement in the region" since it would reduce the need for the flaring of gas.
In the end, the problem of getting UN Security Council approval for an oil embargo appeared to have blocked progress on wider sanctions.
Nigeria was only re-admitted to the Commonwealth in May 1999, on the day on which the country's new civilian government assumed power - ending three-and-a-half years of isolation.
Members of a group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have executed four Nigerian hostages held since July, the French aid group Action Against Hunger said on Friday.
The four victims were among the six hostages held by the armed fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group in Nigeria, the Paris-based NGO said, adding that one of its staff and two drivers were among those killed.
"The armed group responsible for the kidnapping of humanitarian workers on July 18, have murdered four hostages," the Action Against Hunger said in a statement that did not identify the victims.
Another of the hostages was killed in September.
The French aid group called for the immediate release of the last hostage, saying it is "extremely concerned and calls for the immediate release of its staff member, Grace, who remains in captivity."
The six, an Action Against Hunger employee, two drivers and three health ministry personnel were kidnapped while delivering humanitarian aid to vulnerable people near the town of Damasak in Borno State.
Their driver was killed in the kidnap ambush carried out by ISWAP group, which is said to be a splinter group of the armed group, Boko Haram.
ISWAP fighters have repeatedly attacked military bases and previously targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.
"Action Against Hunger condemns these latest killings in the strongest terms and deeply regrets that its calls for the release of the hostages have not been acted upon," the group said in its statement.
On Thursday ISWAP fighters killed 14 pro-government fighters and a police officer in northeast Nigeria, militia leaders told AFP on Friday.
The militia comprised local hunters across the northeast along with the state-funded Civilian Joint Task Force, an armed vigilante group.
The decade-long armed uprising has killed 35,000 people and displaced about two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The violence has now spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition against the fighters.
Action Against Hunger said it is currently providing food assistance every month to approximately 300,000 people in northeast Nigeria, as well as helping thousands more with life-saving health and nutrition services.
Sunday, 15 December 2019 16:47
Written by Aljazeera.com
Nigeria's Punch newspaper says it will henceforth prefix President Muhammadu Buhari’s name with "Major General", his rank when he led a coup in the 1980s, because he is acting like a "military dictator".
The paper also said it would refer to his administration as a "regime", until members of his government purged "themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law”.
The president was also accused of failing to release the leader of a banned Shia Muslim group, Ibrahim el-Zakzakky, and his wife, and the country's former security adviser Sambo Dasuki - all have been granted bail by different courts but remain in detention.
Mr Buhari is serving his second term in office as a civilian president - having won elections in 2015 and 2019.
One of his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, has taken to Twitter to make light of the editorial, saying the president had earned that rank while serving in the military.
But the editorial has struck a nerve at Aso Rock, as the official presidential complex is known.
Another presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, denied the allegations of human rights violations and described the newspaper's decision to label Mr Buhari a "dictator" as politically motivated.
After his election in 2015, Mr Buhari announced that he was dropping the title of "general" to reflect his new role as an elected president.
Many Nigerians saw it as a bid to whitewash his image as he faced criticism for his 20-month stint as a military leader - a time marked by a brutal clampdown on press freedom and human rights abuses.
The Punch is one of Nigeria's oldest and most respected newspapers and has been known for its hard-hitting editorials.
Many are watching to see what effect its stance will have on other Nigerian news outlets, especially newspapers, which have been known to bond together when challenging the authorities.
Twenty-six male cross-dressers have been arrested at a birthday party in Kano state, northern Nigeria, the Islamic police say.
Deputy commander Tasiu Ishaq said the young men, who were dressed as women, were detained on Sunday.
“It is a shame that men and good citizens can put up such a behaviour and act like women,” he said.
Commander Ishaq said the men had been “preached to” about the spiritual consequences of their actions and would be released to their parents.
One of the accused men told the BBC that a friend had invited him to the party and that the person whose party it was escaped when the Islamic police arrived.
“They have preached to us and we have prayed since they arrested us. I regret what happened and I will stop this behaviour by God’s grace,” he said.
Kano is one of the states in northern Nigeria that enforces Sharia, Islamic religious law, which has been in place since 2001.
The Islamic police have the power to arrest people they believe are carrying actions that are contrary to Islamic laws.
The United States authorities have frozen about $14.2 million in bank accounts linked to companies registered by Allen Onyema, the chairman of Air Peace Limited.
Mr Onyema and Ejiroghene Eghagha, Air Peace’s head of finance and administration, were indicted 19 November for alleged money laundering and bank fraud in the United States.
Both suspects strongly denied the allegations and said they looked forward to proving their innocence in court.
The charges were first made public by the United States Department of Justice on Friday night.
The charges said Mr Onyema used several companies he set up in the U.S. to launder funds and commit bank fraud through issuance of counterfeit letters of credit.
Some of the companies’ bank accounts in the U.S. and Canada had been frozen with their substantial balances as part of the investigation, court documents showed.
The documents showed that $4,017,852.51 was seized from JP Morgan Chase Bank account number ending in 5512 held in the name of Springfield Aviation Company, LLC.
Another $4,593,842.05 held in Bank of Montreal with account number ending 7523 in the name of Springfield Aviation Inc. was also seized.
The American government also traced and seized $5,634,842.04 held in Bank of Montreal with account number ending in 515 in the name of Bluestream Aero Services, Inc.
American law enforcement authorities indicated in the charge document that efforts had commenced to secure final forfeitures of the funds.
In an earlier statement Saturday, Mr Onyema said he was innocent.
“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictment (sic) that only contain charges,” the statement said.
“I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find no dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.
“Be rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted. I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every Kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose.
“The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts,” the AirPeace CEO stated.
Renowned professor of virology, activist and former minister of petroleum, Tamuno David-West is dead.
He died Monday at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at the age of 83 years.
David-West was born in Buguma, Kalabari, Rivers State.
He worked as lecturer and became a professor at the University of Ibadan where he lived and died. He joined the university in 1969 and became professor of virology in 1975.
David-West served in Nigerian government as commissioner for education and a member of the Executive Council of Rivers State from 1975 to 1979.
He was a member of the 50-person Constitution Drafting Committee for the Federal Military Government in 1979.
He served as federal minister of petroleum and energy under General Muhammadu Buhari from 1984 to 1985 and as minister of mines, power, and steel under General Ibrahim Babangida in 1986.
He was eventually removed as minister and arrested by the Babangida regime for allegedly contributing to the economic adversity of the country. He was discharged and acquitted of these charges by Nigeria’s Special Appeal Court on 8 August 1991.
A strong supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, David-West will be remembered for his strong views on national issues and how he brought historical perspectives to proffer solutions to national crises.
A university don has raised alarm that the country loses over $100 billion annually to exposure of lead, which occurs as a result of unregulated and indiscriminate use of lead substances by faceless producers in manufacturing of paints and other domestic and industrial products as well as smuggled substandard paints and printers’ inks.
Babajide Alao, a professor of Chemistry, University of Lagos, who disclosed this in Lagos recently at the 2019 Coating s Show of the Paint Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMA), a sub-sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), with theme “Future Trends in Coatings Technology” noted that West Africa paint market losses between $100 – $237 billion annually on consumption of poisonous lead paints.
He pointed out that Nigeria being the largest market in the region consumes more than half of the total worth of the market as it losses over $100 billion, adding that the global lead paints would be faced out by 2020 as agreed by the United Nations.
Alao explained that lead affects the intellect of children and adults, stressing that cancer, high blood pressure and other related health challenges are caused by the inhalation of lead substance from the air as it is emitted from walls and every item coated with the lead paints in the environment.
“The Nigerian coating industry is at a cross-road to adopt innovative global technologies. Eliminate lead compounds in paints and coatings are now imperative. Alternatives are now widely available as global raw material manufacturers are gradually phasing out leaded ingredients. Examples in some other developing country – Philippines shows that it is feasible and indeed increases the net-worth and profits of manufacturers, as it leads to environmental sustainability, it also increases the manufacturers CSR and image with consumers,” he stressed.
Earlier in in welcome address, the Chairman, PMA Mr. Sunday Babatunde, regretted that the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) has not been able to tackle adulteration and faking of its members premium brands of paints, stressing that it remains a big challenge to them.
Babatunde said; “Adulteration and faking of our members premium brands of paints is still a big challenge to us. This has negatively affected the volumes/profitability and of course returns on investments of the companies whose products are prune to the menace. Even with the introduction of Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has not been able to tackle the problem due to inadequate monitoring and enforcement. The paint industry is a peculiar industry because of the low entry barrier.”
US Federal prosecutors said an Atlanta, Georgia-based Nigerian, Olufolajimi Abegunde has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for his role in an internet fraud scheme that stole an estimated $15m through computer and wire fraud.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis, Tennessee, said on Thursday that the 32-year-old Abegunde was sentenced Tuesday for wire fraud, the second Nigerian to be sentenced in less than a week. Last week in Missouri, another Nigeria, Segun Prosper Otaru was also jailed for cyber fraud.
After his arrest last year, Abegunde lied to Nigerian officials that his arrest was based on mistaken identity and asked for help to get him out of the FBI jaws.
But court documents showed otherwise.
Prosecutors said the Atlanta resident and several other people created fake business emails and profiles on dating websites to trick victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts. Funds were laundered and wired to destinations in Nigeria, Ghana and some other West African countries.
The scams caused about $15 million in losses for victims.
Abegunde’s role was that he helped launder money through a compromised business email of a land title company located in Bellingham, Washington, and a real estate company in Memphis, Tennessee.
The case against Abegunde by US Department of Justice: A citizen of Nigeria residing in Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 78 months in prison yesterday for his role in an international cyber fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western District of Tennessee.
Olufolajimi Abegunde, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sheryl L. Lipman of the Western District of Tennessee who also ordered Abegunde to pay $57,911.62 in restitution to the victims of his offense. Abegunde and Javier Luis Ramos-Alonso, 29, were convicted in March after a seven-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Ramos-Alonso previously received a 31-month sentence for his role in the scheme.
Abegunde and Ramos-Alonso participated in a criminal organization in which members “spoofed” emails and created fake profiles on dating websites in order to fool victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts under the control of members of the conspiracy. The proceeds would be laundered and subsequently wired out of the United States to destinations including West Africa. The organization as a whole is believed to have caused more than $10,000,000 in damage to U.S. citizens and businesses.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Abegunde, who received an MBA from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, engaged in black-market currency exchanges over the life of the conspiracy. Purporting to hold himself out as a legitimate businessman, Abegunde claimed association with a business entity that was not yet operational in late 2017, so for his primary source of income he relied on his off-the-book currency exchanges. Through this network, Abegeunde played a key role, along with Ramos-Alonso, in laundering fraud funds from an Oct. 3, 2016, business email compromise (BEC) of a land title company located in Bellingham, Washington. The proceeds of another BEC perpetrated in July 2016 upon a real estate company in Memphis, Tennessee, also moved through parts of the same criminal organization.
Abegunde, who faced numerous account closures from banks in the United States, used a complicated network of third-party bank accounts to disguise his illicit activity. The proof at trial established that Abegunde told people that he could not receive payments into accounts that could be “tracked,” and that he preferred to engage in cash transactions because they were easier to clean and “eliminated the risk.”
In addition to his financial activities, Abegunde also engaged in a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Abegunde was married during his studies at Texas A&M, but divorced his wife in 2016 to marry a U.S. service member through whom he could obtain immigration and health care benefits and also open new bank accounts. He continued to live with his first wife in Atlanta while his U.S. service member wife was deployed to South Korea. While incarcerated and awaiting trial in the Western District of Tennessee, Abegunde continued his conspiratorial activities, trying to convince his fake spouse, who has since filed for divorce, to refuse to testify against him. Abegunde also engaged in witness tampering by sending a self-written Motion to Dismiss bearing his former attorney’s name and professional attestation. The evidence at trial established that Abegunde drafted and sent the motion, which his attorney expressly did not authorize, to his faux spouse in an effort to deceive her into not testifying against him.
Five other individuals have pleaded guilty to being involved in the scheme. Additionally, several foreign nationals are awaiting extradition to the United States to face trial. Others are still at large.
Accomplices of Abegunde:
Alexander Duimont Andrew “Andy” Jackson Ayodeji Olumide Ojo Babatunde Martins Benard Okorhi Brianna Lee Brianna Morrison Carolina Nkomo Christian Hinds Dana Brady Daniel Elya Daniel Roberts Dennis Miah Dr. Dennis Brown James Dean James “Jim” Roy James Yorke Javier Luis Ramos Alonso Joey Hammond Jon Bunyan Marc Richards Maxwell Peter Olufolajimi (FJ) Abegunde Peter Maxwell Rob Phantom Sandra Lin Sherry Jupiter Martinez Sual Derrell Sumaila Hardi Wumpini Tammy Dollan Tammy Henry Victor Daniel Fortune Okorhi
An Australian couple lost AUD $900,000 after “investing” in an elaborate cryptocurrency scam. Mike Taylor, 70, and his wife Karen told local station 7News that the losses represented the couple’s lifetime savings:
“That was the whole of our superannuation – that’s now gone.”
They did not explain in detail how the scheme worked; however, Taylor commented that it was a cryptocurrency trading website that promised high returns. He added that they decided to invest because the site “looked legitimate.”
The couple made that decision while enjoying a trip around the country in a camper van. Within months, the money practically disappeared, reportedly leaving the couple – and many other Australians – in bankruptcy.
Taylor told 7news that he had to go back to work, adding that he sold his 1965 Pontiac “to make ends meet.”
There are other incidents of crypto scams stemming from Australia:
Crypto Scams Have Increased in Recent Years
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. Contrary to what many people think, crypto scams have increased considerably since 2017. A report issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that in 2018, losses generated by crypto scams amounted to AUD $6.1 million (USD $4.3 million). This number represents a 190 percent increase over 2017.
With this pair’s AUD $900,000 already gone, 2019 seems set to follow this trend; the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is aware of this. A 32 percent increase in fraud over last year has so far been reported, with more than 2,300 documented cases.
The Australian securities watchdog has announced in its corporate action plan for 2018-2019 that the crypto sector and ICOs are a priority. Should Australia’s policies become a success, the country should be able to reduce the accelerated phenomenon of crypto scams.
One strategy that has gained popularity among Australian scammers is to usurp the identity of celebrities to deceive users. The most famous case was that of Hugh Jackman (who played the Wolverine on the “X-Men” movie series). That scam was reportedly guaranteeing returns of more than 10,000 percent.
Regulations Matter… Even in Crypto
Because of their nature, cryptocurrencies have three characteristics that complicate the protection of users in times of fraud:
The transactions are irreversible, which makes it impossible for any entity to forcibly return funds to a scam victim.
The network is decentralized, which removes control from the bank and any government institution over the ongoing transactions.
There is a certain level of anonymity that makes it difficult to know with confidence and speed who owns a particular wallet.
For this reason, the Reserve Bank of Australia explained that a scenario in which bitcoin is globally accepted —or even nationally adopted— is “difficult to envisage.”
Cryptocurrency experts say some investors may be confused by the extreme volatility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“The real story is not that bitcoin fell by 10 per cent but that people are still finding it difficult to understand why this is happening,” Nicholas Gregory, founder of the blockchain firm CommerceBlock, told The Independent.
“Exaggerated volatility will remain hard-baked in cryptocurrency for many years yet. At any point, if bitcoin takes three steps forward, it cake take two, four or maybe more steps back.
“The important thing is that, long-term, the growing consensus is that people who keep the faith with bitcoin will be rewarded when it finally does break into the mainstream.”
Bitcoin has experienced extreme price volatility over the last week, trading between $11,000 and $13,000 (CoinMarketCap)
This is a view shared by Marcus Swanepoel, CEO of cryptocurrency firm Luno, who said extreme market movements for bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies is only to be expected, considering the industry is still only a decade old.
“At this stage in the development of altcoins, with many purely speculative buyers and sellers, there will always be a high level of volatility,” he said.
“However, it is important to recognise that over the last few months the underlying trend, as the future utility value of the coins becomes clear, is positive.”
Zimbabwe’s woes continue as the cash-strapped southern African nation is now so poor it cannot even issue its own passports.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters that the issuing company is refusing to do any further business with the government until it has settled its debts.
According to Reuters, however, the passport office is running short of specialized ink and paper and the necessary foreign currency reserves to purchase it with. Elsewhere, shortages for everyday items like bread and fuel continue to push more Zimbabweans to apply for international travel documents.
Inflation Rapidly Approaching 100% in Zimbabwe
Higher prices are spiraling out of control in the country, with Zimbabwe easily being the worst performing nation in the African block.
Only last week, authorities outlawed the use of other currencies as legal tender. In their place, the government installed a new Zim currency, temporarily referred to as the RTGS dollar.
Obvious Lack of Faith in the Local Currency
Zimbabwe was once lovingly referred to as the breadbasket of Africa. That label is now long gone thanks to the insane monetary policies of prior dictator Robert Mugabe. In 2008, Zimbabweans hoarded US dollars and South African rands in the aftermath of a local and global financial crisis.
The local currency became practically worthless overnight. The move to a multi-currency approach largely stabilized the country, but now citizens are fearing déjàvu as a new government takes the helm.
Ten years is not enough time to forget the effects of hyperinflation. Those days are still fresh in the memory of most citizens who became accustomed to carrying around million-dollar wads of cash.
Citizens Allegedly Offering Massive Premiums for Bitcoin
Amid the frenzy, local traders began offering massive premiums for Bitcoin on peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins. Despite this massive deviation from the norm, Bitcoin still commands a premium in most southern African nations. Cross-border crypto-fiat arbitrage is difficult, even if cryptocurrency flaunts international borders.
Nothing has come of that suggestion, though, and the crowding at the passport office is proof of it.
One applicant interviewed by Reuters, Bothwell Mhashu, is intent on escaping Zimbabwe’s economic troubles by joining his elder brother in Namibia. Passport or not, he’ll first have to navigate his country’s bureaucracy.