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World Happiness Report: How Nigerians moved from world’s happiest people to angry nation

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About 10 years ago, Nigerians were ranked some of the happiest people in the world by the World Happiness Report (WHR), which rates countries by their happiness ratio.

In a 2003 survey carried out by the WHR, Nigerians were the 6th happiest people in Africa and the 95th happiest in the world.

The World Values Survey (WVS) of that year also reported that some of the happiest people in the world lived in Nigeria, while three years later, another study reported that Nigeria had beaten more than 65 countries to claim the top spot.

By 2012, a poll conducted by Gallup World Poll, a global research team that tracks human development worldwide, revealed that Nigerians were the world’s most optimistic people with 88 percent of respondents being very optimistic about their future.

Fast forward to 2022, the story has changed drastically as “Nigerians are no longer smiling,” to borrow the street parlance often heard in many Nigerian cities.

The signs are all there: stress, bad economy, high cost of living, bad governance, crime, long faces brought about by years of suffering, which are daily etched on the faces of many Nigerians.

But how did Nigeria go from being the country with the happiest people in the world to a nation full of anger and frustration?

In the latest World Happiness Index report released on March 19, Nigeria fell to a dismal 118 position, below countries like Libya which, surprisingly, is the number one ranked African country on the log.

Countries like South Africa at 91, Gambia, 93, Algeria, 96, Liberia, 97, Congo, 99, Morocco, 100, Mozambique, 101, and Cameroon, 102, have shunted Nigeria down the log as the  nation’s long history of being happy has faded with the increasing poverty in the land and the resultant increasing wave of insecurity.

The World Happiness Report, now in its 10th year, is based on people’s own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data. It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.

Only war-torn and traumatized countries like Afghanistan, Venezuela and Lebanon had worse ratings than Nigeria in the 2022 World Happiness Index, which a testament to the fact that Nigerians have become disillusioned with life and are moving day-by-day like automated machines.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network also hinged its happiness index on a lot of factors which, sadly, Nigeria as a country has failed to live up to.

The indicators include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, and Nigeria is far removed from these indicators.

The country sure has a long way to meet up with countries like Finland, Denmark and Sweden which are the top three in the happy people rankings in the world.

Here are the best ranked African countries on the World Happiness Index out of 146 surveyed countries on the continent.

  1. Mauritius
  2. Libya
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. South Africa
  5. The Gambia
  6. Algeria
  7. Liberia
  8. The Congo
  9. Morocco
  10. Mozambique

Culture

Owners of South Africa bar where teenagers died in 2022 to pay fine or go to jail

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The owners of a South African bar where 21 teenagers died after drinking contaminated alcohol during a party in 2022 have each been ordered to pay a fine or be sent to jail for 100 days.

The couple, who owned the Enyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape province, were found guilty of selling alcohol to under-18-year-olds.

The children had attended a party to celebrate the end of mid-year exams at the Tavern where they met their untimely deaths.

Their deaths of the teenagers who were all under the age of 18 with the youngest only 13 years old girl, had caused outrage in the country with many calling for the legal drinking age to be increased.

A toxicology report had, however, revealed that the victims died from suffocation due to overcrowding but further investigations and test later emerged that traces of the poisonous chemical, methanol, were found in their bodies.

The toxicology report is yet to be concluded, but forensic pathologists have suggested their deaths were caused by something they inhaled or ingested.

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Culture

Ugandan TikToker remanded in prison for insulting President Museveni, traditional ruler

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Popular Ugandan TikToker, Ibrahim Musana, also known as “Pressure 247”, has been remanded in prison for allegedly insulting President Yoweri Museveni as well as “using abusive and demeaning remarks he made against the Kingdom of Buganda and the Kabaka” deemed to be hate speech.

According to media reports, “Pressure 247” was sent to the Luzira Prison where he will be cooling his feet till March 7, where his bail application will be heard.

The remand order was given when he appeared before the Buganda Road Court on eight counts under the Computer Misuse Act (2021), following complaints from the Buganda Kingdom.

The 27-year-old entertainer was charged with allegedly promoting hate speech and spreading malicious information via his TikTok videos following complaints filed by the Buganda Kingdom.

According to prosecutors, Musana allegedly shared content on his TikTok account between August 2023 and February 2024 that disparaged and incited hostility towards four Ugandan leaders, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, President Yoweri Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, and State Minister for ICT Joyce Naboosa Ssebugwawo.

Musana who pleaded not guilty to the charges, asserted that he was unaware that his actions constituted an offense. He also told the court that he was suffering from psychological challenges and had been receiving treatment at the Butabika Mental Hospital.

He further explained that he felt a spiritual obligation inspired by past Buganda Kings to restore their tombs but lacked the necessary financial resources, and pleaded for forgiveness and leniency.

Despite Musana’s plea for forgiveness and promise to refrain from attacking leaders and removing the contentious content from his TikTok account, the Magistrate rejected his plea and ruled that he should remanded in prison pending his bail application.

His oral bail request was also denied due to insufficient documentation from his sureties.

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