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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

Eight years after, abducted Nigerian schoolgirls recaptured by French artist in art exhibition

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Eight years after their abduction while preparing for the West African School Certificate examination in a school in Chibok town in the Nigerian state of Borno, an exhibition of sculptures representing the school girls was displayed by a French artist, Prune Nourry, at the an exhibition in Lagos on Tuesday.

The emotional exhibition which held at the Art Twenty-One at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites in Nigeria’s commercial capital, showed sculptures of the heads of the famous ‘Chibok Girls’ who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

According to Nourry, the exhibition which is billed to travel round the world to raise awareness on the plight of some of the girls who are still in captivity, is a collaborative effort between of the Obafemi Awolowo University where he is a professor, and the families of the over 250 Chibok girls who were kidnapped by the terrorists.

On display at the exhibition titled “Statutes Also Breathe,” were 108 sculpture heads by Nourry and art students of the OAU Fine and Applied Arts department, inspired by the ancient Ife terracotta heads.

“The heads so much evoke memory of the narrative/works on the Igbo Landing in Georgia, where Igbo slaves decided to drown with their masters rather than live as slaves in US,” Nourry said at the unveiling of the exhibition.

According to Nourry, the exhibition is to remember the Chibok girls as the works are “symbols of their agony which also signify love for the girls.”

“The idea is to travel the world with the army and to show all the heads that personify the Chibok missing girls. It is also an opportunity to talk about girls’ education around the world.”

“When I heard about the Chibok girls for the first time, I was travelling with a work, an “Army of girls” called the “Terracotta daughters” in China, and I heard about the Ife heads.

“As a sculptor, it was my dream to go someday to Ife and work with the clay,” she explained.

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Culture

Tunisia’s spicy sauce, Harissa, makes it into UNESCO Cultural Heritage list

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Tunisia’s popular spicy sauce, Harissa, has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) cultural heritage list at the 17th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which ended in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, on Sunday.

In a statement announcing the listing, the UN agency said the spicy sauce was chosen because of the “skills, knowledge, and culinary and social practices” which passed the examination at the testing level

Harissa which is one of the most popular spice in the North African country, is made by drying chili peppers in the sun before splitting them, removing their stalks and deseeding.

The chili peppers are then washed, ground and seasoned with salt, garlic and coriander using a pestle and mortar or a manual meat mincer.

Harissa is used regularly in the country and is a culinary tradition, according to UNESCO.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted at the 32nd General Assembly of UNESCO on Oct. 17, 2003, to protect the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

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