On Freshly Pressed this morning, two stories caught my eye.
The first one is from The Nation, and reading it makes me wonder why they even bothered to print it and why the reporter did not ask the Deputy High Commissioner any questions.
Now, the UK’s rep is saying that trade between Nigeria and his country was £5.5 billion last year and that of that, £2.2 billion was our exports to the UK. But there are no details on what makes the trade numbers, at least from our side, and the journos failed to ask before rushing to press.
I raise this for two reasons: first, these same numbers were announced as Nigeria’s trade numbers by another UK official at the end of November, which, if memory serves me, was before the end of 2022. So we didn’t make any trade with the UK in December 2022? There was no flight between London and Abuja/Lagos in December?
But more importantly, SBM Intelligence had put out a report some time ago which showed that Nigerian students alone brought in about £1.9 billion to the UK economy in the last two quarters of 2021 and the first two of 2022. Now, some of the figures in that report, for example, rent and working contribution of the spouses, are likely not to be counted as exports because they are spent from within the UK. Still, the rest of it is paid in ₦, and then repatriated to the UK from Nigeria. In other words, export. And this is for just one visa category, student visas. Some people apply as doctors, some as care workers, and we all know about the Global Talent guys, Tech Nation et al. Are these the exports the Brits are talking about?
If yes, then this story is nothing to celebrate as the “exports” are not bringing any sustainable revenue to Nigeria’s coffers.
The point of this is not to say that this is what it is but to show that lousy journalism, journalism that does not ask questions, which is what we have here, can end up misinforming the public.
The second story is about a protest against the EFCC chairman, and I’ll keep it extremely brief. Some protestors for hire caused traffic in Ikeja on Saturday, protesting the EFCC’s media trials et al.
People have been complaining about trials by the EFCC for over a decade and pointing out how the whole trial by media thing messes them up because they never seem to get proper judgements.
So the question is, these latter-day activists, who is financing their “protest”? Cui bono?