ASUU strike, Kaduna train attack, Kuje jailbreak… events that defined Nigeria in 2022

The year 2022 treated Nigerians to a mix of events — saddening, controversial, confusing, exciting, and enlightening.

TheCable takes a look at some major events that dominated the outgoing year.


The year began with drama following an incident at the Bauchi airport involving a helicopter owned by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The helicopter — Bell 429 — left Abuja for Bauchi with six persons on board on January 26. According to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), no death was recorded but the passengers sustained injuries. However, the police force countered AIB’s report, saying the incident was a “controlled safe landing” and nobody sustained injury.


Three months later, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) trainer aircraft crashed in Kaduna state, killing two officers — Abubakar Alkali and Elijah Karatu. Following the incident, Oladayo Amao, chief of air staff, constituted an investigation board and said measures would be put in place to avert a re-occurrence.


While some assumed it would be a day to celebrate love (Valentine’s Day), for Nigerian students, February 14 brought a different level of confusion as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) declared a one-month warning strike to protest the non-implementation of its demands by the federal government.


On March 14, the industrial action was extended by eight weeks, and later, by another four months, before it was called off on October 14 — but not without its intrigues, including the federal government withholding salaries of the lecturers.


The year saw its unfortunate share of major attacks, but that of March 28 was relatively unusual as gunmen attacked a train on its way from Abuja. The attack took place around the Kateri-Rijana area of Kaduna — minutes away from its final stop. Several persons were killed, injured, and over 60 others were abducted. The passengers were later released in batches, with the last set freed in October, while the Abuja-Kaduna train service resumed operations in December.



Attacks on churches and mosques across the country were not an unusual occurrence in 2022. Some included the invasion of the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo LGA of Ondo state in June, with over 40 persons killed in the attack, and in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyun LGA of Zamfara state, 15 worshippers were reportedly killed when gunmen attacked a mosque in the area in September 2022.


In May, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation at the time, over alleged misappropriation of funds. He was later suspended and subsequently arraigned on a 14-count charge alongside Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited. Idris and his co-defendants are standing trial over alleged N109 billion fraud.

In June, Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president, and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested and charged to court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting. Sonia, Ekweremadu’s daughter, is said to be suffering from kidney disease and needs a transplant. The police had alleged that David Ukpo, the reported victim, is a 15-year-old but the court ruled that he is 21. Ekweremadu’s wife was granted bail on July 22, while the senator has been denied bail on the grounds that he is a flight risk.



Although it wasn’t the only jailbreak in 2022, the July 5 attack on the Kuje correctional facility in the federal capital territory (FCT) resulted in the escape of over 500 inmates, including Boko Haram members — arguably Nigeria’s biggest incident of that nature to date. An operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and four inmates were killed, while the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack.



The month of July came with another drama when Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), named Kashim Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu is a Muslim from the south-west, and Shettima, a Muslim from the north-east.


Tinubu had defended his choice of running mate, saying what mattered most was “competence in governance”, but the Muslim-Muslim ticket elicited varied reactions, while the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), described it as an injustice to the Christian community.



In 2022, Nigeria recorded one of its most severe flooding disasters within a decade. Despite early warnings of heavy rainfall by relevant agencies, Nigeria appeared unprepared for the flooding that accompanied the torrential rainfall witnessed across the country. Between August and October, over 20 states had been affected. As of October 24, over 3.2 million people had been affected with more than 600 deaths recorded, over 500,000 farmlands partly damaged or totally destroyed, more than 1.4 million people displaced, and transportation infrastructure worth N80 billion affected.


Residents of Abuja were thrown into panic when the United States and the United Kingdom warned of possible terrorist attacks in the FCT, with government buildings, places of worship, schools, and markets cited as likely targets. The US also authorised the evacuation of “non-emergency” employees and their family members in Nigeria, while the Canadian government warned its citizens to avoid the FCT and other parts of the country. However, the federal government criticised the countries for issuing terror alerts without informing local authorities.


On November 23, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes — N1000, N500, and N200. Earlier in October, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced the plan to redesign the naira to control money supply and aid security agencies in tackling illicit financial flows. But the unveiling of the redesigned notes elicited varied reactions on social media, with some Nigerians expressing displeasure over the outcome. But, in its defence, the CBN said it had limited time, hence, the “simplicity”.


The year also saw civilians caught in the crossfire of air raids by troops. In April, a NAF fighter jet reportedly killed six children, when it fired a bomb targeted at insurgents in Kurebe village, Shiroro LGA of Niger state. Another 13 residents were reportedly wounded while one other person died after a NAF fighter jet carried out a raid on Kunkuna village in Safana LGA of Katsina in July.

Following the incidents, the air force commenced an investigation into the alleged “accidental airstrikes”. However, another incident was recorded recently in Maru LGA of Zamfara state where scores of persons were reportedly killed during a NAF raid by NAF said to have been targeted at fleeing bandits. The federal government, however, expressed regret over the Zamfara incident.

Among other issues, 2022 also came with many killings, including that of Ayanwola Oluwabamise, a 22-year-old lady who went missing after she boarded a bus rapid transit (BRT) at Chevron bus-stop in Lagos around 7pm; Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, who was killed by a mob over remarks considered to be an insult to Prophet Mohammed; Raheem Bolanle, who was pregnant with twins when she was shot dead in an incident involving a police officer; and thousands killed in attacks across Nigeria.

Meanwhile, it was not all gloom for Nigeria as the year also had some wins, including Tobi Amusan and Enoch Nwali bringing the country to international sports spotlight.

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