Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an annual survey issued on Wednesday that put Burundi at the bottom of the happiness index and Nigerians at 91st position.
The survey also found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2018 World Happiness Report ranked 156 countries according to their scores for things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.
Finland rose from fifth place in 2017 to oust Norway from the top spot.
The 2018 top-10, as ever dominated by the Nordics, is Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
The U S. came in at 18th, down from 14th place in 2017.
Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.
One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the U. S. where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries.
While income per capita has increased markedly in the U. S. over the last half-century, the happiness index has been hit by weakened social support networks, a rise in perception of corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.
“We obviously have a social crisis in the U. S.: more inequality, less trust, less confidence in government,” the head of the SDSN, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of New York’s Columbia University, told Reuters as the report was launched at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“It’s pretty stark right now. The signs are not good for the U.S. It is getting richer and richer but not getting happier.”
Asked how the current political situation in the United States could affect future happiness reports, Sachs said: “Time will tell, but I would say that in general that when confidence in government is low, when perceptions of corruption are high, inequality is high and health conditions are worsening … that is not conducive to good feelings.”
For the first time since it was started in 2012, the report, which uses a variety of polling organisations, official figures and research methods, ranked the happiness of foreign-born immigrants in 117 countries.
Finland took top honours in that category too, giving the country a statistical double-gold status.
The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years.
“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Prof. John Helliwell of Canada’s University of British Columbia.
“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries,” he said.
“Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose.”
… we feel betrayed by FG, says father of dead girl
Adamu Jumbam, father of Aisha Adamu, one of the Dapchi schoolgirls who lost their lives while in Boko Haram captivity, said he was not happy with the Nigerian government and its security forces whom he blamed for the tragedy that befell his daughter. Of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped, 104 were released by the Boko Haram sect while five died in captivity.
Mr. Jumban, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in Dapchi village where he is currently mourning his 16-year-old daughter, questioned the circumstances that surrounded the abduction and subsequent release of the girls by Boko Haram. Speaking in tears, the middle-aged resident of Jumbam, a village 2km away from Dapchi, said rather than the Nigerian soldiers combating the insurgents after they came back to drop the girls, the soldiers simply “watched with folded arms while the insurgents left triumphantly.”
The Nigerian government had explained that in order to safeguard the lives of the freed girls, it refused to confront the insurgents when they came to deliver the captives on Wednesday. But this argument did not seem to assuage the pains of the mourning parents of Dapchi.
Speaking amidst a large crowd of mourners and sympathisers that throng his family home in Jumbam, the bereaved father said he had lost faith in the Nigerian government. He said the way his daughter and others were abducted from school and killed while in captivity of Boko Haram would continue to traumatise him and her mother for a long time to come “It was my worst moment in life when I was told she died,” Adamu said.
“It has been a huge bereavement that befell me on Wednesday when these poor schoolgirls were returned and I rushed out to welcome them only to be told that my daughter was among those that lost their lives. “I was told that they died on the way, and the Boko Haram simply dug the ground and buried them.
This confirms that I have lost her, so we the family have nothing more to do for her than to mourn her. “From the 19th day of February when they were abducted and taken away to the day they were brought back, I have not been myself.
But I give gratitude to God when I eventually found out that she is no more, what I was scared and prayed against had come to pass. I pray God comfort her soul and forgive her shortcomings.” Jumbam said despite his bereavement, many of them in Dapchi could not understand the “mystery of the abduction and the drama of the girls’ release on Wednesday”.
“We have no option than to still commend the government for seeing that most of the children that were taken from us have been brought back”, he said. “But what bemused us most is that, it is very shocking and surprising to say that Boko Haram came into this community, picked our children without any one challenging them, and then brought them back on their own, dropped them in the town and then returned. That development has really unsettled most of us here in Dapchi.”
Nigerian Navy trains officers to combat emerging security threats
The Nigerian Navy has recently raised the bar of training of its personnel owing to “security issues currently facing the country.” The Navy made this remark after concluding the two-day seminar tagged; “Consolidating Professional Training in the Nigerian Navy”, held recently at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Quorra auditorium, Apapa, Lagos.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), Rear Admiral, Obi Ofodile, reiterated that, “the purpose of training is to meet the current challenges, we are witnessing, because when we train well, then you can operate well, if you do not train well, you cannot operate well, because security issues and challenges we are facing today are a little bit more than what it used to be.
What we witness here in Nigeria is more of asymmetrical warfare, the enemy is not defined; we don’t even know where it is, so efforts to confront them are not conventional efforts.” He further reacted to security threats that linger, “it is ever changing and we want to further our training and close the gaps that have been created by the unimagined security challenges. So, basically decisions reached and recommendations made were religiously implemented. There are certain security challenges that we were not witnessing in 2016 like kidnapping that is not part of our job, we came in when the police couldn’t handle it.”
Cholera, Lassa Fever kill 14 in Bauchi
Nine people have been have confirmed dead following the outbreak of Cholera in Bauchi State. Briefing newsmen yesterday, Commissioner for Health, Dr Zuwaira Hassan, said five people also died of Lassa fever in the state. She however revealed that 324 cases of cholera were recorded while 26 patients are on admission at the isolated centre of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital Bauchi.
According to her, a female student of College of Education, Kangere, was among the nine victims of cholera outbreak saying “the causes of the outbreak in the institution were as a result of sewage evacuation. Dr. Zuwaira also attributed the causes of cholera outbreak in the state to open defecation by residents.
“It’s unfortunate that our people defecate outside and the faeces pass through their drinking water while they don’t practice personal hygiene”. “In order to prevent more outbreaks, community volunteers have been going round to educate and sensitise the people and the Ministry of Health has chlorinate their water,” She added.
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