Friday, July 12, 2024

Poultry farming sector hit by inflation in Nigeria



Nigeria's poultry farming sector is experiencing widespread problems. Rising costs of feed, drugs, and production have led to the closure of 30 percent of farms within just six months.

CGTN

Nigeria violated human rights during police brutality protests

A regional African court has ruled that Nigerian authorities violated the rights of protesters during mass demonstrations against police brutality in 2020.

The protests, dubbed End SARS, called for disbanding the Special Anti-Robbery Squad after allegations of torture, extortion and extrajudicial killings.

A coalition of human rights activists and organizations sued in late 2021. Applicants Obianuju Udeh, Perpetual Kamsi and Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka alleged severe human rights violations by state agents as they put down the street protests.

In its verdict issued Wednesday, a three-member panel of the Court of Justice - linked with the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS - determined that Nigerian authorities had used disproportionate force in their response to the protests.

The panel said security agents had violated the African Charter on Human and People's Rights as well as several international human rights laws.

Bolaji Gabari, lead counsel representing the applicants, welcomed the verdict.

"Justice is finally achieved and obtained. ... What we were really looking for was to get an affirmation that this really happened," Gabari said. "This judgment just affirms what we have been saying. The other applicants that came forward initially considered their safety and withdrew."

The ECOWAS court ordered the Nigerian government to compensate each applicant with $6,400, or about 10 million naira; to investigate the rights abuses; and to show progress on holding offenders responsible within six months.

The court also stated that the use of live rounds against protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, caused fear, and that the Nigerian government did not present evidence refuting those allegations.

Authorities have not responded to the court ruling, and a national police spokesperson did not take VOA's calls for comment.

But human rights groups like Amnesty International and some activists welcomed the court’s decision as a significant victory for human rights in Nigeria.

Nelson Olanipekun, a human rights lawyer and founder of Citizens' Gavel, a civic organization that seeks to improve the pace of justice delivery through the use of technology, said, "The ECOWAS court judgment came at a right time, especially now that Nigerians are going through tough times. And there's also a regional move where Africans largely are recognizing their power as citizens. For example, what happened in Kenya — people demanding accountability from their government — was also similar to what happened during End SARS."

Olanipekun said, however, that more work needs to be done.

"What is the next move? Since End SARS, even though the police have tried, there has been reoccurrence of incidents of police brutality in the country," he said. "It has not abated. There's no sufficient accountability and oversight over government organizations. Also, the Nigerian court has been weak, inefficient and corrupt. They're not independent enough."

Thousands of young Nigerians poured into the streets in October 2020 to demand the dissolution of the SARS unit, but the protest soon expanded to call for better governance before it was forcefully quelled on October 20.

Last October, Amnesty International said at least 15 End SARS protesters languished in a Lagos jail while activists marked the third anniversary of the protests. 


By Timothy Obiezu, VOA

Nigeria unions meet president in push for new minimum wage

Nigeria’s labour unions told President Bola Tinubu on Thursday that soaring prices and a weakening currency were biting hard as they pushed for a new minimum wage they say will help cushion workers from the worst cost of living crisis in generations.

 

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Labour unions suspended a strike in early June to give negotiations on the new minimum wage a chance but a failure to reach an agreement could prompt unions to call for new action.

Leaders in Nigeria are mindful of deadly riots in Kenya that forced the government to backtrack from raising taxes and are trying to balance between appeasing restive workers and borrowing more to meet wage demands.

Any major disruptions to economic activity could tip over an economy struggling with tepid growth, low production of oil, its main export, and high cost of living.
 

BY THE NUMBERS

The government is offering a monthly wage of 62,000 naira ($40) but unions want 250,000 naira ($160) and have asked authorities to roll back increases in gasoline and electricity prices. The last minimum wage was agreed in 2019.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The labour leaders said they had agreed some issues with Tinubu, which they did not disclose, and added that they would reconvene another meeting in a week.

Related story: Nigeria strike: ‘My monthly pay won't buy a bag of rice’

Nigeria Customs Intercepts N270m Weapons At Lagos Airport

Less than 48 hours after announcing interception of a container laden with arms and ammunition illegally imported into the country from Turkiye in Onne Port, Rivers State, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has announced another interception of cache of arms and ammunition at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA), Lagos, worth N270million.


The consignment, which was intercepted at the cargo section of the MMA, was also imported from Turkiye with one suspect in custody.

According to the Customs boss, military hardwares and accoutrements were also intercepted by the Airport Command of NCS.

He said, “on 19th June, 2024, the MMA 2 command deployed personnel to man all exit points and conducted examination on all consignment due to the intelligence available to us and upon examination a parcel with number 235/587737755 which originated from Turkiye was intercepted.

“The consignment was exterminated from the rest and it was gathered that 55 pieces of Tomahawk semi automatic short gun was Intercepted with one suspect arrested.”

LEADERSHIP had on Monday reported that at Onne Port in Rivers State, the Service intercepted a 40-feet container with number MAEU165396, which contained pump action rifles and ammunition worth N4.17billion.

It was gathered that based on the number of risk factors associated with the importation, it became a subject of interest for the Customs Service and that led to thorough examination of the container which revealed that the container contained 844 units of rifles and 112,500 pieces of live ammunition imported into the country from Turkiye. 

By Yusuf Babalola, Leadership

Related story: Nigeria Seizes Massive Cache of Weapons Smuggled in Container from Turkey

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Video - Low life expectancy in Nigeria blamed on healthcare



Statistics from the World Bank show that life expectancy in the West African nation is only 54 years. Health experts are calling on increased funding for public health facilities across the country.

CGTN

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Bushmeat consumption comes under scrutiny in Nigeria

In Nigeria, bushmeat is more than just food, it's a culinary tradition and a trade. Despite the risk of zoonotic diseases like Ebola and Lassa fever, 45% of the country consumes bushmeat regularly, and now discussions to raise awareness are taking center stage.


Following last week’s World Zoonoses Day celebrations, Nigeria's bush meat consumption comes under scrutiny due to the associated health risks.

Abuja-based civil servant Barnabas Bagudu among the 45% of Nigerians who consume bushmeat frequently, despite being aware of the potential risks. His personal favorites include antelope, rabbit, grasscutter, and alligator.

Bagudu emphasizes bushmeat's unique taste and cultural significance.

"I like bushmeat so much that if I see it anywhere, I like to eat it, mostly antelope and rabbit. Since it is from bush, it's blessed by God naturally, more than the one that we trained at home," he said.

Bushmeat is also a thriving trade for many, like Evelyn Agbo, a seller of various types of bushmeat for over a decade.

She draws a huge patronage across Abuja, Nigeria's capital, with antelope being her bestseller.

Agbo explains the preparation process.

"When I get the bushmeat, I dress it with salt and heat over fire with firewood until it is dried. I could do this for two days because if it's not dry, flies will perch on it and attract diseases," she said.

The World Health Organization states that about 60% of all infectious diseases are zoonotic, passing from animals to humans.

Nigeria has a high prevalence of zoonotic pathogens like Ebola, tuberculosis, and Lassa fever.

Abuja-based public health expert Ejike Orij warns about bushmeat consumption amid a fragile healthcare system.

"So, if for any reason that animal is infected and then it is now killed and served to humans in bats and in restaurant, that's how the transmission starts," he said.

The theme of the 2024 World Zoonoses Day was awareness and prevention of zoonotic diseases.

In Nigeria, efforts to promote safer bushmeat consumption practices remain low.

Orji stresses the need to ramp up awareness.

"There has been a lot of public education and community engagement by government on the issue of bushmeat, especially when there was an epidemic of lassa fever...it's just to spread the awareness especially to the people who prepare it," he said.

While bushmeat is a top delicacy in Nigeria, the need for safer consumption practices is urgent.

Public health experts urge Nigerians to explore domestic protein sources like chicken and to increase public awareness to mitigate risks.

By Gibson Emeka, VOA 

Related story: Health authorities in Nigeria issue warning against locally-made beverages

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

National oil company in Nigeria declares state of emergency



The declaration is part of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company's efforts to revive the crippling crude production in the country. NNPC CEO Mele Kyari says the company plans to work with its partners in the oil industry to eliminate all identified obstacles to efficient production. For more than two years, Nigeria has failed to meet its OPEC production quota.

CGTN

Health authorities in Nigeria issue warning against locally-made beverages

 

Nigerian health officials have cautioned against consuming locally-made drinks believed to contribute to the spread of cholera, which has claimed over 60 lives in the country this year. The drinks are often produced by unlicensed traders who often use untreated water. 

CGTN

Escalating violence in northeast Nigeria causes despair among displaced populations



The worsening violence in northeast of the country has left internally displaced persons in Borno state stranded in temporary accommodations. Recent bomb attacks have further complicated their hopes of returning home, prolonging their displacement.

CGTN

Court in Nigerai acquits publisher of cybercrime

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday discharged and acquitted a Nigerian publisher, Agba Jalingo, of cybercrime.


Mr Jalingo, who publishes an online newspaper, CrossRiverWatch, was prosecuted by the Nigeria police over a 30 June 2022 Facebook post in which he alleged that Alami Ayade, the wife to the younger brother of the former governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, contracted someone to write law examination for her at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja.

The article was also published on CrossRiverWatch, the police said.

The police arrested Mr Jalingo in August 2022 after laying siege for hours at his Lagos residence.

Mr Jalingo was arraigned in 2023 before Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who remanded him at the Medium Security Custodial Center, Kuje. The court later granted him bail.
‘Discharged and acquitted’

The CrossRiverWatch broke the news on Monday morning about the Federal High Court judgment which reportedly discharged and acquitted Mr Jalingo of cybercrime.

The judge, Joyce Abdulmalik, found Mr Jalingo not guilty of the crimes the police accused him of, according to a report by the newspaper.


Mr Jalingo told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday afternoon, that he was very happy with the court judgment. “I was being persecuted, not prosecuted,” he said.

“When the prosecution finished their case, we (had) entered a no-case submission, so the court ruled today that they (the prosecution) only came to waste the time of the court,” he said.

“This case had given me sleepless nights because there are many things that I wanted to do which I couldn’t.”

Mr Jalingo said following the advice of a respected traditional ruler and other people in Cross River, he had sought an out-of-court settlement with Mrs Ayade, including visiting her to beg her over the matter, but she refused.

“I am very happy that the court has given this judgment. This judgment is a victory for the Nigerian media because this is a law that has been used to harass those of us who are journalists,” he added.

PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Jalingo if he was certain about the contentious issues in his article against Mrs Ayade.

“I was (certain),” he retorted. “I couldn’t go out there and lie against anybody.”

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately reach Mrs Ayade for her comment.

Mr Jalingo is not new to criminal prosecution over his journalism work.

He was arrested in August 2019 and incarcerated for about 179 days in Calabar, charged with terrorism, treasonable felony, and cybercrime for accusing the then Governor Ayade of diverting N500 million belonging to Cross River State.

Amnesty International in Nigeria had declared the journalist a prisoner of conscience and had accused the Nigerian government of manipulating the nation’s justice system against him. 

By Cletus Ukpong, Premium Times

Nigeria suspends tax on imported brown rice, corn, and other food

Nigeria plans to suspend taxes on certain food imports including wheat and maize for 150-days, and recommend a retail price to try to bring under control rising prices in Africa's most populous nation, its agricultural minister said on Monday.

The move is part of the government's policy to curb food inflation, which has climbed to over 40% year-on-year, and spur growth which has been fragile for almost a decade.

President Bola Tinubu has asked his economic management team to prepare a 2 trillion naira ($1.33 billion) stimulus plan to address concerns about food supplies and pricing and bolster key sectors, the finance minister said last week.

"To ameliorate food inflation in the country caused by affordability and exacerbated by availability, the government has taken a raft of measures to be implemented over the next 180 days," Agricultural Minister Abubakar Kyari said in a statement posted on X.

He said that the government would import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize in addition to imports by the private sector. The commodities will be imported in their semi-processed state and target supplies to small-scale processors and millers.

Food inflation has soared in the West African nation with insecurity in parts of the country's food producing regions and poor road network linking farms to markets.

Soaring costs of food staples have deepened the cost of living crisis and added to double-digit inflation which is stuck at nearly 30-year high.

Kyari said the tax waiver would cover food commodities imported through the country's land and sea borders. 

By Macdonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: Video - What's the root cause of the economic crisis in Nigeria?

 

 

Friday, July 5, 2024

Nigeria's Kemi Badenoch retains seat despite Conservative's catastrophic night

British-Nigerian Kemi Badenoch retained her seat in North West Essex despite Conservative Party’s catastrophic night in UK’s general election.


Badenoch was the Secretary of State for Business and Trade in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet that has now been sacked by the Labour Party.

She won the North West Essex seat after a tight race.
Badenoch received 19,360 votes – 35.6 per cent of the overall votes, which is a decrease of 26.1 per cent from her previous majority.


Labour candidate Issy Waite received 16,750 votes, while Reform UK’s Grant StClair-Armstrong received 7,668 votes, despite resigning from his party after it was discovered he had previously encouraged people to vote for the far-right British National Party (BNP).

According to Salffron Walden Reporters, Liberal Democrat Smita Rajesh received 6,055 votes and Green candidate Edward Gildea received 2,846 votes.

Independent candidate Andrew David Green received 852 votes, fellow independent Erik Bonino received 699 votes and independent candidate Niko Omilana received 156.

There was a 68 per cent voter turnout in the constituency, which was previously named Saffron Walden.

Kemi Badenoch has served as the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017.

Badenoch, born on 2 January 1980 in Wimbledon, London is one of three children born to Nigerian Yoruba parents.

Her father, Femi Adegoke, was a GP and her mother, Feyi Adegoke, was a professor of physiology. She has a brother and a sister.

Badenoch spent her childhood living in Lagos, Nigeria and in the United States, where her mother lectured. She returned to the UK at the age of 16 to live with a friend of her mother’s owing to the deteriorating political and economic situation in Nigeria which had affected her family.

Although a British citizen and born in the UK, during her parliamentary maiden speech Badenoch stated that she was “to all intents and purposes a first-generation immigrant.”

Related story: Nigerian Kemi Badenoch launches bid for UK’s PM

Nigeria beats Ghana, South Africa to host $5bn African Energy Bank

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this while speaking to journalists after a virtual meeting of the council of ministers of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) on Thursday.

Nigeria emerged as the preferred host nation amidst stiff competition from Ghana, Benin, Algeria, South Africa, and Côte d'Ivoire.

What the minister said:

“As the Minister for Petroleum Resources (Oil), I am incredibly proud of this achievement. The African Energy Bank will be a cornerstone for financing and advancing energy projects across Africa, promoting innovation, sustainability, and economic growth,"

“The African Energy Bank will be a cornerstone for financing and advancing energy projects across Africa, promoting innovation, sustainability, and economic growth,"


He stressed that the development is a remarkable victory for Nigeria and the entire African continent.

"It symbolizes our collective efforts to harness and develop our rich energy resources for a brighter, more sustainable future. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. Together, we are shaping the future of energy in Africa, starting right here in Nigeria,” he said.

Lokpobiri also noted that the bank’s share capital, set at $5 billion, is expected to be subscribed over three years, with an initial capital of $1.5 billion reserved for APPO member countries.

Presently, APPO has a total of 18 members across Africa, all of which are either oil or gas-producing nations, or both.

AfreximBank has been supporting APPO in establishing the bank and has approved an investment of $1.75 billion for this purpose.

The lender stated it had partnered with over 700 banks across Africa and its partners to chart a profitable pathway for the African energy sector.

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider Africa


Shell Nigeria sale must be free of conflict of interests

Reacting to the hiring by the Nigerian oil regulator of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and S&P Global to help scrutinize the sale of Shell’s onshore assets in the country, Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria Director, said:

“The government regulator overseeing Shell’s sale of its onshore assets in Nigeria must avoid any perceived conflict of interests by ensuring and guaranteeing the full independence of any consultants it uses to review Shell’s proposed sale of its assets in Nigeria.

“The decision by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to hire BCG, which already performs a wide variety of other work for Shell, to help assess this sale is concerning. It is similarly worrying that S&P Global, which also plays a key role in rating Shell’s debt and creditworthiness as well as providing other services to the oil company, is also involved.

“Given the enormous human rights risks at stake it is essential that reviews of the sale are not just independent – but seen to be independent. Shell must be held fully to account for the oil spills related to the business it is selling, which for decades have polluted the environment, contaminated drinking water and poisoned agricultural land, fisheries and people.

“Any assurances from these consultancy groups that their reviews will be divorced from their wider commercial interests with Shell are unlikely to allay worries that they could soft pedal on the remedies required to address the human rights abuses related to Shell’s activities.

“It is also essential that the potential buyers of the business have the ability and financial stability to manage the operations safely and effectively to ensure local communities are not exposed to further harms. The deal should not be allowed to proceed unless a series of safeguards are in place that fully protect people’s rights.”
 

Background

Shell announced in January that it had agreed to sell the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to the Renaissance consortium, which comprises four exploration and production companies based in Nigeria and an international energy group, in a deal worth up to US$2.4 billion, financed partly with a loan to the buyers from Shell.

Amnesty International

Related story: Advocacy Groups Call for Halt to Shell's Planned Exit from Nigeria

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Advertising spending in Nigeria surged to 400 million U.S. dollars in 2023



According to a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Nigeria's advertising sector, Nigeria's advertising sector now constitutes nearly 1 percent of its GDP and is poised for further growth in the coming years.

CGTN

Nigerian oil regulator approves Eni, Equinor assets sale

Nigeria's upstream oil regulator has approved two key onshore assets sale by international oil companies, clearing the way for Oando and new entrant Project Odinmim, to acquire assets, the head of the agency, Gbenga Komolafe, said on Wednesday.

Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) greenlit deals by Eni's (ENI.MI), opens new tab local unit Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to Oando (OANDO.LG), opens new tab and Equinor (EQNR.OL), opens new tab to Project Odinmim, Komolafe announced at an energy conference in Abuja, the capital.

The deals had been pending for months as they required sign-off from the petroleum minister under a recently enacted oil industry law. Approvals for Exxon Mobil's $1.3 billion asset sale to Seplat and Shell's divestment to Renaissance remain pending.

"The signing ceremony will be conducted in the next few days," Komolafe said.

Eni had previously announced the sale of its NAOC subsidiary to Oando in September. The deal included interests in four onshore oil mining leases (OML) 60, 61, 62, and 63.

The NUPRC showed in a chart that of four transactions in the oil sector so far, two have been approved, one was on a yellow flag and the other in abeyance.

Oil majors operating in Nigeria have been exiting their onshore fields hampered by theft, vandalism and pollution to focus on deepwater explorations.

In May, the NUPRC offered faster approvals for pending asset sales by the majors if they took responsibility for spills and compensated communities rather than wait for authorities to apportion liability, which could lead to further delay deals. 

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Nigeria to build 90,000km fibre-optic to improve internet access — Minister

The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, has disclosed that the Nigerian government is planning to build 90,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable to ensure that the country has access to quality internet.

The Minister, while disclosing this at the breakout session of the 9th Nigeria-EU Business Forum on Tuesday in Abuja, also said the project will cost about $2 billion to provide everyone in Nigeria with access to quality internet.

The forum was themed, “Investing in Jobs and a Sustainable Future.”Related PostsLasisi Olagunju and Nigeria’s Amorphous ProblemsYou’re future, hope of Nigeria, Gov Makinde tells Corps membersDigital supply chains to transform small-scale farming in Nigeria —NITDA DG

He said, “We plan to lead the investment with 90,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, which is going to cost us about two billion dollars. But the EU is the first to step forward and say they’ll be more than happy to support us in the necessary studies to ensure we can properly, not just raise this money, but also deploy the fiber.”

The Minister stated that the country is ready to maximize the potential of its youthful population to drive up trade, reiterating that the EU is Nigeria’s largest trading partner.

ALSO READ:Lasisi Olagunju and Nigeria’s Amorphous Problems

“Trade is essential for the development of any nation. Trade makes the world go around, and I think most importantly, when we talk about trade, we are not just talking about imports here, we are also talking about exports. So we actually do sell to the EU, and I’ve had a good working relationship with the EU.”

“The ambition that we have as a nation, where the president has recognized that the opportunity we have to leapfrog development in Nigeria, will require that we think differently and do things differently, which is why as a government, we’re investing significantly in agriculture, for instance.”

“As a government, we are investing significantly in infrastructure because there’s little we can do without proper infrastructure to power what we want to see. But also, things around the rule of law and making sure that people can do business effectively in the country are something the president takes to heart and is constantly supporting.”

He added, “As a very youthful population, there’s also opportunity between our countries, even around the workforce, to ensure that even though Europe has an aging population, we have a very youthful population and there’s an opportunity there for Nigeria to support the future of work in Europe.”

Also, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, Samuela Isopi, reiterated that the EU remains Nigeria’s biggest foreign investor with a stock estimated at €26 billion.

Isopi added that the stock represents one-third of Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment stock.

“The EU is Nigeria’s largest trading partner with a total trade of almost €35 billion in 2023, accounting for about one-third of Nigeria’s foreign trade and a balance of over €10 billion in favor of Nigeria.”

She said the forum highlights the importance of international partnerships in promoting sustainable economic development.

“Trade and sustainable investment are not only at the core of the renewed hope agenda, but they are also at the center of the partnership between the EU, its Member States, and Nigeria. And this is not by chance.


“The European Union is by far Nigeria’s largest trading partner with a total trade of almost €35 billion last year, accounting for about one-third of Nigeria’s foreign trade, and a balance – at over 10 billion euros – in favor of Nigeria.

“The European Union is also Nigeria’s biggest foreign investor with a stock estimated at €26 billion, representing one-third of Nigeria’s FDI stock. In collaboration with our Member States and with EUROCHAM Nigeria, the European Chamber of Commerce, we have carried out the first-ever mapping of EU companies present in Nigeria: and the findings are quite extraordinary.”

Isopi stated that the EU and its member states are also top development partners and primary grant donors, covering sectors that are critical to economic growth.

According to her, the European Investment Bank is increasingly active in Nigeria with an important ongoing portfolio, focusing on innovation, renewable energies, and private sector development, with new operations in the pipeline.


She mentioned that there are plans to deepen economic ties and promote additional investments by exploring the potential of a Sustainable Investment Facilitation Agreement.

“More could be done to boost our trade relations. On our side, we stand ready to engage, should Nigeria, as the only holdout in West Africa, reconsider its position on the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, an instrument in support of economic diversification and local added value, in line with Nigeria’s industrial ambitions.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director General, Directorate General for International Partnerships, European Commission, Myriam Ferran, said the commission is working with the government and the private sector in the fields of renewable energy, green transition, climate change, transport, digitalization, agricultural value chains, and enablers for human capital development, particularly in education and health.


“Our objective is to strengthen the links between the EU and sub-Saharan Africa, also in the multilateral fora and on the basis of value, and values apply in each and every way of doing things, in the way we conduct digitalization, and it’s why we want to intervene.

“We are very keen to support investment in infrastructure, but we’re equally keen to work with the government in data governance, protection of personal data, to make the use of digitalization human-centric and in respect of fundamental values.

“The rule of law is essential to any investment. So we also support all the reforms of the government to improve the business environment, to make investments easier,” she added.

The event’s highlight was the signing of an agreement for a €300,000 grant between the European Union and the European Business Chamber, aimed at supporting the Chamber’s further development.


“The funds will be allocated to various developmental projects, including capacity-building programs, member services enhancement, and initiatives aimed at improving the business climate in Nigeria.”

“Eurocham Nigeria will also use the grant to organize events, workshops, and training sessions that will benefit its members and the broader Nigerian business landscape,” Ferran said.

By Kazeem Biriowo, Nigerian Tribune





Nigeria to collect 7.5% tax on cryptocurrency transactions

Nigeria government is to receive a 7.5 percent Value Added Tax on Cryptocurrency transactions from users registered in the country from July 8, 2024.

A popular cryptocurrency platform, KuCoin disclosed this in a recent email notice to users in Nigeria.

“We are writing to inform you of an important regulatory update that impacts our users from the Republic of Nigeria.

“Starting from July 8th, 2024, we will begin collecting a Value-Added Tax (VAT) at a rate of 7.5 percent on transaction fees in each trade for users whose KYC information is registered in Nigeria.”

According to official data, cryptocurrency transaction volume is $59 billion yearly.

Meanwhile, Ray Youssef, director of NoOnes, a cryptocurrency platform said peer-to-peer business is worth $500 billion.

In February 2024, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso raised the alarm that a suspicious $26 billion was funneled through Binance without a trace.

By Ogaga Ariemu, Daily Post Nigeria

Related story: US lawmakers say Nigeria is detaining American to extort Binance

 

Nigeria goes to “war” against oil production challenges

The state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has declared a state of emergency on production in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in an effort to increase its crude oil production and reserves.

At the Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja on 2 July, NNPC’s CEO, Mele Kyari, said: “We have declared war on the challenges affecting our crude oil production. War means war. We have the right tools. We know what to fight.”

He added: “We know what we must do at that level of assets. We have engaged our partners and will work together to improve the situation.”

According to Kyari, a detailed analysis of assets revealed that Nigeria could easily produce two million barrels of crude oil per day without deploying new rigs.

Yet, in Nigeria the “inability of players to act in a timely manner” remains a challenge.

NNPC plans to replace all crude oil pipelines built more than 40 years ago and introduce a rig-sharing programme with its partners to ensure the lifespan of the production rigs is four to five years, as part of its medium to long-term measures to boost and sustain production.

Kyari stated that the "war" would enable NNPC and its partners to promptly overcome all identified challenges, to create more effective and efficient production, and reducing delays in procurement processes.

The company plans to invest in essential midstream gas infrastructure including the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipelines to enhance domestic gas production and supply for electricity generation.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has consistently reiterated his administration's commitment to supporting increased domestic gas utilisation, improving the country's power generation capacity, revitalising industries and creating numerous job opportunities for economic development.

Along with one of its partners, NIPCO Gas, the government-owned energy company has constructed several compressed natural gas (CNG) stations, 12 of which will be commissioned on 4 July in Lagos and Abuja.

The CNG initiative aims to transition Nigeria from using petrol and diesel as vehicular combustion fuel. Tinubu stated in May that significant advancements have also been made in promoting gas development through various presidential directives.

Offshore Technology reported that the three gas plants launched on 15 May 2024 in the country’s Delta and Imo states would boost the country’s gas supply by 25%, once they operate at full capacity.

Nigeria’s oil exploration and production regulator aims to increase the country’s oil and condensates production to 2.6 million barrels per day (mbbl/d) by 2026, marking a significant increase from 2023 production levels of around 1.6mbbl/d.

"Nigeria goes to “war” against oil production challenges" was originally created and published by Offshore Technology, a GlobalData owned brand.

By Smruthi Nadig, Global Data



Cholera Death toll in Nigeria rises to 63

The Nigerian government said on Tuesday that the death toll from the rampaging cholera outbreak has risen to 63, and 2,102 suspected cases.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Jide Idris, disclosed this while giving the situation report on the infectious disease, even as he said cases have now been recorded across 122 Local Government Areas in 33 states of the country’s 36 and the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Idris added that about 90 per cent of the cases were recorded in 10 states of the federation, with seven of them in the southern region.

“Of the top 10 states, Lagos, Bayelsa, Abia, Zamfara, Bauchi, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Rivers and Delta that contribute about 90 per cent of the cases, seven of them are southern states,” Mr Idris said.

He attributed the outbreak to the ingestion of contaminated food and water, even as he expressed the country’s capacity to curtail further spread despite the challenges posed by the culture of open defecation.
Activation of Emergency Operation Centre

Earlier, Mr Idris had said his agency had already activated the National Cholera Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate what he described as a robust response to nationwide cholera cases.

He said the agency activated the EOC after conducting a dynamic risk assessment.

He said: “In response to the rapidly increasing cholera cases, a dynamic risk assessment was conducted by subject matter experts on the cholera outbreak situation in Nigeria last week.

“The subject matter experts were drawn from relevant Ministries (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Water Resources, etc.), Departments, Agencies, stakeholders, and major partners. The outcome of the risk assessment placed the country at “High Risk” of increased risk of cholera transmission and impact”.
Identified challenges

While addressing the president, the DG highlighted some of the challenges faced in the fight against cholera, including open defecation, inadequate toilet facilities, and poor sanitation.

He said the government has demonstrated strong political will to control the outbreak despite these challenges, with an inter-ministerial cabinet committee established to support the response efforts.

He said: “Only 123 (16 per cent) of 774 LGAs in Nigeria are open defecation free, with Jigawa being Nigeria’s only open defecation-free state—more than 48 million Nigerians practice open defecation. Inadequate and existing toilet facilities are not well maintained, even in many government facilities.

“Inadequate safe water and poor sanitation: 11 per cent of schools, six per cent of health facilities, four per cent of motor parks and markets, have access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.”

He also listed other challenges, including waste management practices, food, environmental and personal hygiene practices, and the capacity gap among healthcare workers at the state and LGA levels.

“Weak regulation on the construction of soak-away and boreholes (some sunk close to a water source and boreholes sunk in the wrong location). Inadequate implementation and enforcement of public nuisance law and other relevant public health laws are some other challenges,” he added.

Mr Idris further noted that the inadequate state-level capacity leads to delayed disease reporting and response at state and local levels.

“Additionally, poor regulation of food vendors and commercial water supply compromises hygiene standards, while weak regulation allows boreholes and wells to be situated near sewage or toilet pathways,” he added.

He emphasised that low knowledge and practice of basic hygiene practices, such as hand washing and the exacerbating effects of climate change and flooding, are hindering efforts to contain the outbreak.
Global re-emergence of cholera

In June, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the re-emergence of cholera cases across countries in Africa, East Asia, America, Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Data made available by the organisation showed that about 195,00 cholera cases have been reported in the five regions between January and May.

Africa was ranked the region with the second-highest cholera cases, with 92,789 cases from 14 countries. It closely followed the Eastern Mediterranean region, with the highest number of cases, more than 98,000 cases from seven countries.

For deaths recorded, Africa ranks highest with 1,698 deaths. The Eastern Mediterranean region, on the other hand, had 256 deaths.

This data, WHO said, combines both suspected and confirmed cases of the disease.

By Leshi James, Premium Times

Related story: Nigeria declares cholera crisis, launches emergency measures

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Nigeria Seizes Massive Cache of Weapons Smuggled in Container from Turkey

Customs officials in Nigeria seized a large cache of sophisticated illicit weapons hidden in a shipping container that originated from Turkey. One of the largest seizures in the history of Port Harcourt, it comes as the West Africa nation is grappling with rising crime fueled by illegal arms trade.


Though the authorities did not reveal the identity of the ship that transported the 40 feet container, they said it was of interest following a tip from intelligence organizations fighting transnational crimes. Customs was able to follow the container’s as it moved across the continents until its arrival at Onne Port, which accounts for over 65 percent of Nigeria’s seaports export cargo.

Despite the importer paying $2.7 million duty for the container and trying to smuggle it out of the port through a private bonded terminal, officials managed to impound it on June 21. They conducted a search of the container finding the weapons hidden among other items like doors, furniture, plumbing fittings, and leather bags.

The Nigeria Customs Service put the chase on display on July 1 at the port. They reported seizing 844 guns including both rifles and shotguns as well as 112,500 rounds of ammunition.

“In connection with this, we have three suspects in our custody,” said Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller-General of Customs. “Furthermore, a thorough investigation is ongoing to ensure all those involved face the full wrath of the law.”

The seizure at Port Harcourt Area II Command, Onne, is the latest in a growing series of confiscations as Africa’s most populous nation continues to grapple with the illegal arms trade. Earlier this year, in mid-March, Customs seized arms and weapons during a routine inspection of imported goods in Lagos while in January, Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency intercepted another shipment of arms in Lagos, along with 1,274 parcels of cocaine and other drugs.

Research by non-profit organizations like the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) show that Nigeria’s seaports and waterways have become hotspots for illicit firearms trade that is controlled by corrupt security personnel and businessmen. Between 2010 and 2017, a total of 21.5 million weapons and ammunition were shipped into Nigeria. The illegal weapons are reported going to kidnappers, armed robbers, petroleum pipeline vandals, urban militias, ethnic militias, and cultists, with data showing that in 2020, Nigeria had an estimated 6.2 million arms in the hands of civilians.

A March ISS study highlights that firearm importers and traffickers use different strategies and concealment methods to smuggle firearms through seaports. The primary method is falsification of import papers and merchandise declarations.

The Maritime Executive

Millions in Nigeria have little to no electricity. It’s straining businesses and public services

Dimly lit and stuffy classrooms stir with life every morning as children file in. Rays of sunlight stream through wooden windows, the only source of light. Pupils squint at their books and intermittently the blackboard as teachers try to hold their attention.

It’s a reality for many schoolchildren across Nigeria, where many buildings don’t have access to the national electricity grid. In Excellent Moral School in Olodo Okin in Ibadan, “the entire community is not connected, including the school,” said school founder Muyideen Raji. It acutely affects pupils, he said, who can’t learn how to use computers or the Internet and can’t study in the evenings.

About half of Nigeria’s more than 200 million people are hooked up to a national electricity grid that can’t provide sufficient daily electricity to most of those connected. Many poor, rural communities like Olodo Okin are off the grid entirely.

In a country with abundant sunshine, many are looking to solar energy to help fill the gaps, but getting risk-averse investors to finance major solar projects that would give Nigeria enough reliable energy is an uphill struggle. It means that millions in the country are finding ways to live with little to no electricity.
 

Lots of sun, few funds

Studies have shown that Nigeria could generate much more electricity than it needs from solar energy thanks to its powerful sunshine. But 14 grid-scale solar projects in the northern and central parts of the country that could generate 1,125 megawatts of electricity have stalled since contracts were signed in 2016.

Those trying to develop solar projects in the country blame interest rates for borrowing which can be as high as 15 percent, two to three times higher than in advanced economies and China, according to the International Energy Agency.

That means it’s more costly for solar companies to work in Nigeria or other developing nations than in rich countries. Africa only has one-fifth the solar power capacity of Germany, and just 2% of global clean energy investments go to the continent.

“The same project put up in Nigeria and Denmark; the Danish project will get funding for 2 to 3 percent” interest rate, said Najim Animashaun, director of Nova Power, one of the stalled solar projects. Meanwhile he struggles to get loans even with interest rates of 10 percent or higher, “even though my solar project can produce two and half times more power,” than a Danish one.

Nigeria also does not set so-called cost-reflective tariffs, meaning the price consumers pay for electricity doesn’t cover the costs to produce and distribute it. This means distribution companies can’t fully pay producers and the industry relies on government interventions to stay afloat, scaring off lenders from investing in the solar industry.

Currently, power producers say they are owed up to 3.7 trillion Naira ($2.7 billion) by the government, making it difficult to meet obligations to their lenders and contractors.

One option would be getting World Bank guarantees that would put investors at ease and make them more willing to put money into solar projects. But the government is wary of signing up to anything that would force them to pay large sums even if electricity from the projects does not get to consumers because of inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Without World Bank guarantees “nobody will develop or finance a project with a government subsidy, because it can dry off,” said Edu Okeke, the managing director of Azura Power. Azura Power has a stake in the now-stalled 100 megawatt Nova solar project in Nigeria’s northern Katsina State.
 

Stop-gap solutions

With less than 8,000 megawatts of capacity and an average supply of less than 4,000 megawatts — less than half of what Singapore supplies to just 5.6 million people — power outages are an everyday occurrence in Nigeria.

Communities like Excellent Moral School’s in Ibadan that have no access to electricity are often surrounded by more fortunate ones that are connected to the grid but experience frequent outages and have to use gasoline and diesel-run private generators.

With the long-running petroleum subsidies now removed, many households, schools, hospitals and businesses struggle with the cost of the fuel for their backup generators.

“We have stopped using a diesel generator as an alternative due to costs,” said Abdulhakeem Adedoja, the head of Lorat Nursery and Primary School in Ibadan. He added that although the school is in an Ibadan area that is connected to the grid, they could go two weeks without a power supply.

The problem is not just the lack of electricity for computer-aided learning, proper lighting, and fans to make classes less stuffy for pupils and teachers, but also that students are unable to complete their school assignments at home, Adedoja said.

For more energy-hungry small businesses like restaurants, they either close shop or continue with alternative power generation, incurring high costs that hurt their capacity for expansion.

Ebunola Akinwale, the owner of Nature’s Treat Cafe in Ibadan, said she pays 2.5 million Naira ($1,700) monthly to power backup generators in her four branches.

“If nothing changes, I probably would have to close one or two branches,” she said, though she is planning to go solar which she enthuses will help us cut “pollution from the diesel (generators).” She’s in talks with her bank for a low-cost loan package specially designed for young women entrepreneurs to finance the solar alternative.

However, not every business and household has such access or can afford the upfront capital for a private solar system. School heads Raji and Adedoja said they find the costs prohibitive.
 

Finding a way forward

The stalled solar projects aren’t happening as finances don’t add up, but even for other sources of electricity generation, Nigeria struggles to attract desperately needed private financing.

The power minister, Adebayo Adelabu, said in May that in order to address the financial crisis affecting the electricity sector, prices must reflect the true costs of service because a broke “government cannot afford to pay 3 trillion Naira ($2.4 billion) in subsidy.”

The government also insists that Nigerians paying fully for the electricity they consume would encourage investments in the sector.

There has been some pushback to that, as labor unions went on strike in early June in part to protest electricity tariff increases.

But businesspeople like Akinwale understand the government’s position because regularly supplied grid electricity, even without a subsidy, is “still cheaper and cleaner” than diesel for generators, she said.

If finances for grid-scale solar projects do not add up, the government should offer incentives such as tax relief and payment plans to encourage private solar adoption, Akinwale said. “Sunlight is there abundantly,” she said.

Former regulatory chief Sam Amadi doubts if consumers in Nigeria — where the minimum wage is 30,000 Naira ($20) a month — “can today pay for energy consumed without subsidy.” He also wants a policy that makes it more affordable to have smaller-scale solar projects dotted across communities, businesses and homes.

Until then, there are consequences to the frequent blackouts, he said.

“I have the story of a person who died in hospital because the electricity went out during operation,” he said. “Every day, we see the real-world effects of the lack of electricity.”

By Taiwo Adebayo, AP

Related stories: Generator fumes choke students to death in Nigeria

Video - Nigeria cuts back on electricity sales to neighboring countries

Monday, July 1, 2024

Video - Tomato industry in disarray in Nigeria over attack by Tuta absoluta moth pest



The attacks by the pest have resulted in a tomato shortage, hitting markets very hard. Traders are also straining to maintain their regular output, while consumers are struggling to find alternatives.

CGTN

At least 30 dead, more than 100 injured after multiple suicide bombings in Nigeria

At least 30 people are dead and more than 100 were left injured after multiple suicide bombings were carried out at various locations in Nigeria over the weekend, sources said Sunday.

The first attack on Saturday was carried out by a woman, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu Timta, the Emir of Gwoza, told journalists.

"The first suicide attack was masterminded by an unidentified woman who sneaked with two children into a wedding reception of a popular young man in Gwoza; she detonated her Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), killing herself and many people," the Emir said.

"A few minutes after, another suicide bomber sneaked into a burial ceremony ... nearby and detonated improvised explosive devices, and as [I] am talking to you now, the third explosion just occurred [a] few minutes ago with more casualties,” the Emir added.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu condemned the attacks, calling them desperate acts of terror that showed the pressure mounted against terrorists and the success achieved in inhibiting their ability to launch offensives.

Tinubu said his administration is taking necessary measures to secure the safety of citizens. He also vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

By James Bwala, ABC News

Child malnutrition crisis in Nigeria amid rural violence and soaring food inflation

An unprecedented number of children in northern Nigeria are suffering from acute malnutrition, aid workers in the country have said.

Nigeria has the “largest number of food insecure people globally” at 31.8 million, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization office in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri said.

Médecins Sans Frontières, which is working in seven states, said its facilities were so overwhelmed that children were being treated on mattresses on the floor. MSF said it admitted 1,250 children in April to an inpatient therapeutic feeding centre in Maiduguri, twice the figure for the same period in 2023.

Dr Simba Tirima, MSF’s Nigeria representative, said: “In all these places we’ve seen, at least in some cases, double what we saw last year or at least a more than 60% increase in the patients admitted. We have a crisis at hand. We have an emergency at hand, and those kids that are severely malnourished definitely need treatment.”

Severe acute malnutrition has also led to other conditions, such as tuberculosis and acute diarrhoea, and stunted children’s growth. More than 52,000 patients were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition across seven states in 2023 and 2,693 of them died, according to MSF figures.

The reasons for the increase in malnutrition are well noted: food inflation is close to 30% as Africa’s most populous country is experiencing worsening food insecurity. A third of the country – amounting to more than the combined population of the UK, Ireland and Denmark – live on less than £1 a day.

Meanwhile, farmland has been abandoned in parts of the north because of gangs kidnapping, extorting and in some cases killing farmers. The Nigerian newspaper the Punch reported that 165 farmers were killed in the first three months of this year.

About 1.2 million people were displaced in eight states in central and north-west Nigeria by the end of 2022 because of violence, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration. In that same period, about 2.3 million others were displaced in the north-east, where jihadist groups such as Boko Haram continue to run amok.

The insecurity and economic instability have made food expensive. Food reserves in some villages have been depleted as there has been little or no growth in household incomes, some local people told aid workers.

In January, a report by the US Department of Agriculture and the Global Agricultural Information Network revealed that Nigeria had become the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to embrace genetically engineered corn.

A month later the government ordered the release of 2,000 metric tonnes of grains from the federal reserves, with the agriculture minister, Abubakar Kyari, saying: “Food security is national security”.

But aid organisations say millions of people are still at risk of famine as Nigeria enters the lean season, which is usually from June to September. The World Food Programme has already projected that 26.5 million people in Nigeria could face acute hunger by the end of this period.

Other experts say the position could deteriorate even before then and have called for immediate funding to save millions of vulnerable children.

“We’re not even in the middle of that lean season,” Tirima said. “We need other actors to come in. MSF is just one organisation. In fact, what we do is a drop in the bucket … we are nowhere near addressing the immediate crisis that we face.”

“A child who died yesterday of malnutrition is a tragedy,” he added. “A child who might die tomorrow because of malnutrition is preventable.”

By Eromo Egbejule, The Guardian