Buhari in Deafening Silence over Lekki Shootings, Urges End to Protests– The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari Thursday finally spoke on angry youths’ protest against police brutality, urging them to end the demonstrations, which went violent after Tuesday’s crackdown by the army at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.
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– President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday finally spoke on angry youths’ protest of police brutality, urging them to end the demonstrations, which went violent after Tuesday’s crackdown by the army at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos. Incidentally, the president was spectacularly silent on the tollgate shooting incident that brought his government worldwide condemnation. He had come under severe criticism for his silence on the #EndSARS protests, which had raged for 14 days, spreading from Lagos State to over a dozen others with attendant disruption of essential economic activities. But Buhari eventually broke his silence in a nationwide broadcast that was preceded by a National Security Council meeting in Abuja.
Pleading with the youths to leave the streets, he assured them that he had heard their cry and that his administration would address their concerns. He urged the protesters to resist the temptation of being used by “subversive elements” to cause chaos with the aim of truncating the country’s democracy. However, the president’s silence on the Lekki Tollgate clampdown by soldiers was made up for by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), who said the federal government was looking into the incident.
FG to Commence Compensation for Mambilla Power Host Communities – The federal government is set to commence the payment of compensation to host communities in Taraba state, where the take-off of the long-awaited Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is be located. Speaking during the official kick-off of the sensitization of the host communities on government’s payment plan, the Minister of Power, Mr. Sale Mamman, conveyed government apologies and said the compensation for landowners was delayed by the covid-19 pandemic.
Mamman stressed that part of reasons for the meeting was to disseminate the desired information and galvanize their support as the federal government moves to the project implementation stage.
According to him, the next step would encompass the survey and enumeration for compensation after the constitution of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee (IMSC) and the Project Delivery Committee (PDC) on the project by President Muhammadu Buhari, in January this year.
He said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Taraba state government, before now, was to enhance project coordination and to facilitate acquiring land titles for the project sites. Mamman added that the land and aerial surveys of the project site, development of a comprehensive project implementation manual (PIM), a comprehensive local content promotion strategy and gathering of 50-year hydrological data of the Mambilla Plateau, had also been carried out.
Protests: IMF may review Nigeria’s growth projection – The International Monetary Fund has said it may review Nigeria’s growth projection if the ongoing protests in the country persist, in view of the impact of the economy. Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund, Abebe Selassie, said this while responding to questions during the virtual IMF press conference on the regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday.
He described Nigeria’s protest as one of the difficult ones that generated concerns for the IMF. Selassie said, “On the growth projections in Nigeria, I mean, these protests happened of course, after we had closed, after the period where the data we looked at in making the growth projections for this economic outlook.
“And much will depend really on how these protests evolve. “Lagos of course, is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities. “So, if these persist and are showing significant effects on economic data, we will internalize them in due course.” While saying that the protest was a difficult one to comment on, he said economic conditions in Nigeria for the last four years had been very difficult in the wake of the decline in oil prices in 2015-16.
Dangote demands total ban on tomato importation – The Managing Director, Dangote Tomato Processing plant in Kadawa, Kano State, Abdulkarim Kaita, has called on the Federal government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato paste into the country. He made the call while flagging off the distribution of tomato seedlings to 5,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrowers programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday at Kadawa village in Kura Local Government Area.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato like what it did to rice,” Kaita said. He said the call was necessary to boost local production of the commodity and ensure that Nigeria was self-sufficient in tomato production. According to him, the ban on the importation of tomato paste would lead to the establishment of more tomato processing plants, thereby creating job opportunities for many people in the country. He lamented that the importation of tomato paste was still thriving as the commodity was being imported from Cameroon and Cotonou in Benin Republic.
Total pension assets rise to N11.35tn – Despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose to N11.35tn as of the end of August, the latest figures from the National Pension Commission revealed on Wednesday. According to the data, the funds rose from N11.08tn in June to N11.3tn in July. The pension commission revealed that N7.51tn or 66.27 per cent of the funds had been invested in Federal Government’s securities. Other areas where the funds were invested are domestic and foreign ordinary shares, corporate debt securities, local money market securities and mutual funds.
The commission also disclosed in its second-quarter report that following the issuance of demand notices to some defaulting employers whose outstanding pension contribution liabilities had been established by recovery agents, 16 of the affected employers remitted the sum of N261.33m during the period. It said this represented a principal contribution of N152.79m and penalty of N108.54m during the quarter. This brought the total recoveries made from inception to June 30 to N17.52bn comprising principal contribution of N8.89bn and penalty of N8.63bn.
During the quarter under review, PenCom said the Pension Fund Administrators registered a total of 2,839 contributors under the micro pension plan for which a total of N7.4m had been remitted to the Retirement Savings Accounts as pension contributions.
Nigeria’s duty-free export to US shrinks to $300.48m – Nigeria’s export to the United States under a duty-free policy declined in the first eight months of 2020, recording $300.48m from January to August. According to the latest African Growth and Opportunity Act policy trade statistics, exports to the US under the duty-free policy fell by 88 per cent from $2,502.86m in the first eight months of 2019 to $300.48m in the corresponding period in 2020.
The AGOA, a United States’ trade policy, enacted in 2000, is a legislation that facilitates a duty-free trade between exporters from sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. Annual trade data showed the largest contribution towards AGOA-eligible trade commodities is usually oil exports mainly from Angola and Nigeria, and to a lesser extent, Chad and the Republic of Congo.
For instance, oil export under the policy accounted for 99.7 per cent of Nigeria’s AGOA exports to the United States in 2019. According to the statistics, oil and gas products valued at $3.12bn were exported to the US under the policy in 2019. However, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ghana and Madagascar are among the leading non-oil AGOA exporters.
Food prices rose in September –NBS – The National Bureau of Statistics has reported a spike in food prices in the month of September. The Bureau made the disclosure in its ‘Selected food price watch data’ for the month of September 2020. In the report, the average price of one dozen of agric eggs medium size increased year-on-year by 5.24 per cent and month-on-month by 0.37 per cent to N480.76 in September 2020 from N478.97 in August 2020.
It stated that the average price of agric eggs medium size (price of one) increased year-on-year by 3.87 per cent and month-on-month by 0.28 per cent to N42.90 in September from N42.78 in August. The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) increased year-on-year by 39.07 per cent and month-on-month by 2.87 per cent to N516.13 in September 2020 from N501.71 in August.
The average price of 1kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 26.12 per cent and decreased month-on-month by -1.01 per cent to N286.92 in September from N289.86 in August. Also, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased year-on-year by 29.11 per cent and decreased month on month by -4.08 per cent to N245.62 in September 2020 from N256.06 in August 2020.
#ENDSARS: Nigerian seaports deserted – The ongoing #ENDSARS protests have taken a huge toll on the nation’s seaports as all business activities are currently on lockdown following the 24 hours curfew imposed by the Lagos State and other State Governments across the country.
The two busiest seaports in Lagos, Apapa and Tin Can Island are deserted as both roads leading to the ports are closed while Warri Port is also under siege with gates now locked and all business activities paralyzed. However, the ENDSARS protests have also compounded the already border closure challenges with roads leading to Idiroko and Benin borders all blocked by youths.
These have made movement difficult for commercial buses and people doing business around the border corridors. Speaking with Daily Sun, the National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Osita Chukwu, said that the nation’s seaports are deserted and no business activities are going as nobody wants to die. He added: “Who wants to die where everywhere is blocked. I was told Tin Can Island port roads are blocked. Even Customs are not allowed to come to work to perform their daily duties. It is a serious situation we find ourselves.
Truck operators call on FG to disband PTT over corruption – À coalition of association of truck owners has called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to disband the Presidential Task Team (PTT) set up on May 22, 2019 to restore law and order in the worsening transportation gridlock on Apapa-Tin can access roads. In a statement to press down their demands in Lagos, the group led by à chieftain of the National Association of Truck Owners (NARTO) Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun said. “We say no to PTT on Apapa gridlock. We are owners and operators of container carrier trucks. We have been on this journey for too long, and are tired of extortion by policemen.”
The transporters said that the condition that would make them suspend the demonstration would be the desolution and exit of the team from Apapa -Tin can and daily passing of export trucks as foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, in line with economic diversification policy of the Federal Government.
“We also demand for an end to all forms of police brutality against transporters, desolution of all illegal checkpoints used to extort money from our members in Apapa-Tin can axis and a halt on secret passing of export and other movement of trucks by the Nigeria Port Authority.”
European Parliament endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO job – The European Parliament (EP), the legislative branch of the European Union (EU), has endorsed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of director-general (DG) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Okonjo-Iweala is a two-time former minister of finance and Nigeria’s candidate for the WTO DG job. Sven Simon, member of the European Parliament (MEP), in a tweet on Wednesday, announced the decision of the parliament after a discussion with Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s candidate for WTO job.
The parliament picked Okonjo-Iweala above Myung-hee, saying the Nigerian showed a deep understanding of challenges faced by the WTO and her priorities, if appointed, exhibited a “clear-eyed agenda.” EP said it came to a conclusion that Okonjo-Iweala’s political approach is necessary to tackle the deal disagreements between members of the trade organization. “Her assessment of the existing problems of the organization revealed a deal understanding of the fault lines dividing the WTO’s membership,” the statement read.
“The priorities she set out for her first steps after being disagreements between appointed reveal a clear- eyed agenda, tackling head on key topics such as special and differential treatment, industrial subsidies and dispute settlement reform, while recognizing the need for positive momentum through the conclusion of agreements on issues such as fisheries, e-commerce, and health.
NBS to conduct surveys with mobile phones, says Statistician General – National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has said it has devised a way to use the huge number of mobile phones owned by Nigerians to get quick information on households. In his keynote address on the World Statistics Day Celebration, 2020, in Abuja, the Statistician General, Dr Yemi Kale, said that in situations where data is needed quickly and where field workers have restrictions in movement, mobile phones have been used to conduct surveys.
This, he said, has also been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic which made it possible to keep working during the lockdown period and the need for social distancing. “We have also enhanced our capacity for Computer Assisted Phone Interview systems, partnering with telecommunication operators to take advantage of the huge number of mobile phones owned by Nigerians to get very quick information on households in situations where data is needed quickly and where our field workers have restrictions in movement.
This has particularly been helpful during the pandemic and enabled us to keep working during the lockdown period and the need for social distancing” he said. According to the Statistician General, NBS has also established a new real-time data monitoring and quality assurance system for the purpose of remote monitoring of the field data collection.
Domestic Airlines Lose N3bn Daily Over Lagos Curfew – Domestic airlines are said to be losing about N3 billion daily to the curfew in Lagos as they have been forced to reduce flights by over 70 per cent in Lagos. The curfew is fast spreading to other states as the violence spreads. All the eight domestic carriers including Air Peace, Arik Air, Overland, Max Air, Azman, Ibom Air, Dana and Aero Contractors originate their flights from Lagos.
The Lagos-Abuja flight which is the most lucrative flight for all the airlines have been on hold too, thereby deepening the financial straits of airlines which have barely recovered from the effect of the over three-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was learnt that all the domestic carriers operate over 100 flights in and out of Lagos on a daily basis which have been affected due to curfew in Lagos.
A spokesperson of Azman Air, Mr. Nura Aliyu said all the airline’s flights to Lagos including Lagos-Abuja described as the most lucrative route are affected. He said, “It is worrisome presently because we are yet to recover from the suspension of flights due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Telecom Networks Fluctuate, Record Outages – There have been fluctuations in data and voice calls across the country, following outages recorded by telecom operators in their networks, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators (ALTON) has said. The outages, ALTON said in a statement yesterday, still subsisted till Thursday night. “Unfortunately, some of our member operators experienced outages on their networks on Tuesday evening and this still subsists till the moment,” it said.
The operators said the outages had been compounded by power and other operations-related issues that had occurred across some major routes in Lagos metropolis and other states resulting in congestion of networks and impact on quality of services. “At the moment, affected member operators are exploiting all avenues to remedy the situation. Engineers are making relentless effort round the clock to resolve issues, while in the interim, efforts are being made to optimize coverage utilizing alternative solutions as a stop-gap solution to the most impacted locations”, the telecom companies said. They appealed to subscribers to bear with them and be patient.
Meanwhile the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami has directed stakeholders in the telecom industry as well as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to furnish his office and the Office the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to the President with details of strategy communications infrastructures across the country.
Insurance Firms Jittery Over Looming Claims from Lagos Destruction – Insurance firms are in panic mode over the huge destruction of properties in Lagos state and the claims that may likely arise from those destructions. Rioters who took advantage of the #EndSARS protesters have touched high profile properties in Lagos state, some of which might have insurance claims running in hundreds of millions and several billions in cumulative claims.
Checks by our correspondent from insurance firms show that the balance sheet of underwriters will be adversely impacted as the claims would run into billions of naira. Some properties were affected from reprisals since October 20, 2020 when the military allegedly shot at unarmed protesters. Whilst some of the properties may not be insured, others are.
“The BRT buses, the NPA building, Oriental Hotel and several other properties are insured,” an executive director in a frontline insurance company said. He also said that if the insurance companies pay the claims definitely, a lot of companies may post losses for the 2020 fiscal year especially in the pandemic. A Lagos based insurance and loss adjustment expert, Mr. Ralph Opara, said if the affected properties have valid insurance claims, then the impact on the industry would be huge.