• The FG has introduced a sanction to discourage foreigners from overstaying in the country without visa approval. Depending on the number of days they overstayed, foreigners would have to pay between $200 and $4,000. A foreigner would have exceeded his stay by 56 days before he could be said to have overstayed. According to a document from the interior ministry, citizens of ECOWAS are exempted from the sanction as they can enter and reside in the country without visas. A non-ECOWAS visitor who wished to stay for more than 56 days, but not beyond 90 days would be made to pay a fine of $200, while those who stayed beyond 90 days, but less than 180 days would pay $1000.
  • Lomé in Togo has become West Africa’s major port, surpassing Lagos. A key development backing Lomé was the commissioning of Lomé Container Terminal. It handles close to 890,000 TEU annually, close to 75 percent of Lomé’s total throughput of 1.2 million TEU. The establishment of Lomé Container Terminal is part of a greater trend in West Africa, which sees more and more carriers becoming involved in ports and terminals. In 2017, 285 container ships sailed the seven intercontinental trade lanes to West Africa. Deployed by 24 different operators, their average capacity was 3,300 TEU. The biggest ship, a 13,600 TEU vessel, is operated by MSC in a hub and spoke service, connecting Lomé with a large number of regional ports by feeder.
  • The Nigerian Communications Commission has licensed three new telecom infrastructure companies to fill critical infrastructure gaps as part of moves to attain the 30 per cent broadband penetration. Sammya Limited, formerly Odua Telecoms, had been given approval to lay fibre optic infrastructure in the South-West region excluding Lagos and Fleek Networks was licensed to enable broadband services in the North-West Nigeria. Raeanna has also been licensed to build broadband infrastructure in the South-South region after fulfilling all requirements. This brings the total number of Infracos to six as three other companies had earlier been issued permits as part of the National Broadband Plan of the Nigerian government. Zinox Technologies was licensed in December last year to deploy metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure in the South-East of the country while Brinks Integrated Solutions won the bid for the North-East region. In 2015, IHS and MainOne emerged winners of the bid and were authorised to lay metropolitan optic fibre for the North-Central, including Abuja and Lagos under the open access model.
  • A Premium Times investigation shows that the FG is a part owner and shareholder of the troubled telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria. This investigation comes to the fore amidst a long-running row between the Nigerian authorities and the telecom firm. Recall that the CBN had in August sanctioned MTN Nigeria and four commercial banks, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank, for alleged financial infractions, where the bank a refund of about $8.13 billion allegedly repatriated illegally out of Nigeria through the banks.