Nigeria’s economy expanded more slowly in Q1 2019 than in the previous quarter. Data released by the NBS on Monday showed that the country’s GDP grew by 2.01 percent in real terms in the Q1, compared to 2.38 percent recorded in the Q4 2018. The statistics office said the general elections held across the country in the Q1 of this year may have reflected in the strongest Q1 performance observed since 2015. The aggregate GDP in the quarter under review stood at ₦31.794 trillion in nominal terms. This aggregate was higher than in the Q1 2018, which recorded ₦28.439 trillion, representing a Y-O-Y nominal growth rate of 11.80 percent. The aggregate was, however, lower than in the preceding quarter of ₦35.231 trillion, by -9.75 percent. The breakdown of the report shows that the nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2019 was higher than the rate recorded in Q1 2018 by 2.54 percent. The real GDP growth in the oil sector of the period under review, was -2.40 percent Y-O-Y in Q1 2019, indicating a decrease by -16.43 percent points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2018. Growth decreased by -0.79 percent points when compared with Q4 2018, which was -1.62 percent. The oil sector recorded a growth rate of 11.60 percent in Q1 2019, contributing 9.14 percent to total real GDP, down from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2018 but up compared to the preceding quarter, where it contributed 9.55 percent and 7.06 percent respectively.

A group called Niger Delta Republic Fighters has asked oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to vacate the region from 29 May, claiming that it would declare the Niger Delta Republic on 1 June, 2019. Maxwell Dan, the group’s spokesman, said the decision was taken following “several months of consultations within and outside the shores of Nigeria on the collective well-being of the Niger Delta people in the Nigerian state, coupled with cruel persecution and selective maltreatment of the Niger Delta sons and daughters by Nigerian government over the years especially by the present administration of Muhamadu Buhari and his agents despite the huge contribution of the Niger Delta people to the sustenance of Nigeria.” The group specifically mentioned the removals of Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria and Matthew Seiyefa as Director of the DSS, and the raid on the house of Niger Delta chieftain, Edwin Clark, as part of its grievances.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has asked state governors not to anticipate another disbursement from Paris Club refunds as there is no fresh tranche of the fund. Ahmed said the money had already been doled out to all the states in March this year. The total sum of ₦691.560 billion Paris Club refunds was shared to the states through the CBN after a thorough verification exercise. Ahmed made the clarification following news making the rounds in the media that states would soon receive fresh disbursement of the outstanding balance of the Paris Club debts. According to the minister, the finance ministry allotted ₦691.56 billion to the states instead of ₦649.43 billion. The disparity, Ahmed said, was due to exchange rate differential at the point of payment. 

The Nigeria Labour Congress has asked the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, to withdraw a letter he wrote to NUPENG. The letter allegedly ordered the union to submit its financial return within 72 hours. The NLC said this was against Section 40 of the Trade Union (Amendment) Act 2005. NUPENG president, Williams Akporeha, had said on Sunday that Ngige sent a letter on 13 May to the union to demand its financial report within 72 hours, ”when the law granted a 30-day period for the report to be submitted.” NUPENG also claimed that Ngige is scheming to proscribe the union. On Monday evening, the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, alleged that the labour minister was attempting ”to run organised labour unions underground,” and asked him to apologise to NUPENG or face possible industrial action.