Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria again clashed with the Police at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, on Thursday. Five members of the Shi’ite were apprehended by the security operatives as the Police fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters. The face-off sparked panic as workers, commuters and motorists fled to avoid being caught in the melee. The sect later regrouped at another location to continue with their protest. They had stormed the National Assembly complex on Tuesday, during which they shot two policemen, torched three cars and damaged many other vehicles and property. Forty suspects were arrested in connection with the Tuesday incident. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on the FG to hold talks with members of the IMN, to resolve their grievances as the lawmakers at the plenary on Wednesday warned that the Shi’ites were becoming security threats like Boko Haram. The FG had ignored orders by various courts asking the Department of State Services to release the leader of the Islamic sect, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky; the major reason of the group’s grievance. The group also held protest marches in Lagos and Kaduna.
A report from NOIPolls has shown that Nigeria’s power situation has continued to worsen despite the substantial investments in the sector by past and present administrations. According to the NOIPolls’ ‘Power Poll Q2 2019 Report’, the quarterly average cumulative hours of power supply in the country dropped to 9.2 in Q2 2019 from 9.6 in Q1. It is more worrisome that “the more money is expended in the sector, the darker the country becomes as regards to the power supply”. The report noted that Nigeria has invested an estimated sum of ₦5 trillion ($31.45 billion) in the last 20 years to generate power. However, only a maximum of about 5,074 megawatts of electricity could be generated within this period, which is still grossly inadequate and ridiculous. The incessant decline in power supply in the Q2 2019 might be attributed to the continuous breakdown of the national grid and other daunting challenges experienced at both levels of generation and transmission of electricity. NOIPolls suggested a minimum of 30,000 megawatts of electricity need to be generated for a country of about 200 million people as Nigeria. The quarterly breakdown of the data shows that 37 percent of Nigerians said they experienced better power supply to their respective households in Q1 2019 than in Q2 2019 with 31 percent. The monthly analysis shows a steady increase in the proportion of Nigerians who experienced an improvement from April; 28 percent to June; 36 per cent. Worthy of note in the report is how the decline had hampered economic activities, especially of businesses whose operation depended majorly on the power supply in the country.
The new chief executive of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, has told the heads of revenue generation agencies and corporations, and the leadership of the Senate that selling petrol at a pump price rate of ₦145 per litre is no longer sustainable as the corporation is running at a loss on the price. According to Kyari, ₦145 was the cheapest price for petrol in the entire West African sub-region. He noted that petrol in the country sells at more than 70 percent less than the equivalent price of ₦350, per litre in the neighbouring countries where the products were being smuggled to for higher profits. Kayri said that NNPC’s daily production of crude oil has recently increased to 2.3 million barrel per day compared to 1.6 m recorded on daily basis in 2016.
The FG has not released any funds to ministries, departments and agencies for the implementation of capital projects six weeks after the 2019 budget was signed into law by President Buhari. Government officials told the Punch that as of the close of business on Tuesday, no money had been released for funding of capital projects contained in the budget. Buhari signed the 2019 budget of ₦8.91 trillion on 27 May. The budget is made up of capital expenditure of ₦2.09 trillion, recurrent expenditure of ₦4.07 trillion, statutory transfers of ₦502 billion, fiscal deficit of ₦1.92 trillion and special intervention of ₦500 billion. According to one of the sources, various factors, including the procurement process, non-constitution of a cabinet and the low approval limit of Permanent Secretaries, are responsible for the delay. A spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, Hassan Dodo, told the Punch that he had no information on the reasons for the delay in releasing fund for capital projects.