Nigeria hopes to enter a military-technical cooperation deal with Russia as President Buhari plans to talk with President Putin this month in furtherance of the effort to tackle Boko Haram insurgency. Buhari is expected to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa. Nigeria’s ambassador to Russia, Steve Ugbah, told Russia’s RIA news agency that the country is sure that with Russian help it will manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience in combating the Islamic State in Syria. He added that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment. A military-technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it only needed to be finalised, Ugbah said, hoping that Buhari can take the talks to their logical end as the agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists.
Nigeria’s border closure has had disastrous effects on vegetable growers in the Benin Republic, who are now struggling to sell their produce. Nigeria made the unilateral decision to shut its border with Benin on 20 August and soon after closed sections of its border with Cameroon and Niger. One key concern cited by authorities was that Beninese traders import rice from Asia and then illegally re-export to Nigeria, which the Nigerian authorities said jeopardises the country’s agricultural policy aimed at achieving food autonomy. The protectionist measures taken by President Buhari have, however, had disastrous consequences on Beninese farmers, many of whom sell their produce on the Nigerian market. They’ve suffered significant losses since the border closure. They said that their unsold vegetables are abandoned by the side of the road or, in some cases, rotting on the vine. Some of the traders said It’s been hard since Nigeria shut its border as they are really struggling to sell their produce since in Cotonou there is much less demand. The farmers, however, called on their government to negotiate a re-opening of the border with the Nigerian government so as to have businesses start back up on both sides of the border. Benin’s agriculture minister, Gaston Dossouhoui, had promised to look for new markets for the vegetables that have already been harvested. Authorities in Benin had in 2014, signed a memorandum of agreement with Nigerian authorities that listed about 30 products that were banned from import into Nigeria. The list included food products as well as car accessories. But Benin doesn’t always respect this agreement, going by the trend of smuggling through the country. According to the World Bank, about 20 percent of Benin’s GDP comes from the informal exportation and re-exportation of products to Nigeria.
The NNPC has announced the discovery of oil and gas “in commercial quantities” in the north-eastern part of the country. An NNPC spokesman, Samson Makoji, announced the discovery Friday, saying that the oil, which was discovered in the Gongola Basin is expected to attract foreign investment, generate employment for people to earn income and increase government revenues. Drilling of the Kolmani River II Well was flagged-off by President Buhari on 2 February 2019, Makoji said. The NNPC acquired 435.54sq.km of 3D Seismic Data over Kolmani Prospect in the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin in order to evaluate SNEPCO’s Kolmani River 1 Well Discovery of 33 BCF and explore deeper levels. Makoji further explained that one of the rigs, which was drilled to a total depth of 13,701 feet, led to the discovery of oil and gas in several levels. He said one of the reservoirs was perforated and “hydrocarbon started flowing to the wellhead at 2120 hours in which the gas component was flared to prevent air charge around the rig,” adding that the state oil firm has deployed world-class cutting-edge technologies. The NNPC would give attention to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which have already witnessed oil and gas discoveries, Makoji said.
Passengers and riders of Ride-hailing companies, ORide, Max NG and others were left stranded Friday after the police and Lagos State task force stopped and seized their bikes at the intersection of Adetokunbo Ademola Street and Ozumba Mbadiwe in Victoria Island. The operation was carried out regardless of whether the riders were riding alone or carrying a passenger. About 30 bikes belonging to different hailing firms were confiscated as passengers and the bikers alike were forced to end their rides prematurely. According to Business Insider, the police officers who were in a pickup van said they could not divulge why they were seizing the motorbikes as they said were working “on orders from above.” The Lagos State government had recently distanced itself from the actions of the police. The Lagos state government had in November 2017, released a list of hundreds of restricted routes that are closed to motorcycles and tricycles, including Ozumba Mbadiwe. The Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences, in March this year, impounded about 115 motorcycles, 22 of which belonged to ride-hailing companies, for using the restricted roads.