Nigeria’s state oil company and its joint venture partners have spent $360 million on cleaning up the Niger Delta oil heartland in the past two years, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Monday, but locals said little work had been done. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest crude oil exporter. Oil sales account for around 90% of its foreign currency earnings but oil spills in the southern Niger Delta region have caused pollution and angered locals. Royal Dutch Shell Plc was forced out of Ogoniland in 1993 by campaigners led by activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, after they said the oil company had destroyed their fishing environment. Saro-Wiwa was later hanged by the military government, prompting international outrage. A 2011 United Nations report warned of catastrophic pollution in soil and water in Ogoniland. It said Shell and Nigeria’s government needed to address the problems. In 2015 Shell accepted responsibility for operational faults that caused two spills in 2008 and paid a settlement of 55 million pounds to villagers and since then has said it has taken steps to improve the situation in the area, including training youths to start-up businesses and funding community patrols to reduce pollution by vandals stealing oil. A cleanup process launched in 2017 followed years of legal wrangling in the wake of oil spills. NNPC Chief Operating Officer for Upstream, Roland Ewubare told lawmakers during a presentation on Monday that the $360 million was out of a total $900 million recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He said NNPC and its partners were ready to fund the project as prescribed by the UNEP report.

The NNPC’s boss, Mele Kyari, has said that Nigeria lost about $750 million (₦268.5 billion) to crude oil theft last year. Speaking about the increased activities of oil thieves and pirates, Kyari said that any threat to the NNPC’s operations was a direct threat to the very survival of Nigeria because of the strategic role of the corporation as an enabler of the economy. Other security challenges facing the corporation include the vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure and the kidnapping of personnel as there exists a deep connection between the various shades of insecurity challenges. He added that all the activities on oil facilities were all linked to what was happening in the Gulf of Guinea and the entire maritime environment. According to the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Yemi Adetunji, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for more than half of the global kidnappings for ransom in 2016, with 34 seafarers kidnapped out of 62 cases worldwide.

MTN gained 8.18 million data subscribers in 2019 as Airtel added 4.06 million subscribers to successfully edge out Glo, Nigeria’s indigenous brand. The data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission showed that operators in the industry show no signs of relenting in efforts to increase their market share in a competitive industry. The report showed that MTN recovered from a drop in June and August 2019 when 845,300 data subscribers dumped MTN for other networks to the finish the year with 54.11 million data subscribers, up from 45.9 million in January. Airtel also saw a significant increase in data subscribers, adding 4.06 million subscribers during the year. Airtel continues to trail MTN, as the latter expanded its overall market share in 2019. At the end of December 2019, MTN’s total market share rose to 68.8 million subscribers or 37.3% of market share from 67.34 million subscribers recorded in November. Airtel’s number of subscribers rose to 50.18 million (27.2%) from 49.65 million in the previous month, overtaking Globacom, who managed to add 1.81 million subscribers during the year. The country’s major local telecoms company lost 1.67 million internet subscribers in November alone, only to recover 1.61 million of them in December. The total number of data subscribers on the Glo network rose from 27.6 million data subscribers in January to 28.9 million subscribers in December 2019.

Nigeria’s annual inflation increased in January to its highest level in almost two years, data from the National Bureau of Statistics released Tuesday showed. The report said that prices increased across all categories measured. The consumer price index, which measures inflation, rose to 12.13 percent in January, reaching its highest point in 22 months. The index increased by 0.15 percentage point from the 11.98 percent recorded in December 2019. The last time Nigeria’s inflation rate was as high as 12.13 percent was in April 2018 when the CPI rose to 12.48 percent. On a month-on-month basis, the index increased by 0.87 percent in January 2020. This is a 0.02 percent rate higher than the 0.85 percent recorded in December 2019. Experts say that the country’s closed borders with neighbouring countries since August last year to fight smuggling of rice and other goods has driven inflation.