The Nigerian government has said that passengers could still travel through flights within the country in spite of the ban. The FG had on Sunday barred international flights from landing in Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja due to the coronavirus outbreak. The minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, Sirika had on Monday clarified that despite the flight ban, Nigeria’s international airports were still open to aircraft in distress, those used for cargo and humanitarian purposes. The general manager, corporate affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, reiterating on Tuesday that people could still travel through flights within the country, has requested that all passengers and other stakeholders should adhere strictly to all travel instructions and guidance in the interest of all. Sirika had said on Twitter that all Int’l Airports remain closed for 4 weeks, except for Aircraft in distress and overflights. Nigeria currently has 42 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
About 70 Nigerian soldiers were killed in an ambush on their convoy by Boko Haram terrorists near Gorgi village in Borno state on Monday, two military officers told AFP on Tuesday. The insurgents were said to have fired rocket-propelled grenades at the lorry carrying troops as it travelled. One of the military sources said the terrorists specifically targeted the truck loaded with soldiers with RPGs and incinerated the vehicle, killing all on board. So far 70 bodies have been recovered but the toll is certainly more than that as the rescue operation is still underway. Several soldiers were also injured and some others were taken captive by the jihadists, the two officers said. The convoy had left regional capital Maiduguri on its way to launch an offensive on a camp belonging to jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group in the area, a member of a government-backed militia fighting the insurgents told reporters. The Islamic State West Africa Province faction, a split from Boko Haram insurgents in 2016 has been accused of increasing attacks on civilians and taking hostages at bogus checkpoints on main roads in the region. The group has focused on attacking troops, raiding bases and laying ambush on military convoys.
Nigeria has cut the official selling prices for its crude oil to entice buyers. Though, records lows, the country intends to clear a glut of unsold April-loading cargoes before releasing the May programme on Monday. Grappling with an unprecedented excess of oil triggered by the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia for market share, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation cut its April official selling prices for Bonny Light and Qua Iboe by $5 per barrel to dated Brent minus $3.29 and minus $3.10 per barrel, respectively, Reuters said on Monday. The Brent crude, the international benchmark, has fallen by over 60 percent since the start of this year. It stood at $26.44 per barrel as of 7:40 pm on Monday. Bonny Light and Forcados are both higher and due to load 245,000 barrels per day, Bonga 123,000 BPD and Qua Iboe 215,000 BPD. There will also be two cargoes each of Usan and Yoho, five cargoes each of Brass River and Agbami, six of Egina and four Amenam, according to the report. The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said recently that the country was already struggling to find buyers for its crude oil. He added that over 50 cargoes, representing more than 70 percent of the country’s total oil exports were yet to be sold. S&P Global Platts had said that the development put Nigeria in a very difficult spot.
President Buhari’s chief of staff has tested positive for coronavirus. The illness of Abba Kyari, who is in his 70s, brings the disease into the immediate circle of 77-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari, and news reports yesterday evening suggested that three of Kyari’s aides had also tested positive. Kyari travelled to Germany in early March with a delegation of other Nigerian officials for meetings with Siemens AG. He did not self-isolate upon his return and was photographed in meetings with various members of Nigeria’s political elite.