President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja by a week. In a broadcast on Monday, the President explained that he consulted widely before taking the decision. Buhari advised Nigerians to adhere to the guidelines of the presidential task force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. “Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states effective from Monday, 4 May 2020,” he said. “However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.”
The U.N. Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced concern on Monday about more than a dozen countries that have declared states of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic where police have arrested or detained hundreds of thousands of people and killed others. “Emergency powers should not be a weapon governments can wield to quash dissent, control the population, and even perpetuate their time in power,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that denounced shootings and detentions without being specific. A top official from her office said about 80 countries have declared emergencies due to the new coronavirus, including 15 where the allegations were deemed most troubling. They were: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Peru, Honduras, Jordan, Morocco, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Hungary. In Nigeria, OHCHR has received reports that security forces killed 18 people in relation to COVID-19 enforcement measures. Nigerian authorities have attributed some deaths to prison violence. She also raised concerns about police extortion in Africa.
The FG’s recent ₦200 billion payments to the power sector have not in any way addressed the gas shortage challenge in the industry, data from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President has shown. The dearth of gas stalled the generation of 23,081.5 megawatts of electricity in eight days despite the fund by the FG, particularly for settling gas debts. Between 16 and 23 April 2020, gas constraint persisted as the most daily dominant challenge to power generation. The government announced on 15 April that it had paid ₦200 billion to the power sector, especially to make gas available but the commodity remained unavailable as required to run gas-fired thermal power plants. The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, said that the FG had paid over ₦200 billion for power supply in Nigeria. The MD, after a meeting with the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman; Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Mohammed; and Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Chiedu Ugbo, among others explained what the government was doing to resolve the non-payment for gas by power generation companies. He said, “Actually, the FG has made payments of over ₦200 billion for power in the last two to three days. The effort will go a long way in making sure that those payment issues are resolved. Data from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President showed that the next day after Kyari’s announcement, gas unavailability alone stalled the generation of 3,210MW of power. This persisted for one more week, as gas shortage prevented the generation of 3,168MW, 3,041.5MW and 2,788.5MW on April 17, 18 and 19 respectively. Shortage of gas further stopped the production of 2,708MW, 2,623.5MW, 2,750MW and 2,792MW on April 20, 21, 22 and 23 respectively. Power generation and distribution companies, however, denied knowledge of the payments to the sector by the FG. They said that they did not get the funds. According to the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, the umbrella body for Gencos, Joy Ogaji, “For the records, Gencos have not received fresh funds from anyone. What Gencos have been paid is the payment for energy produced and consumed for 2019.
Islamic State-aligned jihadists have executed a Chadian soldier and rejected President Idriss Deby Itno’s claim that they had been eradicated from the volatile Lake Chad region, officials said Monday. A video, authenticated by Chadian officials, showed a member of the Islamic State West Africa Province shooting a kneeling soldier in the head. The victim was in Chadian military uniform. According to the video, the dead soldier was seized in an ambush at Litri on 18 April in which two Chadian soldiers had died. Two senior Chadian military officers told AFP that the man shown in the video was one of the soldiers missing after the attack. ISWAP, which split from the Boko Haram jihadist group in 2016, has focused on targeting military installations and troops since mid-2018. However, there has recently been an increase in attacks on civilians blamed on ISWAP. Boko Haram’s jihadist conflict in northeast Nigeria since 2009 has killed about 35,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes with violence spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the jihadists. On 23 March, 98 Chadian soldiers were massacred in an attack on their base at Bohoma on the banks of Lake Chad.