Nigeria’s secret police have arrested the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu. Magu was arrested Monday at the EFCC’s head office over allegations that he was siphoning part of money recovered by the commission from suspected looters. This move comes barely two weeks after the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, complained to President Buhari about Mr Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his duties. Mr Malami accused Mr Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC and alleged to have been disposing of assets, especially buildings seized from politicians accused of corruption and others, without approval, or knowledge of the AGF’s office, which is the supervisory ministry of the EFCC. The AGF listed 22 offences allegedly committed by Magu, for which he should be sacked. Magu has been in an acting capacity since the National Assembly twice refused to confirm his nomination to head the anti-graft agency after the President sent his name to the federal lawmakers on both occasions. On its part, the EFCC said that Mr Magu is only facing an investigative panel and is not being detained by the DSS.
The FG has decided to write off 60 percent of the ₦7 billion owed by radio and television stations in licensing and renewal fees. The government has also slashed the existing licence fee by 30 percent for all open terrestrial radio and television services with effect from 10 July. Information minister, Lai Mohammed, said for any debtor station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, it must be ready to pay the 40 percent balance within the next three months, and that the offer would be open from 10 July to 6 October. According to Mr Mohammed, the measures were aimed at giving a lifeline to the broadcast industry which, he said, had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He, however, said Pay TV stations would not benefit from the debt relief and discounted licence fee offer. When asked what the government was doing about the print media industry, the minister said he was waiting for the leadership of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria to provide him with information based on their agreement during a webinar he had with members recently.
The FG will close the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos for six months beginning from July 24. The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, said that consultations were ongoing for another round of repairs on the 11.8km facility. Mr Popoola said the work would start on the outward section of the infrastructure, as the ministry had begun interfacing with relevant agencies for the free flow of traffic during the period. The bridge has undergone several face-liftings and was last closed in August 2018 for a three-day maintenance check. There have also been reports of some worn-out expansion joints on the structure, raising concerns over the state of the bridge. This development will force motorists in Lagos who ply the bridge to begin making arrangements for alternative routes.
Kenya Airways’ CEO, Allan Kilavuka, has said that the airline will lay off an unspecified number of workers, reduce its network and also get rid of some assets. The development is not unconnected to the effect of the coronavirus crisis that has hit the global aviation industry hard, with African carriers alone expected to lose $6 billion (₦2.32 trillion) this year in revenue. In a memo dated 3 July, Kilavuka said that the firm’s short and medium-term projections indicate that it must inevitably reduce its operations before it begins to scale up again. Kilavuka said the exercise will be completed by 30 September. The carrier was struggling long before the outbreak, posting 2019 losses of almost 13 billion shillings (₦47.27 billion). It cut salaries by as much as 80 percent when the crisis started, and sought a government bailout to help it take care of running costs after it grounded its planes when Kenya stopped commercial passenger flights to curb the spread of the virus. Michael Joseph, the airline’s chairman, said the decision to lay off workers and reduce operations was not informed by the failure to secure a bailout.