Malian President, Ibrahim Keita, announced Wednesday that he is resigning from his post to avoid “bloodshed”, hours after his arrest by troops in a sudden coup that followed a months-long political crisis in the fragile West African nation. Rebel soldiers had detained the president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon and drove the pair to a military base in the town of Kati, near the capital Bamako, which they had seized that morning. Jubilant crowds in the city centre, gathered to demand Keita’s resignation, had cheered the rebels as they made their way to the 75-year-old’s official residence. It is unclear, however, if the military is now officially in charge of the country as Keita appeared calm while in a state television broadcast after midnight to declare the dissolution of the government and national assembly. He said he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect. It was also unclear at the point of the report whether Keita was still in custody at the Kati base, which in a twist of fate, was also the site of the 2012 putsch that brought him to power. The Economic Community for West African States, France and the European Union all warned against any unconstitutional transfer of power as the coup played out on Tuesday. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of Keita and Cisse as diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday. ECOWAS condemned the coup in a statement, pledging to close land and air borders to Mali and push for sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”. The 15-nation bloc — which includes Mali — also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies. In a later development, the rebel soldiers assured citizens of fresh elections to resolve the spiralling political crisis in the fragile West African nation.

The total revenue generated by two of the major oil marketing companies in Nigeria; Total Nigeria and MRS Oil, from the sale of aviation fuel dropped by 58.1 per cent or ₦9.6 billion to ₦6.9 billion in the first half of the year, compared with the same period of 2019 when it recorded ₦16.5 billion. This is amid the recent closure of the country’s airports as one measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The country’s airports were closed on 23 March but the FG started reopening them on 8 July. According to the unaudited financial statements of both companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, they suffered a significant decline in profitability partly as a result of the grounding of commercial flights for over three months. The breakdown of the data showed that Total Nigeria recorded a loss of ₦537.19 million in the H1 of the year compared to a profit after tax of ₦129.97 million in the same period of 2019. Headline revenue fell by 29 percent to ₦106.70 billion from ₦150.83 billion. MRS Oil Nigeria made a loss of ₦329.71 million in the first half of this year, compared to a ₦990.71 million loss in H1 2019. The company saw total revenue drop to ₦23.68 billion from ₦29.79 billion. Aviation fuel sales revenue accounted for seven percent of MRS Oil Nigeria’s total revenue in H1 2020, down from 10 percent in the same period of 2019. The company’s aviation fuel revenue declined by 46.8 per cent to ₦1.5 billion in H1 2020 from the ₦2.9 billion recorded in the H1 2019. On the other hand, aviation fuel revenue accounted for five percent of Total Nigeria’s revenue in H1 2020, down from eight percent in H1 2019. The company’s aviation fuel revenue tumbled by 60.6 percent to ₦5.3 billion in H1 2020 from the ₦13.5 billion recorded in H1 2019. Nigeria’s aviation sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused significant pay cuts and job losses, including the firing of over 70 pilots by Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters’s sack of over 100 pilots and engineers.

Jihadist group, Islamic State West Africa Province, has taken hundreds of hostages in a town in northeast Nigeria, locals and militia sources said Wednesday. The ISWAP “terrorists” late Tuesday overran Kukawa in the Lake Chad region and seized people who had just returned to their homes after spending nearly two years in displacement camps, said Babakura Kolo, head of a local militia. The group attacked the town in 22 trucks around 4:00 pm and engaged soldiers guarding the town in a fierce battle, the source said. Residents of Kukawa, escorted by the military, had returned to the town just on 2 August, on the orders of the Borno state authorities. They had been living in camps in the regional capital Maiduguri, 180 kilometres (120 miles) away, where they fled following a bloody attack in November 2018. The people had returned with the hope of cultivating their farmlands “only to end up in the hands of the insurgents”, a local chief who accompanied the residents to the town said. A security source who confirmed the incident told the AFP news agency that fighter jets were deployed from Maiduguri on Wednesday to “tackle the situation”, without giving details.

Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation, has complained about the refusal of some federal MDAs, to submit audit reports. Speaking during a virtual training of MDAs’ internal auditors on the modernisation of audit process, Wednesday, Idris said there was a clear evidence of flouting the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by some MDAs through late submission of audit reports, stressing that some don’t submit at all. Mr Idris warned that going forward, Heads of Internal Audit would be held responsible for failure to timely submit audit reports. The AGF said the FG had made significant progress towards the audit modernisation project in the establishment of an audit data capturing centre, with a view to securing an interface with the IPPIS and GIFMIS Platforms through which transaction could be viewed online-real-time. For this purpose, he disclosed that 20 laptops and 20 desktops computers had been acquired. Mr Idris added that approval had also been granted for the acquisition of five Interactive Data Extract Analysis, IDEA, software licences that would be used by the Audit Monitoring Department and deployed to some pilot agencies that indicated interest to acquire the software.