Nigeria has received more time from a London court to appeal in a $10 billion arbitration case. Friday’s Commercial Court ruling, however, did not specify the length of the extension in the long-running dispute. Process & Industrial Developments won a $6.6 billion arbitration award after a 2010 deal to carry out a gas project in Nigeria collapsed. This has been accruing interest since 2013 and now totals nearly $10 billion, which if Nigeria has to payout would dent the oil-producing country’s foreign reserves. The country has alleged corruption in the contract and the ruling will allow the government more time to investigate. According to a spokesman for Nigeria’s attorney general the country will now proceed to a full hearing of the fraud challenge in the coming months following the ruling. Nigeria had sought permission to appeal the award, despite having missed the original 28-day appeal deadline. It said new information only came to light in late 2019.
Security agencies have been placed on red alert following reports that the Boko Haram insurgents were plotting to attack Abuja, the nation’s capital. The Defence Headquarters explained that the Armed Forces and other security agencies would ensure effective surveillance of the Federal Capital Territory and other states of the country. A security report from the Nigeria Customs Service had indicated that members of the Boko Haram terrorists group have flooded the FCT and were planning to carry out coordinated attacks on five identified locations. The service listed Kunyam Bush along airport road off DIA Staff Quarters, Abuja; Robochi/Gwagwalada Forest; Kwaku forest, Kuje, Abuja; Unaisha forest in Toto Local Government of Nasarawa State and Gegu forest, close to Idu town in Kogi State, as some of the areas where the terrorists were reported to have set up their camps. But defence spokesman, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday, said preventive and preemptive intelligence was ongoing to thwart the plot.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has frozen the bank accounts of 38 Nigerian companies including that of Adebutu Kessington, Nigerian billionaire known as Baba Ijebu. The decision comes months after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission launched an investigation into the activities of Adebutu for alleged tax fraud and economic sabotage. The development is even as the scarcity of dollars at the parallel market during the week forced the naira down to N465 against a US dollar. The CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, in a statement, asked banks to place the accounts of the 38 companies on Post-No-Debit (PND) order. Premium Times had reported that Segun, one of Adebutu’s children and other management officials of Premier Lotto were in January detained at the EFCC office in Lagos. The officials of the commission had said the investigation was as a result of a petition submitted by Western Lotto, another betting company run by late Buruji Kashamu. The probe might be expanded to include other betting companies and investigate claims of sharp practices and how some firms allegedly withhold funds from winning customers as the country is presently facing one of its biggest dollar crunch in recent years with the impact hurting critical sectors of the economy.
A farmer organisation has said that floods washed away at least two million tons of rice in Nigeria, the second-largest importer of the grain. This indicates more than 25% of the previously projected national output of 8 million tons. In Kebbi for instance, at least 450,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) were said to have been destroyed, according to Mohammed Sahabi, the state chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria. Kebbi is the country’s main rice-growing state. Planters had targeted a 2.5 million ton contribution to the national basket, but will now meet less than 20% of that. Farmers in five other states — Kano, Nigeria, Enugu, Jigawa and Nasarawa — also reported damage. The farmers had forecasted flooding this year but didn’t expect that the damage will this extensive, Sahabi said. They are looking at only 500,000 tons of harvest, he added. The National Emergency Management Agency had reported that nearly 50 people died in Nigerian floods this year as torrential rains caused the country’s two main rivers to overflow. The agency had warned that at least 28 of the 36 states were at risk of flooding due to heavy rainfall. Other crops such as sorghum, millet and corn were also affected. Nigeria’s rice production was about 6.7 million tons in the last three years, with imports seen declining by 200,000 tons in 2020 from 1.2 million tons last year as price-sensitive consumers switch to local staples, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.