Nigeria has taken over from India as the world capital for under-five deaths, according to 2020 mortality estimates released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The development comes two years earlier than the World Bank projected. The global bank had said in 2018 that Nigeria will take over India as the world capital for deaths of children under the age of five by 2021. UNICEF, in the report titled Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, said Nigeria recorded an estimated average of 858,000 under-five deaths in 2019 as against India which ranked second with 824,000 deaths out of 5.2 million under-five deaths globally. This development is despite the fact that India has six times the population of Nigeria.
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday asked a Milan court in Italy to order international oil giants, Eni and Royal Dutch Shell, to pay $1.092 billion as damages for the corrupt purchase of one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks worth about $1.3 billion. The lawyer for the Nigerian government, Lucio Lucia narrated to the court how Eni and Shell took a huge reputational risk in dealing with Dan Etete, a convicted money launderer, and his company, Malabu Oil and Gas, a company whose record couldn’t be found and who they never completed due diligence on. The Malabu oil scam, which has been under investigation for over four years, relates to the billions of dollars paid by oil giants, Shell and ENI, into a Federal Government account for OPL 245, considered the richest oil block in Africa. OPL 245 is perhaps the most-talked-about asset in Nigeria’s oil industry. It covers 1,958 square kilometres and holds over 9 billion barrels of crude oil, equivalent to nearly one quarter of Nigeria’s total proven reserves. Experts claim that the deposit can power the whole of Africa for 20 years.
A former governor of Benue State, who is representing Benue North-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Gabriel Suswan, has asked the Federal Government to set up a judicial panel to unravel the killing of the late Terwase Agwaza alias Gana by soldiers on Tuesday. Gana was killed by some soldiers on September 8 on his way to Makurdi, the state capital, to formally surrender himself to Governor Samuel Ortom. Suswam said, “Even war criminals captured alive are entitled to certain rights. “The claim that Gana was killed in a gunfight needs further explanation because those who accompanied him and who watched him being taken away, including his Local Government Chairman do not believe he was in possession of any arms. An independent judicial commission of inquiry will unravel facts of the matter to serve as lessons for the future. The events of September 8 2020 in my senatorial district where repentant criminals who had surrendered after extensive persuasions were singled out and killed extra-judicially leaves a sour taste and has opened a gaping wound that requires all efforts to heal.”
The Debt Management Office has said Nigeria’s entire debt stood at ₦31 trillion as of June 30, an increase of $2.38 trillion within a space of three months. Nigeria’s total public debt stock includes the debt stock of the Federal Government, the 36 states, and the Federal Capital Territory. The DMO said, “The data shows that in naira terms, the total public debt stock which comprises the debt stock of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the FCT stood at ₦31.009 trillion or $85.897 billion. “The corresponding figures for March 31, 2020, were ₦28.628 trillion or $79.303 billion.” The debt office said the increase in the debt stock was accounted for by the $3.36 billion budget support loan from the International Monetary Fund and new domestic borrowing to finance the revised 2020 Appropriation Act.