The United States on Monday imposed additional visa restrictions on Nigerians over election-related activities in Africa’s most populous country, the State Department said, accusing them of being responsible for undermining the democratic process. The restrictions were imposed on the individuals, who were not named, “for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections,” the State Department said in a statement. “These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in the statement. In 2019, the United States imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians it said had undermined elections in February and March of that year. The State Department said it warned in a statement last year that it would consider consequences, including visa restrictions, on those responsible for organising election-related violence or undermining the Nigerian democratic process.
One of the banks of the Kainji Dam Hydro Power Plant burst on Sunday. No cause of the breach has yet been announced. Kainji, built on the River Niger at New Bussa, Borgu Local Government Area, Niger State, was designed to have a generating capacity of 960MW, however, only 8 of its 12 turbines have been installed, reducing the capacity to 760MW. The embankments of the dam caved in after the opening of the four spillway gates to free surplus water caused by heavy rains. Mainstream Energy Solution Limited, which manages the dam opened the points on Sunday but discovered that the dam was impounding more water than it should. Authorities and the firm have shut down the hydro-power station for repairs. Kainji generates electricity for all the large cities in Nigeria and some of its power is sold to neighbouring Niger Republic. Occasional droughts have also made the Niger’s water flow unpredictable, diminishing the dam’s electrical output.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said when Dangote Refinery commences production, it may not significantly reduce the price of petrol because the refinery will be selling at international prices. Ahmed said this is because the refinery is located at the Export Processing Zone in Lagos State, and the only thing the country would not need to pay is the shipping cost. Further making the case, Ahmed said the deregulation of the sector which led to the increase in petrol price was good for the economy as it would encourage investments in refineries. The Dangote refinery is expected to commence operations in 2021 with a capacity of refining 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has given the FG a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the decisions to hike the costs of electricity and petrol. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will meet over the same issue today. In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari with the heading, ‘We cannot bear the burden any longer, issuance of seven days ultimatum’, and signed by TUC President and Secretary-General, Quadri Olaleye and Musa Lawal, the union said the communication was aimed at “bringing the President up to speed on some critical national developments that are impacting the mass of the people negatively.” It listed other grievances to include non-implementation of the new national minimum wage by most of the state governments, the FG’s alleged inability to create and sustain a uniform salary calendar for transparency, corruption in MDAs and purported shadiness in the handling of COVID-19 funds. Rising from its meeting, TUC demanded that the government should take immediate steps to overturn the increase in prices as it affects electricity, petrol and all other social services in the country within seven days. It also charged the government to provide adequate and qualitative healthcare and education for all, as well as protect the poor and the vulnerable across the federation. Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties has said it had mobilised civil society groups to join the unions in demanding for reversal of the power and petrol price increases.