Troops have rescued five expatriates from suspected militants at Yellow Island in Rivers. The victims, three Russians, one Ukrainian and one Equatorial Guinean abducted on 9 May, were freed by a joint team from Forward Operating Base Bonny, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder and troops of 146 Battalion. Defence spokesperson, Major General John Enenche, said the men were presently at NNS Pathfinder medical centre receiving medical attention. The troops also raided four identified militants’ hideouts at Ibiakafemo, Idinkiri, Tombie and Ogboma. The identified camps were subsequently destroyed to deny the pirates freedom of action. The joint team also intercepted two large wooden boats laden with an estimated 350,000 litres of suspected stolen illegally refined diesel and about 10,000 litres of stolen crude oil. The stolen petroleum products have been recovered to the base.
The FG has ordered a “full-scale investigation” into the report by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) about the theft of ₦2.67 billion in meal subsidies meant for the country’s 104 Unity colleges during the COVID-19 lockdown. The government said the investigation aims to establish the veracity of the claims to ensure that there was no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of the same. In a statement, the Federal Ministry of Education said the investigation was opened in response to queries issued by the ministry to school principals requiring an explanation for payments on meal subsidies to Unity Colleges on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System. The ICPC had said in September that it found billions of naira in some private accounts which was meant for the provision of school feeding to federal colleges during the lockdown.
States’ Internally Generated Revenue dropped to ₦612.87 billion in the first six months of 2020 from ₦693.91 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, according to new National Bureau of Statistics data. In its report published on the ‘Internally Generated Revenue at state level for half year 2020’, it said that the new figures “indicates a negative growth of -11.7 percent year on year”. The Q2 2020 figures for the states and the Federal Capital Territory fell to ₦259.73 billion from ₦353.14 billion in Q1 2020. This indicates a negative growth of -26.5% quarter on quarter.” Lagos accounted for 33% of all state IGR at ₦204.51 billion in H1 2020, followed by Rivers (₦64.59 billion), the FCT (₦35.2 billion), Delta (₦30.8 billion) and Ogun (₦28.6 billion). Jigawa propped up the IGR laggards (₦3 billion) followed by Ekiti (₦3.2 billion), Adamawa (₦3.75 billion) and Gombe (₦3.78 billion).
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS announced Tuesday that it was ending sanctions imposed against Mali after a military coup in August, saying it wished to back the return to civilian rule. In a statement, the Economic Community of West African States said “heads of state and government have decided to lift sanctions” after noting positive steps towards a constitutional government. The 15-nation group imposed tough sanctions against one of Africa’s poorest countries after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was ousted following mass protests. The coup was bloodless but triggered widespread alarm among Mali’s neighbours. The ECOWAS sanctions, imposed on 20 August, included border closures and a ban on commercial trade and financial flows but not basic necessities, drugs and equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.