An analysis of the highlights of 2020 budget performance presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, showed that between January and August 2020, the FG realised ₦2.5 trillion in revenue and spent about ₦6.25 trillion, creating a record budget deficit of ₦3.7 trillion. At this pace, the government may generate roughly about ₦4.3 trillion in revenue, spend ₦10.7 trillion in expenditure and end the year with a historic deficit of almost ₦6.4 trillion. To put this into perspective, Nigeria budgeted to spend just ₦6.06 trillion for FY2016. As recently as 2018, total government spending was just ₦6.94 trillion. The government is now creating debt at a record pace never seen in Nigeria’s history. This has now pushed the budget deficit to revenue to 174 percent as of August 2020. The debt service burden has worsened to ₦2.1 trillion or 85% of revenue as of August 2020. In H1 2020, the Debt Management Office reported that the national public debt had reached ₦31 trillion.
A lawsuit instituted against All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, and tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta Consulting, by a former Managing Director of Alpha Beta, Dapo Apara, has suffered a setback due to the burning of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere in the wake of the #EndSARS protests. Apara’s lawyer, Mr Tade Ipadeola, in a statement said, “Everything in Igbosere High Court got burnt including the registrar’s copy of our application. In fact, the whole building was burnt to ashes. So, we will have to file again. The registry has been moved to Ikeja. “We may have to file the case afresh at the Ikeja High Court but we have not yet been instructed to do so.” Apara had sued the company, Tinubu and the current Managing Director of the firm, Akin Doherty. Lagos State, which is the epicentre of the #EndSARS protests witnessed wanton destruction following the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza by soldiers on October 20, 2020. On October 21, hoodlums took to the streets, burning at least 10 police stations, two media houses, private business premises, courts and government facilities including the office of the Nigerian Ports Authority on Lagos Island.
The Nigerian Army says the Lagos state government invited it to intervene in the fallout of the #EndSARS protest. Youth protesting against police brutality had refused to stay off the roads despite a 24-hour curfew imposed by Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Subsequently, soldiers went to the protest ground at Lekki toll plaza and opened fire on the protesters. The incident sparked an outrage and Sanwo-Olu blamed the incident on “forces beyond my direct control”. But Major Osoba Olaniyi, an army spokesman, said soldiers stayed away from the #EndSARS protests until the Lagos government invited them to restore order. Olaniyi said while restoring order, soldiers did not shoot protesters, describing reports on the attack of the protesters by the military as fake. The military broke its silence on the crisis a day after Mr Sanwo-Olu told CNN that footage of the shooting showed that the Nigerian Army is responsible for the incident.
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister, told parliament on Tuesday, that the only way to keep citizens in check is to replicate China’s draconian crackdown on civil liberties. Mr. Mohammed’s comments before the House of Representatives’s Information Committee to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget said, “When we went to China, we could not get Google, Facebook, and Instagram. You could not even use your email in China because they made sure it is censored and well regulated.” Mr. Mohammed spent enormous political capital seeking to control Nigeria’s social media and blogosphere since he was appointed by President Buhari. His latest call comes as Nigerians are using social media to rally against decades of police brutality and corruption. Rights advocates have pushed back against attempts by Mr. Mohammed to regulate speech of citizens. His associates in the parliament have also been repeatedly rebuffed, with at least two different bills seeking regulation of social media being shut down since 2015.