Up to 41 protesters were killed by state-backed actors on Tuesday according to a tally by Nigeria’s Daily Independent newspaper. In Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, soldiers opened fire on Nigerian protesters in the Lekki district, witnesses told me. Protesters have staged demonstrations here over allegations of police brutality for more than a week. “They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said. A Lagos state spokesman told Reuters that he saw reports of a shooting on social media. Eyewitnesses said that one person was killed and several others injured. According to him, they were all sitting on the floor when soldiers began to shoot. Also, videos of continuous gunshots went viral on social media. A popular female disc jockey, DJ Switch, took to her Instagram Live to show the aftermath of the shooting Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Lagos, which contains Africa’s biggest city, in response to the protests, which the state governor said had turned violent. The United States has shut down its consulate in Lagos for two days over the protests. Ekiti and Plateau also announced similar measures and along with Edo, brings to four the number of Nigerian states with active curfews. In Plateau, protests were banned in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas after violence left at least three people dead. The Inspector-General of Police also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces nationwide following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.
The Senate on Tuesday suspended its plenary and adjourned till 24 November. Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the suspension was to enable the various Senate committees to consider the FG’s 2021 budget estimates. According to him, ministers and heads of parastatals will be expected to appear during the break before the relevant Senate committees to defend the allocation for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has repaid most of the arrears it owes to international oil companies for joint venture operating expenses, recently repaying US$3 billion to Exxon and Shell, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a statement from the state oil firm. The NNPC works in joint ventures with the major international oil producers in Nigeria, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, Total, and Eni. However, the stretched finances of the Nigerian company has led to arrears in its payments for contributions to the operating expenses of those joint ventures. Nigeria still owes US$1.7 billion to the oil majors, but it has now repaid most of its dues. In the latest installment of US$3 billion, Exxon received US$2.3 billion, while Shell received US$455 million, according to the statement. The NNPC owes Shell another US$917 million and still must pay US$385 million to Eni, US$304 million to Total, and US$55 million to Chevron. The payments to the oil majors could be a sign that the Nigerian company has shored up finances in recent years, as it also said in a rare financial release last week. Last week, the NNPC said in its second financial statement in over four decades that its losses shrank by 99.7 percent in 2019, while “the outlook for 2020 looks promising” as the state oil firm continued to slash costs. NNPC said in its audited financial statement for 2019 that its loss last year fell to just US$4.4 million (₦1.7 billion), compared to a loss of US$2.1 billion (₦803 billion) in 2018.
Rwanda and Burundi have agreed to start talks to end tensions between the neighbors. Rwanda’s top diplomat Vincent Biruta met his Burundian counterpart Albert Shingiro at the Nemba-Gasenyi border point as part of efforts to kickstart efforts to resolve outstanding bilateral issues. Relations between the two countries have soured since 2015, when conflict broke out in Burundi and the late Pierre Nkurunziza accused Rwanda of backing the dissidents, a claim denied by Kigali. The foreign ministers stressed the need to revitalize the historical relations between the two countries. “This meeting is part of a shared desire to assess the state of bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries and to agree on the modalities of their normalization,” the diplomats said in a joint statement. They said that their respective governments agreed on the need to continue dialogue and normalize relations. The meeting came nearly two months after the military intelligence chiefs of Rwanda and Burundi met at the same location to discuss security issues and cooperation.