President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, met behind closed doors with the country’s 36 state governors on the security challenges across the country. He explained that the closure of the land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling of weapons and drugs. The Presidency issued a statement quoting Buhari as asking the state governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies. “Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible,” the President said. While addressing the issues of banditry and kidnapping reported in each of the geopolitical zones, Buhari said “security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.’’ Buhari also assured the governors that the country’s military will continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.

The FG has criticised the United States for adding Nigeria to a religious freedom blacklist, which contains countries with severe religious violations. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Monday designated Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom. “These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement however, faulted the allegations. He said the allegation by the United States of engaging in systematic and egregious religious freedom violations was faulty. Mohammed described the allegation as “a case of an honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of violence in Nigeria”. ”Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does it have a policy of religious persecution. Victims of insecurity and terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions,” the Minister added. Apart from Nigeria, other nations on the blacklist include Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as well as China and Iran. Eritrea, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also on the list.

Martins Oni, a security guard at the Nigerian embassy in Germany has been sacked. In November, Oni was suspended after he was caught on video allegedly soliciting sex in exchange for a passport. In the viral video, which sparked off reactions on social media, the security guard was seen in a hotel where he had planned to meet a woman for sex in order to facilitate the issuance of her passport. Yusuf Tuggar, Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, had ordered an investigation into the incident, saying the security guard would face the law if found guilty. In a statement on Tuesday, the embassy said Oni was found guilty of the allegation, having violated relevant codes. “The Investigation Committee interviewed Mr Oni and other witnesses as part of a thorough examination of these very serious charges,” the embassy said. “It concluded that Mr Oni was culpable and in violation of all the relevant codes. “As a result, Mr. Martins Adedeji Oni’s contract with the Embassy as a Local Staff has been terminated.”

Congo’s parliament descended into chaos on Tuesday as rival political groups flung chairs and buckets in a brawl that laid bare the tensions caused by President Felix Tshisekedi’s move to end an alliance with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila. Tshisekedi announced on Sunday he planned to disband his governing coalition with allies of Kabila, while Kabila’s side said that would be illegal. The standoff has raised fears of fresh instability in the Central African country whose economy has been badly rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and whose recent history has been marked by repeated civil wars and political upheaval. Tuesday’s fight broke out in the main hall of the parliament building between lawmakers and supporters from the two camps, one of whom appeared to be wielding a machete. The two camps have a long history of bad blood. Tshisekedi and his late father were longtime opponents of Kabila, who governed from 2001 to January 2019. Tshisekedi agreed to the coalition after his victory in the disputed 2018 election, in which he defeated Kabila’s chosen successor but Kabila allies won majorities in parliament, entitling them to most cabinet posts.