The Lagos State Government says a new date for public and private primary and secondary schools to resume in the state would be announced soon. A spokesman for the Lagos State Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, announced this on Sunday. Mr Abayomi explained that schools in the state are not reopening on Monday, 4 January 2021, as earlier announced because the second wave of COVID-19 would be a major determinant for the reopening of schools in the state. “Please, recall that the Ministry of Education earlier announced 4th of January as resumption date for the second term 2020/2021 academic session, but this has since been overtaken by the turn of events due to the recent waves of Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of the spike in Coronavirus pandemic, Mr Governor announced the indefinite closure of all schools. To this end, kindly be informed that a new date of resumption will be announced as soon as possible,” Mr Abayomi said. In a related development, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered all civil servants from Grade Level 14 and below to continue working from home till January 18, 2021. This is an extension of the directive issued by the state which required the civil servants of Grade Level 14 and below to work from home for 14 days starting from December 21, 2020.

Nigeria spent almost 2 trillion on debt servicing payments from January to September 2020, the latest data from the Debt Management Office show. The DMO had on Thursday disclosed that the country’s total public debt stock rose by 1.21 trillion in the third quarter of last year to 32.22 trillion amid revenue shortfalls. The debt stock is made up of the domestic and external debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, the DMO said. “The FGN, state governments and the FCT all recorded increases in their debt stock due to borrowings to enable them to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet revenue shortfalls,” the debt office said. A total of 1.53 trillion was spent on domestic debt service while $1.27 billion or 467.44 billion was spent on external debt service payments. Domestic debt service gulped 609.13 billion in the first quarter of 2020; 312.81 billion in the second quarter, and ₦604.19 billion in the third quarter. External debt service payments stood at $472.57 million (170.60 billion) in Q1; $287.04 million (103.62 billion) in Q2, and $507.15 million (193.22 billion) in Q3. The CBN had recently expressed concern over the rising cost of debt service being incurred by the Federal Government. The CBN, in its half-year 2020 economic report, said the trajectory of Federal Government’s debt further constrained fiscal policy during the period, as interest payment obligations amounted to ₦1.15 trillion in the first half of 2020. The regulator said at 19.2 percent, the debt-to-GDP ratio indicated a solid solvency position of the government. “However, the rising cost of debt service underscores a precarious liquidity position that could impair the government’s fiscal space, as well as its growth objectives,” it added. The International Monetary Fund said in December that Nigeria needed significant revenue mobilisation — including through tax policy and administration improvements — to create space for higher social spending and reduce fiscal risks and debt vulnerabilities. With high poverty rates and only a gradual recovery in prospect, revenue mobilisation will need to rely initially on progressive and efficiency-enhancing measures, with higher VAT and excise rates awaiting until stronger economic recovery takes root, it added.

Some bandits on motorcycles invaded Kaya Village in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed no fewer than 19 people, including the leader of the volunteer team in the area. At least nine people sustained gunshot wounds in the incident that started from New Year’s day (Friday) to Saturday night. Several houses, shops as well as motorcycles were burnt during the reprisal attack by the bandits. The Kaya village in Kaduna Central Senatorial District shares a border with Hayin Kaura village of Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State. The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the attack on Sunday, said trouble started on New Year’s day when bandits attacked Kaya town and kidnapped some locals, including two married women. Mr Aruwan explained that the bandits were pursued by a combined team of volunteers from Kaya and from Hayin Kaura village of Katsina State in keeping with their practice of supporting security efforts in their respective communities. However, he added that the bandits in the course of the confrontation, kidnapped and killed one Shamsu Umar, a leader of the Kaya volunteers. According to him, the corpse of Umar was found on Saturday after a search operation in the forest. Aruwan continued that on the same day, some persons came across some herders, “and in apparent retaliation for the killing of Shamsu Umar, killed four of them.” Mr Aruwan also said the government was in possession of highly-disturbing images after the attacks. 

Rebel fighters in the Central African Republic attacked and partially occupied a diamond-mining town on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing four security and humanitarian sources said. The attacks come a day before authorities are due to declare results of the presidential election. At least five rebels were killed and two army soldiers wounded in the clashes in Bangassou, which lies on the southern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSCA said in a statement. Rebels, whom the government and United Nations say is backed by ex-president Francois Bozize, launched an offensive last month after the constitutional court rejected Bozize’s candidacy to challenge President Faustin-Archange Touadera in last Sunday’s vote. Bozize’s party officially denies he is working with the rebels, but some in the party have suggested they are working together. After hours of fighting on Sunday, CPC fighters had entered Bangassou by late afternoon, the sources told Reuters, although it was not clear to what extent they were in control of the town. Two of the sources said army soldiers had taken refuge at the MINUSCA base in Bangassou. Threats and attacks by the rebels kept more than 14% of polling stations closed on election day. Complete results are expected today. The country descended into chaos in 2013 when mostly Muslim rebels ousted Bozize, sparking reprisals from mostly Christian militias.