Nine militant groups under the coalition of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), have backed out of the ongoing peace talks with the FG on the non-violent approach to issues of the continuous operations of oil and gas facilities. The RNDA in an emailed statement on Tuesday by its Coordinator, ‘Major General’ John Mark Ezonbi, also warned foreign oil vessels to steer clear of the Niger Delta or face dire consequences. The peace talks between the RNDA and the FG, which was initiated last year by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, was allegedly threatened recently by the appointment of Mr Effiong Akwa as the Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The RNDA issued a threat stating that from 7 January, its strike force units in the nine states of the region would start bombing and destroying oil facilities, oil pipelines, major oil ships and vessels coming from Lagos to the creeks of the Niger Delta. The coalition said: “Major vessels and ships are advised to withdraw their services to Warri, Escravos waters, to Bonny NLNG, Port Harcourt waters from the Gulf of Guinea to Nigeria waterways henceforth. “Therefore, any of the ships and the vessels that refuse to comply with our directive will meet with the firepower attacks from the strike force units of the RNDA.

Unclaimed dividends and bank account balances unattended for at least six years will be available as special credit to the federal government through the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund. According to the Finance Act 2020 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the trust fund will be a sub-fund of the Crisis Intervention Fund. The act exempts official bank accounts owned by the FG, state or local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies. According to the act, the monies transferred to the trust fund will be a “special debt owed by the federal government to shareholders and dormant bank account holders”. It also states that the original owners of the money can claim it at any time. The operation of the trust fund will be supervised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and governed by a governing council chaired by the finance minister and a co-chairperson from the private sector appointed by the president. This move will make needed funds available to the federal government without foreign exchange worries or conditions attached to loans from multilateral lenders. Other members of the governing council shall include the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), managing director of the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), a representative of the registrars of companies, two representatives of the shareholders’ association, a representative of the Bankers’ Committee and the director-general of the Debt Management Office as the secretary of the trust fund.

The Nigeria Customs Service on Wednesday said it generated the sum of ₦1,562,115,419,216.32 in 2020. It said that despite the pandemic, the amount generated beat both its target of ₦1,380,765,353,462 and 2019 collections of ₦1,342,006,918,504.55. The NCS in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Joseph Attah, said its revenue generation profile had continued to be on the rise annually because of the ongoing reforms within the service. It further stated that the partial border closure which forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports raised revenue collection from ports. The NCS said, “Before the commencement of the border drill on 20 August 2019, revenue generation was between ₦4 billion to ₦5 billion but now NCS generates between ₦5 billion to ₦9 billion daily. “Diplomatic engagements that took place during the partial land border closure yielded many positive results, including the commitment to comply with the ECOWAS protocol on transit operationalisation of joint border patrols at both sides of the border.”

Pro-Donald Trump protesters, upset at the outcome of the presidential election, stormed the US Capitol Wednesday as Congress met to tally the electoral votes that certify Joe Biden’s election as president. Protesters overwhelmed US Capitol Police outside and numerous protesters breached security and entered the Capitol building, creating a scene of chaos and causing members of Congress to flee the House and Senate chambers to be safely locked down in their offices while some were evacuated elsewhere. After breaching barricades Trump supporters were seen walking through the building, waving flags and clashing violently with security. While Senators were debating an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes raised by Republican Trump supporters, debate was halted when word came that protesters were in the hall outside of the Senate chamber. The Associated Press reports that one person was shot at the Capitol amid a melee with pro-Trump protesters. Donald Trump, in a video posted on Twitter, has told supporters he knows how they feel and repeated false claims that he won the presidential election, before urging them to go home in peace.