Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state. The order is part of several measures taken by the state at addressing the root cause of kidnapping and other nefarious activities. In a statement issued on his official Twitter handle, Akereolu said the forests have been turned into a place for felons to carry out their criminal activities. He said, “Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo State. “These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.” He said that as the Chief Law and Security Officer of the state, it is his constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the state. The Governor gave the following orders saying, “All Forest Reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January 2021. “In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its anchor borrowers’ programme is set to release about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the Nigerian market by February.  In a statement released on Monday, the apex bank said this is expected to help reduce the prices of the product, increase demand and enhance the profits of maize farmers. Maize currently sells at ₦155,000 per metric tonne. “As part of the Bank’s financing framework, the CBN has facilitated the funding of maize farmers and processors through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) Commodity Association, Private/Prime Anchors, State Governments, Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS), and the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), ” the statement read. The CBN has been collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in the last quarter of 2020, to facilitate import waivers for four agro-processing companies to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production. Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Bello Abubakar, national president of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) blamed insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and some parts of Kano for contributing to the insufficiency of the product in the market. On his part, Edwin Uche, national president, Maize Growers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), said banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and the activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price. 

Traditional rulers in Ketu communities of Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun have petitioned the Nigerian Army over the alleged connivance of its officers with herdsmen to harass villagers in the state. The monarchs in a petition addressed to the Brigade Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Alamala, Abeokuta, complained that herdsmen invaded their territories with soldiers and harassed their people. The petition read in part, “The Baale was asked to gather his subjects and people from nearby villages which he did. The suspected soldiers told the people that the purpose of their visit was to inform them that the Fulani herders would be coming into their communities to graze cows. “After their address, they asked if anyone had questions or comments to make in reaction to the information. Expectedly, one Mr Seye Mulero responded by calling the attention of the soldiers to the inherent challenges of allowing the herders in their communities based on the sad previous experiences in the community. “That said Seye Mulero further cited past killings, maiming and destruction of farms to buttress his point. Sadly, at this point, the soldiers seized him and mercilessly beat him up. The monarchs asked the military authority to identify, investigate and prosecute the suspected soldiers for the alleged connivance and involvement in the attacks on the villagers by the Fulani herdsmen. News reports quote a source in the army as saying that the Army in Abeokuta was aware of the issues in the areas, including how no fewer than four Fulani herdsmen were allegedly killed by the villagers and their remains could not be found. The state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed that there were lingering problems between the herders and the people in the area.

China stands ready to help Kenya deal with its debt challenges and both sides are holding “smooth” talks over the issues, the Chinese embassy in Nairobi said on Monday. “China attaches great importance to debt suspension and alleviation in African countries including Kenya,” the embassy said in a statement. The East African country’s revenues have been pummelled by the coronavirus crisis, at a time when more of its debts are falling due and as it is still grappling with gaping fiscal deficits. China is one of its biggest external creditors, having lent it billions of dollars for the construction of rail lines and other infrastructure projects in the past decade. China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries under the G-20 debt service suspension initiative, the embassy in Nairobi said. It did not say whether Kenya will get relief through the same initiative or if a separate deal will be struck. Kenya secured a debt repayments relief deal with the Paris Club of international lenders last week and it is seeking further relief from non-Paris Club bilateral creditors.