Many people were injured on Thursday when members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria and the National Union of Road Transport Workers clashed in the Obalende area of Lagos. Passersby, residents and business owners operating in the area fled for safety as the groups exchanged gunfire around 0700 hours. A witness told reporters that the fight was over the Obalende motor park. “The RTEAN members drive cabs, while the NURTW drive buses. The park in question belongs to the NURTW, but because the RTEAN wanted to take it over, they attacked the NURTW members around 7am today (Thursday). They actually hired hoodlums to take over the park for them. Their mercenaries opened gunfire on the NURTW members, who resisted them. Nobody died, but many people got injured. One of the people contracted was arrested and he confessed that they were brought from Ikorodu.” A spokesperson for the NURTW, Lagos State chapter, Jimoh Buhari, said Ranti Ibrahim, a thug who came in from Ikorodu, had been handed over to the police.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero, has said an estimated 9.2 million Nigerians from 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory face food insecurity. He also said the current food system in the country needed re-evaluation. Kafeero spoke during a webinar organised by the FG and United Nations for journalists on ‘Nigeria national food systems dialogue’ on Tuesday. Part of the aim of the webinar was to lay the foundation for a series of dialogues across the country to chart pathways towards ensuring resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems in Nigeria by 2030. “As of October 2020, an estimated 9.2 million Nigerians from 16 states and the FCT were food insecure,” he said, adding that the food security situation would likely worsen in 2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kafeero emphasised the need for the government, food producers and processors, traders, donors and other partners to work together in evaluating the current food system and making it improved and sustainable.
No protest will be held at the Lekki Tollgate on Saturday, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu has said. The police commissioner made this known at a briefing on Thursday, noting that some “criminal elements” had concluded plans to cause another set of mayhem like the destruction that trailed the #EndSARS protests last October. The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate, last Saturday decided to hand over the tollgate back to its operators, Lekki Concession Company after forensic experts submitted their report on the October 20, 2020 incident. Subsequently, hashtags such as #OccupyLekkiTollgate and counter-protest hashtags such as #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornYourPapaWell trended online. Both protests are slated for Saturday. But the Lagos CP on Thursday said, “Organising any protest in furtherance of the recent violent and destructive #EndSARS protest will be counterproductive to the ongoing series of inquiries and investigations into many cases related to the #EndSARS violence and the present security situation of the state. “Premised on the available intelligence and due threat analyses carried out on the planned protest, the command perceives such proposed protest as a calculated attempt to cause pandemonium, brouhaha and massive destruction of lives and properties under whatever guide and such will not be allowed in Lagos State. “I, therefore, appeal to the general public, particularly parents and guardians, to discourage and warn their children and wards to ignore any unreasonable call or mobilisation for protest or gathering which runs against the existing peace and security situation of the state.”
Debt-laden Air Namibia, which cancelled all flights earlier on Thursday, has been placed into voluntary liquidation, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said, calling the state-owned airline “unsustainable”. Government said it had considered all other options, which included potential investment from other airlines and turnaround strategies, before it decided to file for liquidation. “The country’s economy can no longer afford to perpetually provide financial support to Air Namibia at the expense of supporting economic growth and critical social services,” Shiimi said during a news conference. Air Namibia, which employs 644 workers, is buckling under mountains of debt. It has failed to produce financial statements in recent years despite regular state bailouts over the past two decades. “It is therefore important for the nation to understand that the current debt of Air Namibia is unsustainable and will jeopardise the economic recovery plan,” Shiimi said. The government estimates it has spent more than 8 billion Namibian dollars ($547.16 million) on Air Namibia, the minister said. The government said it would pay Air Namibia’s employees the value of one year’s salary, over the next 12 months. In a statement posted on Facebook late on Wednesday, the airline said it was cancelling all flight operations and suspending new bookings from Feb. 11. The airline promised to refund customers. The move to liquidate Air Namibia comes less than two weeks after the airline signed a 10 million euros ($12 million) settlement agreement with Belgian flyer ChallengeAir. As part of that agreement, Air Namibia will pay ChallengeAir 9.9 million euros, beginning with a 5 million-euro payment before Feb. 18 and monthly instalments thereafter until January 2022. Namibia’s Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste said the decision to liquidate Air Namibia was not motivated by the problems with ChallengeAir.