Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio stood at ₦32.92 trillion as of 31 December 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a new report. In its Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt report for Q4 2020, the agency said ₦12.71 trillion or 38.60 percent of the debt was external, while ₦20.21 trillion or 61.40 percent of the debt was domestic. “Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s foreign debt showed that $17.93 billion of the debt was multilateral, $4.06 billion was bilateral from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the [Export-Import] Bank of China, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), India and [German state-owned development bank] KfW. “Meanwhile, $11.17 billion was commercial which are Eurobonds and Diaspora Bonds and $186.70 million in(sic) promissory notes.” The report said that the total domestic debt of all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was ₦4.19 trillion with Lagos accounting for 12.15 per cent of the debt stock. Jigawa had the least debt stock in this category at 0.74 percent.

The number of telecom subscribers in the country dropped by 11.84 million in four months, according to the latest industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission. The recent report shows that telcos saw a loss of 4.13 million active subscribers in February 2021, as the industry recorded 195.73 million users in the month. The telcos had lost 46,648 subscribers in November 2020, followed by a drop of 3.38 million subscribers in December 2020 and then a loss of 4.29 million subscribers in January 2021. The four major telecoms service providers also recorded zero porting activities, as the NCC’s directive in December for telcos to suspend sales, registration and activation of new SIM cards hindered porting activities. Globacom, which replaced Airtel as the second-largest operator in January, retained the position with a 27.68 percent market share, while Airtel followed with a 26.28 percent market share. MTN remained Nigeria’s largest mobile network operator with 39.52 percent of the market. 9mobile held 6.41 percent of the market.

A young man identified as Muhsin Abdallah was killed on Monday as police dispersed members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria at a protest in the Maitama district of Abuja. The deceased was reportedly hit by stray bullets believed to have been fired by police operatives while many others were also said to have sustained injuries. The Shi’ites were demanding the release of their detained leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife when the incident occurred. The IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa alleged that “the police fired on the Shi’ites procession killing Muhsin Abdallah and injuring scores of others”. But the Federal Capital Territory Police Command which was silent on Abdallah’s demise said its men dispersed the IMN procession after the protesters went on a rampage destroying public property and attacking police officers and residents. The command spokesperson, Mariam Yusuf, said the operatives “successfully restored calm at Maitama after professionally dispersing a violent protest by some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria”. Yusuf in a statement noted that “unfortunately, the members of the disbanded sect went on a rampage destroying public property and attacking innocent citizens including police officers with stones and other dangerous objects. The police presented pictures of injured police officers and a damaged patrol van.

Ships started moving again through the Suez Canal on Monday after the giant container ship that lay stranded across the critical waterway for a week was finally tugged free. Hundreds of vessels carrying everything from oil to livestock were forced to wait in line after the Ever Given got stuck in the canal. The accident was a stark reminder of the fragility of global trade infrastructure and threatened to further strain supply lines already stretched by the pandemic. Horns sounded in celebration as the container ship — which is longer than the Eiffel Tower and weighs 220,000 tons — limped up the canal after a painstaking rescue operation that saw teams of tugs and dredgers working day and night. Salvage teams used the tides and a full moon to pull the ship from deep inside the sandy bank it had smashed into last week amid high winds and poor visibility. As part of their efforts, they shovelled 30,000 cubic meters (1 million cubic feet) of sand and even removed part of the canal wall. Part of the problem was a five-day wait for two large tugboats, according to Peter Berdowski, chief executive officer of Boskalis Westminster, the parent company of the salvage team. The Suez Canal Authority said it could take around a week to clear the queue of ships. On Monday evening, at least three ships were on the move, according to vessel-tracking data. Egyptian authorities were desperate to get traffic flowing again through the waterway that’s a conduit for about 12 per cent of world trade and about 1 million barrels of oil a day. This has been the canal’s longest closure since it was shut for eight years following the 1967 Six-Day War. Consumer goods, industrial inputs, and commodities from oil to coffee are caught up in the jam, with Asian exporters and European importers affected most directly. The blockage held up about $400 million an hour, based on rough calculations from Lloyd’s List that suggested westbound traffic to Europe is worth around $5.1 billion a day and eastbound traffic is approximately $4.5 billion.