South African retailer, Shoprite Holdings, has announced the conclusion of the sale of its Nigerian operations. The company said it would shut down operations in the country by disposing of a 100 percent equity stake in its Nigerian retail supermarkets. In its latest financial report for December 2020 operations obtained from the company’s website on Tuesday, Shoprite stated that the company was awaiting approval from the Nigerian Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission after lodging the transaction with the commission. According to the company, the management expects the transaction to be approved by the end of the 2021 financial year. Shoprite added that the management was in the process of concluding a franchise agreement for the Shoprite brand to remain in Nigeria as well as an administration and services agreement to provide support to the new shareholders with operating the outlets. CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said, “We are at the approval stage in terms of the sale of our Nigeria supermarket operation. From here, our capital allocated to the region remains at a minimum and we continue to manage costs as best as we can.” The company had in its half-year 2020 financial report in August, announced that it would formally exit its Nigerian operations citing unfavourable market conditions.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Maire Technimont have signed off on a $1.5 billion contract for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery. The refinery has the capacity to process 210,000 barrels of crude per day. The contract is expected to run in three phases of 18 months, 24 months and 44 months respectively. The project is expected to be funded by the NNPC, budgetary provisions, IGR and the AfreximBank. LEADERSHIP reports that the major source of concern is that although the nation’s debt to GDP ratio stands at 34 per cent, one of the lowest globally, the nation is not making enough money to service its debts. Also, 93% of government revenue is currently used to service debts. The rehabilitation of the refinery has generated a lot of controversies as many have expressed a lack of trust and fear that the funds might be going down the drain and will further deepen the debt profile of the country needlessly. The contract was signed on Tuesday by the Managing Director of the Refinery, Ahmed Dikko, as well as the vice president of Tecnimont, Sub-Saharan Africa, Davide Pellizola.

President Muhammadu Buhari has named Usman Alkali as the new Acting Inspector General of Police. Mr Alkali replaces Mohammed Adamu who is ‘retiring from the police and as the inspector-general. The announcement of the new police chief was made by the minister of police affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, while briefing journalists at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday. The appointment comes a few days after more than 1,800 prisoners escaped on Monday after a group of men armed with guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other explosive devices attacked a prison and a police facility in the city of Owerri, Imo. President Muhammadu Buhari called the incident an “act of terrorism”. The Yobe-born Alkali has held several strategic positions in the past. These include Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone-5 (Benin, Zone-4 (Makurdi), Zone-7 (Abuja), Commissioner of Police, FCT and Delta commands. Until his recent posting, he was Deputy Inspector-General in charge of Finance and Administration. His appointment comes as gunmen attacked and set ablaze a second police station in Imo on Tuesday – this time in Ehime Mbano – hours after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s visit to assess the damage from the earlier raid.

Egypt and Sudan said on Tuesday that the latest round of talks with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Kinshasa have ended with no progress made. Delegations from the three countries were meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo hoping to break a deadlock in negotiations over a project Ethiopia says is key to its economic development and power generation. Egypt fears the dam will imperil its supplies of Nile water, while Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and water flows through its own dams and water stations. Before the meetings began, Egypt had said they represented the last chance to re-start negotiations before Ethiopia begins to fill the dam for the second year in a row after seasonal rains begin this summer. Sudan’s foreign minister Mariam al-Sadig al-Mahdi told reporters on Tuesday that Ethiopia’s insistence on such unilateral moves represents a violation of international law. “This Ethiopian intransigence requires Sudan to consider all possible options to protect its security and its citizens,” the Sudanese irrigation and water resources ministry said in a statement. Ethiopian water minister Seleshi Bekele did not respond to texts and calls seeking comment. Sudan and Egypt were aligned on a proposal to include the European Union, United States and United Nations in the negotiations, as an addition to current African Union mediators. Both countries said Ethiopia rejected the proposal during the meeting, as well as other suggestions to restart negotiations. “This position reveals once again Ethiopia’s lack of political will to negotiate in good faith,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. Sudan, which is also locked in a border dispute with Ethiopia, had hosted Egypt for air force training exercises that concluded on Saturday. Last week, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said there would be “inconceivable instability in the region” if Egypt’s water supply were affected by the dam. “Without a new approach to negotiations, there becomes space for Ethiopia to impose a fait accompli and put all the peoples of the region in grave danger,” said al-Mahdi.