The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that its projected monthly remittance to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) – the government body responsible for sharing revenue proceeds among Nigeria’s federal and state governments – for May will be zero. The corporation said this in a letter to the Accountant-General of the Federation, on 27 April, according to a report by news site TheCable. In March, Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, had warned that the corporation can no longer bear the burden of underpriced sales of petrol to consumers. He, however, promised that there will be no increase in the price of petrol until talks between the government and stakeholders are concluded. “The price could have been anywhere between ₦211 and ₦234 to the litre. The meaning of this is that consumers are not paying for the full value of the PMS that we are consuming and therefore someone is paying that cost,” he said at the time. “As we speak today, the difference is being carried in the books of NNPC and I can confirm to you that NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden.” In the letter to the accountant-general, the NNPC said ₦111.96 billion will be deducted from April 2021 oil and gas proceeds — due to the federation account in May — noting that the deduction is necessary to ensure the continuous supply of petroleum products to the nation and guarantee energy security. “The Accountant General of the Federation is kindly invited to note that the average landing costs for Premium Motor Spirit for the month of March 2021 was ₦184 per litre against the subsisting ex-coastal price of ₦128 per litre, which has remained constant notwithstanding the changes in the macroeconomic variables affecting petroleum products pricing,” the letter read. There has been concern over shortfall in the FAAC revenue for the three tiers of government, with Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, accusing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of printing ₦60 billion to augment the March allocation. However, Obaseki’s claim was refuted by Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, with Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, describing it as a political ploy that is “unfortunate and totally inappropriate”.

A bill to amend the 1999 Constitution so as to create new legislative seats reserved for women scaled second reading in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejocha (PDP, Abia) and 85 others, was considered for second reading and passed. A copy of the bill shows that it proposes the creation of one additional senatorial seat in each state of the federation and Abuja. The seat would only be occupied by women. Currently, each Nigerian state has three senate seats while Abuja has one. While any eligible adult can contest for the senatorial seats, it has always been dominated by men with only eight of the current 109 senators being women. The bill also seeks to create two new federal constituency seats in each state and Abuja that would be reserved for women. Nigeria currently has 360 federal constituency seats in the House of Representatives with only 13 of them currently occupied by women. The bill intends to alter Sections 48, 49, 71, 77, 91 and 117 of the Nigerian Constitution. Should the bill become law, the Nigerian Senate would have a minimum of 37 women while the House of Representatives would have a minimum of 74 women. Furthermore, should the bill be passed into law, the State Houses of Assembly will also get three special seats per state exclusively for women. In her lead debate, Ms Onyejocha argued that the current National Assembly has only 4.4 per cent of its population as women. She added that the situation is worse in State Houses of Assembly. “My respected colleagues, Women have only 4.4% percent representation in the 9th National Assembly. You may wish to note that Nigeria has been identified as the worst performer in women representation in parliaments in the West African region and one of the lowest in the whole of Africa. This is evidenced in the most recent Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ranking of women in parliaments where Nigeria ranks 179 out of 187 Countries Worldwide. Eritrea is the only African Country ranked lower than Nigeria and this is because there have not been national elections since its independence in 1993. The situation is worse at the States Houses of Assembly level, where a good number of our states do not have a single woman in their State Assembly. In some of these states, men chair the Women Affairs Committee because there is no woman available to take the role.” Although the latest bill appears to enjoy significant support among members of the House of Representatives, it still has a long way to go to become law. According to Section 9 (1,2) of the Nigerian Constitution, the constitutional amendment bills must garner two-thirds support in both chambers of the National Assembly. Also, 24 of the 36 State Houses of Assembly must approve the amendment.

Three students who were abducted from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM) in Benue have regained their freedom. Catherine Anene, Benue police spokesperson confirmed the development on Wednesday. The students were abducted when gunmen invaded the school premises on Saturday. Following the attack, the school management had suspended lectures while assuring students of their safety. Confirming the release, Anene explained that the students were freed on Tuesday. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Anene said no ransom was paid for their release, adding that investigation is ongoing. University spokesperson Rosemary Waku also confirmed the release of the students. There has been a series of attacks across the country in recent times, with gunmen invading communities and schools, leading to abductions and killings. Students kidnapped in two separate attacks on Greenfield University and Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation — both in Kaduna — are still in the custody of their abductors. However, five of the students kidnapped from Greenfield University have been found dead, while 10 of the students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation have been released. The Benue varsity incident makes it the sixth attack on schools across the country in 2021, three of which have occurred in Kaduna.

The Ondo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Matters has recommended the payment of ₦755,730,897.83 to various petitioners who suffered damage as a result of a breach of their fundamental rights. The panel, while submitting its report to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday, said it received 77 petitions from public and private persons, as well as corporate organisations. The chairperson of the panel, Adesola Sidiq, a retired judge, said in his submission that besides the payment of the ₦755 million compensation, the panel also recommended the publication of apologies in national dailies, particularly where the reputation of victims had been tarnished. Mr Sidiq, who led other members of the panel, noted that the assignment also considered human rights violations dating as far back as 2003 and which unfortunately remained unresolved until this panel was set up. He said the panel heard 14 criminal and 63 civil matters during its sittings. “Apart from the monetary recommendations which totaled at the sum of ₦755,730,897. 88, the Panel equally recommended publication of apologies in national dailies particularly where the reputation of victims had been tarnished,” he said. The panel was set up to look into allegations of police brutality on citizens at the peak of the protests against injustice inflicted by the police on citizens, tagged #EndSARS. It was targeted at pacifying angry youth who had taken to destructive acts and criminality. While receiving the report, Mr Akeredolu said his government would not be paying compensations for damage done as political groups tried to settle scores during the crisis. The governor, after receiving the report, thanked the committee for doing a thorough job, assuring that his administration would do justice to the report. Governor Akeredolu also assured that his administration would offer apologies where necessary. He also immediately dissolved the committee.