Anxiety has gripped residents of some communities in the Magboro area of Obafemi/Owode Local Government of Ogun State as no fewer than 25 persons were feared dead following an outbreak of cholera in the area. The affected communities include Arepo, Akeran, Akintonde, Sofolarin and Abule-Oko. State health commissioner Dr Tomi Coker, had on Sunday confirmed the incident, saying: “It is predominant among okada [motorcycle taxi] riders and scavengers in the area.” The Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC) in Magboro, Mr Oluwasegun Oladosu, Tuesday confirmed that 15 deaths have been recorded. Highlighting the identity of some of the casualties, Oladosu said that about 10 people of northern extraction, who relocated from the community to Kara (settlement), have died of cholera. Oladosu said commercial motorcyclists (Okada riders) who were of northern extraction were most hit by the outbreak. According to him, some of the okada riders had just returned from a trip and probably might have been infected with cholera. The chairman lamented, however, that relations of the victims did not release the corpses, saying: “They always rush to bury them. A number of them are already fleeing the community. But the information we have now is that 15 people are already dead. “Forget about tribe, we have been living here with the Hausas for a long time, peacefully. But, some of them had travelled recently and they just returned, especially the okada riders. They will always tell you the truth. Some of them came with the disease. Some of them who ran to Kara [a Hausa settlement], we learnt 10 of them are dead.” The CDC chairman said a government team had visited the community and provided drugs for cholera treatment and prevention. Oladosu called on the government to ensure they always enforce sanitation in the community, which he described as very dirty.
The Niger State Internal Revenue Service (NGSIRS) has shut down eight commercial banks and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over ₦456 million in tax debts. NGSIRS executive chairman Mohammed Etsu said the clampdown followed the provisions of relevant tax laws of the state. “What we are doing is in line with the provisions of the relevant tax laws,” said Mr Etsu. He identified the affected banks and their liabilities as Stanbic IBTC (₦113.2 million), Polaris Bank (₦74.8 million), UBA (₦68.9 million), Union Bank (₦47.1 million), First Bank (₦45.7 million), Heritage Bank (₦31.5 million) Unity Bank (₦14 million) and GTB (₦8.2 million). Others listed by Niger included AEDC, with a debt of ₦45.8 million, Aloe Vera International Hotel (₦3.9 million), and Rashida Restaurant (₦3.2 million). Mr Etsu further explained that the NGSIRS’ efforts to make the defaulting organisations pay their tax debts yielded no positive results, leading to the sealing of their business premises. He called on other debtors to pay their outstanding tax liability to prevent the NGSIRS from shutting down their offices. Reacting to the development, Sidikat Shitu, a Minna resident, said she could not withdraw money at a First Bank branch because the Niger government had sealed it off. Ms Shitu added, “I have an emergency to attend to, but I cannot withdraw money here now.”
Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari has said with the benefit of hindsight, his government should never have negotiated with bandits, let alone grant them amnesty. Mr Masari said he did not regret his decision at the time, but admitted that information available to him confirmed that engaging the bandits was not the right thing to do. Consequently, based on current understanding of the situation, the governor said he had set in motion plans to proscribe open grazing of cattle in the state. He said once certain structures were put in place for ranching, nomadic herding would be outlawed in the state. Masari insisted that open grazing of animals should not be encouraged in any form, adding that the practice is even contrary to Islamic doctrines, which forbid allowing animals into other peoples’ land. The governor of the North-west state also identified informants as the greatest challenge to the fight against insecurity in that part of the country.
Senegal-based Wave, a mobile money spinoff from Asia and Africa-focused cheap remittance company Sendwave is now worth $1.7 billion, making it the continent’s latest unicorn startup and the first in French-speaking Africa. The billion-dollar valuation comes after it raised $200 million in a Series A round led by payments giant Stripe; Sequoia Heritage, a private investment fund and unit of Sequoia; Founders Fund; and Ribbit Capital, with participation from other existing investors. No other startup operating in Africa has raised as much Series A. OPay’s recent $400 million raise is the region’s largest venture round, followed by Interswitch’s $200 million investment from Visa and Flutterwave’s $170 million fundraise. All were Series C rounds. Senegal is one of Africa’s fastest-growing mobile money markets, according to a 2020 GSMA report. In 2015, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), the common central bank of eight French-speaking countries in the region (including Senegal), allowed nonbanks to operate mobile money in its member states. Mobile money adoption has expanded since then, driven by early telecom entrants that had the requisite infrastructure and user base (mobile networks and subscribers) to establish the service. Orange is Senegal’s largest mobile operator and controls around 50% of the telecom market share with nearly 8 million mobile users, twice as many as runner-up Free, which has 4.4 million subscribers. Expresso Telecom, a unit of the UAE’s Expresso Telecom Group Limited, holds 22% of the market share, with over 3 million subscribers. All three telecom firms provide mobile money services under the Orange Money, Free Money, and E-Money brands respectively, and along with banks, dominate the digital financial services space. Other third-party providers like fintech have had to make do with small market shares while competing with incumbents. But Wave, a product created by two Americans (Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk) to lower the cost of mobile money transactions, piloted in 2016 and officially launched in Senegal a year later, entered the market with a 70% cheaper service. Wave offers free deposits and withdrawals via its mobile application and applies a fixed transaction fee of just 1% for money transfers between individuals. Unlike its competitors, Wave passes additional fees on bill payments from users on to businesses.