Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has condemned the killing by unknown gunmen of a nurse it employed in Zamfara in northwest Nigeria, an area at the epicentre of a surge in violent crime in which thousands have been abducted. MSF said nurse Mohammad Hassan, 37, was killed on 2 October when armed men opened fire on the public transport vehicle in which he was travelling. “Mohammad’s tragic death is an example of the rising violence in N-W Nigeria that is deeply affecting the lives of the population and has driven thousands of people from their homes,” the organisation said on Twitter on Monday. The whole of northwest Nigeria has been engulfed in crisis since late 2020 when gangs of bandits seeking ransoms or loot began a spate of mass abductions from schools and other violent attacks on villages and on people travelling by road. Zamfara State, which is among the worst-hit states, has been under a telecoms blackout since early September, imposed by the authorities to disrupt coordination among the bandits and help the armed forces to tackle them. Rumours have circulated about what is going on in Zamfara, but there has been little confirmed information. Authorities in neighbouring states have complained that bandits driven out of Zamfara had poured into their territories and were causing havoc. MSF said it provided medical humanitarian assistance to the populations of the Anka, Gusau and Zurmi areas in Zamfara. In Shinkafi, the town where Hassan was based, MSF teams run a 33-bed therapeutic feeding centre and an inpatient paediatric department at the local general hospital, it said.
The FG’s failure to provide a single recognised vaccine database is the major reason the United Kingdom, (UK) has refused to approve Nigeria’s vaccine certificate, reporting from BusinessDay claims. The United Kingdom (UK) relaxed its COVID-19 vaccine policy for more than 50 countries but Nigeria is missing on the list. The UK government had said Nigeria is on the ‘amber’ list, which has restrictions for travellers to the UK, irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID. From 4 October, the UK said the new travel system comes into effect with countries and territories categorised as either “red” or “rest of the world.” While the UK did not give reasons for not including Nigeria on the list of the 50 countries recognised, BusinessDay’s findings show that Nigeria has since been slow to provide a database that could help authenticate the vaccine cards of those vaccinated. Checks show that countries that have had their vaccine certificates recognised by the UK have had to provide a single database with features that would help verify the authenticity of the vaccines, a step Nigeria has been slow to take. Apart from having a synchronised database, travel experts also suggest that IATA travel passes are accepted internationally as an authentic means of vaccine certificate verification. IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. It is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements.
Data from the Debt Management Office have shown that Nigeria spent ₦1.47 trillion on debt servicing payments in the first half of 2021. The country had spent ₦1.02 trillion in the first quarter of the year on both domestic and external debt servicing, while a total of ₦445.45 billion was spent in the second quarter. ₦612.71 billion was spent on domestic debt servicing, from January to March 2021, while the oil-rich country expended $1 billion (₦410.33 billion) on external debt servicing. A further breakdown of the money spent in servicing debts in the captured period showed that From April to June 2021, Nigeria spent ₦322.7 billion on domestic debt servicing and $299 million (₦122.7 billion) on external debt servicing. The official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria, $1 to ₦410.33, as of October 4, 2021, was used for the external debt servicing. For domestic debt, Nigeria spent ₦219.29 billion in January, ₦125.09 billion in February, ₦270.33 billion in March, ₦258 billion in April, ₦42.4 billion in May, and ₦22.3 billion in June. The government in Q1 focused on principal repayments, while in Q2, was on interest payments. The data in Q2 shows that the Federal Government spent a total of ₦322.7 billion on the payment of interest, with ₦50.3 billion expended on the redemption of matured Nigeria Treasury Bills. For external debt servicing in Q1, commercial loans had 76 percent with a cost of $763.04 million (₦313.10 billion), multilateral had 13 percent with a cost of $134.04 million (₦55 billion), and bilateral had 11 percent with a cost of $106.33 million (₦43.63 billion). For external debt servicing in Q2, commercial loans had 53 percent with a cost of $157 million (₦64.4 billion), multilateral had 35 percent with a cost of $103.7 million (₦42.5 billion) and bilateral had 13 percent with a cost of $38.2 million (₦15.7 billion). While the government keeps oiling the debt with huge amounts of money, economists have consistently condemned the development on the premise that the loans were being spent on consumption rather than capital projects that can generate revenue to service the debts.
Ghana has placed members of Nigeria’s national assembly on its terrorism watch list following President Muhammadu Buhari’s independence day address, which indicted the country’s legislators, a House of Representatives member, Ben Igbapka has said. According to Igbapka, who represents Ethiope East and West in Delta state, he was detained for four hours at an airport in Ghana where he had visited for a wedding over Buhari’s comment that a Nigerian lawmaker was sponsoring secessionist agitations in the country. The lawmaker said after being detained, a Ghanaian immigration official apologised saying, following Buhari’s indictment of Nigerian lawmakers, they were “put on red alert to ensure that no member of parliament comes here to hide or cause trouble.” The president’s failure to name the lawmaker had placed 469 members of the national assembly on trial, Igbapka said. He added that he wanted the House to invoke Section 88 of the constitution to compel Buhari to “tell us who among us is sponsoring terrorism.” While Buhari’s claim during his independence day address focuses on secessionist groups, several notable voices have alleged the national assembly of being complicit in the nationwide insecurity, especially terrorism and religious crises. Many authorities, including military intelligence, have accused the lawmakers and officials currently serving within the Buhari regime of being sympathetic to Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and other extremist groups.