Former Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says if elected president, his administration will operate a liberal economy and lower taxes for small businesses. Atiku, who formally declared his intention to run for the 2023 presidency on Wednesday, said business can only grow in a tax-friendly environment. “We will operate a liberal economy that allows small businesses to grow through lower taxes for small businesses and low-income earners,” he said “We will encourage the expansion of the private sector to spur economic growth. For our population to have a positive impact, we must equip our people with modern competitive skills and provide the right environment for them to thrive.” On the state of unemployment in the country, the former vice-president said he has the experience to create more jobs. He said: “More than 100 million Nigerians are either unemployed, underemployed, or unemployable. How could our ever-increasing population be of added value if we do not create opportunities for our people? I know how to create jobs. I built several successful businesses and companies within Nigeria, and as a result of which thousands of people are gainfully employed. If I can manage my businesses well, I can manage the Nigerian economy well.” The vice-president during Nigeria’s first democratic administration in the 21st Century said all the macro-economic indicators were unfavourable under All Progressives Congress (APC) rule and promised a turnaround.

The Senate Wednesday resolved to appeal a judgement issued from the Federal High Court in Umuahia last Friday against section 84(12) of the 2022 Electoral Act. Justice Evelyn Anyadike who gave the ruling held that the Section of the Act was “unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and ought to be struck down as it cannot stand when it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution. Consequently, the court ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to “forthwith delete the said Subsection 12 of Section 84 from the body of the Electoral Act.” But the Senate on the strength of a motion sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) and 80 other Senators, faulted the ruling and resolved to file an appeal against it. The resolution of the Senate reads, “Senate accordingly resolved to appeal the judgement in the suit marked FHC/UM/ CS/26/2022 for the court to set aside the judgement as it was reached without due consideration of the constitutional interpretation in section 318 of the 1999 Constitution as amended”. Sekibo as the main sponsor of the motion had in his lead debate, said section 84(12) nullified by the court states ” no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election “ He argued further that political appointees’ provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act referred to, are neither civil servants nor public servants captured by relevant provisions of the Constitution in the 30 days grace of resignation before the election. The section he explained, was not inconsistent with sections 66(1) (f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(g) and 182(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), seconded the motion. But the Senate President in a move to water down the prayer on appeal, suggested that the matter should be forwarded to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East ), however, countered by saying ” since the prayer on appeal is a direct one, should be adopted by the Senate. The Senate President thereafter put the prayer of the motion for voice votes with a majority of the Senators voting for the need to appeal the judgement.

Nigerian agric tech company ThriveAgric says it has secured $56.4 million (₦23.4 billion) in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors to help its expansion plans. Debt funding is when a company raises money by selling debts instruments to investors. The company disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday. According to the company, the fund also includes a co-investment grant of $1.75 million from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment. ThriveAgric said the new investment would enable the company to grow its 200,000 farmer base and expand into new African markets, including Ghana, Zambia and Kenya. CEO Uka Eje said the investment will help farmers access finance and improve productivity and sales to promote food security. “The new investment takes us one step closer to fulfilling our mission of building the largest network of profitable African farmers using technology to ensure food security. We look ahead with renewed confidence knowing that our smallholder farmers will benefit financially even more from this new investment,” Eje said. “It is great to see that the market has overwhelmingly backed our farmers and they are confident in the strategic decisions we have taken. ThriveAgric has increased its footprint to 20 states in Nigeria, and we look forward to a lengthy period of growth as we continue to link African farmers to capital, data-driven best practices and access to local and global markets for their commodities,” he added.

More than 6,000 people have fled their homes in Gambia and Senegal following clashes between Senegalese soldiers and separatists near the Gambian border earlier this month, Gambia’s government said Tuesday. The Senegalese military launched an operation on 13 March against rebels fighting for independence in the West African country’s southern Casamance region, which borders the Gambia. Fighting pushed 691 people in Casamance to cross over and seek refuge in the Gambia, a tiny country of around 2 million inhabitants almost entirely surrounded by Senegal, said its National Disaster Management Agency in an assessment of the aftermath. A further 5,626 people were displaced within the Gambia itself after Senegalese bullets landed in border villages. Households hosting the affected are in need of humanitarian assistance, it added. Formed in 1982, Casamance’s separatist movement has been largely dormant since a ceasefire in 2014. But it has continued to finance itself through timber trafficking between Senegal and Gambia and launches occasional attacks. Two Senegalese soldiers were killed when fighting last flared up in January this year.