The World Bank has said that more Nigerians are falling below the poverty line over the years as poverty reduction stagnated since 2015. The Washington-based bank projected that the number of poor Nigerians will reach 95.1 million in 2022. The period quoted by the World Bank was when Muhammadu Buhari was first elected into the office of president of Nigeria in 2015. The Bank said in its report titled, ‘A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment’, that poverty reduction in Nigeria appears to have stalled in the last decade, according to both back-casting and survey-to-survey imputation techniques. The best estimates from the back-casting approach suggest that the poverty headcount rate—at the international poverty line—was 42.8 percent in 2010. This is only slightly below the analogous estimate from inputting into the 2010/11 GHS, 43.5 percent. With poverty dropping by at most a few percentage points over the last decade, the absolute number of poor people is likely to have climbed, given Nigeria’s rapid population growth. The report added that “Since the back-casts provide yearly estimates, they also suggest that poverty may have started declining in the first part of the 2010s, but that this trend halted and then reversed around 2015. This is unsurprising—and indeed is hardwired into the back-casting model through real GDP growth estimates—given the 2016 recession, brought about by weakening oil prices.” According to the institution, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed over five million more Nigerians into poverty by 2022 as about 90 million Nigerians are expected to be poor by 2022. However, due to the pandemic, the projection increased to 95.1 million Nigerians. The World Bank says “Given the effects of the crisis, however, the poverty headcount rate is instead projected to jump from 40.1 per cent in 2018/19 to 42.0 per cent in 2020 and 42.6 per cent in 2022, implying that the number of poor people was 89.0 million in 2020 and would be 95.1 million in 2022. Taking the difference between these two scenarios, the crisis alone is projected to have driven an additional 3.8 million Nigerians into poverty in 2020, with an additional 5.1 million living in poverty by 2022.”

Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives have asked the country to look inward instead of going out of the country to borrow money to fund the budget. The chairman of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on unclaimed funds in commercial banks, Unyime Idem (PDP, Oruk Anam/Ukanafun Federal Constituency) expressed his concern about the situation where the country goes out to borrow money to fund its budget when it has over ₦1 trillion hanging in banks. Idem, who on Wednesday frowned at the situation, said the committee has uncovered over ₦300 billion in unclaimed funds in the banks. The amount, he said, represented a fraction of unclaimed funds in the commercial banks. The chairman described the money as hanging funds emanating from failed transactions by government agencies and banks. He said that the committee was saddled with the responsibility of recovering ₦1.2 trillion which had been hanging in the banks. The committee, according to Idem, was still scrutinising documents and reports sent to it by banks and government agencies, adding that this would help the committee to recover more funds. “The commercial banks are regulated by the government and they cannot refuse us. This assignment is crucial. We will not allow any government agency or commercial bank to undermine our power,” he said.

The Edo House of Assembly has passed the bill for a law banning open grazing of cattle and regulation of other livestock in the state. The legislators passed relevant sections of the executive bill; with amendments to controversial parts of the law, particularly sections 5(7) and 5(8). With the amendment, Section 5 (7) now reads: “a ranch committee to be constituted by the governor shall determine the size of the land suitable for ranching in conjunction with the community where the ranch is proposed”. Section 5 (8) of the amended law also reads that “the committee shall control the activities of cattle herdsmen within various communities”. If signed into law, the bill would also compel landowners to apply to the committee in writing of their intention to operate a ranch with a piece of property. Section 9(1) empowers the state governor to designate land for ranching in the state. The Speaker of the house, Marcus Onobun (APC, Esan West State Constituency), directed the clerk of the house to give the bill its third reading and forward clean copies to the governor for his assent.

Tunisia’s political crisis escalated on Wednesday as members of the suspended parliament met online in defiance of President Kais Saied, voting to repeal decrees that have given him near-total power, and he responded by dissolving the chamber. The online session was the first attempt by parliament since Saied suspended it in July and moved to one-man rule in a move his foes called a coup, and he accused those who took part of “a conspiracy against the security of the state”. Some 124 MPs out of the total 217 attended the online session and 116 voted against the “exceptional measures” Saied has used since July, brushing aside the 2014 democratic constitution, deputy speaker Tarek Ftiti said. The move represents parliament’s most direct challenge to Saied, who had warned a session would be illegal, but while it represents growing opposition to Saied and a challenge to his legitimacy, it is not likely to alter his grip on power. Speaking afterwards, Saied said he would dissolve parliament and the justice minister said he had opened an investigation into members who took part. “We must protect the state from division. … We will not allow the abusers to continue their aggression against the state,” Saied said in a video posted online. Parliament’s increased confidence reflects broadening opposition to Saied as he tries to rewrite the constitution, take control of the judiciary and impose new restrictions on civil society. Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament with a quarter of the seats, and its leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who is a parliamentary speaker, have been his most vocal critics. Although political parties remain deeply divided against each other, more of them are now openly rallying against Saied and demanding he adopts an inclusive approach to any efforts to restructure the country’s politics. Tunisia threw off autocratic rule in a 2011 revolution and introduced democracy, but its system that shared power between the president and parliament has proven unpopular after years of political paralysis and economic stagnation.