Nigeria’s main opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has picked Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate for the February 2023 election. Mr Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), announced the choice of Mr Okowa, a state governor, on Thursday. Political parties in Nigeria have until the end of today to submit the names of their presidential candidates and running mates. Mr Okowa, a former senator is into a second four-year term as governor of Delta state. Mr Abubakar, a Muslim from northern Nigeria was expected to pick a running mate from the Christian-majority south. However, many are worried about Mr Okowa’s links to James Ibori, a former Delta governor convicted of money laundering in the United Kingdom in 2012. Ibori is still highly influential in Delta state politics and, many believe, had a hand in the election of Mr Okowa as governor. The PDP is seeking to reclaim power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which will field Bola Tinubu as its presidential candidate. Mr Tinubu is yet to announce a running mate.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a rise in freight rate for petroleum transporters above the current ₦25 per kilometre, to enable transporters to get diesel in trucking petrol and other products. The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in a statement on Thursday, said the approval was made after due consultations with industry-wide stakeholders. Although the authority declined to provide the current rate, the previous rate of ₦25 per kilometre was approved in January 2022. Daily Trust quoted some unnamed members of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) hinted that the new rate was a ₦10/km increase bringing the freight rate to N35/km. The NMDPRA said the review was necessitated by the upswing in the global price of petroleum products especially Automotive Gasoil (Diesel) and its implication on the cost of transporting petrol nationwide. “The transporters freight rate has been reviewed to reflect current market realities. The revised freight rate takes effect from 1st June 2022 while still maintaining the current regulated PMS pump price of N165/litre,” it noted. The authority also said an inter-agency team is being constituted to reconcile and pay outstanding transporters’ claims under the Bridging Fund Scheme. It, however, reiterated that the NNPC as the sole supplier of petrol currently maintains over 32 days of fuel sufficiency in-country.

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says only four states and the FCT have commenced the payment of pensions to employees under the contributory pension scheme (CPS). They are Lagos, Osun, Kaduna, Delta, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The agency disclosed in its latest report titled “Status of implementation of the CPS by states and the FCT for the first quarter of 2022”. According to PenCom’s report, 25 states have enacted laws to join the CPS. Of these states, only 15 (Lagos, FCT, Osun, Kaduna, Delta, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Benue, Kebbi, Niger, Rivers, Ogun, Bayelsa, Kogi) have established pension bureaux/boards in line with the CPS. Despite enacting the CPS laws, Anambra, Abia, Taraba, Imo, Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Enugu, and Oyo states are yet to establish a pension bureau to drive the implementation of the scheme. The report added that eight states, namely Kwara, Plateau, Cross Rivers, Borno, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Katsina and Yobe, were still at the bill formation stage. It means that they are yet to enact a law on the CPS to guide the implementation of the scheme. Jigawa, Kano, Gombe, and Zamfara have opted to operate other pension schemes. The CPS is an arrangement where both the employer and the employee make contributions towards the payment of the employee’s pension at retirement. It is fully funded through the monthly pension contributions that are remitted into an employee’s retirement savings account (RSA) managed by the pension fund administrator (PFA).

More than 15,000 people have fled a new wave of attacks in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The renewed attacks began about a week ago in the south of the province, which was considered a safe area. Conflict in the area started in 2017. Since then, more than 4,000 people have been killed and 800,000 forced from their homes. The fear of more attacks by jihadist groups has triggered the movement of thousands of people, an IOM report indicates. Many of them are children and there are at least 125 pregnant women among the terrified population – some of whom are fleeing for the second time, now abandoning the places where they were starting to live again. The new attacks are in areas around 100km (62 miles) from Pemba that have been a refuge for populations displaced in recent years. The IOM says that people should only “voluntarily” return to the areas where they fled, contradicting a push by Mozambican authorities for the people to return.