In a bid to drive down high food prices, Nigeria has launched the process to permit the importation of genetically modified, drought-resistant wheat. Imports of the GM wheat — patented by Argentina’s Bioceres Crop Solutions — could help augment production by Nigeria’s wheat industry, which is in dire straits, said Dr. Rufus Ebegba, director-general of the. National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). However, Nigeria produces just 60,000 metric tonnes to meet an annual demand of between 4.5 and 5.0 million tonnes, leaving a huge deficit, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Ebegba said the NBMA will go on to accept public comments on the application dossier filed by Trigall Genetics S. A. through July 11. He told the Alliance for Science that the application for importation simply means that Nigeria can import the GM wheat for food and processing, but not for planting. Nigeria has already commercialised its first GM food crop, the pod borer-resistant (PBR) cowpea, and previously approved insect-resistant Bt cotton. It has also approved the import of GM corn for food and processing. Opening the door to GM wheat would further solidify Nigeria’s role as a continent leader in agricultural biotechnology.

Hopes that worsening fuel queues experienced in Abuja and some other cities may soon wear out, were dimmed on Wednesday as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva again attributed the challenges associated with fuel supply to the forces of deregulation and distribution chain system largely controlled by independent oil marketers. He said the federal government, through the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC), has ensured adequate supplies of fuel products but marketing outlets bent on shortchanging the populace by hiking the price are largely responsible for the crisis. Sylva’s claims came shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari before his departure to Senegal for the IDA summit. Meanwhile, Nigeria may not be able to meet its OPEC quota in September due to rising crude oil theft which has seen the country lose 20% of its daily crude production to oil thieves and pipeline vandals. Wale Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando Plc, said this at the 2022 Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) conference and exhibition on Tuesday in Abuja. This comes as the Nigerian government revealed that Nigeria lost a staggering $1 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2022. Tinubu urged the FG and stakeholders to deploy collaborative efforts in tackling the crisis, adding that the implementation of sabotage detection technology, on-ground and aerial surveillance, as well as community policing, will help tame the issues. Tinubu said: “There has been a 43% reduction in our production from March 2020 to May 2022. “We lose almost 20% of our daily crude production to oil thieves and pipeline vandals and 20,000 barrels a day of oil is lost to oil theft. “Basically some three million barrels on average yearly is lost to oil theft and pipeline vandalism.”

The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the Kuje Custodial Centre in Abuja. A video published by the Islamic State A’maq agency, shows what appears to be a view of the Kuje prison while gunshots are heard in the background. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has said that four inmates died and 879 escaped during the attack by the unknown gunmen. NCoS spokesman, Abubakar Umar, said that the attackers broke into the facility using explosive devices through the main entrance and the fence of the facility respectively. He said that a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to the Custodial Centre was killed, adding that three personnel of the NCoS were seriously injured. “A total of 879 inmates escaped from the facility during the unfortunate attack. As at the time of this report, 443 have been recaptured, 551 inmates are currently in custody, 443 inmates are still at large. “Four inmates are dead and 16 inmates sustained various degrees of injuries and are being treated at the moment. However, efforts are ongoing to recapture all fleeing inmates,” he said. Umar said that the Service would deploy its Corrections Information Management System (CIMS) in synergy with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to track all fleeing inmates and return them to custody. He also confirmed to the general public that DCP Abba Kyari and other VIPs held in the facility did not escape adding that they were presently in custody, hale and hearty.

Sudan’s military leader Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan on Wednesday dismissed the five civilian members of the ruling Sovereign Council from their duties, according to a statement issued by the council. The statement gave no reason for the surprise move, which came two days after Gen Al Burhan announced the military’s withdrawal from internationally led efforts to resolve the political crisis plaguing Sudan since a military coup last October. Also on Monday, Gen Al Burhan urged political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a government of “independent technocrats” to run the country during the democratic transition derailed by the October 25 coup he led. The Sovereign Council, he said in a televised address to the nation, would be dissolved when a government is formed and a supreme council of the armed forces is created to take charge of defence and security issues. The dialogue’s facilitators – the UN, African Union and the regional IGAD group – said in a statement on Wednesday that the military’s withdrawal has effectively terminated the negotiations and that they would consult with civilian stakeholders on a new formula to replace it. After the removal of its five civilian members on Wednesday the Sovereign Council’s remaining eight members are made up of five generals and three leaders of rebel groups that signed a peace deal with them nearly two years ago.