Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday met behind closed doors in Abuja. Sources in the PDP said the meeting between Atiku and Wike was held at the residence of a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Prof. Jerry Gana, signalling what observers believed were reconciliatory moves to pacify the governor. The source said, “Atiku and Wike met this (Thursday afternoon) at the residence of Jerry Gana. It was a good meeting, from what I gathered. “They exchanged pleasantries and they have resolved to move the reconciliation to the next stage.” Asked if it is safe to assume that Wike and Atiku have settled, the source said, “they have started the process; this started with a one-on-one interface. “This will lead to a certain level and they can now resolve all the issues.” The source also said discussions were still ongoing about the choice of the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation.
Following the increase in insecurity across the country, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) on Thursday assured Nigerians that the 2023 general elections would hold and be held in a secured environment. He stated that the president has ordered the police and other security agencies to review their operational strategies and bring an end to the security challenges which posed a threat to the 2023 elections. Monguno spoke at the opening of the workshop on election security management organised by the Nigerian Police Force, titled, ‘The 2023 General Elections: Enhancing National Security Capacity for a Secure and Credible Electoral Process in Nigeria.’ He also said the 2023 elections would be devoid of rigging and other forms of manipulation, adding that the outcome of the elections would be acceptable to the citizens. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakub, said in election preparations, deployment and implementation constitute the most extensive mobilisation that could happen in a country, whether in peacetime or in wartime. In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, vowed that the military would give the needed support to the police and the INEC towards the successful conduct of the 2023 elections.
The budget deficit has risen to at least ₦30.58 trillion in the last seven years, data from budget implementation reports for the third and fourth quarters of 2015; the four quarters of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020; the first three quarters of 2021; and the first four months of 2022 has shown. An analysis of the reports on the website of the Budget Office of Nigeria revealed that Buhari’s administration had spent at least ₦54.98 trillion on budget implementation since its inception but has only financed this spending with ₦24.39 trillion, leaving a deficit of ₦30.58 trillion. A breakdown of some of the expenses revealed that the present administration had spent at least ₦23.66 trillion on personnel costs, pensions, overhead costs, presidential amnesty programme, other service-wide votes, and special interventions. A minimum of ₦14.13 trillion has been spent servicing domestic and foreign debts, and at least ₦10.47 trillion has been spent on capital expenditure. According to the reports, this deficit financing has been largely financed by government borrowing. Also, the country’s total debt profile hit ₦41.06 trillion as of March 2022 from ₦12.12 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office.
A United Nations Group of Experts has said that it has “solid evidence” that Rwandan troops have been fighting alongside the M23 rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and providing it with weapons and support. The findings were contained in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Thursday. The U.N. group “obtained solid evidence of the presence of, and military operations conducted by, RDF (Rwanda Defence Force) members in Rutshuru territory between November 2021 and July 2022,” the report said. RDF members conducted joint attacks with M23 fighters against Congo’s army and Congolese armed groups, and provided the rebels with weapons, ammunition and uniforms, it said. The U.N. group detailed evidence including photos of Rwandan soldiers in an M23 camp, drone footage showing columns of hundreds of soldiers marching near the Rwandan border, and photos and videos showing M23 fighters with new uniforms and equipment similar to those of the Rwandan army. Rwandan troops and the M23 jointly attacked the Congolese army camp in Rumangabo in May, it said. When the M23 took control of the strategic border town of Bunagana in June, Rwandan soldiers were either present or had provided equipment to the rebels, the report said. Some members of Congo’s army have supported and fought alongside a coalition of armed groups including the FDLR, the U.N. report said.