The federal government declared Thursday that the 36 state governors have no basis whatsoever to complain about the $418 million Paris Club refund deductions paid to consultants. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated this at the ministerial media briefing held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He stressed that the governors took steps to pay the consultants but later opted to stop payment and asked for an out-of-court settlement instead. Malami said: “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum comprising of all the governors sat down and commonly agreed on the engagement of a consultant to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club. So, in the first place, it was the governors that engaged the consultant. “When eventually, successes were recorded associated with the Paris Club refund, the governors collectively and individually presented a request to the federal government for the fund and that included a component related to the payment of these consultants that are now constituting the subject of contention. So the implication of that is that the governors in their own right recognised the consultant, recognised their claim and presented a claim to the federal government which were eventually processed and paid to the governor’s forum. “When eventually they made such payments, at a point they took a decision to stop the payment. The consultants instituted an action in court against the governors’ forum but they urged the court to allow them to settle out of court.”

The Defence Headquarters on Thursday said troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have arrested five foreign suspected bandits during a routine patrol at Jiba Local Government Area of Katsina. The suspects are Murtala Wada, Saminu Sani, Shamisu Adamu, Salisu Saadu and Usman Ibrahim. The Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Benard Onyeuko disclosed this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the activities of troops across the country between July 28 and August 11. He also said a bandit informant on the watchlist of the Operatives of the Department of State Services, Mallam Yahaya, was arrested during the period under review. He said a total of 1,755 Boko Haram terrorists’ members and their families comprising 280 males, 523 females and 952 children surrendered to troops at different locations within the week under review, adding that all surrendered terrorists and their families were profiled and handed over to the relevant authority.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says Nigeria’s crude oil production increased to an average of 1.183 million barrels per day (bpd) in July 2022. OPEC made this known in its Oil Market Report for August 2022 which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos. The report said the figure showed an increase of 7,000 barrels per day when compared with 1.176mb/d produced averagely in the month of June 2022. “According to secondary sources, crude oil production averaged 28.92 mb/d in July 2022, higher by 216,000 barrels per day month-on-month. The report said Nigeria’s July Stanbic IBTC Bank Purchasing Manager’s Index rose to 53.2 from 50.9 in June, amid stronger inflows of new orders. It said this helped to underpin a further improvement in operating conditions in the Nigerian non-oil private sector.

Dozens died in anti-government protests in Sierra Leone, police and other sources said on Thursday, sharply raising the death toll from Wednesday’s clashes as shocked citizens stayed mostly behind closed doors in the capital Freetown. Six police officers and at least 21 civilians were killed, the sources said, as hundreds took to the streets in frustration at economic hardship and a perceived failure by the government to cushion the impact of rising prices. One video verified by Reuters from Freetown showed a police officer firing a gun into a crowd. Other verified images from Freetown showed clouds of smoke and teargas as large crowds threw rocks and burned tyres and armed officers patrolled the streets. The protests were concentrated in the opposition’s northern heartland and the capital. Wednesday’s death toll included two police officers killed in Freetown, three in the northern town of Kamakwie and one in the northern city of Makeni, police inspector general William Fayia Sellu told Reuters. At least 13 civilians were shot dead in Freetown, said staff at the city’s main mortuary. Hospital sources said that four civilians were killed in Kamakwie and another four in Makeni. An eerie calm had returned to Freetown on Thursday, residents said, as stores were closed and people stayed in out of fear of unrest. The internet was cut for two hours on Wednesday and again overnight, according to internet observatory NetBlocks. Police said a curfew would remain in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time from Thursday after the government imposed a 3 p.m. curfew on Wednesday in a bid to stem the violence.