A panel set up by Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission has recommended the dismissal and prosecution of a number of police officers for torture, extra-judicial killings and illegal detentions. The committee, set up in the wake of mass street protests against police brutality in 2020, has not said how many officers it wants to be dismissed or prosecuted but said it will communicate this at a later date. The panel headed by a senior judge, Sulaiman Galadima, has also ordered the payment of compensation to victims of police brutality. Earlier this month, dozens of victims or their families had received similar compensations totalling about $700,000 – the first of such payments since the national panel was set up. The protests which took place nearly two years ago under the hashtag #EndSars were against a notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or SARS. The protesters forced the authorities to disband the unit – created to fight violent crime including armed robberies and kidnappings.
The Senate has passed a bill seeking to increase the maximum number of judges in the appeal court from 90 to 110. The upper legislative chamber passed the bill on Tuesday after Opeyemi Bamidele, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, presented a report. Increasing the number of judges, Bamidele explained, is an effort to eliminate delay in the delivery of justice. According to him, the bill was designed to bring justice closer to litigants in line with the “current reality at expediting the administration of justice”. “This is necessary in order to eliminate delay in the justice delivery systems, as it relates to the adjudicatory powers of the court,” the senator said. “This proposed amendment undoubtedly is targeted at increasing the workload of the court and enhancing its effective performance. “The one silent improvement of this bill is the aspect that seeks to integrate virtual court proceedings, which have become an integral part of our court proceedings. “This also is in line with the guideline given to courts by the chief justice of the federation, as justice will no longer be delayed.” Thereafter, the senate considered clauses of the bill in the “committee of the whole” and subsequently passed them.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, raised its benchmark interest rate, known as Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), to 15.5 percent, the third straight hike this year. The CBN, after the two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, also raised the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 32.5 percent from 27.5 percent. The CRR is the share of a bank’s total customer deposit that must be kept with the central bank in the form of liquid cash. This was in consideration of the persistent rise in inflation rate and fragile growth. Nigeria’s headline inflation accelerated to the highest level in 17 years at 20.52 percent in August 2022, from 19.64 percent in the previous month. The CBN had in the last few months increased the MPR by a combined 250 basis points to rein in inflation. In its meeting in May 2022, the CBN raised its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points to 13 percent, the first time in six years. It raised it further in July by 100 basis points to 14 percent. After the meeting, MPC members unanimously voted to retain other parameters. Consequently, the CBN retained the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR: and the liquidity ratio at 30 percent.
Niger has temporarily stopped issuing authorisations for oil product deliveries to neighbouring Mali unless they are destined for the United Nations peacekeeping mission there, the government said. In a statement dated 21 September and seen by Reuters on Tuesday, Niger said it would also revoke authorisations that had already been issued but did not specify any reasons for the suspension. The move echoes tensions between the two West African countries that have escalated since military officers seized power in Mali in August 2020 and started collaborating with Russian mercenaries to fight Islamist militants. Mali’s industry and commerce minister, Mohamed Ould Mahmoud, told Reuters the impact of Niger’s move would be minimal. “This could have an impact on regions in the north but even there, imports from Algeria are more important,” Mahmoud said.