The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, on Tuesday, started drilling for oil and gas at a field in northern Nigeria that has reserves of one billion barrels, as the country seeks to produce crude outside the Niger Delta for the first time. In a statement, the Company said that phase one of the Kolmani project in the northeast would have an oil refinery, gas processing unit, 300-megawatt power plant and a fertiliser plant producing 2,500 tonnes a day. NNPC Ltd first announced in 2019 the discovery of crude oil, gas and condensate in commercial quantity in the Kolmani area between Bauchi and Gombe States in northeastern Nigeria, a region that is battling an Islamist insurgency. President Muhammadu Buhari also said that Kolmani had one billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas. “It is therefore to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is near zero appetite for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the location challenges, we are able to attract investment of over $3 billion to this project,” Buhari said at a ceremony to start the oil project. Buhari urged NNPC and its partners to work with local communities and draw lessons from the restive Niger Delta, where militants have in the past blown up pipelines, accusing oil companies of neglecting locals.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has held that by the combined provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot stop its Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) until 90 days to election. Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgement on Tuesday, equally held that “It is the constitutional responsibility of the defendant (INEC) to make sure that prospective Nigerian voters, who have shown the desire to register to vote, are not deprived of their civil right to register and participate in the forthcoming general elections scheduled to take place on 25 February 2023 and 11 March 2023.” Justice Ekwo said INEC “is expected, pursuant to the provisions of sections 76(2), 77(2), 116(2), 117(2), 132(2) and (5), and 178(2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), as well as sections 9(1), 9(6), 10(1) and 12(1) of the Electoral Act 2022,” to continue voters registration, update and revise voters’ register until 90 days before the General Election billed to take place on 25 February and 11 March.” However, the judge declined to order INEC to resume the voter registration exercise it suspended on 31 July 2022 in view of the time left before the general elections. The judgement was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1343/2022 filed by four Nigerians – Anajat Salmat, Mr Earnest Stanley, Chief Charles Okafor and Mr Samuel Oluwakemi – with INEC as the sole defendant.

The Monetary Policy Committee raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) again by 100 basis points to 16.5 percent; the fourth straight hike this year. This was in consideration of the fragile growth and persistent rise in inflation. Nigeria’s headline inflation accelerated to its highest level in 17 years to 21.09 percent in October 2022, from 20.77 percent in September. The CBN had in the last few months increased its monetary policy stance by a combined 400 basis points to rein in inflation.  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; retained the CRR at 32.5 percent; and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent.  Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, who announced the decision after the meeting said, “the MPC noted with concern the continued aggressive movement in inflation, even after the three consecutive rate hikes at its previous meetings. He expressed its unrelenting resolve to restore price stability while providing the necessary support to strengthen the fragile recovery.”

Boko Haram militants killed at least 10 Chadian soldiers in an attack on a military unit in Lake Chad province near the Nigerian border on Tuesday, the Chadian government said in a statement. The unit had been dispatched as a precursor to setting up an army post on the island of Bouka-Toullorom, between the villages of Ngouboua and Kaiga, where Boko Haram has carried out several offensives in recent years. Militants attacked early on Tuesday morning, killing around 10 men and wounding several others, the statement said.