The Shura Council of the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) has banned the naira as a means of transaction for the illegal tax it collects from peasant farmers and fishermen, Daily Trust reports. The move appears to be a reaction to the Nigerian government’s move to redesign and reissue higher denominations of its currency. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the ₦200, ₦500, and ₦1000 notes will be reissued by December and by 31 January 2023, the old notes will cease to be legal tender. The paper, citing Zagazola Makama, a counterinsurgency expert in the Lake Chad region, said this move threw the ISWAP population in the Tumbus of Lake Chad into confusion and prompted the switch to the West African CFA, a currency used by most of Nigeria’s neighbours. ZagaZola, according to the paper, said the terrorists also banned all Nigerian fishermen, herdsmen and farmers from sneaking into the Lake Chad area through Marte, Abadam, and Gamborun Ngala in order to prevent the naira from reaching terrorist camps. Ibn Umar and Malam Ba’ana, the ISWAP militant commanders in charge of taxes and levies, who imposed the ban, said the people were only allowed to come through safe routes established by the terror group – Bulgaram, Cikka, Guma, Maltam, Doron Liman and Ramin Dorina villages in Cameroon. In exchange, ISWAP collects 1,500 West African CFA Francs, monthly taxes from the people who appear very willing to pay. They have also secured trade routes for merchants, to enable them access food, weapons, fuel and other logistical support items.
Five people were killed in a clash between soldiers and some suspected gunmen in Isuofia community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra, according to the police. Punch reported that the gunmen attacked the military checkpoint at the Afor-Uzo Junction in Isuofia on Saturday. Eyewitness accounts, however, noted that two soldiers and four of the gunmen were killed during the bloody encounter. It was further gathered that the hoodlums gained access to the community through an entrance to the Umuona community. An eyewitness said that the gunmen first attacked the soldiers and killed two before other soldiers retaliated. Confirming the incident, the state police spokesperson, Tochukwu Ikenga, said the gunmen were repelled through joint security forces of military, police and other security agents. Ikenga added that one Toyota Venza was recovered as the joint task force intensified patrol within the Isuofia community. The police commissioner Echeng Echeng has ordered intensified patrols. Also, the state Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, said a gang of gunmen struck the Nigerian Army checkpoint at Afor-Uzo Junction, Isuofia, adding that security agents neutralised them.
Salaries and wages in Africa’s biggest economy grew in the second quarter of 2022 at the slowest pace since Q3 2020, when the country plunged into the COVID-19-induced recession, a BusinessDay analysis of official data shows. According to new data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the compensation of Nigerian employees (wages and salaries) in real terms fell to 3.93 percent in Q2 from 6.48 percent in the previous quarter. It dropped by 15.51 percentage points on a year-on-year basis from 19.44 percent in Q2 2021. Analysts attributed the slow growth to the high cost of doing business which has been elevated by energy prices and foreign exchange (FX) volatility, high base effect, and the talent exodus from the country, popularly called ‘japa’ (a Yoruba word for “run quickly”). “Industry players continued to face higher costs of operation arising from increased input costs, given the depreciation of the naira, FX liquidity constraints, and structural rigidities,” Cordros Securities said in a recent consumer goods report. Nigeria’s inability to supply and distribute sufficient electricity has left manufacturers at the mercy of alternative energy sources such as generators that consume diesel and petrol, which takes 40 percent of the total production cost, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
On Saturday, the first batch of Kenyan soldiers landed in the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their arrival comes as the M23 rebel group has surged across the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, capturing swathes of territory and inflaming tensions in the Great Lakes region. “The instructions of the Heads of State and the concepts are unambiguous. The friends of Kenya are here on a purely offensive mission”, a spokesman for the Congolese army in North Kivu, Colonel Guillaume Ndjile said. The deployment of Kenyan soldiers comes after Kenya’s parliament approved the dispatch of just over 900 troops to the DRC. The creation of a joint military force was suggested by leaders of the East African Community (EAC) back in June. The unit commander deployed in DRC, Lieutenant-colonel Obiero Denis, detailed the troops’ objective. “We have a mandate to fulfil, and it has four parts”, he told reporters. “The first is to work together with our colleagues in the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) to eradicate the negative forces, and the second is to work with the humanitarian community to assist the internally displaced”, he concluded. The UN’s humanitarian agency estimates that recent fighting in North Kivu has displaced over 180,000 people. The regional force will be under Kenyan command though its total size remains unclear.