Nigeria’s state railway company on Monday resumed a popular train service between Abuja and Kaduna, suspended since in March after gunmen blew up the track, killed passengers and kidnapped several dozen. The military in October secured the release of the remaining 23 hostages from the train attack. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had said the train service would only start once all hostages were freed. Passengers were required to provide national identification numbers, while armed security was on board the train. Multiple media outlets reported low turnout
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says 92.6 million Nigerians have been enrolled in the national identity number (NIN) database. According to the latest data release, Lagos (10.3 million) and Kano (8.1 million) are the states with the highest enrolment. NIMC’s enrolment figures, as of January this year, stood at 72.7 million and in November 2022, the number had increased by 19.9 million. 52.1 million (56 percent) of those captured by NIMC are male while 40.5 million (43 percent) are female. The other states that made the top ten in enrolments include Kaduna (5.5 million); Ogun (3.7 million); Oyo (3.7 million); FCT (3.2 million); Katsina (3.2 million); Rivers (2.8 million); Delta (2.5 million) and Bauchi (2.5 million). The data also showed that Ekiti (971,712), Ebonyi (744,869) and Bayelsa (583,323) had the lowest number of enrolments.
About 25.3 million people will face food insecurity across Nigeria between June and August 2023, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. The FAO in a statement warned if actions are not taken to avert the crisis, 4.4 million people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States will be affected. The UN food agency in its October 2022 food and nutrition analysis said about 17 million people in the country were already facing a food crisis. These include Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in 26 states including the Federal Capital Territory. The report said 3 million of them are living in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
Ghana launched a domestic debt exchange on Monday, its Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said, expressing confidence that the move would help restore macroeconomic stability and end the country’s worst economic crisis in a generation. Ofori-Atta said in a video address on Sunday that the government had finished its debt sustainability analysis, but he did not provide any information on plans for foreign debt that are anxiously awaited by international creditors. Under the domestic debt exchange, local bonds will be exchanged for new ones maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037 and their annual coupon will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% from 2025 until maturity. Accra is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a support programme to relieve its debt distress. The cedi has plummeted more than 50% against the dollar in 2022, while the central bank hiked its main lending rate to 27% last Monday after inflation hit a 21-year high in October. Ofori-Atta said the government wanted to minimise the impact on small investors by exempting Treasury bills or to holders of individual bonds. There will also be no haircut to the principal of the bonds. The minority leader in parliament, Haruna Iddrisu said the policy is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to proceed. “I want to ask how come this debt restructuring was not included in the 2023 budget,” the outspoken politician added.