At least four people, including a policeman, have been killed in an early-morning attack on one of the offices of the country’s electoral commission in Imo state, south-east Nigeria just two months before a general election. The commission was about to begin the distribution of permanent voters’ cards to newly registered voters on Monday. It was the second attack on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo state in just over a week and the third in less than two weeks following attacks in Orlu and Oru West in the first week of December. The police said the gunmen came in several vehicles. They stormed the INEC office at about 03:00 local time on Monday in a deadly raid. They fired sporadically and threw dynamite and petrol bombs, damaging part of the building and vehicles. INEC spokesperson Festus Okoye said in a statement later on Monday that no critical election materials were destroyed in the attack.
Nigeria on Monday announced the suspension of the mandatory COVID-19 testing for travellers in and outside the country. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a memo to airline operators said pre-arrival or post-arrival testing for COVID will no longer be required for travellers irrespective of vaccination status. “PCR tests required for all passengers who are partial/not fully vaccinated have been suspended,” NCAA director-general Musa Nuhu said. The official also said the use of face masks will not be mandatory for all travellers on board aircraft but recommended for persons at risk of severe illness. Nuhu, however, noted that persons aged above and passengers with severe illness are to take precautionary measures. He said the health status declaration form for travellers entering Nigeria has been replaced with a health questionnaire to “be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal.” The Nigerian aviation authority noted that it recommends the use of alcohol-based sanitiser for passengers and airport workers and stated that boarding and disembarkation protocols are to be maintained. “All other COVID-19 quarantine/travel requirements are hereby made optional.” the memo added.
The FG, through the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has asked skit makers, social media influencers and bloggers to seek its approval before advertising any product or service online. ARCON, in a public notice issued on Monda, said the new directive is in line with the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and the ARCON Act. The body said that anyone caught violating the Act would face sanctions and be prosecuted in court. The agency said enforcing the law became important following complaints regarding unregulated advertisements, adverts and marketing communications works of the skit makers, comedians, influencers content creators/producers, bloggers and vloggers, among others in the digital space. According to the statement, most of the advertisements by skit makers, influencers and others are unethical with bogus claims and misinformation and a violation of the Code of Advertising Practice. In October 2022, ARCON brought a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and its agent AT3 Resources Limited at the Federal High Court, saying the social media platform enabled unvetted and unverified adverts and contributed to the government’s loss of revenue.
Nearly 40,000 people have been displaced from their homes following renewed fighting in South Sudan’s oil-rich Upper Nile state, a United Nations agency has said. In its latest update, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said threats of violence continue to hamper humanitarian response in the state. It said the displaced people were living in dire conditions and required urgent life-saving assistance. Last week ceasefire monitors said they would send a team to investigate the ongoing deadly clashes in the state. Fighting has been reported in the state since state mid-November – reportedly involving the national army and the Maiwut opposition forces. There are also reports of renewed hostilities in the Fashoda area between different ethnic rival groups.