The Nigerian military has conducted at least 10,000 secret and often forced abortions on women who were suspected of being impregnated by Boko Haram militants since 2013 as the nation looked to crack down on the insurgency group, an investigation by Reuters said Wednesday. After speaking with victims, healthcare workers and military members, the report detailed a clandestine abortion program that was launched because senior officials reportedly believed infants born to insurgent fathers were “predestined” to “one day take up arms against the Nigerian government.” One civilian healthcare worker described the program as “sanitizing the society” as women, largely without their consent, were given pills and injections to force abortions after being kidnaped and often raped by members of Boko Haram. The investigation was unable to confirm how many women died under the program since 2013 or who even was behind the clandestine scheme. Nigerian military officials denied the existence of the program though Reuters said it reviewed hospital records and military lists detailing abortion procedures and spoke with numerous eyewitnesses. The report noted that Reuters believes the estimated 10,000 abortions since 2013 to be an undercount, based on documents it obtained and conversations with eyewitnesses.

The FG says the Second Niger Bridge will open to traffic on 15 December. Jimoh Olawale, the federal controller of works in Delta, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday. He said that the bridge would be open for only 30 days. According to him, Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, ordered the opening of the bridge, which is 95 percent complete, to ease traffic during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. “We have notified the state government of this arrangement and we are working with the Federal Roads Safety Corps to ensure a hitch-free vehicular movement. Motorists going towards Owerri direction would divert through the access road near the old Niger Bridge to the new bridge.” Olawale insisted the government would complete construction work on the 17km access road before 29 May 2023. In October, Fashola said the link roads to the bridge were still under construction.

Nigerian Afrobeats star D’banj has been arrested over allegations of fraud after millions of dollars meant to help unemployed youths start businesses were reported missing. The artist, who has claimed to be the brand ambassador for the scheme, has turned himself in. The N-Power initiative was launched in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari. But many beneficiaries have complained for months that they were not receiving their grants. Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies said in a statement on Wednesday that “billions of naira” had been diverted. Lawyers representing D’banj – whose real name is Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo – have denied a claim by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission that their client had ignored multiple summonses. They said the artist willingly turned himself in on Tuesday and that he will cooperate with the investigation. More than two million Nigerians aged between 18 and 35 have benefited from the N-Power scheme since it was launched, according to the government. At least ₦280 billion was distributed in 2019 to beneficiaries who started small businesses, the authorities said.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who has been in office for over a decade, will run for president in elections due to be held in about two years, his party said on Tuesday. Oil-rich South Sudan secured independence from its northern neighbour Sudan in 2011 but plunged into civil war two years later after violence erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and his ex-deputy-turned-rival Riek Machar. In August, Kiir announced the extension of his transitional government’s time in office for another two years, meaning elections would be held in December 2024. On Tuesday, his party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), endorsed him as its chairman and by extension presidential candidate in the vote. A peace agreement signed in September 2018, the latest in a series since the conflict began in late 2013, is largely holding but the transitional government has been slow to unify the various factions of the military into a single unit, write a new constitution and pave the way to elections. On Monday, the party also voted to revoke Machar’s membership. Machar had previously defected from the main party in 2013, creating his own faction SPLM-IO, and he stated in October that any attempt to sack him was illegal.