A Sharia court in Kano has sentenced a prominent Islamic cleric to death by hanging, after finding him guilty of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad as well as incitement in some of his preaching, although he denies the charges. Sheikh Abduljabar Nasir Kabara has been detained by the authorities since July last year after being accused of spreading lies against the Prophet – charges which he denied. Kano is among a dozen states in northern Nigeria where Sharia is practised alongside the country’s secular law. The 52-year-old scholar is from the Qadiriyya sect. He has a sizeable number of followers mainly in Kano state. His father was the leader of the sect in West Africa until his death in 1996. Sheikh Abduljabar has the right to appeal against the judgement.

Annual inflation in Nigeria climbed to 21.47% in November from October’s rate of 21.09%, accelerating for the 10th straight month as food prices surged, the statistics bureau said on Thursday. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attributed the rise to a sharp increase in demand ahead of the Christmas season, import cost hikes due to the depreciation of the naira and a rise in production costs. A separate food price index showed inflation at 24.13% in November, compared with 23.72% in October, as Africa’s most populous country continues to struggle with rising prices for staples. Policymakers have said that inflationary pressures are structural and largely imported. The government expects inflation to remain in double digits, averaging 17.16% next year.

The World Bank has cut Nigeria’s 2022 growth forecast to 3.1% from a previous forecast of 3.8%, it said during a briefing in Abuja on Thursday. It said that the revision was due to slow economic growth in the third quarter from a year earlier, dragged down by the oil sector and a weak performance in other areas of the economy. The bank forecast growth to slow 2.9% next year. Last month, the IMF cut Nigeria’s 2022 real GDP growth forecast down to 3% from 3.4% earlier, citing weak oil production and the adverse effects of recent flooding. Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said on Thursday that the government expects oil production to rise to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) by the first quarter of next year. Oil production hit 1.185 million (bpd) in November, figures from the petroleum regulator showed, after output fell to less than 1 million in August, the lowest in years due to increased crude oil theft and vandalism of pipelines, forcing some companies to curtail or stop production.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi has asked US President Joe Biden to “put pressure on Rwanda in order to stop its support to the M23 rebels”. The two presidents spoke at a bilateral meeting during the ongoing US-Africa summit in Washington. The US has previously called on Rwanda to stop its support to the M23 – while Kigali has continuously denied links with the rebels. Speaking at an African exchange forum on the sidelines of the summit, Rwanda’s President Kagame said “there isn’t anybody, who is going to come from anywhere to bully us into something to do with our lives”. In the US, the presidents of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Angola met to discuss the eastern DR Congo security situation – which Mr Tshisekedi didn’t attend. The presidents met “to review” the implementation of Luanda and Nairobi agreements – meetings that have taken resolutions on the conflict. It came as the M23 rebels held their first press conference in Bunagana in eastern DR Congo which they have controlled since June. The UN says that more than 400,000 people have fled their homes since fighting between M23 and the army resumed in March.