President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking to add an unpaid $50 billion overdraft from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the country’s public debt pile. Despite concerns about the legality of the country’s borrowings, President Buhari has approached the Senate to allow him to add the $50 billion overdraft to the country’s debt pile with plans to convert ₦22.7 trillion ($50.4 billion) in advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria into bonds that will be repayable over decades. The move would immediately boost the country’s official debt load by more than half, propelling Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio toward the 40% limit set by the administration. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank already included the central bank’s loans in their calculations of Nigeria’s debt stock. The overdraft is more than the total debt of Ghana or Bahrain, and more than twice that of Tunisia or Iceland. The matter will be discussed when Senators resume work on 17 January, almost three weeks after the upper chamber suspended a rowdy emergency session to consider the president’s request.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu has said the electoral umpire is prepared for a run-off in the 2023 presidential election. Yakubu spoke at the Chatham House in London, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, 17 January, where he made a presentation on the topic: ‘Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Preparations and Priorities for Electoral Integrity and Inclusion’. He said INEC has provided all the materials needed for a run-off in the presidential poll. “In case of the presidential run-off, INEC has prepared. We also prepared for that possibility. “Reason is until the Constitution was amended there is only one week for the presidential election and with the number of registered voters we have, it is almost impossible to print ballot papers and result sheets required and deliver them to locations as required. “If it happens we have no issues. Fortunately, the timeframe has also been extended. The alteration to the Constitution has extended it by two more weeks. So it is now three weeks compared to the former one week.” Yakubu further stressed the need for elected presidential candidates to receive a majority of the vote and over 25 percent of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states.

Ghana’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority Caucus has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to suspend the ongoing Domestic Debt Exchange Programme. Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South, made this known at a press conference. He urged the president to engage in more comprehensive consultations on the matter with stakeholders. “We call on all stakeholders for a national dialogue on the state of our economy and exchange programme with the view to achieving the most workable and least punitive steps that protect Ghanaians and households from the disastrous effects of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme as currently designed,” he said. He said the programme would further exacerbate the already perilous financial sector as banks and other financial institutions were still reeling under the infamous financial sector bailout.

Ruslan Obiang Nsue, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, has been arrested and placed under house arrest on suspicion of selling a plane belonging to the country’s national airline, state television, TVGE reported on Tuesday. At the end of November, the authorities had opened an investigation “after noticing the disappearance of the ATR 72-500 aircraft belonging to the national company, Ceiba Intercontinental, which was in routine revision in Spain since 2018, explained TVGE. According to the same source, Mr Obiang Nsue would have “sold the ATR aircraft to the company Binter Technic”, which specialises in aviation maintenance and is based in Las Palmas, on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. “Ruslan Obiang has confessed that he was the person who sold Ceiba’s ATR, I will not allow myself to be carried away by familiarism or favouritism, which is why I have ordered his immediate arrest and handing him over to justice,” his half-brother, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, said on Twitter.