The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the directive of the National Universities Commissions to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities that universities should be shut to enable students to participate in the forthcoming general elections. The NUC gave the directive in a letter on Tuesday addressed to vice-chancellors of all universities and Directors of Inter-university Centres. Based on a directive from Education Minister Adamu Adamu, all universities will be shut down and academic activities suspended between 22 February and 14 March. The commission said the directive is a result of concerns about the security of staff, students and properties of tertiary institutions during the elections. In reaction, ASUU National President, Emmanuel Osodeke said universities had never been shut down because of elections and it remained the prerogative of universities’ senates to open and close schools. “We need to ask Nigerian leaders questions because we are trying to meet up with lost time and here you are shutting down universities,” he said in remarks to the Punch

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, says the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the Naira may affect military personnel deployed to remote locations. Mr Monguno spoke on Thursday during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Currency Redesign and Naira Swap Policy. The NSA, who was represented by ONSA Director of Defence Affairs, Abubakar Mustapha, said the policy by the CBN will affect military operations as officers in rural areas may not be able to access money for sustenance. The committee will also take appearances from Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Mahmood Yakubu to understand the impact of the policy on the upcoming elections.

Ghana is close to meeting the 50 percent local processing target of cocoa beans produced in the country, Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has hinted. He said the country was currently processing about 43 percent of cocoa beans locally. The minister said this in his keynote address at the launch of the National Chocolate Week celebrations. The government had, in 2017, announced an ambitious plan to increase cocoa production to one million metric tonnes (MT) since it improved the local processing of the beans to 50 percent. The country already has seven major cocoa processing firms with an estimated processing capacity of about 500,000 mt. The construction of a new 50,000-capacity processing factory in the Western Region is also ongoing. The new factory, when completed, will increase national processing capacity to about 550,000 tonnes. In the 2020/2021 cocoa season, the country set a new cocoa production record of 1.033 million tonnes to beat the 2021/2022 record of 1.024 million tonnes.

A cholera outbreak in Malawi has killed at least 1,210 people, the World Health Organization announced on Thursday,  asking for strong interventions to prevent the situation from getting worse. The Southern African country saw a 143-percent increase in the number of cases last month compared to December. Nearly 37,000 cases have been reported since March 2022. Malawi has carried out two large vaccination campaigns since the outbreak began. However, due to limited supplies, the authorities offered just one of the usually recommended two oral cholera vaccine doses. A health ministry spokesman said, last month, that all the doses had been used. The UN agency said an estimated 26,000 cases and 660 deaths have been reported as of 29 January in 10 African countries so far this year, on pace to surpass the case numbers for 2021, the worst year for the epidemic in nearly a decade. In 2022, nearly 80,000 cases and 1,863 deaths were reported in 15 countries.