Daily Watch – US lawmakers urge Nigeria arms cancellation, Côte d’Ivoire reopens land borders

17th February 2023

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee have called on President Joe Biden to rescind a nearly $1 billion arms sale to Nigeria following Reuters reports on an illegal abortion program and the targeted killing of children carried out by the Nigerian military. Democrat Sara Jacobs of California and Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey, both members of the subcommittee on Africa, also called for a review of security assistance and cooperation programs in Nigeria, including a risk assessment of civilian casualties and abuses resulting from the arms assistance.

The US Justice Department announced on Thursday that it was sharing approximately $954,807 with the Nigerian government in accordance with an agreement between the governments to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the kleptocracy of former Bayelsa Governor, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha. “Today’s result would not have been possible without significant cooperation between the United States and its international partners in our common fight against corruption and the laundering of corruption proceeds,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Our repatriation of the forfeited funds is an illustration of the United States’ commitment – through its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative – to making the victims of corruption whole.” Under the agreement, the United States agreed to transfer 100 percent of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to support improvements in healthcare centres across Bayelsa in the form of rehabilitation, refurbishment, and equipping such centres as requested by Yenagoa.

On Thursday, some Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) in Ghana started reducing retail petroleum product prices. This is the second time fuel prices have been reduced this year. Ghana Oil Company has cut its prices with a litre of petrol going for ¢14.50. This represents almost a 5 percent reduction from the previous price. Diesel, on the other hand, is going for ¢14.90, showing a price reduction by almost 3 percent per litre. The reduction is in line with the two-week review in prices which has been influenced by a fairly stable cedi and global product prices. The fall in prices of petrol and diesel is due to a marginal appreciation of the cedi to the dollar and a drop in the prices of petrol and diesel globally.

Côte d’Ivoire has reopened its land borders, closed since March 2020 and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government spokesman announced after the Council of Ministers. “The Council adopted a decree opening the land borders of Côte d’Ivoire,” said Amadou Coulibaly. Côte d’Ivoire closed its land, sea and air borders on 22 March 2020, while the sea and air borders reopened after a few months, the land borders remained closed. “We are now in control of the clandestine transit routes, we invite all travellers to use the official routes from now on,” Coulibaly said. Last month, the National Security Council, chaired by Head of State Alassane Ouattara, welcomed the “excellent results recorded in the fight against Covid-19 since 2020” and announced the gradual lifting of the measures provided for under a health state of emergency.