In today’s edition of Nigeria in brief, the police in Lagos have placed the city on red alert after receiving intelligence over security threats on Nigeria’s commercial capital. Police authorities are warning residents to be on the alert and guard against hiring terrorists fleeing to the South of Nigeria after a suspected Boko Haram commander working as a security guard at a residential building in the neighbouring Ogun State was arrested by security officials. Insecurity has worsened in Africa’s largest economy in recent months. Only last week, terrorists attempted to overrun the nation’s capital, Abuja, threatened to kidnap the President and killed scores of guards attached to the presidential brigade. On Friday, terrorists laid siege to a busy highway connecting the oil-rich city of Port Harcourt to Enugu, the capital of the old Eastern region. President Buhari faces an impeachment threat over the rampant security breaches.
No fewer than 7,222 Nigerians were killed in the first half of 2022. A security consultancy, Beacon Consulting, said in a new report that Nigeria witnessed 2,840 incidents of insecurity between January 1 and July 29, 2022. At least 3,823 were stolen for ransom. The data shows a monthly breakdown of deaths and abductions indicating that 605 abductions and over a thousand deaths were recorded in January alone. Northeast, Nigeria, the home of the decade-long insurgency recorded the highest fatalities with over 2,000 deaths within the period under review.
The threats of impeachment hanging over President Muhammadu Buhari appear to be getting more attention from even lawmakers from his own party. Lawmakers from the opposition party moved for the President’s impeachment last week over worsening insecurity that had led to rampant security breaches in the nation’s capital. Many did not think the move could receive any attention with the President’s party enjoying the majority in both chambers of the national assembly. Nevertheless, it has now come to light that the majority of the lawmakers in the Senate are not completely opposed to the impeachment move. A lawmaker representing Bauchi North, Adamu Bulkachuwa, disclosed that the majority of members of the Senate are truly in support of the move to impeach the President. Even then, not many take this move seriously but hope it may wake the President from his slumber.
University lecturers in Nigeria will remain on strike for the next four weeks after the teachers’ union failed to reach an agreement with the government over the implementation of an agreement on university funding. The strike already lasted for 168 days. The President of the Academic Staff Union of the University, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke said the decision to extend the strike was to give the government more time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers. Many Nigerians are outraged over the lingering impasse between the government and the teachers. The government argues it is cash-strapped and cannot meet the demands of the teachers. The teachers believe otherwise, arguing that the government only needs to prioritise university funding. In the meantime, university students continue to idle away at home, many tempted to turn to crime.
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The plan to impose additional taxes on telecom services in Nigeria is not going as planned. The agencies of the Nigerian government responsible for implementing the taxes have publicly disagreed on the validity of extra taxes for the burgeoning sector. The finance ministry is mulling a 5% levy on calls, SMS and data services as part of plans to bolster the government’s finances in the face of a worsening revenue crisis. However, the communications Minister, Dr Isa Pantami told an audience in Lagos on Monday that the planned taxes were ill-conceived. “The sector that contributes to the economy should be encouraged. You introduce excise duty to discourage luxury goods, like alcohol. (But) broadband is a necessity!” he argued. Talk of a house divided against itself.
The Nigerian government has continued to pay subsidies on petrol even after sanctioning an increase in pump prices of petrol only a fortnight ago. Pump prices of petrol have risen to between N169 – N218 per litre from N165 per litre after petrol marketers protested inconsistent prices with landing costs resulting in scarcity and long queues across the country. However, this upward review of prices did not amount to the removal of subsidy, according to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petrol, Timipre Sylvia. “I can tell you authoritatively, we have not deregulated. The government is still subsidising petrol prices,” Sylvia told journalists in Lagos on Monday. Subsidy on petrol is projected to gulp N6 trillion before the year-end.