- Nigeria’s debt hits N87tr, jumps by 75% in three months
- Police nab 288 robbers, 187 kidnappers, 198 murderers-IG
- Police set to probe artist Mohbad’s death after alleged threat
- FG makes U-turn after announcement of Emirates flight resumption
- Lagos residents seek intervention as hoodlums terrorise communities
Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss.
Nigeria’s debt hits N87tr, jumps by 75% in three months
At the conclusion of the second quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s total public debt reached N87.38tn, according to the Debt Management Office.
The figure indicates a 75.29 per cent increase, or N37.53 trillion, compared to the N49.85 trillion recorded at the end of March 2023.
In a report released on Thursday, the DMO stated that the debt comprises N22.71 trillion in Ways and Means Advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government.
The DMO stated, “Nigeria’s total public debt stock as of June 30, 2023, was N87.38tn ($113.42bn). It includes the Federal Government of Nigeria, the thirty-six states, and the Federal Capital Territory’s total domestic and external debts.
The inclusion of the N22,712 trillion in securitised FGN Ways and Means Advances was the most significant addition to the Public Debt Stock. The statement also noted that new borrowings by the federal government and subnationals from domestic and foreign sources contributed to the debt stock.
“The reforms already implemented by the current administration and those that may emerge from the recommendations of the Fiscal Reform and Tax Policies Committee are anticipated to have an impact on debt strategy and enhance debt sustainability,” the report stated.
Prior to the National Assembly’s approval of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to restructure the CBN’s Ways and Means Advances, the DMO had estimated that Nigeria’s public debt burden could reach N77 trillion.
The Ways and Means Advances is a loan facility through which the CBN finances government budget deficits.
During a public presentation of the 2023 budget organised by the former Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, the Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, stated that the debt would be N70tn without N5tn new borrowing and N2tn promissory notes.
The most recent data, however, revealed that the current debt stock of N87.38 trillion exceeded the DMO’s projection by N10.38 trillion.
Further analysis revealed that Nigeria has a domestic debt total of N54.13tn and an external debt total of N33.25tn.
While domestic debt accounts for 61.95 per cent of total debt, external debt accounts for 38.05 per cent. Within three months, the PUNCH also observed a significant increase in domestic and foreign debt.
In Q1 2023, the domestic debt increased by 79.18 per cent from N30.21 trillion, while the external debt increased by 69.28 per cent from N19.64 trillion.
In its 2022 Debt Sustainability Analysis Report, the Debt Management Office (DMO) cautioned that the Federal Government’s projected revenue of N10tn for 2023 could not support additional borrowing.
According to the office, the projected debt service-to-revenue ratio for the government in 2023 of 73.5 per cent is excessive and poses a threat to debt sustainability.
It was noted that the government’s current revenue profile could not sustain higher borrowing levels.
Police nab 288 robbers, 187 kidnappers, 198 murderers-IG
In the past five weeks, the Nigeria Police Force has arrested 288 armed robbery suspects, 187 kidnap suspects, 198 homicide suspects, 59 suspects for possession of illegal firearms, 168 suspects involved in rape, defilement, and other sexual offences, 265 suspected cultists, and 1891 other suspects for various crimes.
In addition, the police recovered a total of 127 firearms of various calibres, 612 different types of ammunition, and 89 stolen vehicles nationwide, while 71 kidnapped victims were rescued unharmed and reunited with their families and loved ones during the same time frame.
A total of 89 stolen vehicleshave also been retrieved, while registering a total of 1,244 vehicles through the Central Motor System, of which 234 were reported stolen on the platform. The police high command also noted that the prompt response of the CMR desk officers and field operatives led to the recovery of 46 stolen vehicles out of a total of 89 recovered vehicles.
Olukayode Egbetokun, the acting Inspector-General of Police, made the announcement Thursday during a conference with strategic police managers – Deputy Inspector Generals of Police, Assistant Inspector Generals of Police and Commissioners of Police – at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
He noted that the past five weeks have been a period of good and bad for the Nigeria Police, adding that in spite of pockets of unsightly incidences recorded in some parts of the country, Nigeria is presently witnessing a steady decline in the general crime rate when compared with the previous figures.
“The achievements would not have been possible without the combined efforts of our officers, the support of the federal government, the cooperation and assistance of state governments, and the participation of the general public. Under my leadership, the Nigeria Police Force will continue to adopt and embrace modern policing strategies, as well as a paradigm shift that encompasses all aspects of crime and criminality in Nigeria, Egbetokun stated.
“Despite the threats of political and socio-economic instability that greeted the removal of fuel subsidy and post-election tribunals across the country, the internal security situation of the country has been relatively calm over the past month or so, he added, and the country has recorded a lower number of violent crimes and other major offences than in the past”.
Egbetokun stated, “Over the past five weeks, our devoted officers have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to maintaining law and order. The Nigeria Police Force has effectively disrupted multiple infamous criminal syndicates involved in organised crimes, resulting in the arrest of 288 armed robbery suspects, 187 kidnap suspects, 198 homicide suspects, 59 suspects for possession of prohibited firearms, 168 suspects involved in cases of rape, defilement, and other sexual offences, 265 suspected cultists, and 1891 suspected drug traffickers.
During the same five-week period, 127 firearms of various calibres, 612 types of ammunition, and 89 stolen vehicles were recovered across the nation, while 71 kidnapped victims were rescued unharmed and reunited with their families and loved ones.
In the interest of public safety and general security, we have established an ad hoc committee charged with conducting a comprehensive review of firearms licencing and regulations in accordance with the Firearms Act and all other applicable laws.
“The committee’s mandate will include a comprehensive evaluation of existing firearms licencing procedures and regulations, with the goal of improving their efficacy, transparency, and accountability. This will be accomplished in collaboration with key stakeholders to assure a comprehensive and well-informed review.”
Police set to probe artist Mohbad’s death after alleged threat
The police have pledged to investigate the circumstances surrounding the demise of the promising young artist.
The Nigerian Police Force in a statement on Thursday, 14th September, 2023 disclosed that all will be done to unravel the controversies behunf the death of the music talent.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and fans of the late Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, known as Mohbad, who recently passed away. We understand the concerns regarding his untimely demise,” the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said.
“The Nigeria Police Force is committed to a comprehensive investigation into this matter, as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police has been tasked to unravel the circumstances surrounding his death. Rest assured, updates will be provided as investigations unfold.
“We encourage family members or close associates with valuable information to approach the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to assist in this process. In the meantime, we kindly request that individuals refrain from making statements or engaging in activities that could jeopardize the ongoing investigation. Your trust and support are deeply valued.”
FG makes U-turn after announcement of Emirates flight resumption.
The presidency had previously announced that Emirates Airline would immediately resume flight operations to and from Nigeria.
However, the FG has retracted its earlier statement regarding the resumption of flight operations by Emirates and Etihad Airlines, which are owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in Nigeria.
According to Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, there is no timetable for the two airlines to resume operations in Nigeria.
This statement contradicted a previous statement made by the presidency following a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on September 11, 2023 in Abu Dhabi.
Presidential Spokesman Ajuri Ngelale stated that both leaders reached a historic agreement, which resulted in the immediate resumption of flight operations by Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines and the end of the visa ban imposed on Nigerian travellers.
In a statement, the Middle Eastern nation confirmed that there are ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and investigate opportunities for further collaboration.
But Keyamo, who spoke at the Aviation Africa Summit in Abuja on Thursday, September 14, 2023, disclosed that agreements were nearing completion.
“So, we are beginning to sort out all the tiny details. Before leaving UAE, I conferred with Emirate, and we are currently working out the details. We cannot determine the timeline. “Resuming airline operations on a route does not mean grabbing a single empty plane sitting idle,” the Minister explained.
Continuing, he stated, “There is no idle aircraft anywhere; they must reschedule their flights and reroute their routes.” All sorts of permissions will be required from local authorities, and I made it plain in my conversations with them that they will be required to grant our airlines reciprocal rights under our bilateral air service agreements (BASAs).
“This is the point on which I insisted, and they did confirm that they will provide us with any location we require within Nigeria in exchange for the locations we give them.”
Lagos residents seek intervention as hoodlums terrorise communities
The Akerele and Atobaje communities of the Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State have been gripped with terror over the high crime rate in the area.
It was discovered that residents were always afraid to walk the streets, especially at night, due to the constant presence of savage-appearing, drug- and alcohol-addled thugs.
Further investigation revealed that when under the influence of narcotics, criminal suspects perpetrate a variety of crimes, such as rape, burglary, and robbery.
A trader identified only as Lekan stated that drug-using youth posed the greatest threat to community harmony.
Lekan stated, “You will observe young girls and boys smoking and wasting their lives.” These children are observed by their parents, who never warn them. The rate at which these threats are spreading is extremely perilous.
“You will see girls under the age of 18 using a variety of illegal substances.” These two main areas, Akerele and Atobaje, cannot be traversed at night.
In order to reduce the rate of social disorder in the neighbourhood, he implored the government to implement fundamental community services, such as street lighting and robust security.
A resident identified as Abiodun stated that it was difficult for residents to walk freely at night due to the threat of suspects perpetrating various crimes, such as robbery and theft.
Abiodun stated, “The rate at which young people in this area use hard drugs is truly alarming.” When under the influence of drugs, they perpetrate a variety of crimes, including rape, assault, etc.
“Once intoxicated, they begin looting and using sharp objects such as cutlasses to attack locals. “Some of the local youths are capable of doing and undoing,” she emphasised.
When contacted the state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said he was not available for comments, stating that he was in a meeting as of the time of submitting this report.