We’re awaiting authorisation from Sudanese govt for evacuation – FG; Nigeria’s debt to World Bank reaches N6tn | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • We’re awaiting authorisation from Sudanese govt for evacuation – FG
  • Onanuga reports Tinubu’s return to Nigeria today
  • Nigeria’s debt to World Bank reaches N6tn
  • Nnamani urges Obi to withdraw petition against Tinubu
  • Another building under construction collapses in Lagos State

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

We’re awaiting authorisation from Sudanese govt for evacuation – FG

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has stated that the Federal Government is working tirelessly to ensure the safe evacuation of Nigerian citizens from Sudan, in the midst of violent clashes between the country’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group.

During an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, Onyeama revealed that there are currently around 5,500 Nigerians in Sudan, with over 80 percent of them being students.

Unlike other countries that are evacuating their diplomatic staff first, Nigeria plans to have its diplomatic staff coordinate the evacuation of its citizens.

“We can’t evacuate all our diplomatic staff at the moment because they need to also coordinate the evacuation of all those students. So we’re going to also evacuate them,” Onyeama stated.

The minister went on to explain that the major goal of the government is to obtain the approval of the Sudanese government to undertake the long convoy journey and provide security for the Nigerians being evacuated. He added that Nigeria’s embassy in Sudan has already been instructed to create a platform where Nigerians in the country can log in and receive updates on the evacuation process.

“The only viable way out is by road. And of course, it’s not safe. So we are going to require the government to provide some security and a safe corridor out. So essentially, where we are at the moment is trying to get the authorisation from the Sudanese government to undertake this long convoy journey and for them to provide some security,” Onyeama explained.

The minister also noted that the situation is particularly challenging due to the large number of Nigerians in Sudan. He stressed that the government will not expose its citizens to danger and is doing everything possible to obtain the requisite approval from the Sudanese government at the highest level.

“We are not going to stop at that, we are going to keep on the options available to us. The Egyptian border is closed. Port Sudan is another place where we understand that some of the international diplomatic people have been congregating and the Ethiopian border,” Onyeama stated.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the clashes in Sudan have claimed the lives of over 400 people, prompting thousands of civilians to flee the capital, Khartoum. Several Nigerians in the country have intensified calls for the government to rescue them. Onyeama’s reassurance will come as welcome news to these individuals and their families who are concerned for their safety

Onanuga reports Tinubu’s return to Nigeria today

The much-anticipated return of President-elect, Bola Tinubu to Nigeria was confirmed on Monday by his Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga. Onanuga, in a tweet, announced that Tinubu, who has been on vacation in France, would be back in the country that day.

“Nigeria’s President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu returns to Abuja today after weeks of a well-deserved vacation in France. E kaabo! Se dada le de!” Onanuga tweeted.

Tinubu’s absence from Nigeria’s political scene had sparked various rumors and controversies, including allegations of being secretly flown abroad for medical treatment.

However, his media team had dismissed these claims, stating that he had traveled to Paris for rest after a strenuous campaign season.

Nigeria’s debt to World Bank reaches N6tn

Nigeria’s borrowing from the World Bank has surged by over 121% since President Muhammadu Buhari took office, according to a report by The Punch. The country’s total debt owed to the World Bank Group rose by $7.64 billion (N3.52tn) between December 2015 and December 2022, the report found. Specifically, the country’s indebtedness to the Washington, DC-based lender rose from $6.29bn to $13.93bn over the seven-year period.

The International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which make up the World Bank, have advanced loans to Nigeria over the years. The IDA offers concessional loans and grants to the poorest countries, while the IBRD lends to creditworthy low-income and middle-income countries.

The loans approved by the World Bank are tied to various projects in different parts of Nigeria. For instance, the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project was approved in 2020 to upgrade rural roads and improve connectivity and access to local markets in 13 states, and was co-financed through an IDA credit of $280m, $230m from the French Development Agency, and $65m from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In 2021, the World Bank approved a $700m credit from the IDA for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes Project. The bank also approved $500m to help boost access to electricity in Nigeria and improve the performance of the country’s electricity distribution companies.

Nigeria’s total borrowing from the World Bank was $6.67bn in 2016, $8.03bn in 2017, $8.67bn in 2018, $10.1bn in 2019, $11.53bn in 2020, $12.38bn in 2021, according to the report. The Punch also noted that Nigeria’s rising debt pushed it up the World Bank’s list of top 10 International Development Association borrowers.

The World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria moved to fourth place on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022. However, the bank warned that Nigeria’s debt, while currently sustainable, is vulnerable and costly, particularly due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Nnamani urges Obi to withdraw petition against Tinubu

Former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, has urged Mr. Peter Obi to withdraw his petition challenging the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect of Nigeria at the Presidential Election Tribunal. Nnamani made this call in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, advising Obi and his supporters to acknowledge the fact that Tinubu had emerged as the President-elect.

According to Nnamani, Obi knows that he lacks the national appeal required to win a presidential election and is only trying to demarket Tinubu with his petition. He described Obi’s petition as “dead on arrival” and stated that his appeal to non-electoral matters was intended to damage the reputation of the President-elect.

“The petition is ego-driven and a joke carried too far,” Nnamani said. He further emphasized that Obi needed to come down from his high horse and negotiate on behalf of the Igbo nation and South-East for a stake in the nation and a share of the accruals of the commonwealth.

“We must join the mainstream and participate in the making of a new Nigeria. It is common knowledge that others are doing the same. Igbo has to confront reality now or be consigned to the backwoods of history. Time to align is now,” he added.

Another building under construction collapses in Lagos State

A two-storey building under construction has collapsed in the Ladipo Oluwole Street area of Apapa, Lagos State.

In response, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Mukaila Sanusi, issued a statement on Sunday revealing that the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) had issued stop work and seal-up orders to the three-floor building under construction, which had been ignored by the developer.

The collapse incident was reported on the Physical Planning incident management platform and preliminary enquiries showed that the developer carried on construction without any regard for the authorities.

Fortunately, there were no casualties reported in the incident. The Lagos State Government has initiated an inquiry into the collapse to identify details that can guide appropriate actions.

This collapse is the second incident in Lagos State in the past week, with the previous one taking place in the Banana Island area. In that incident, one person was killed and several others were injured.

Building collapse is a common occurrence in some parts of Nigeria, and experts have attributed it to a number of factors such as the use of poor quality building materials, unprofessionalism, and other reasons.

As Sanusi stated, “Lagos State Government will continue to intensify its enforcement of building regulations and laws in a bid to ensure that buildings are constructed to meet acceptable standards that guarantee the safety and wellbeing of our citizens.”

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