Naira’s Appreciation Doesn’t Translate to Lower Prices: FCCPC Intervenes

Neria’s consumer watchdog, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has launched a crackdown on unfair pricing in Masaka market, Nasarawa state, following complaints from consumers that prices continue to rise despite the naira’s appreciation against the dollar. The commission’s director of surveillance and investigations, Boladale Adeyinka, confirmed the price monitoring and surveillance exercises on Tuesday, aimed at curbing exploitative pricing practices. Adeyinka reiterates the importance of ongoing surveillance to safeguard consumers from unfair pricing practices and ensure prices remain regulated. “This fact-finding and investigative mission enables us to gather firsthand information from sources, supporting our continued efforts to promote fair food prices. Despite the declining exchange rate, we’re still witnessing exorbitant price hikes, which is a concern we’re addressing through this campaign,” she explained. “We’re engaging with three key stakeholder groups to gain a comprehensive understanding: market executives, sellers, and consumers. As a critical hub for direct food supply from farms to markets, we’re examining the entire value chain to identify how prices and cost variables interact. In our meeting with market executives, we explored potential factors contributing to pricing, such as levies and taxes, which are ultimately passed down to consumers. After all, consumers bear the final cost of any business, making it essential to understand the intricacies of the supply chain and its impact on pricing.” According to a yam seller, multiple taxes are imposed, contributing to the escalating costs borne by sellers, which are ultimately passed on to consumers. The seller revealed that the price of a heap of yams has skyrocketed from N15,000 to N70,000, citing factors such as increased transportation costs, high pesticide expenses, and the lingering impact of insecurity and herdsman crises in the village, which have disrupted supply chains and driven up prices. In conclusion, Adeyinka said that the commission will take decisive action by compiling a comprehensive report on the multiple taxes and advising the government on strategies to streamline or eliminate unnecessary taxes, thereby reducing the burden on consumers. Additionally, the commission will engage with market executives to ensure that there are no restrictions on the supply of goods, promoting a competitive market environment where increased supply leads to lower prices. This intervention will also help to dismantle anti-competitive practices by cartels, fostering a fairer and more transparent market ecosystem.  
Haruna Yusuf

Prince Harry Reportedly Renounces British Residency

Prince Harry has officially relinquished his British residency, with the United States becoming his primary residence, as per documents from Page Six. The Duke of Sussex has listed the US as his “new country/state usually resident,” marking a significant change from his previous ties to the UK. The residency shift was confirmed in a document filed by Companies House for Harry’s eco-travel venture, Travalyst, on June 29, 2023, following the couple’s departure from their UK home, Frogmore Cottage, the previous day. This legal move comes amidst ongoing discussions about the couple’s status within the royal family and their future plans. The impact of renouncing his British residency on Harry’s royal titles remains uncertain, with speculation that he may address this issue during an upcoming visit to London. Harry has expressed mixed feelings about his connection to the UK, emphasizing its significance as his “home” but citing safety concerns that led to their move to the US. The Duke of Sussex has also expressed interest in obtaining American citizenship, albeit as a secondary priority. However, his past admissions of drug use, detailed in his memoir ‘Spare,’ raise questions about the ease of his immigration process. While some legal experts suggest minimal impact unless he faces further legal issues, concerns linger regarding potential repercussions, including the need to renounce his royal titles to fulfill US citizenship requirements.

Cape Town International Airport Named Best African Airport in 2024

Cape Town International Airport has been named the top airport in Africa by Skytrax, a prominent consumer ratings organization. This recognition underscores the airport’s commitment to delivering exceptional customer service and efficient operations. While celebrating this regional achievement, Cape Town International Airport has seen a slight decline in its global ranking, currently positioned at 54th place, down from 23rd in 2020. This shift underscores the dynamic nature of international air travel and the evolving standards within the aviation sector. In addition to Cape Town, other South African airports received commendation in the survey. King Shaka International Airport in Durban secured the second spot, with OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg following closely in third place on the continental ranking. These results highlight the consistent high standards maintained by South African airports, reinforcing their status as vital gateways to the African continent. Looking beyond South Africa, Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia achieved a commendable seventh place in the African rankings, showcasing Ethiopia’s growing prominence as a regional hub for international travel and commerce. Moving further north, Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport claimed the 10th position, underscoring Kenya’s enduring significance in African aviation. Nairobi remains pivotal in linking East Africa to the global air transport network. The Skytrax survey provides insights into the broader trends shaping the African aviation sector, as airports strive to elevate passenger experiences and operational efficiency amidst evolving industry dynamics and increasing traveler expectations.

Golden Eaglets to face Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo WAFU Zone B

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have been placed in Group B for the WAFU Zone B U-17 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Manu Garba’s team will face Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo in this group stage. Meanwhile, Group A will see hosts Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Benin competing against each other. The Golden Eaglets commenced their preparations for the tournament in Abuja recently. Nigeria emerged victorious in the competition held two years ago in Cape Coast, Ghana. The upcoming tournament is set to be held in Accra from the 15th to the 28th of May.

Navy Fortifies Fishing Settlements Near Cameroon to Combat Crime

The Nigerian Navy has announced that fishing settlements near Cameroon, including Parrot Island and Ibaka, are now well fortified by the Nigerian Navy to combat armed gangs and sea robbers who had previously made these areas dangerous for fishermen. Commander Rotimi Oderemi of Nigerian Navy Ship Victory stated that round-the-clock patrols and surveillance have been conducted to ensure the safety of fishermen and residents along the coastlines. Oderemi added that the Navy’s presence has gained the confidence of local fishermen and residents, leading to a significant reduction in piracy, smuggling, kidnapping, and oil thefts in the Calabar waterways and Ibaka coastal communities. He also stated that collaboration with maritime agencies of neighboring countries like Cameroon and Sao Tome and Principe has also been crucial, as operations extend up to exclusive economic zones of 200 nautical miles.

ECOWAS Allocates $9 Million for Humanitarian Assistance in Conflict – Affected Areas

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has earmarked $25 million in 2024 to combat terrorism in Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Fatou Sarr, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, revealed this information during a press briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja. Ms. Sarr specified that $4 million was allocated for humanitarian efforts to address the severe impacts of terrorism and alleviate the consequences of natural disasters in the region. She emphasized the importance of humanitarian actions due to the numerous crises and displacements within the community, noting that such efforts persist even in countries facing sanctions. In 2024, ECOWAS disbursed $9 million for internally displaced persons, refugees, asylum seekers, and the host communities across all 15 member countries. Additionally, $1 million was designated for stabilization efforts in Nigeria, focusing on terrorism victims, displaced individuals, the injured, rehabilitation, and enhancing community resilience. Out of the $25 million fund allocated for counterterrorism efforts in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, ECOWAS set aside $4 million for humanitarian initiatives. Ms. Sarr highlighted that in 2023, ECOWAS provided over $12.6 million in support to four million out of the 8.5 million victims of violent conflicts and disasters in West Africa. Furthermore, she mentioned specific aid provided to the Republic of Guinea during sanctions, including support for fire disasters and floods. ECOWAS has also been actively involved in programs promoting youth development and integration through volunteerism, sports, and economic initiatives. Ms. Sarr emphasized the role of sports in fostering unity among youths from member countries and announced collaborations with the People’s Republic of China to support entrepreneurship projects for young people in the region. The ECOWAS Gender Centre has awarded 1,720 excellence scholarships to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds between 2010 and 2022. Ms. Sarr revealed plans for an ECOWAS youth conference in May 2024 to assess the current situation, identify challenges, and address issues affecting the subregion.

Nigeria’s Economy to Slip to Fourth Place in Africa – IMF Forecasts

Nigeria’s economy, which was Africa’s largest in 2022, is projected to fall to fourth place in 2023 due to a series of currency devaluations, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook report. The report, as reported by Bloomberg, estimates Nigeria’s gross domestic product at $253 billion based on current prices in 2023, behind Algeria at $267 billion, Egypt at $348 billion, and South Africa at $373 billion. South Africa is expected to remain the continent’s largest economy until Egypt takes over in 2027, while Nigeria is predicted to stay in fourth place for the foreseeable future. Nigeria has faced economic challenges since President Bola Tinubu announced significant policy reforms, including the end of the subsidy regime and the devaluation of the Naira. Despite a recent rebound, the Naira is still 50% weaker against the greenback than it was before Tinubu took office after two currency devaluations. Egypt, one of the world’s most indebted countries and the IMF’s second-biggest borrower after Argentina, has also allowed its currency to float, resulting in an almost 40% plunge in the pound’s value against the dollar last month to attract investment. Unlike Nigeria’s Naira and Egypt’s pound, South Africa’s rand value is determined by financial markets and has lost about 4% of its value against the dollar this year. However, South Africa’s economy is expected to benefit from improvements to its energy supply and plans to address logistical bottlenecks.

Technical Glitches Disrupt UTME at Lagos CBT Centre

The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, has urged candidates who faced technical difficulties during the 2024 UTME to remain calm and avoid panicking. He assured them that the board would reschedule the exam for those affected by the glitches. Prof. Oloyede, who spoke after monitoring the exam in Kogo-Bwari, Abuja, reported that the UTME had been mostly successful, with only one center encountering issues so far. He acknowledged that technical problems might occur in about 10% of centers due to varying levels of development across the country. The registrar emphasized the importance of not disrupting others when issues arise and noted that affected candidates would be rescheduled for later sessions, even if it means scheduling them for the following day. Prof. Oloyede also expressed his displeasure over the practice of awarding scholarships solely based on UTME performance, without considering other admission criteria.

Gunmen Kill 12 in Fresh Plateau Attack, Sparking Protests

Gunmen have launched another deadly attack on the Tilengpat Pushit community in Plateau State, killing twelve people. According to the Punch, the attacks occurred late Thursday night, adding to the string of violence in the region. The Chairman of Mangu Local Government Area confirmed the latest killings, expressing bewilderment at the targeting of women and children. Last week, gunmen killed no fewer than ten persons in Mandung-Mushu and Kopnanle villages, in the Bokkos and Mangu local government areas of the state. A community leader in Pushit, who gave his name simply as John, said authorities are investigating the attacks, and security forces have been deployed to the affected area. Meanwhile, women in Bokkos Local Government Area have taken to the streets in protests over the renewed violent attacks by gunmen in their communities. The Punch reports that the protesting women were headed to the Council headquarters to register their grievances.

Kenyan Declares Three Days of National Mourning for Military Chief,11 others

President William Ruto announced the death of Kenya’s military chief, Gen. Francis Ogolla, in a helicopter crash on Thursday, prompting a declaration of three days of national mourning. The incident occurred when a helicopter carrying 11 people, including Gen. Ogolla, crashed and caught fire in a remote area near the border with Uganda, resulting in the loss of nine lives onboard. The cause of the crash remains unclear. Gen. Ogolla, 61, was on a tour of Kenya’s troubled western region, which has experienced frequent attacks by local bandits, when the accident happened. He assumed the role of Kenya’s Chief of Defense Forces in April of the previous year, following Gen. Robert Kibochi’s retirement. Political controversy arose before his appointment, as Gen. Ogolla was accused by the country’s electoral commission chairperson of being part of a national security council delegation that attempted to manipulate the outcome of the 2022 general election against President Ruto. However, Ruto clarified that he believed Gen. Ogolla was the most qualified for the position, despite the election controversy. Gen. Ogolla had a 40-year career in Kenya’s military force. He was an alumnus of École Militaire de Paris, the National Defence College of Kenya, Egerton University, and the University of Nairobi. He is survived by his wife Aileen, two children, and a grandson.