News Roundup: FG to complete rail projects with foreign loan, Emirates suspends flight into Nigeria over trapped funds…
FG to complete rail project with foreign loan
The federal government of Nigeria is set to complete the ongoing railway projects across the country with loans from foreign financial institutions. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, minister of transportation Thursday said the Federal Government hoped to complete the projects with multi-billion dollar loans from financial institutions based in China, Portugal and Turkey. The minister stated this when he appeared before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Land and Marine Transport, led by Danjuma Goje, explaining that the Railway network was being progressively expanded through yearly budgetary appropriations since the federal government was facing challenges in securing counterpart funding through loans. He said, “Currently, the implementation of the Kaduna-Kano, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Kano – Maradi Segments of the Railway Modernisation is ongoing with the Federal Government counterpart funding in the 2022 appropriation. The ministry hopes that the Federal Ministry of Finance concludes negotiation of the loans with infrastructure development finance institutions of Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish origin to implement the projects.”
Emirates suspends flight into Nigeria over trapped funds
For the second time, Emirates has suspended flights to and from Nigeria indefinitely from 29 October 2022. Any attempt to book a flight from Abuja and Lagos on the Emirates portal shows an automatic non-availability message. In a statement Thursday, the airline said it has no option but to suspend flights to and from Nigeria to mitigate against further losses moving forward. The airline said, “Emirates has continued to actively seek a solution for the repatriation of the remainder of its blocked funds in Nigeria. We were encouraged by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts of reviewing our request, and considered that this critical issue would be swiftly resolved with the subsequent clearance of our remaining funds.”
INEC Swears in 19 Resident Electoral Commissioners
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Thursday swore in 19 newly appointed Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). President Muhammadu Buhari in July transmitted the names of the 19 REC nominees to the Senate for confirmation, before the upper chamber on October 5 confirmed their nominations amid protests against some of the nominees. Five of the 19 were returnees for their second and last five-year tenure. Those whose tenures were renewed were Ibrahim Abdullahi from Adamawa, Obo Effanga from Cross River, Umar Ibrahim from Taraba, Agboke Olaleke from Ogun, and Samuel Egwu, Kogi. The 14 others on fresh five-year appointment were Onyeka Ugochi from Imo, Muhammad Bashir from Sokoto, Ayobami Salami from Oyo, Zango Abdu, Katsina, and Queen Agwu from Ebonyi. Others are Agundu Tersoo, Benue, Yomere Oritsemlebi, Delta, Yahay Ibrahim, Kaduna, Nura Ali, Kano, Agu Uchenna, Enugu, Ahmed Garki, FCT, Hudu Yunusa, Bauchi, Uzochukwu Chijioke, Anambra and Mohammed Nura from Yobe. Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony in Abuja, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, noted that each of the REC’s brings to the commission knowledge and experience in various fields.
MTN Nigeria’s mobile subscriber base hits 74.1m
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. has grown its mobile subscriber base to 74.1 million users, according to its financial results for the nine months that ended September 30, 2022. The telecommunication company said it gained 5.7 million new mobile subscribers in nine months, a 9.7 percent increase over the same period last year. It said the introduction of 5G and other data services incentives increased its active user base to 38 million, a significant 14.6 percent increase over the previous year. Its high-speed data services also significantly increased the number of fintech active subscribers to 11.2 million, a 68.7 percent increase over the same period last year. Its MoMo Payment Service Bank, according to the communication firm, played a key role in driving this growth, with 1.8 million new active users.
Afrobeats artists dominate ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ album
Just as the black and African community is strongly represented in the cast of the movie, Black Panther, the Afrobeats genre has also joined in the recently released official soundtrack album. The studios unveiled the album’s track lineup on Thursday. Notable Afrobeats artists including Burna Boy, Tems, Fireboy DML, Rema, Ckay, and up-and-coming Bloody Civilian will all appear on separate tracks. Tems was the first of the artists on the album to be revealed as her rendition of ‘No Woman No Cry’ was played on the official teaser trailer in August this year. “As revealed, Burna Boy performs the track titled ‘Alone’, while Fireboy DML performs ‘Coming Back for You ‘. In track 13, Ckay features UK singer PinkPantheress on the song ‘Anya Mmiri’ (an Igbo phrase that means tears) all of which are Produced by Afrobeats producer P.Priime ”. Mavin Records and Jonzing World singer and songwriter Rema appears as a featured artist on two projects in the album ‘Wake Up’ by another Abuja-based Afrobeats singer ‘Bloody Civilian’ and ‘Pantera’ by Alemán, a Mexican rapper.