News Roundup: Nigeria ready to fill natural gas gap in Europe, Four reasons food prices remain high in Nigeria…

Nigeria ready to fill natural gas gap in Europe – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria is ready to fill the natural gas gaps in Europe predicated by the current Russian-Ukrainian war. The President spoke about the country’s readiness Thursday in his statement on areas of cooperation between Nigeria and Portugal delivered at the Presidential Palace in Lisbon. According to President Buhari, with over 200 million mainly young people, Nigeria is ready to be the hub of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He further urged Portugal to consider Nigeria as a valued and trusted partner in Africa at a time the world was going through turbulent times. President Buhari identified five key areas of cooperation and collaboration capable of moving both countries forward, including oil and gas, tourism and hospitality industry, air travel, security and joint commission.

Shell suspends plan to sell Nigeria onshore oil assets

Shell Plc said it has suspended its plans to sell its onshore oil assets in Nigeria, responding to a Supreme Court suit over oil leak appeal filed by a community in Bayelsa State. The oil major had announced its plans of divestment in May 2021. It was subsequently sued by the people of Aghoro I in Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa over the May 17, 2018 oil leak from the oil firm’s Trans Ramos Pipeline. The Supreme Court on June 16 ordered Shell to maintain the status quo until October, a ruling that will stop Shell from selling its assets in Nigeria until a dispute over a lower court decision to award a Niger Delta community N700 billion in compensation over the spill is resolved. At the time, the spokesperson of the oil giant said the court ruling did on affect the planned sale of onshore assets in Nigeria.

Read also: Afreximbank board approves US$10m grant for AfCFTA adjustment funds

Four reasons food prices remain high in Nigeria

In Nigeria, experts say the cause of food inflation goes beyond the pandemic. Food inflation reached 17.2 and 18.37 percent in March and April respectively. Fuel Scarcity has been listed as number one on the list, followed by electricity, Russia-Ukraine Crisis, and insecurity. Since February 2022, Nigeria has been experiencing unprecedented fuel scarcity across most states of the country which forced motorists to charge more for the transportation of goods and services and the aftermath of this translated to the sudden rise in prices of foodstuffs across the country. The unstable power supply has pushed business owners to seek alternative but expensive means to preserve food products, translating to high cost of food production, supply and definitely high cost of food in the market shelves. The insecurity issues in the country have led to a continuous rise in food prices due to the reduction in food production. From July 2020 till date, prices of basic food items like rice, beans, yam vegetables and poultry products among others have continued to see a steady rise.

MSF calls for humanitarian responses in Northern part of Nigeria to save lives

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for an urgent scale up of the humanitarian response in Borno in advance of the ‘hunger gap’ peak period, which could be much more severe than previous years if current trends continue. Since May, the organisation has been witnessing an unprecedented invasion of malnourished children in its nutrition centre in Maiduguri, Nigeria, suggesting an alarming nutritional crisis in Borno State. “It is critical that action is taken now, in advance of the seasonal malnutrition peak, to avoid an even worse situation. Unless urgent steps are taken to prepare for the looming peak, people in Maiduguri will suffer deadly consequences,” Shaukat Muttaqi, MSF head of mission in Nigeria, said. For six weeks in May and June, more malnourished patients arrived than at any time since the project opened in 2017.

Scores feared killed as bandits attack mining site in Niger state

Gunmen, believed to be bandits, killed at least 43 people including 30 soldiers and seven mobile police personnel in an attack on a mining site in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, local sources have said. The Niger State Government, while confirming the attack, however, said the number of casualties is yet to be ascertained. Residents said a search party found 37 bodies of soldiers and policemen in a bush near the mining site Thursday morning. Six other corpses of civilians were also recovered from the bush. The residents said many Chinese nationals and Nigerians were also abducted during the attack on the site on Wednesday. Abubakar Sani Bello, the Governor of Niger State, has, therefore, directed that the security agencies should go all out to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped victims and make sure that none of the terrorists escape.

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