These are the five things to know to start your Monday:
Niger closes airspace amidst escalating political tensions
In a move that underscores the escalating tensions in Niger’s ongoing political crisis, the country has made the decision to close its airspace, effective immediately and until further notice.
The decision was announced on Sunday by a representative of the junta, a group that assumed power following a recent coup. The closure comes amidst mounting concerns of potential military intervention by the West African regional bloc after the coup leaders rebuffed a deadline to reinstate the ousted president.
Kano Govt to activate, support 250 cooperative groups
The Kano State Government is set to empower 250 cooperative groups as part of a broader strategy for socio-economic development.
Jamilu Abbas-Kiru, newly appointed Special Adviser on Cooperative Groups, explained that the government’s plan aims to stimulate commerce, industry, energy, security, and climate change initiatives.
The cooperative societies will cover various sectors, including agriculture, commerce, handicrafts, artisans, and transportation. The initiative aims to bridge the digital divide in economic activities, particularly in rural areas, by integrating modern Information and communication technology (ICT) practises.
This strategy intends to link members with financial institutions, enabling them to access intervention funds and improve their businesses. The government seeks to enhance the quality of healthcare, education, rural development, and water supply in the state.
Engage audit firms to probe CBN, not private Investigator, experts urge FG
Financial experts have suggested that the Nigerian government involve a consortium of audit firms to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The decision comes after a private investigator, Osayande Obaze, a former CEO of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), was appointed to probe the CBN. Some stakeholders feel that the FRC is the appropriate body for such an investigation, and using an individual could send the wrong message.
Experts like Prof. Uche Uwaleke and Okechukwu Unegbu believe a consortium of reputable audit firms would provide a more thorough and impartial probe.
Meanwhile, Muda Yusuf of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise emphasised the need for a fair investigation to determine any infractions or abuse of office. President Bola Tinubu authorised Obaze’s appointment as a special investigator to probe the CBN, directing him to work with experienced professionals and provide regular progress updates.
PenCom vows protection of contributors’ interest
Aisha Dahir-Umar, the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), emphasised the organisation’s dedication to safeguarding contributors’ interests as funds continue to grow under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Speaking at the 2023 Journalists’ Conference in Lagos, Dahir-Umar highlighted PenCom’s proactive regulatory approach, enhancing oversight, governance, transparency, and accountability in pension funds.
Notably, pension assets surged by N1.77 trillion in the first half of 2023, reaching N16.76 trillion from N14.99 trillion in December 2022. Membership also increased by 146,920 contributors, surpassing 10 million members by June 2023.
The conference theme, “Transforming service delivery in the pension industry,” mirrors PenCom’s commitment to enhancing service quality for contributors and retirees, promoting financial security in retirement.
Mike Pence does not rule out being witness for Trump’s prosecution
Former Vice President Mike Pence has not ruled out being a witness if ex-President Donald Trump goes to trial for alleged involvement in a criminal conspiracy to reverse the 2020 election outcome.
During a CBS interview, Pence said he had “no plans” to testify but wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.
Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, welcomes Pence’s testimony, stating it could support Trump’s belief in election irregularities. Pence was central to charges against Trump in a Justice Department indictment, as he resisted Trump’s pressure to overturn Biden’s win.
Trump’s attack on Pence and Pence’s notes could play a significant role in the trial. Despite facing challenges in his presidential campaign and a lack of donors, Pence’s notes and potential testimony might become essential in the prosecution’s case against Trump.