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Press highlights warning against ethno-religious conflict in Nigeria by Islamic group, others

The warning by the Jama'Atu Nasril Islam led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa'ad Abubakar II, against ethno-religious conflict…

The warning by the Jama’Atu Nasril Islam led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar II, against ethno-religious conflict in Nigeria, following the killing in Plateau State of 22 travellers returning from a religious event in Bauchi is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Vanguard reports the Jama’Atu Nasril Islam (JNI) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar II, yesterday warned against ethno-religious conflict in the country, following the killing in Plateau State of 22 travellers returning from a religious event in Bauchi in northern Nigeria on Saturday.

Recall that some persons suspected to be Irigwe youths had opened fire on a convoy of five buses conveying some Moslem faithful who were heading to Ikare, Ondo State, from an annual Zikr prayer in Bauchi, killing 22, while several others sustained injuries, with many still missing.

The Sultan spoke on a day Plateau State government imposed a 24-hour curfew on three local government areas of the state, including Bassa, Jos South and Jos North, as a result of the crisis.

These came as Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, yesterday ordered immediate deployment of Police Intervention Team to Plateau State to carry out on-the-spot assessment and ensure enhanced, coordinated response to protect the community and boost public confidence in the affected areas of the state.

Reacting to the killings, the Sultan in a statement signed by JNI’s Secretary-General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, blamed politicians for the incident which he noted could snowball into ethno-religious conflict, if not urgently nipped in the bud.

The Guardian says that Nigeria has registered 541 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) as active cases continue to soar in the West African
country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which made this known via its verified website on Monday morning, said the additional infections, though declined from the 655 recorded on Saturday, raised the cumulative cases to 182,503.

The centre said that the number of known active cases was now 13,152, an increase from 12,917 reported on Saturday.

The public health agency, however, did not state the percentage of COVID-19 variants in the newly recorded infections.

It put the Delta variant seen in Nigeria at 32 as of Aug. 2, noting they were recorded in Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Oyo and the FCT.

The NCDC said it was scaling up its sequencing capacity to have a better understanding of the burden of new variants which were of concern to Nigeria.

According to the NCDC, as of Sunday Aug. 15 no additional COVID-19-related death was reported. The total number of Nigerians who had succumbed to the virus stood at 2,219.

The Punch reports that Nigeria’s foreign liabilities stood at $187.36bn while the country’s foreign assets amounted to $102.15bn as of December 2020, the International Monetary Fund has said.

From 2016, Nigeria’s foreign liabilities jumped by 42.41 percent from $131.56bn, while foreign assets rose by 13.67 percent from $89.87bn.

Foreign assets are the investment securities owned by the Nigerian government, companies, or Nigerians in foreign countries while foreign liabilities are assets owned by foreign governments, corporations and individuals in Nigeria.

This places Nigeria’s Net International Investment Position, which is foreign assets less liabilities at -$85.21bn as of December 2020. Corporate Finance Institute, a Canadian finance repository, says that a positive NIIP makes a country a net creditor while a negative NIIP implies that the country is a net debtor.

CFI also said the NIIP was a measure of a country’s financial condition and its sustainability to take on more financial credit. At -$85.21bn, foreigners own more assets in Nigeria than the value of foreign assets owned by FG, the state governments, Nigerian-owned companies and Nigerian individuals.

To understand Nigeria’s creditworthiness, the IMF measures the NIIP as a percentage of a country’s GDP. With a GDP of $432.30bn (World Bank), Nigeria’s NIIP stood at -19.71 per cent as of December 2020.

ThisDay says that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, has disclosed that a total of N34 billion has been set aside by the federal government for the development of rural roads, with additional N17 billion added to it, under the sustainability planning.

Agba explained further that the above figures added with the N8 billion from the 2021 budget for rural development, brings the total to N59 billion.

The minister, made the disclosure in Benin City, Edo Stare, at the 7th Biennial Retreat 2021, organised in his honour by the Weppa Wanno Pyramid Club of Nigeria, with the theme:” Security Challenges In Our Communities: The Way Forward.”

He noted that, community development is a primary responsibility of the sub-national government, and not the federal government alone.

According to him, “Community development is a primary responsibility of the sub-national government, not the federal government. But, the federal government is doing a lot.

“He stressed that with the N34 billion earmarked for rural roads, in addition to N17 billion under the substainability planning, and another N8 billion for the 2021, budget for rural development, the federal governor was set to doing more work for a responsibility meant for the sub-national governments.

The Sun reports that last weekend’s revelation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the country’s unclaimed dividend has now risen to N170 billion has sparked off concerns among shareholders in the Nigerian Capital Market (NCM) that the funds may be appropriated by Nigeria’s financially challenged Federal Government.

This is even as they urged the Commission to quickly innovate new strategies to reduce the figure. The shareholders renewed call on SEC is coming after its efforts to tackle the rising unclaimed dividend trend in the nation’s capital market failed to hit the right cord as the Commission on Friday, announced that the figure had risen to N170 billion as at December 2020 from N158.4 billion recorded in 2019.

Daily Sun investigations showed that from as little as over N2 billion in 1999, the figure rose sharply to N158.4 billion at the end of 2019, an increase of 32 percent from N120 billion recorded in 2018.

Speaking during a virtual Capital Market Committee Meeting held in Lagos at the weekend, Director General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda, linked the rising figure to irregularities on identity management and multiple subscriptions from investors.

Yuguda expressed dissatisfaction on the development, assuring that the SEC would adopt all-inclusive approaches to stem the tide and boost investor’ confidence.

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