Nigeria state oil firm makes first profit in 44 years, Algeria cuts diplomatic ties with Morocco

Nigeria state oil firm makes first profit in 44 years

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the senior petroleum minister, has announced that the country’s oil company has made a profit for the first time in its 44-year history, which is in line with the “prudent management of resources”.

The 2020 profit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was recorded as $700m (£509m). Although It’s not yet clear why the NNPC made a profit last year at the time when Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy was devastated because of a sharp crash in global oil prices caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

President Buhari’s announcement comes as his government is planning to disband the NNPC to pave the way for the establishment of an independent and commercially driven company to replace it.

Nigerian gunmen free students after months in captivity

School’s principal of an Islamic seminary in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria announced that dozens of the students who were abducted nearly three months ago and six of whom died in captivity have been freed.

On May 30, about 200 heavily armed men invaded the town of Tegina, in Niger State, and kidnapped 136 students from the private Muslim school Salihu Tanko. Six of the Tegina students died in captivity and 15 others managed to escape in June, according to the school’s management.

Since December, Nigeria has suffered a series of mass kidnappings at schools and universities. Northwestern and central Nigeria have seen an increase in attacks, looting, and mass kidnappings by criminal gangs known locally as “bandits. But this year, gangs have begun targeting schoolchildren and students for ransom.

Ivory Coast’s first Ebola patient since 1994 has recovered

The Ivorian health ministry said on Tuesday that the young Guinean woman who tested positive for the Ebola virus in Ivory Coast after arriving there two weeks ago has recovered from the disease.

“We performed on the patient two biological tests which were negative in an interval of 48 hours. She is therefore declared cured,” Serge Eholie, ministry spokesman and head of the country’s infectious diseases department told AFP.

The 18-year-old had traveled to Abidjan by bus from Labe in northern Guinea, a journey of about 1,500 kilometers (950 miles) that traverses a densely-forested region where Ebola epidemics broke out earlier this year and 2013-16. Her diagnosis was the first confirmed case of Ebola in Ivory Coast since 1994.

“We are lifting her isolation today (Tuesday). She is no longer a risk of contamination. She is still very tired, we are keeping her in hospital,” the professor added.

Ebola, which is transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, is a fatal viral disease that causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding.

Algeria cuts diplomatic ties with Morocco; Morocco ‘regrets’ Algeria’s decision

Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramdane Lamamra said his country is cutting diplomatic relations with Morocco, accusing its neighbour of “hostile actions”.

The cutting of diplomatic relations is effective from Tuesday but consulates in each country will remain open, Lamamra said.

Morocco and Algeria have had strained relations for decades, mainly over the issue of Western Sahara. Morocco’s foreign ministry has reacted to the Algerian move, saying that the country “regrets” the “completely unjustified” decision of neighbouring Algeria to break off diplomatic relations.

The move was “expected … in view of the logic of escalation observed in recent weeks,” Morocco’s foreign ministry said in a statement released overnight on Wednesday. “Morocco categorically rejects the fallacious, even absurd, pretexts underlying it,” it said.

Oil palm picks massive growth in Uganda

In 2020, Uganda’s palm oil exports were worth 45 million dollars.  According to reports, the government has teamed up with private enterprises to improve and expand the market for a crop that is helping to transform lives in one of Uganda’s poorest districts.

“There has been a problem of markets here. Going forward I think this is where the emphasis is going to be put, on how to industrialize the agriculture. And NDP 3 is putting emphasis on this as well as the manifesto of the current government – they put emphasis on agro-industrialization. This is to create now markets internally,” the permanent secretary of the ministry of finance, Ramathan Ggoobi said.

There are almost a million trees that have been planted. Oil palm generates at least 280,000 dollars per month on the Ssese Islads alone.

Ethiopia resolved to build local rival to Facebook, other platforms

Ethiopia has begun constructing its own social media platform to compete with Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, while it has no plansto restrict the worldwide sites, according to the country’s governmental communications security agency.

Since last year, Ethiopia has been involved inan armed struggle between the federal government against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the country’s northern Tigray province.

On social media, supporters on both sides have waged a parallel war of words.

According to Shumete Gizaw, director general of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), the government wants its local platform to “replace” Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Zoom. Shumete claimed that Facebook has removed content and user accounts that were “disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia.”

International human rights organizations have chastised Ethiopia’s government for shutting down social media services such as Facebook and WhatsApp without explanation in the last year. The government has been silent about the shutdowns.

Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre buried in Dakar

Mourners in Dakar pay tribute to Hissene Habre, the former dictator of Chad, who died on Tuesday in Senegal while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Habre, who died of Covid-19 at the age of 79, was buried on Thursday in the Muslim cemetery of Yoff in the Senegalese capital, according to his family.

Former Chadian despot who seized power in 1982 and ruled with an iron fist until he was deposed in 1990 and fled to Senegal. His reign was distinguished by harsh repression of opposition, including allegations of torture and the killing of opponents.

In exile in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, the former leader led a tranquil life with his family in a posh neighborhood. However, in 2013, he was apprehended and tried by a special tribunal set up by the African Union (AU) as part of a deal with Senegal.

Morocco keen on maintaining strong ties with Libya

After meeting with Libyan Presidential Council member Abdullah al-Lafi in Rabat, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita stated that his country is ‘dedicated” to maintaining “solid connections’ with Libya.

Mr. Bourita indicated during a joint press conference that Morocco will stand with Libya unconditionally to assist boost the country’s security and stability.

“Our meeting focused on two main points: the first is the bilateral relations between the two countries and the very strong and deep ties that bind the two brotherly peoples. I conveyed to the Vice President of the Libyan Presidency Council (Abdullah al-Lafi) that His Majesty the King is keen to maintain these strong ties between the two people.”

Abdullah al-Lafi, the visiting member of the Libyan Presidential Council replied saying, “We have just confirmed with his excellency the Foreign Minister a meeting between the two Libyan and Moroccan consular commissions that will be held next week to settle all the problems of obtaining visas and to follow-up on the flights file. Surely this commission will play a positive role to alleviate the suffering for both, the Libyan and Moroccan people.”

The subject of national reconciliation, according to the Moroccan minister, is a critical aspect in overcoming the past and fostering unity among all parties, particularly as Libyan elections approach. Morocco, he said, is eager to share its experience and guide Libya through the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, which has conducted an exceptional process in this field.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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