20 Jan

Daily Watch – Nigeria food prices rise amidst global drop, IPOB takes complaints to ICC

  • Prices of food commodities in Nigeria have been on an increase whereas global food prices have dropped for the fourth consecutive year. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the UN  at the end of 2015 revealed an “averaged 164.1 points over 2015 and ended the year even lower, at 154.1 points during the month of December. In December, the index declined a further 1.0 percent from its revised November value, as falling prices for meat, dairy and cereals more than offset gains by sugar and vegetable oils.” FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian attributed the global drop in food prices to “abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating dollar are the main reason for the general weakness that dominated food prices in 2015.” In Nigeria however, prices of food commodities have been on the increase without recourse to price drops on the global scene.
  • The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will file a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against various senior officials of Nigeria, including President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement by the IPOB’s lawyers, Göran Sluiter of Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers has announced. According to the Amsterdam-based law firm, the complaint would be filed on January 29. It said the complaint, based on publicly available information as well as the statements of many unnamed Nigerian victims, was in the process of being finalized. “To date, there is clear and consistent evidence that crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC—in particular: murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, enforced disappearance, other inhumane acts, and persecution—have been committed in the context of politically- and ethnically-motivated state violence against, primarily, IPOB members and the Igbo people of South-Eastern Nigeria,” the law firm said.
  • Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tuesday in Abu Dhabi signed six agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them. The agreements signed by the two countries will also enable Nigeria trace and recover stolen funds laundered into Abu Dhabi by those who looted government’s treasury. The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs. The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.
  • The recent sell-off in Nigerian banking stocks is widening a valuation gap that existed between them and other lenders in Africa’s major economies. The market capitalisation of Nigeria’s 15 listed banks has fallen to $8.9 billion (N1.78 trillion), compared to $6.1 billion (KES 628.34 billion) for listed Kenyan Banks and $43.7 billion (ZAR 726.3 billion) for the six components of South Africa’s FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index. At the recent stock market peak of July 2014 when the benchmark NSE all share index briefly crossed the 43,000 points mark, Nigeria’s top five lenders (FBN Holdings, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, UBA, and Access Bank), had a combined market capitalisation of $13.3 billion (N2.664 trillion). Now, South Africa’s FirstRand Bank with a market capitalisation of $13.3 billion, is more valuable than the 15 Nigerian banks combined, after a stock market rout that has seen the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) enter a bear market (-21 percent) in 2016 after losing 17 percent in 2015.