- The Niger Delta Avengers whose attacks on energy facilities in the Niger Delta last year helped push Nigeria into recession said on Friday it had ended its ceasefire. It announced a halt to hostilities in August 2016, although they carried out attacks in October and November last year. “Niger Delta Avenger’s ceasefire on Operation Red Economy is officially over,” the group said on its website. “Our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign which we operated successfully without any casualties; this outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody,” it said in a section of its statement addressed to oil companies. The 2016 attacks cut oil production from a peak of 2.2 million barrels per day to near 1 mbpd, the lowest level in Africa’s top oil producer for at least 30 years.
- Nigeria (125th) moved up two positions in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings despite its score having fallen every year since 2012. The WEF report said Nigeria’s macroeconomic conditions are worsening (122nd, down 14), inflation (131st) is high at 15.7 percent, its budget deficit (99th) has reached 4.4 percent, and institutions appear more fragile (125th, down seven), adding uncertainty to the business environment. The country is struggling to adapt to lower commodity prices, with the potential for structural change impeded by low scores on infrastructure (132nd), technological readiness (112th, down seven), higher education (116th), and innovation capacity (112th)
- Diamond Bank is quitting other West African markets to focus efforts at home and deploy its resources on personal banking business in Africa’s biggest economy, it said on Friday. The move by Diamond Bank ends the mid-tier lender’s 18-year push abroad. “After 18 years of building the Diamond Bank franchise in other markets in West Africa, the time has come to fully apply our resources to Nigeria,” Diamond Bank Chief Executive Uzoma Dozie said in a statement. The bank said on Friday it had agreed to sell its operations in Benin, Togo, Cote d‘Ivoire and Senegal to a Cote d‘Ivoire-based financial services company Manzi Finances S.A. for 61 million euros. It expects the deal to close this year. Diamond Bank posted a 71.5 percent rise in nine-month pretax profit to ₦6.67 billion in September.
- A new report says about 4.8 million Nigerians face looming food insecurity in 16 states and the FCT next year. The report, titled “Cadre Harmonise” for identification of risk areas and vulnerable populations in sixteen states and Federal Capital Territory explained that between October and December 2017, about 3.1 million people faced a food crisis. The states affected by food and nutrition insecurity are Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT. The report was put together by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, the National Programme for Food Security and other donor agencies.