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Majority of Nigerians in Ethiopian prisons there for drug offences— Report

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Investigations by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) have shown that almost 99% of Nigerians languishing in Ethiopian prisons are there for drug trafficking offences.

This startling figure was revealed by the Chairman/CEO of the Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa in an interview on Friday on a Nigerian television station.

The NIDCOM boss, who was reacting to a viral video claiming that 250 Nigerians are languishing in Ethiopian prisons and that they were going to be killed, dismissed the video, adding that the Nigerian government was doing everything possible to intervene in the matter, and weighing the possibility of a prisoner swap.

“Sometime ago, the Nigerian Mission in Ethiopia had a long conversation with the Ethiopian authorities, and they got amnesty for every Nigerian in that prison, so they left,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

“They let them go, and they came back to the country, but guess what? A whole lot of them returned again, committed the same offense—drugs—and then they were arrested.

“Some Nigerians did a video and just said 250 Nigerians are in Ethiopian prisons and they are going to kill them. I’m telling you categorically that the video was a lie, and that’s part of the problem. Anyone can do a video.

“That is the subject of a Senate investigation. I was in the Senate, and I believe that next week the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and NGOs, Senator Victor Umeh is going to present his report.

“So I don’t want to go ahead with what he is going to present, but here is what we told the Senate; that is a lie; we don’t have 250 Nigerians in Ethiopean Prison. I gave them the list of Nigerians; less than 150 Nigerians are in one prison, and 99 percent of them are there for drugs”, she added.

She also urged Nigerian asylum seekers to leave legitimately and with proper documentation to avoid unpleasant consequences, adding that in light of a growing number of Nigerians migrating out of the country, a phenomenon locally referred to as “japa”, it was imperative for them to do so legally.

Metro

Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will help resolve the country’s debt crisis.

Hichilema, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the agreement would also help pave the way for the country to negotiate with private creditors.

Before signing the agreement, Zambia had struggled to revive its debt restructuring process after a deal to rework $3 billion Eurobonds was rejected by its official creditors, with international media reporting that China and other creditors did not believe that it offered comparable debt relief to that of bondholders.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, had assured that the government was trying to clarify the meaning of a “comparable treatment” with bondholders.

However, while addressing a gathering during the Nc’wala ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province, President Hichilema confirmed the signing of the agreement with the two Asian nations.

“On the official creditors’ side, the last two countries that had not signed, China and India, have now signed,” Hichilema said.

The President added that Zambia was now turning to the private creditors in a bid to address the debt issue because the had defaulted on its foreign debts in November 2020 and that its restructuring had been beset by delays.

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Metro

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

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A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10 Nigerians are indebted to online loan sharks and are finding it difficult to come out of such debts.

The report noted that 26 per cent of average Nigerians were indebted to different loan apps spread across the country which is as a result of the harsh economic challenges brought about by different unfavourable government policies.

The report which was discussed at a Finance Roundtable in Lagos on Saturday by co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, lamented the widening wealth divide among Nigerians, saying it was inimical to economic growth as a vast majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

According to Eweniyi, the report ‘captures the attitude of different demographics in the country viz- a-viz their savings and spending habits, debt management, and future financial plans.’

As a panacea to solving the problems of indebtedness, Eweniyi advocated ‘savings before spending in order to avoid running into debt,’ adding that the option of savings was still elusive to Nigerians who live below the poverty line of $2 per day dollars per day.

“We must also know that while innovation is key, it cannot go far without social interventions for the people.”

She urged the government to focus on Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid in its conversation as well as simplify access to public credit facilities to improve income status of average Nigerians.

“This is why government must as much as possible explore collaboration with private sector to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and also drive financial literacy and inclusion,” Eweniyi emphasized.

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