Nigeria / by Alistair Galloway

On 30 December,  Nigerian foreign reserves declined to their lowest level yet almost 15.61 per cent from a year before. In addition, Nigeria reduced the government subsidized price of oil to $0.43 USD per liter. Falling petroleum prices have decimated government revenues as petroleum exports make up 90 per cent of international government revenues. The Nigerian government deficit has doubled to approximately $11 billion USD for the fiscal year 2016. Telecom group MTN is challenging the $3.9 billion USD fine levied against them by the Nigerian government in November. In foreign affairs, Nigerian president Buhari reached out to the Chinese government looking for $20 billion USD in loans for infrastructure projects. Nigeria signed an MOU with the Chinese firm Huawei to train 2000 Nigerians in IT and communications technology. Nigeria has signed a deal to acquire two satellites from China for a total of $701 million USD. In security affairs, a number of clashes occurred between a separatist group known as the Islamic movement in Nigeria and the Nigerian military resulting in civilian deaths. A team of US counterterrorism experts arrived in Nigeria in January in addition to a delivery of 24 armored cars. Nigeria and Israel have signed a security cooperation agreement when the Israeli ambassador met with the Nigerian Minister of the Interior. The US embassy has warned of possible attacks against hotels targeting foreign nationals and advised visitors to Nigeria to remain vigilant. A series of suicide bombings continued throughout the north and northeast of Nigeria continued throughout the month as Nigerian military units were able to repel attacks on towns in Borno State. A corruption scandal led to the arrest of two former military officials accused of diverting billions of dollars in revenues earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram.