Nigeria / by Alistair Galloway

Fears over the state of Nigeria’s President Buhari’s health remain after he was absent from three consecutive cabinet meetings this month, before flying to London for medical treatment for the second time this year. Nigeria is continuing to struggle to stave off famine in the northeastern state of Borno. Aid agencies have only been able to raise one fifth of the $1.05 billion required in order to provide assistance this year. 82 of the 300 Chibok girls that were abducted from their school in 2014 have been released in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders. On 15 May Boko Haram fighters killed at least six farmers who were working on their land in the village of Amrawa. On 18 May, at least one person was killed after two explosions at the University of Maiduguri in the northeast of the country. Both Houses of Parliament have now approved Buhari’s record-breaking budget for 2017. The budget will boost government spending by 25 per cent in response to last year’s recession which saw the economy shrink by 1.5 per cent. Spending will increase to 7.4 trillion naira ($23 billion). Nigeria continues to be exempt from OPEC’s deal to cut oil production, which this month, was extended for a further nine months, until March 2018. Forcados pipeline which can handle 200,000 bpd is expected to return to service in the near future after damage by militant activity caused a year of disruption. Inflation has slowed for the third consecutive month due to a decline in gasoline prices. Inflation in April fell to 17.2 per cent from 17.3 per cent in March.