$1.7bn Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project Nears Apapa - DAILY TRUST
By Abdullateef Aliyu
Lagos — The China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) has completed the laying of the double tracks of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge project to Ebute-Metta Junction (EBJ) inside the premises of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) in Lagos as Nigerians await the commencement of commercial activities on the corridor.
Daily Trust reports that with the completion of the tracks laying, the contractor is set to continue from EBJ to the nation's premier ports, Apapa, a feat that would transform the nation's economic landscape, enable massive movement of cargoes and ease port congestion.
Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge
The $1.7bn Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge project which is 157-kilometer long started in March 2017 as part of the railway modernization drive of the Federal Government.
It is the LOT two of the Lagos-Kano project initiated under the modernization project to drive economic activities in the country going by the prospect of railways in massive transportation of goods and passengers.
NRC had done a trial run from Iju in Lagos to Ibadan, conveying passengers for free. However, the oversubscribed service stopped due to COVID-19.
Congestion at Ports
To ease the congestion in Apapa ports, the project scope was expanded to Apapa ports, and our checks showed that works have reached an advanced stage to get the tracks to Apapa.
An engineer on site, Engr. Tunde Imoletan, confirmed that road pavement is almost completed.
"We are doing the surface dressing which would be followed by the laying of sub-grade, then laying of sub-ballast. After that the track laying will commence.
"The track laying doesn't really take time. What takes time are the earthworks. Immediately we finish with the surface dressing, lying on a sub-ballast which has passed Iganmu and we are approaching Ijora, the track laying will commence."
The distance from EBJ to the Port complex is 7km and the track is designed to link three major terminals in the ports including the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL), ENL Port and Terminal and APM Terminal.
About 24 new coaches have been delivered ahead of the commencement of operations on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge service.
Managing Director of NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria had disclosed that the operations would start with 16 trips daily from Lagos to Ibadan while full-blown service commences in 2021.
Mr. Fidelis Ogbonna, who works at Apapa and uses the narrow gauge train from Iddo to Agbado, said he looks forward to the commencement of commercial activities on the standard gauge which he said is faster to travel with."
Edeme Kelikume, a haulage expert said the standard gauge would unlock the nation's economy.
Lagos Airport Set To Have N250 Million Packaging Factory - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
A N250 million packaging factory is to be built at the Murtala Mohammad Airport Lagos by Free On Board (FOB) Goods and logistics in partnership with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and other international partners.
The factory is aimed at building what is called Brand Nigeria, which means any item, any shipment that is leaving the shores of Nigeria must be properly labelled, properly packed so that the produce, the producer and the nation will be showcased on the international shores.
The Chief executive, FOB, Mr Oluwajimi Adebakin who disclosed this to reporters in an interview said, discussions were at its final stage with NAHCO towards the commencement of the packaging project as the site has already been secured.
He explained that the brand Nigeria project which he described as a national assignment, was being embarked on to ensure that products exported from Nigeria meet international standards through proper labelling and packaging.
â€œYes, our packaging is a major issue but we are looking at it seriously and we have to see a situation by latest December, the first quarter of 2021 God permitting, it will be a thing of the past, it will not be a question that you donâ€™t have an option for packaging, it will be an option that you have elected not to use the packaging facility that has been made available Free On Board by NEPC and other stakeholders.â€
Adebakin also disclosed how the Government was planning to build what it called domestic warehouses across the six geo-political zones of the country to cater to exports and help to decongest the Lagos area.
He said the domestic warehousing facilities when completed will have internal storage facilities, packaging facilities and temperature control facilities for perishables and non-perishables.
The gesture Mr Adebakin stressed, will create gainful employment for the youth and government will create the enabling environment through its zero oil policy to encourage the youths in works that would meet standards for export.
His words: â€œThe government has finally woken up and we thank the President for taking this bold initiative to let us start looking inwards, we want to regain what we lost in the â€™50s, lets us go back to were our comparative advantage lies.
â€œThe main thrust of the zero oil policy is to ensure first and foremost, we create gainful employment for our youths. Nigeria is highly talented, from entertainment to music, culture, you name it, what government is now proposing to do is to create the Enabling environment, it is going to be a thing of the past for somebody to say I am not employed, it is now going to be a question that you have refused to be gainfully employed.â€
The FOB boss also emphasized that the credit facility offered by the FOB would motivate Nigerians interested in export to come on board.
â€œIf it is your designing of shoes that you can do, we are creating warehouses offshores of Nigeria as well whereby we will be displaying made in Nigeria products and produce and this is why we are saying we are providing this credit facility whereby you bring your freight, we will send it out on your behalf, when it gets to the destination, we will clear it, we will provide warehousing, we will provide distribution and after the products have been sold, the money will be repatriated to the exporter in Nigeria and from there, we will deduct our cost of operations.â€
â€œThis is why we believe that 100 tonnes of cargo on a daily basis is achievable in a nation of over 200 million people if only 10million of us play an active role in this endeavour, we will be doing more than 100 tonnes definitely a day and we see an opportunity to reduce unemployment drastically across the 774 local government of Nigeriaâ€, he added.
Nigerians in Switzerland petition EFCC, SGF, ministry over alleged corruption in embassy - THE GUARDIAN
Nigerian Youth Movement of Switzerland has written a petition letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand a probe into alleged corrupt practices by officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Bern.
The group in a petition signed by its youth leader, Irydaer Omobude, titled: â€˜The Nigerian Embassy in Bern is stinking in corruptionâ€™ urged the federal government to recall the Ambassador, Baba Madugu and Mrs. Kemi Amuda back to Nigeria with immediate effect.
The group noted that it had notified the Nigerian embassy in Bern of the dastardly acts in a letter dated 24 January 2020 but regretted that till date, the embassy has not replied to the letter.
Instead, decided to introduce a closed-door policy against the community, calling the Swiss police at random to harass Nigerians from coming to the embassy.
It further regretted that majority of the Nigerian community has lost confidence in the embassy.
Petition reads: â€œThe embassy in Bern under Ambassador Baba Madugu uses the swiss police to intimidate, threaten, coarse, and violently remove Nigerians on appointment at the embassy whenever they request for passport or other services which they paid forâ€
â€œThe Nigerian embassy in Bern receives a monthly salary for a security officer that is never employed who then receives this monthly salaryâ€
â€œMany contracts and purchases are highly inflated with the active participation of third parties.â€
â€œAmbassador Baba Madugu met a united Nigerian community in Switzerland. Since his arrival, he has used a crude divide and rule tactics to turn Nigerians against each otherâ€
â€œOur first petition letter of 24th January 2020 sent to you His Excellency, through the embassy in Bern has landed onto deaf ears. Till date, we are yet to receive any response to that enactâ€
â€œApart from their remittances to the Nigerian economy that runs into USD Billions yearly, many Nigerians living in Switzerland have thriving businesses in Nigeria that pay taxes to the Federal Government as at when dueâ€
â€œNigerian taxpayers are investing millions of USD each year to maintain the embassy in Bern which pays rent salaries to officers that rarely performâ€
â€œIt is no longer acceptable to us that our hard-earned money will be used to maintain an embassy and officers that do not serve the interest of Nigeriansâ€
â€œBased on the above facts, we the Nigerian Youth Movement of Switzerland do hereby officially demand the following
â€œThe RECALL of Ambassador Baba Madugu and Mrs. Kemi Amuda back to Nigeria with immediate effectâ€
â€œThey do neither serve the interests of Nigeria nor that of Nigerians in Switzerlandâ€
â€œWe equally request the relevant and competent organs of the Federal government of Nigeria, the EFCC or the lCPC and others to immediately launch a proper investigation on these allegations andâ€
â€œRequest the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately undertake a full independent forensic audit of all the accounts of the Nigerian embassy in Bernâ€
â€œWe are equally demanding to know the official duties of every officer with diplomatic status working and receiving salaries at the Nigerian embassy in Bernâ€
â€œIt is our informed opinion that these alleged corrupt practices of officers of the Nigerian embassy in Bern go contrary to the policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria in fighting corruption. This is even worse at a period that Nigeria has officially been declared the poverty capital of the world with major youth unemployment rateâ€
â€œWe had notified the Nigerian embassy in Bern of these dastardly acts in a letter dated 24 January 2020. Till date, the Nigerian embassy has not replied to our letter.
Instead, it has decided to introduce a closed-door policy against the community, calling the Swiss police at random to harass Nigerians from coming to the embassy. The majority of Nigerian community has lost confidence in the embassyâ€
â€œAt this Juncture, we want to reiterate that we do not claim any status of whistleblowers and as such do not request any percentage of the monies recovered from defaulting officers. Instead, the monies should be dedicated to creating employment to the booming Nigerian youth in Nigeriaâ€
â€œThere are a lot of measures available to seek justice in the current situation. We have chosen this official civic and peaceful option in the hope that the authorities will take it seriously and do the needful.â€
Challenges of International Air Travel - THISDAY
By Chinedu Eze
There have been many complaints from airlines and passengers since international flights started on September 5, 2020.
Passengers have complained that the COVID-19 protocol has been very stringent and inefficient such that travellers are finding it difficult to abide by the rules. This is because the PTF on COVID-19 has decided that government health institutions would not conduct tests for travellers, so they designated private hospitals and laboratories where the tests could be done.
But feedback from passengers indicate that the private COVID-19 test centres charge N50,450 per test and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) portal is difficult to access, thus making it difficult for arriving passengers to clear the COVID-19 status.
Also because there are not many places intending travellers can do the test in Nigeria, it is difficult for many of them to conduct the test and get results as at the time they wish to travel.
THISDAY learnt that some of the foreign carriers complain that they want to operate more frequencies to Nigeria but are allowed fewer flights into the country.
For example, African World Airlines (AWA) before the COVID-19 lockdown used to operate five times daily between Accra, Ghana to Lagos and 11 times a week between Accra to Abuja but after the restart on September 5, 2020, AWA operates five times a week to Lagos and four times a week to Abuja.
"But there are many Nigerians in Ghana willing to return to Nigeria but there is no capacity. What we are allowed is just 250 seats a week. That is too small and currently there is no other airline on that route, except few occasions when Asky operates to Nigeria," a source said.
THISDAY visited the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos and spoke to some travellers and airport officials who conceded that flight operations were not as smooth as initially envisaged, especially for arriving passengers who have to face COVID-19 protocols.
They complained of the overzealous attitude of security operatives who make certain demands from passengers beyond the protocols acknowledged by PTF on COVID-19 and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Tourism Consultant and Vice-President (South East) Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria and operator of Zigona Travels and Tours Limited, Ngozi Ngoka told THISDAY that despite the aforementioned hitches, there have been smooth flight operations and Nigerians are coming back into the country, while outbound passengers are also leaving the country.
"The only problem we have is that some countries are not allowing our citizens into their destinations because of COVID-19 and we have reciprocated that gesture, so some airlines are now allowed to come into the country but it is something we must have to bear because we cannot continue to be slaves to foreign countries and their airlines; there must be balance of trade and we support the position of our government in this.
"Flights that operated so far have been smooth. But we have many flights that want to come but we don't have the capacity because government does not want to take in the number of passengers the airports cannot manage in terms of COVID-19 protocols. So there are not many passengers coming in," she said.
With the implementation of the principle of reciprocity by the federal government, many countries have started negotiating with Nigeria over the measures they introduced to bar Nigerians from their shores and last weekend the European Union held a meeting with the Ministry of Aviation and on Sunday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) opened a line of discussion with Nigeria in order to avoid the Nigerian government's decision to bar Emirates Airlines from operating from the West African country.
THISDAY gathered that before the Monday date (September 21), UAE authorities had met to consider issuing visa to Nigerians in order to prevent the ban by the Nigerian government.
According to Emirates spokesperson, "Emirates remains committed to serving its two Nigerian points, Abuja and Lagos, to connect our customers to and through Dubai to Emirates' global network, and meet the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country.
"Emirates is working closely with the UAE and Nigerian authorities, and will communicate any updates to our customers. We look forward to continue serving our customers in Nigeria."
But travel expert and the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko noted that the principle of reciprocity adopted by the Nigerian government was good because Nigeria has comparative advantage in human capacity.
"Our biggest export is human. So our laws and foreign policy should be designed to protect our assets: humans. So any country that injures our economic interest should receive a similar injury to their interest. That is the unwritten text of reciprocity. It should not be in like terms. Reciprocity is accepted in diplomacy. Ghana just showed us an example. We closed our borders; they closed Nigerian shops. That's Reciprocity 101," he said.
US to restrict students from Nigeria, others to two-year courses - DAILY POST
The United States is set to restrict students from Nigeria and others from admission of more than two years.
This is according to the new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The new measures were published in the U.S. federal register. The start date of the policy is expected
DHS proposed a â€œmaximum admission period of up to 2 years for certain studentsâ€.
â€œIf an immigration officer finds that an alien violated his or her status prior to or during the course of an EOS adjudication and denies the EOS request, the alien generally would begin accruing unlawful presence the day after issuance of the denialâ€, it said.
The policy would affect natives or citizens of countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) List, citizens of countries with more than 10% overstay rate, students of unaccredited school and those of schools that does not use E-Verify.
Nigeria had Total Overstay Rate of 13.43%, and Suspected in-Country Overstay Rate of 11.12%.
For SST, they are countries America determine have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.
Categories of sanctions include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports of dual use items, and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
The DHS 2019 Entry/Exit Overstay Report provided data on expected departures and overstays for foreign travelers who entered as nonimmigrants through air or sea port of entry (POEs) and who were expected to depart between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
An overstay is described as a nonimmigrant lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period, but remained in the United States beyond his or her authorized period of admission.
Nigeriaâ€™s 2019 overstay rates for nonimmigrants admitted (on B1, B2 visas) for business or pleasure via air and sea.
Expected Departures â€“ 177,835, Out-of-Country Overstays â€“ 764, Suspected in-Country Overstays â€“ 16,802, Total Overstays â€“ 17,566, Total Overstay Rate â€“ 9.88%, Suspected in-Country Overstay Rate â€“ 9.45%.
Overstay rates for non-immigrant students and exchange visitors (on F, M, J visas) admitted via air and sea.
Expected Departures â€“ 9,336, Out-of-Country Overstays â€“ 216, Suspected in-Country Overstays â€“ 1,038, Total Overstays â€“ 1,254, Total Overstay Rate â€“ 13.43%, Suspected in-Country Overstay Rate â€“ 11.12%.
Overstay rates for other in-scope nonimmigrant classes of admission admitted via air and sea;
Expected Departures â€“ 3,870, Out-of-Country Overstays â€“ 29, Suspected in-Country Overstays â€“ 500, Total Overstays â€“ 529, Total Overstay Rate â€“ 13.67%, Suspected in-Country Overstay Rate â€“ 12.92%.
FG to Shutdown Bonded Terminals over Illegal Charges, Inefficiency - THISDAY
BY Eromosele Abiodun
The federal government has called on all bonded terminals in the country to desist from charging shippers and freight forwarders illegal fees and improve on efficient delivery and management of cargo or face total shutdown.
The Executive Secretary /CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, stated this during an on-the-spot assessment of Denca Terminal and Kachicares Bonded Terminal, both located within Amuwo-Odofin Lagos. Specifically, the NSC boss threatened to shut down Denca Bonded Terminal if it fails to return about N40 million illegal charges obtained under the guise of transfer and storage charges from Nigerian shippers and freight forwarders.
Bello condemned the indiscriminate citing of bonded terminals and issuing of approvals by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), stressing that henceforth, the NSC would engage customs to ensure that it is consulted before bonded terminals are licensed.
The NSC, he stated, had in July issued a circular, directing all seaport terminals and bonded terminals to stop charging shippers for transfer of cargoes from Apapa to bonded terminals. He said some of the bonded terminals were recalcitrant and were still collecting the money.
â€œPresently, Denca Bonded Terminal has N42 million to refund to importers while Kachicares Terminal owes N3 million. Our circular which we issued in July 2020 would suffice for this exercise, there should be no transfer charges, if goods are stemmed from the seaport terminals, those who stemmed the goods are responsible for whatever cost, not the shipper, so between the seaport terminals and the bonded terminals, there must be an SOP or a memorandum of understanding, I think what has been happening so far is informal arrangements, we cannot afford to operate on informal arrangements,â€ he said.
â€œThe shipper cannot pay for what is not his responsibility, he has already nominated in the bill of laden where his consignments should be taken to, and transferring it to another terminal is the business of the terminal he nominated.
â€œNSC believes in consultation, but if we found out that for whatever reason, the seaport terminals or the bonded terminal is charging the bills we have abolished, then we would be left with no option that to ensure that we seal off premises of such recalcitrant operators who have defied genuine orders from the council.â€
Bello also disclosed that the NSC is now posting its staff to all terminals to monitor and enforce efficiency. â€œSome of the bonded terminals are not properly situated, there are no access to the terminals, the whole environment is not looking nice, and it is also our duty to work with the NSC that licensed them to ensure that whenever a terminal is going to be licensed, its location and geographical availability and suitability must be taken into consideration. We are going to talk with the customs to see that we are consulted when these terminals are being licensed, â€œhe added.
Bello pointed out that some of the terminals have good equipment, adding that the NSC is pushing for terminals to meet international standards. â€œThe circular issued in July prohibited terminals from leveling charges on storage or transfer, especially when the consignee have not appointed the terminal as port of destination. We have been to other terminal we saw some level of compliance, but your terminal unfortunately is still leveling charges on storage and transfer, and for now, about N42million which belongs to shippers from the various complaints have not been refunded.
â€œWe are also concerned with your operational efficiency, access to your terminal, the traffic situation and many other operations are under scrutiny. The council wants timely evacuation of cargoes and efficiency in service delivery, â€œhe said. In his response, General Manager, Denca Bonded Terminal, Mr. Tony Asiadiachi, blamed APM Terminals for the storage and transfer charges.
Denca Terminal, he said, had to pay hundreds of millions to APMT and inherit all storage on the containers before they are allowed to be moved to Denca terminal. Denca Bonded Terminal, he explained, will in turn, transfer all these charges on the importer.
â€œWe started charging the shippers on instructions from the terminal operators. Every container we have taken here so far have Apapa Bill of Laden, APMT considers some terminals to be under Apapa, they give us bills, some of them carry storage, and we must pay these storage before we carry the containers, and we in turn pass it to customers, the customers started complaining. To handle some of these cargoes, it costs us millions of Naira, we took these money from the bank as loan in order for us to take these containersâ€ he said.
Foreign portfolio investments drop by N124b - THE NATION
BY Taofik Salako Dep. Group Business Editor
INVESTORS apathy to Nigerian securities amid foreign exchange control, illiquidity and other macroeconomic risks have affected foreign portfolio investments in the local markets.
The investments have dropped by N124.3 billion going by the latest Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) Report released on Thursday.
It (report) showed a 20 per cent reduction in total foreign portfolio transactions to N470.2 billion by August 31, compared with N594.46 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.
The report also showed that Nigerian FPIs remained in deficit with more outflows than inflows, implying that more foreign investors were selling than those buying. Total FPIs included both inflows and outflows. While inflows and outflows indicate direction of portfolio transactions, total FPI measures the momentum and level of participation.
The report showed FPI net deficit quadrupled to â€“N147.58 billion for the eight-month period ended August 2020 as against â€“N37.92 billion recorded in comparable period of 2019. Total FPI outflows and inflows stood at N308.89 billion and N161.31 billion respectively by August 2020 as against N316.19 billion and N278.27 billion respectively in corresponding period of 2019.
The FPI report, coordinated by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), included transactions from nearly all custodians and capital market operators and it is widely regarded as a credible measure of FPI trend. The report uses two key indicators-inflow and outflow, to gauge foreign investorsâ€™ mood and participation in the stock market as a barometer for the economy.
Month-on-month analysis however showed 12.7 per cent increase in total FPIs in August at N38.98 billion and the FPIs dropped to a new low in the previous month, after hitting a 29-month low in May 2020.
The FPIs dropped from its previous low of N35.24 billion in May 2020 to a new low of N34.59 billion or $89 million in July 2020, reversing the dead cat bounce of N56.3 billion or $90.89 million in June 2020.
FPI inflows rose from N13.70 billion in July 2020 to N17.66 billion in August 2020 while outflows also increased from N20.89 billion to N21.32 billion.
Total transactions at the Nigerian equities market closed the eight-month period ended August at N1.20 trillion, 9.2 per cent below N1.32 trillion recorded during the comparable period of 2019. These included trading by domestic investors, which increased to N731.02 billion by August as against N728.51 billion by August 2019.
Some analysts blamed the continuing decline in foreign investments and preponderance of outflows to foreign exchange illiquidity orchestrated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)â€™s capital controls programme.
Afrinvest Securities said the introduction of capital controls amid foreign exchange illiquidity had left foreign investors stuck in the market and made Nigeria less attractive as an investment destination.
â€œThe wide premium between exchange rates at the parallel market and the Investors & Exporters (I & E) window also suggests a mispricing of the currency, which makes investors and businesses reluctant to bring in capital,â€ Afrinvest stated.
Earlier, the half-year report had shown that for every naira invested, foreign portfolio investors took out two naira in the first half of this year. Foreign portfolio outflows had risen to N266.68 billion in first half of 2020 as against inflows of N129.95 billion, representing a net FPI deficit of N136.7 billion.
The deficits of N136.7 billion in first half 2020 represented 31.1 per cent increase on N104.29 billion recorded for the whole of 2019.
Total FPIs for the six-month period ended June 30, 2020 stood at N396.63 billion. Total FPIs during the first half of 2019 had stood at N472.78 billion with outflows and inflows at N257.81 billion and N214.97 billion respectively.
Total FPIs for the seven-month period ended July 31, 2020 dropped to N431.22 billion with outflows and inflows of N287.57 billion and N143.65 billion respectively, compared with total FPIs of N530.57 billion, including outflows and inflows of N287.22 billion and N243.35 billion, recorded in comparable period of last year.
Action for Change march to Nigerian High Commission against human trafficking - IOL
Pretoria - If the Nigerian High Commission fails to act against human trafficking, gender-based violence and drug peddling, foreign nationals would be removed from the country.
This is according to Action for Change and other affiliates, who on Wednesday marched to the Nigerian High Commission in Hatfield against what they described as rising cases of human trafficking in the capital and country in general.
They stated that if their demands were not met in three months, they would embark on an action-based protest and physically remove all foreigners in all identified epicentres of human trafficking.
Speaking to Pretoria News, one of the organisers, Nandisa Gschwari, said there were so many cases of human trafficking.
Gschwari said they had evidence that Nigerians were allegedly top of the list of offenders and wanted to know what the Nigerian High Commission was doing about this.
â€œWe demand the harsh prosecution of law enforcement officials who are aiding human trafficking rings and raiding of all buildings that have been marked as epicentres of human trafficking as well as the reservation of buildings in the inner city exclusively to South Africans to end drug and human trafficking," she said.
She blasted Home Affairs for granting citizenship to undeserving foreign nationals.
The group also demanded a public apology from the Nigerian embassy for all atrocities caused by their citizens in South Africa and a detailed remedial action plan.
Nigerian ambassador to SA Kabiru Bala, upon receiving the memorandum, said it pained him that they were being singled out.
â€œIt saddens me the most for my country to be singled out of more than 170 countries represented in this beautiful country; it appears Nigeria is the target and there is no other country,â€ said Bala.
â€œI will not accept that all Nigerians are criminals in this country. I will not and Nigeria will not accept thatâ€
Emirates to parley Fed Govt on flight ban - THE NATION
Emirates Airlines is engaging the Federal Government on a flight ban extended to the Middle East carrier this week.
The carrier said it has opened lines of communication with the Ministry of Aviation towards resolving the impasse insisting that it will give updates on the progress of the talks between the two countries.
The Federal Government at the weekend withdrew approval given to a Emirates Airlines to fly into Nigeria from yesterday.
In a reaction, the carrier said it was still committed to serving its teeming customers on the two Nigerian routes, Lagos and Abuja, to meeting the growing demand for air travel in and out of the countr y .
â€œEmirates remains committed to serving its two Nigerian points, Abuja and Lagos, to connect our customers to and through Dubai to Emiratesâ€™ global network, and meet the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country. Emirates is working closely with the UAE and Nigerian authorities, and will communicate any updates to our customers. We look forward to continue serving our customers in Nigeria.â€™â€™
The Federal Government withdraw the approval to the airline following the refusal of United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift visa ban on Nigerians.The decision by the government was in compliance with its threat to reciprocate any maltreatment of Nigerians or her carriers by any country or their airline.
Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, who made this known, said, the decision to revoke the approval was arrived at after a meeting with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to review the status of foreign carriers operating into Nigeria.
â€œThe PTF Sub-committee met with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.
The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlinesâ€™s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.â€
Besides, Emirates Airlines, another carrier African World Airways (AWA) from Accra, Ghana, has also been denied approval to fly into Nigeria.
The Ghanaian carrier sources said was banned by government on account of recent developments in Ghana where Nigerian trader were maltreated.
New U.S. policy to ban Nigerians, others from four-year varsity degrees - THE GUARDIAN
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday proposed fixed time limits for international students, exchange visitors and foreign information media representatives to combat overstays.
Under DHSâ€™s new proposal, citizens or people born in the following countries would be banned from getting student visas longer than two years, meaning they would be banned from getting a four-year degree in the United States. They are: Afghanistan, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (DRC) Congo, CÃ´te dâ€™Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, and Kosovo.
Others are Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Turmenistan, Tuvalu Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.
Only a few African countries escape restrictions. If DHSâ€™s new proposed rule goes through, international students from countries like Nigeria and Kenya would be effectively banned from getting four-year degrees in the US.
The agency announced its plans to mandate fixed time periods for certain visitors, citing goals to â€œencourage program compliance, reduce fraud and enhance national security.â€ The move would change current policy that allows these visitors to stay as long as they follow the â€œterms of admission.â€
DHS noted there has been â€œsignificant growthâ€ in all three nonimmigration programs, and the proposal would â€œensure the integrity of the U.S. immigration system.â€