Travel News

United Nigeria Airlines, travel firm partner on flight booking inventory - THE NATION

APRIL 15, 2022

United Nigeria Airlines has integrated with Wakanow, Africa’s leading travel tech firm, to provide greater value to its customers by delivering real-time inventory and flight schedules.

Under the partnership, Wakanow is the only online travel agency with United Nigeria’s Live Inventory bookable in real-time enabling the delivery of booking experience for Wakanow customers and United Nigeria passengers.

“We have promised our customers that we are the best plug for their local and international travels. We will continue to deliver on this promise and with this partnership, we have gone a step further to delight African travellers.”

Also, Wakanow Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Adenike Macaulay, noted that with the  integration, Nigerians should be rest assured of a seamless booking experience for domestic flights with United Nigeria.

She said: “Our expertise as an innovative travel tech company is a great value addition to the airline which will be leveraged extensively as we deepen our partnership. We will be upping the ante of the booking experience of United Nigeria airlines as a partner.”

Chairman and CEO High Chief Obiora Okonkwo said: “United Nigeria is glad to have Wakanow as a partner to provide this bespoke service to us in delivering best-in-class booking services. We are sure that their support for United Nigeria will aid our growth and overall success in the aviation industry.”

Speaking during a visit to United Nigeria, Chief Executive Officer, Wakanow, Mr. Adebayo Adedeji said the partnership will deliver best in-class booking experience.

Adedeji said: “We are excited to commence this partnership with United Nigeria. With the support of Wakanow, the airline will concentrate on her core mandate which is moving travelers across the country while we will ensure that travelers have the best-in-class booking experience.”

We’ll link train passengers profile with NIN from May – NRC - PUNCH

APRIL 15, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim

The Nigerian Railway Corporation on Thursday announced that beginning from May this year it would start linking the profiles of its train passengers with their various National Identification Numbers.

It disclosed this while providing the eight update on the Abuja-Kaduna train that was bombed by terrorists in Kaduna State on March 28, 2022.

The Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said also stated that the corporation had now re-railed the last rolling stock and that all 14 de-railed rolling stock, including 11 coaches on the ill-fated train, and two-coaches and one locomotive on the rescue train, had all been re-railed.

He said the re-railed coaches and locomotive had been moved from the incident site to NRC’s stations in Idu and Rigasa.

On the move to link the profiles of travellers with their NINs, Okhiria said, “The process of linking passengers’ profile to their NIN for improved profiling is ongoing. This layer of passenger screening will commence by May 2022.”

He stated that intensive track repair works had continued at the site of the attack, adding that an advanced level of track repairs had been achieved and hope to be rounded off in the 10 days.

The NRC boss said, “The security agencies are working tirelessly to ensure the rescue and release of our passengers abducted by the bandit during the attack.”

Okhiria, however, stated that the status of the 362 passengers and 20 train crew on board remained the same.

He said, “While we continue to sympathise with families of those who lost or have not seen their loved ones as a result of the AK9 train incident of March 28, 2022, we encourage anyone still looking for a loved one and has not reported to please contact the numbers: Funmi 08033546208; Halidu 08060044600; Hanatu 07066700150.”

This came as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria assured passengers and other airport users that all airports were fully prepared and ready for the usual upsurge in passenger traffic, being the norm during the season.

The authority also stated that it had put all necessary facilities, infrastructure, and manpower in place to ensure seamless facilitation at the airports during the season and beyond.

“We also want to reassure all passengers and airport users of safety and security, as all necessary security architectures have been mobilised and activated at our airports,” the acting General Manager, FAAN, Hope Ivbaze, said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Why Foreign Airlines ‘Mulled’ Ticket Sales In Dollars - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 15, 2022

The alleged move by foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to sell tickets in dollars is generating ripples in the aviation industry, Daily Trust can...

    By  Abdullateef Aliyu

The alleged move by foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to sell tickets in dollars is generating ripples in the aviation industry, Daily Trust can report.

This is coming as pressure mounts on the Federal Government to clear the backlog of trapped funds by foreign airlines which has grown by about 100 percent in the space of one year.

From $147m in August, 2021, the foreign airlines’ trapped fund in Nigeria has hit $283m (N117bn) with some foreign airlines allegedly now issuing their tickets in dollars which is against the bilateral air service agreement (BASA) which compels them to sell tickets in the local currency.

APG Interline Electronic Ticketing Agreements (IET) Network with over 200 airline partners had reportedly issued a notice to its trade partners and travel agencies to start issuing tickets in dollars with effect from April 19.

Daily Trust reports that the network allows travel agencies to ticket a wide range of airlines not present on their local Billing Settlement Platform (BSP) and flight combinations with airlines where no interline agreements exist.

Some of the carriers on the APG Network are Turkish Airlines, South African Airways, FlyDubai, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Rwandair, Egypt Air, ASKY, Air Seychelles, Air Algerie, Air Namibia, among others.

APG in its travel advisory entitled, APG IET: Restrictions of Sales in US Dollars, says, “Dear travel partners, warm greetings from APG. This is to bring to your notice that with effect from April 19, 2022, GP would only accept issuing of tickets in US dollars and not Naira. This is mainly due to repatriation issues and the forex situation in the country.

“This would most likely be a temporary measure till the Forex situation improves. Our sincere apologies for any inconveniences this may cause to you and your business. Thank you for understanding”.

However, hours later, the APG-IET recalled the notice while rescinding its decision to issue tickets in dollars.

The fresh notice issued to its trade partners on Thursday read: “This serves to recall and cancel the notice we sent out yesterday, the 13th April 2022. Kindly disregard the said notice. Sales will be continued in the Nigerian Naira. We regret any confusion the earlier notice may have caused.”

Travel agencies deny dollar ticket sale

Speaking with Daily Trust, President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye said the report about airlines issuing tickets in dollars is false.

According to her, the APG is not an airline and cannot dictate to any airline as such would be tantamount to putting the airlines in trouble as it is against the BASA to sell tickets in dollars.

“Airlines that sell in dollars are liable to be sanctioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” she said, adding that as far as NANTA is concerned, no airline has sent any notice to start issuing tickets in dollars.

 Air fares on the rise

As the funds remain stuck in Nigeria, findings by Daily Trust revealed that some airlines have devised strategies for survival by cancelling the cheapest fares on their website.

Daily Trust reports that airlines have different fare categories on their booking inventory from the lowest fares to the highest.

For instance, before now passengers can get as low as N200,000 for a flight to either Dubai or Addis Ababa.

Checks yesterday indicated that a one-way ticket from Lagos to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Emirates cost as much as N439,899. A Lagos-Addis Ababa flight on Ethiopian Airlines cost N405,261.

A travel agent who explained the development said airlines had cancelled the cheapest economy fares on their website.

“What you see now is premium Economy which is far more expensive than the Economy ticket we are used to and by this, the airlines can make more money to be converted to dollars at the black market,” the source said.

As at yesterday, one dollar was exchanged for N585 on the black market. The NANTA President however appealed to the federal government to address the concern of foreign airlines in the spirit of the bilateral air service agreements.

She said, “Yes what the airlines are doing which is not new is the fact that because they have to source their funds in the black market, they are not selling their lower inventories. They are only selling the higher ones.”

She however said the trapped foreign airlines’ funds remain a cause of concern in the industry.

“Nigeria government is not allowing them to repatriate their funds, they are already going against the BASA. These are foreign airlines. So they need to repatriate.”

Also speaking, aviation analyst, Olumide Ohunayo said the problem had happened with countries facing a financial crisis and high inflation rates.

“It has happened in Venezuela, it happened in Iraq, Zimbabwe, Sudan, even Thailand during its financial crisis. So many countries have experienced it.”

The federal government under Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had 2018 cleared the blocked funds to the tune of over $600 million.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika recently appealed to President Buhari to prevail on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to prioritise foreign exchange allocation to the airlines to clear the backlog which has grown.

“Nigeria currently holds $283m of foreign airlines funds blocked in the country.”

Foreign airlines in Nigeria to begin ticket sales in dollars - PREMIUM TIMES

APRIL 15, 2022

The group said the move became necessary due to the difficulty in repatriating airlines’ funds stuck in Nigeria.

By Abdulkareem Mojeed

APG Interline E-Ticketing (APG IET), an airline servicing firm, on Wednesday announced that it would begin sales of air tickets in U.S. dollars from April 19 amidst scarcity of foreign currency in Nigeria.

“Dear travel partners, warm greetings from APG. This is to bring to your notice that with effect from April 19, 2022, GP would only accept issuing of tickets in US dollars and not naira,” APG IET said in a travel advisory to its trade partners.

The group said the move became necessary due to the difficulty in repatriating airlines’ funds stuck in Nigeria and other countries, coupled with foreign exchange fluctuations.

“This is mainly due to repatriation issues and the forex situation in the country. This would most likely be a temporary measure till the forex situation improves,” the firm said.

This is coming less than three weeks after Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, asked the federal government to grant access to both local and foreign airlines to foreign exchange.

Trapped funds

Last month, Mr Sirika asked the Nigerian government to facilitate the repatriation of ticket sales proceeds trapped in Nigeria.

The minister said Nigeria currently holds $283 million worth of foreign airlines’ funds in the country.

“Aviation business suffers from issues of foreign exchange by local and foreign airlines and their inability to repatriate blocked funds. Nigeria currently holds $283mn worth of foreign airlines funds in the country. I humbly ask for the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria through the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, to aid access of both local and foreign airlines to foreign exchange,” the minister said.

According to the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with countries, airline tickets are mostly sold in naira while the airlines would repatriate the funds in dollars through the country’s central bank.

The federal government in 2018 cleared $600 million blocked funds but there has since been a backlog.

Analysts say the decision by the APG IET may worsen the challenges faced by air travellers in Nigeria who may have to source forex from the black market to purchase their tickets.

The notable carriers on the APG IET platforms include; South African Airways, South African Airways, Fly Dubai, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Rwandair, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, French Bee, Egypt Air, ASKY, Air Seychelles, Air Algerie, and Air Namibia.

Others are Air Panama, Air Burkina, Avianca, Bangkok Airways, Cabo Verde Airlines, Fiji Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, and Malaysian Air amongst others.

Some of the carriers which fly directly into Nigeria are South Africa Airways, Turkish Airlines, Asky Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Air Maroc, Middle East Airlines, Rwandair and Kenya Airways.

Fleeing Ukraine war, African students scramble to study in Europe - REUTERS

APRIL 16, 2022

EU nations allow non-Ukrainians stay for up to three months.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation 

The clock is ticking and Toluwalase Kolapo-Bello knows it.

Over the past six weeks, the 21-year-old Nigerian medical student has fled Russian air strikes in Ukraine and faced extortion by taxi drivers and racism from train passengers in her harrowing escape to neighbouring Hungary.

Still reeling from her ordeal and dependent on handouts, she has just weeks to find a medical school where she can complete the last two years of her degree and fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatrician – or risk being deported.

“I was only given permission to stay in Hungary until June 3,” said Kolapo-Bello by WhatsApp from a charity-funded Airbnb rental flat in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

“Going back to Nigeria is not an option. If I return, there is no place to complete my studies – the education system is not working in my country. I need help to find somewhere in Europe where I can finish med school.”

After suffering Russian bombardments and shocking racism where they were blocked from escaping via buses, trains and border crossings, African students are now being locked out of opportunities to resume their studies, charities say.

Largely forgotten among the 4.7 million refugees who have fled Ukraine, charities estimate up to 10,000 African students from countries like Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Mali may still be in the European Union – desperate to finish their education.

While the EU allows Ukrainians to stay up to three years – with a flurry of universities offering scholarships – non-Ukrainians only have a maximum of three months to secure a university spot, along with the costly tuition fees.

Black activists, who have rallied across the world to support fleeing Africans, said the EU was discriminating against non-Ukrainians, which could put young people’s lives at risk if they were forced underground as irregular migrants.

“If these students are not afforded the same protections as Ukrainian students and given support to resume their studies, they may just end up undocumented,” said Karanja Gacuca, a member of #BlackForeignersInUkraine, who is based in Washington.

“This will make them even more vulnerable – and open to exploitation by human traffickers. We’ve already had cases of students who have been attacked by neo-Nazis, others have just gone missing.”

‘Nothing back home’ in Nigeria

Ukraine has long been popular with foreign students looking for a cheaper alternative to studying in Western Europe, particularly for courses such as medicine and dentistry.

Government data shows more than 76,500 students from 155 nations were enrolled in Ukrainian universities in 2020.

Many African students are the first in their families to attend university, with high hopes of using their education to improve their communities.

“Many of these students come from poor families who have invested a lot to send them abroad to study … they can’t just go back home,” said Chibuzor Onwugbonu from Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), which is supporting students.

“They need to be given the chance to finish their degrees in European institutions and this should include support with their tuition fees and living expenses. If they aren’t, my fear is that people will go underground, making them more vulnerable.”

NIDO and other advocacy groups have already received reports of Africans being detained and threatened with deportation from Poland and Estonia, she added.

Nigeria’s Desmond Muokwudo, 30, had been studying in Ukraine’s eastern city of Dnipro for just three months before Russia invaded. He spent days travelling to Germany where he is permitted to stay until May 23.

Sheltering in a charity-funded flat with two other Nigerian students, Muokwudo is urgently applying to universities.

“I used to be a pipeline welder and saved all my earnings to study international relations in Ukraine,” said Muokwudo, by WhatsApp from Berlin, adding that he paid 3.8 million naira ($9,000) for his education costs.

“There is nothing back home for me now. The education system is zero there. All I want is the chance to go to school.”

Muokwudo and other Africans who fled Ukraine said higher education institutions back home were vastly under-funded and the quality was poor compared with other nations.

In Nigeria, for example, demand for university places exceeds capacity. Between 2010 and 2015, only one in four applicants to tertiary institutions gained admission, according to a report citing Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics.

To make matters worse, the country’s universities have been plagued with lengthy strikes by lecturers over pay and funding – with the latest strike beginning on Feb. 14 – which can delay students’ graduation by years.

Students who flew home to Nigeria and South Africa said some Ukrainian universities were offering online classes, but it was not feasible.

“It is impossible to study online as we have so many power cuts in Lagos and data is really expensive. I don’t even have a computer,” said medical student Aisha Ojikutu, 23, by WhatsApp from Nigeria’s commercial capital.

“I chose to be evacuated back home to Nigeria, but I was in a very confused state and now I feel I made a big mistake,” said Ojikutu, who was studying in Ukraine’s northeastern city of Sumy.

Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs did not respond to requests for comment.

From students to refugees

A survey of 180 students by the group Africans in Ukraine Education Fund (AIUEF) – which is raising money for students to continue their studies – found that about 70% wanted to transfer to another university.

But the EU’s policy of temporary protection only permits non-Ukrainians to stay from one week to three months, depending on the country. Foreign students are expected to return home unless it is unsafe for them to do so.

“Temporary protection … does not cover access to university, so it is up to each individual country to set the rules and conditions on that matter,” said an EU official who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

In the EU, tuition fees and living expenses cost on average $27,500 per year – up to five times more than in Ukraine, according to AIUEF.

Martin Kimani, Kenya’s representative to the United Nations, called for greater support for stranded young Africans, transformed by war from “hopeful students into fearful refugees”.

“It seems eminently doable that those who have been students in Ukrainian institutions can receive offers to further their education in other countries,” Kimani told a U.N. briefing.

Some universities have set up scholarships for non-Ukrainians, but African students said demand for places was very high – and not all courses were transferable.

“I am applying wherever I can, but the fees are a problem,” said Kolapo-Bello. “I just hope I can find some place soon or all the years I spent studying to become a doctor will have been wasted.”

Canada Wants to Double Home Construction But Can’t Find Workers - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 16, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s housing minister has a daunting target in front of him as his government tries to rein in skyrocketing housing prices: doubling the pace of housing construction in the country within 10 years. 

But Ahmed Hussen, who was appointed to the job after last year’s election, says Canada doesn’t have a choice if it wants to keep expanding its economy and attracting skilled immigrants.

“The issue of housing supply is critical to our future success as a country,” Hussen said in an interview with Bloomberg. 

Canadian housing prices were already high before the pandemic before rising by more than 50% in the past two years. The price surge has become one of the top political issues in the country. 

There’s significant debate about what’s driving it, with limited housing supply, a high level of immigration, investor activity and extremely low interest rates all cited as factors. But with younger families increasingly priced out of owning a home in most large cities, affordability has become a major problem for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. 

His political rivals are turning their attention to it. Pierre Poilievre, the front-runner in the leadership race for the opposition Conservative Party, posted a video on Twitter this week that slammed the cost of housing and blamed the Liberals’ spending record, as well as municipal government “gatekeepers.”

Boosting supply was the centerpiece of the housing plan laid out in the Trudeau government’s spring budget. It said Canada has averaged around 200,000 new housing units annually in recent years and pledged to “double our current rate of new construction over the next decade.” 

The plan quickly prompted skepticism from analysts. “Dollars to doughnuts this won’t happen, and not for lack of good intentions,” Robert Kavcic, senior economist with the Bank of Montreal, wrote this week in a note to investors.

Kavcic pointed out that housing completions are already running at the highest level since the 1970s, skilled labor in the building industry is scarce, and municipal governments will fight any effort to zone for more density.

Avery Shenfield, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, also doubted the feasibility of the plan given labor constraints.

“Without a targeted immigration plan, or a concerted effort to convince young residents to consider taking up a hammer rather than a laptop, we’re going to continue to struggle to ramp up supply enough to allow more Canadians to own their own castle,” he wrote Thursday.

Hussen said he knows this skepticism is out there, but argued his government has already shown it can deliver on ambitious programs. Last year the Liberals pledged to get every province to sign on to a universal child care program, and they got the final piece in place last month when Ontario agreed.

“Skepticism can be expressed, but the fact is we have shown a track record and an ability to build and collaborate with other orders of government,” he said.

The biggest new housing measure in the budget is a C$4 billion ($3.2 billion) Housing Accelerator Fund that municipal governments can tap in exchange for taking measures to boost home supply.

Hussen said the details of how the fund will work were still being finalized, but it has two main objectives.

First, local governments applying for the money will need to create “road maps” on how to overcome obstacles preventing them from building more housing. Second, the money can be used to speed up project approvals by digitizing records or hiring more workers to handle permit and zoning requests.

‘Credible Plan’

Hussen emphasized that this money won’t flow to a municipality simply based on its population. 

“You have to demonstrate the political will to tackle those barriers,” Hussen said of municipalities. As examples, he pointed to zoning changes to allow for more density near transit stations and requiring affordable housing in new developments. 

“If they’re not willing to do any of those, or even present a credible plan to tackle these barriers, then we simply will not engage,” Hussen said. “But I believe that all municipalities will welcome this,” he added. The program has support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the big city mayors’ caucus, Hussen said.

As for labor shortages, Hussen argued investments in skills training and immigration can help with this. “Immigration is one of the tools to address the lack of adequate housing supply, because many skilled immigrants are coming in through our smart immigration policies to help us build, literally help us build our country,” he said.

The budget promised other items to boost supply, such as tying federal infrastructure money to requirements around housing and putting another C$1.5 billion into a fund for affordable-housing projects.

Ultimately, Hussen said his government has limited tools to use for housing, since much of the power over housing belongs to provincial and municipal governments. “What we’re responsible for is to provide leadership to have a national approach, a national plan to tackle the affordable housing challenges faced by Canadians,” he said.

He said he believes the money in the budget is enough to get substantial action under way at the local level. 

“We’re not just asking them to do this,” he said. “We are putting significant resources on the table to incentivize them to do so, and invest in their capacity and their ability to build more housing supply and build it fast.”

Emirates Launches Dubai Experience Platform - INDEPENDENT

APRIL 18, 2022

By Olusegun Koiki

 Nigerians traveling to Dubai for business and leisure will now enjoy a new travel experience as Emirates has just launched the Dubai Experience. 

This is a powerful and intuitive platform for customers to easily browse, create and book their own customised itineraries including flights, hotel stay, visits to key attractions, and other dining and leisure experiences in Dubai and the UAE. 

Nigerians can now book their customised itineraries including flights, hotel stay, visits to key attractions, and other dining and leisure experiences in Dubai and the UAE from the comfort of their homes, offices, and diverse locations. They will also now experience the vibrance of Dubai in a more exciting way. 

Whether it is one of the many popular free attractions across the UAE, or one that requires pre-booking and payment, the easy-to-use itinerary planner provides details such as estimated duration, location map and cost, allowing customers to confidently plan and maximize their Dubai and UAE visit. 

Customers can choose from pre-curated itineraries if they are first-time visitors, or if they have specific interests in sports, culture, adventure, or entertainment and the arts. 

They can also have fun creating their own unique itineraries from scratch, pulling from an extensive list of recommended activities and dining options, or mix and match, using pre-curated itineraries as a starting point. 

According to Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates is proud to promote the very best that Dubai and the UAE have to offer on Dubai Experience, which is fully integrated with emirates. com. 

“This powerful platform offers our customers the ability to plan their Dubai journeys and stopovers, and benefit from exclusive rates and expertly curated recommendations. 

“Through the Dubai Experience platform, Emirates aims to add value to our customers and enrich their journeys, and ultimately drive more people to visit our beautiful home and hub in the UAE. We will continue to add more exciting content on Dubai Experience, and look at opportunities to launch it to customers in more markets.” 

Today, Emirates’ customers in 19 countries can build rich and customised itineraries from a selection of over 100 hotels and 200 activities – all of which can be added onto an existing Emirates flight booking or created around a new one. 

Customers who book their journeys via the Dubai Experience Platform can enjoy 10% savings on their new Emirates flight bookings, complimentary breakfast, and other exclusive benefits in over 100 hotels. 

Customers also get discounted pricing on over 200 activities and curated recommendations to 200 top Dubai suggestions and dining locations 

Flight Delays: Operators Worried Over Attacks On Staff - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 18, 2022

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has said it is worried over the spate of attacks on officials and facilities by irate passengers at various airports while it considers options.

This stemmed from last week’s attack on Max Air counter at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja over flight delay.

The airline’s staff also came under attack at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos after a Lagos-Kano flight was reportedly cancelled after several hours of delay.

While condemning the attack, the AON, representing indigenous airlines, said the attack “further heightens our deepest concern and worry over the increasingly deplorable state of security and the rising threat to the lives of airline staff and their properties at Nigerian airports.”

President of AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, in a statement, explained that issues of delay or cancellation can be addressed in a civil manner without resorting to violence. 

An Executive Director of Max Air, Barr. Shehu, blamed the delays and cancellations on technical issues not envisaged, adding that passengers were notified. He said yesterday that the backlog of passengers had been cleared.

Defending cases of flight delays, AON said while it understands the frustrations usually caused by flight delays, in Nigeria, 80% of the causes of delays and cancellations are due to factors that are not under the control of airlines. 

“Airlines operating in Nigeria are forced to operate in an environment that is wrought with infrastructure deficiencies that are highly disruptive to normal schedule reliability and on-time performance,” he said.

The airline operators urged the federal government to protect airlines against such attacks by raising security at the airports and ensuring that the lives of airline staff and their properties are lawfully protected.

“May we also state that should a similar occurrence like the unfortunate case with Max Air happen to any of our member airlines going forward, AON may be forced to have a rethink on how to respond in such circumstances,” AON noted in a statement.

Lagos Disbands Illegal Checkpoints, Tackles Gridlock - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 19, 2022

To eliminate traffic gridlock and curb illegal extortion along the Apapa/ Tincan axis, the Lagos State Government has reached a consensus with the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in streamlining checkpoints along the corridors and feeder routes.

At a stakeholders’ meeting with Transport Unions, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka declared that the State Government will enforce zero tolerance on illegal extortions and activities of miscreants along the corridor through Special Mobile Courts created to address the aforementioned challenges.

Daily Trust reports that despite several efforts by both the state and the Federal Government, extortion has continued to thrive on the Apapa/Tin-Can axis.

A recent report by Daily Trust saw motorists and trucks lamenting about several checkpoints mounted by security agencies and some transport unions collecting as much as N1,000 from them.

But at the meeting, Fayinka explained that in streamlining the corridor, illegal extortion points will be disbanded.

The transport special adviser further stated that trucks will no longer be stopped for ETO at Ijora Badia and other places.

He explained further that some checkpoints will be manned by the NPA alone, while some other checkpoints will be assigned to NPA and the Lagos State Government.

In the same vein, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Rapid Response Squad and the Nigerian Police Force will manage some points independently without interference from the other agencies, while military checkpoints will no longer exist along the port corridors.

The transport special adviser however sounded a warning to unions and hoodlums extorting motorists along Tincan saying their activities will no longer be allowed on the corridors as they are also inimical to seamless traffic flow.

A new UK visa aims to bring talented graduates to Britain - QUARTZ AFRICA

APRIL 19, 2022

By Sarah Todd

Senior reporter, Quartz and Quartz at Work

In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK is grappling with a dwindling talent pool. A new visa program, aimed at recent graduates from the world’s top universities, aims to give British businesses access to an influx of skilled young workers.

What is the High Potential Individual visa?

The UK’s High Potential Individual (HPI) visa will be open to applicants beginning May 30. Introduced as part of a broader post-Brexit government strategy to make the country more globally competitive, the program offers visas to people who completed a degree from a qualifying university outside the UK within the last five years. It’s available to people of any nationality who are at least 18 years of age.

Applicants aren’t required to have a job offer in order to qualify for visas. That’s presumably appealing for UK employers, who will be free to hire HPI visa holders without paying sponsorship fees. After arriving in the UK, visa holders can apply for jobs in any industry.

Which universities are included?

Applicants must have attended a university from the Home Office’s Global University List. Released annually, the list will comprise schools outside the UK that appear in the top 50 on at least two of the following world rankings: 

The schools that appear on world rankings may vary from year to year, but tend include a lot of familiar names, such as Harvard, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US; Canada’s University of Toronto; Peking University and Tsinghua University in China; and the University of Tokyo in Japan. 

What are the eligibility requirements?

People who’ve received their bachelor’s, master’s, or post-doctorate degrees from a qualified school within the past five years also have to meet a few other eligibility requirements. According to the immigration law firm Richmond Chambers, these include:

  • An English language requirement, which involves showing that you either come from a majority-English-speaking country or that you’ve passed a test or received a degree demonstrating your English language ability
  • A financial requirement, which asks that applicants have at least £1,270 available in cash

How long can you stay in the UK with an HPI visa?

If you have a PhD from a qualifying university, your HPI visa is good for three years, according to Richmond Chambers. Those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees can stay for up to two years. The UK government said in a statement that people who are granted HPI visas “will be permitted to move into other long-term employment routes,” leaving the door open to their settling down in the UK.

How is the HPI visa different from graduate visas?

The key difference between the HPI visa and the UK graduate visa is that the first is available specifically to graduates of schools outside the UK. The UK graduate visa allows people who’ve completed a degree within the UK to stay for at least two years after graduating.


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