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Russian Invasion: Protect yourselves, Nigeria tells citizens in Ukraine - PREMIUM TIMES

FEBRUARY 24, 2022

"The embassy urges Nigerian nationals resident in Ukraine to remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety."

By Chiamaka Okafor

The Nigerian government has issued an advisory to its citizens in Ukraine, saying they are “responsible for their personal security and safety.”

“The embassy urges Nigerian nationals resident in Ukraine to remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety,” the Nigerian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine said in a statement shared on Twitter by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

Thousands of Nigerians live in Ukraine, many of whom are students in various higher institutions in the country.

Despite threats of a Russian attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the year, no plans were made for the evacuation of the Nigerians.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Russian forces attacked Ukraine Thursday morning in what President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation”

Russia claims it is targeting Ukrainian military installations including air bases but there are fears many civilians have been killed in air raids.

Details later…

Ukraine vs Russia: Be responsible for your safety, security – Nigerian govt tells citizens - DAILY POST

FEBRUARY 24, 2022

The Federal Government has urged Nigerians in Ukraine to remain calm but very vigilant and be responsible for their security and safety in the country.

A statement issued by Nigerian Embassy, in Kiev, urged Nigerian students seeking temporary relocation to seek proper clearance and guarantee form before relocating.

Recall that Russian troops launched a wide-range attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions.

Reacting, the Embassy explained that any Nigerian who considers the crisis as emotionally disturbing, should temporarily relocate to anywhere they consider safe by “private arrangement.”

The Embassy advised all Nigerians to ensure that they validate all their resident documents for ease of return to the country when desired.

“The attention of the Embassy has been drawn to the declaration of state of emergency and Martial law on the entire territory of Ukraine except the Donestsk and Luhansk regions by the government of Ukraine, effective from midnight of February 23, 2022, for a period of 30 days, as well as the latest development on the Ukraine-Russia crises.

“In view of the development, the embassy urges Nigerian Nationals resident in Ukraine to remain calm but very vigilant and be responsible for their security and safety.

“The embassy wishes to add that should any Nigerian National consider the situation as emotionally disturbing, such National may temporarily relocate to anywhere considered safe by private arrangement. They should, however, ensure that they do all the needful to validate all their resident documents for ease of return to the country when desired.

“Students seeking temporary relocation are enjoined to seek proper clearance and guarantee form from their respective institutions during this period.

“For those who are still considering it appropriate to remain in the country, be rest assured that the embassy remains open for its consular duties and responsibilities at all times.”

Fuel Scarcity: Nigerians lament car damage caused by adulterated petrol - PREMIUM TIMES

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

A lawyer says those who suffered damage can take legal action.

By Abdulkareem Mojeed


Nigerians have lamented over the malfunctioning of their cars, which they said happened after they added low quality petrol to their vehicles.

Motorists who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the fuel they purchased from filling stations affected their cars, making them spend to fix the vehicles.

In the past weeks, fuel scarcity worsened in many cities, leaving people struggling to go to work or engage in other daily activities.

The federal government said methanol, a chemical additive, found in recently imported fuel exceeded Nigeria’s specification, and efforts to get replacement led to scarcity.

There have been fuel queues in major cities including Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and even Cross River state.

Motorists lament

Abduljabbar Musa, an Abuja resident, said he bought N4000 worth of fuel from a filling station on February 9, but regretted he did.

“On my way to the airport, after I got fuel from the filling station, my car started jerking. I put the car off, but it refused to start afterwards,” Mr Musa said.

He said his mechanic advised he should empty his fuel tank.

“The fuel was drained and replaced with another before my car started working properly. I spent another N15,000,” he said.

He said he reached out to the station, which promised to get back to him. “They never did, till date,” Mr Musa said.

Abdulaziz Nafada, another resident, said he bought “watery fuel” of N10,000 from another station along Airport Road as well.

“When I got home, my car stopped working,” he said, ” I wasted N10, 000 on the watery fuel, then spent another N10,000 to engage the services of a mechanic (home service).”

He said he did not contact the fuel station.

Nasir Ayitogo, a PREMIUM TIMES journalist, who also shared his experience, said he filled his car with substandard fuel purchased from another filling station.

“Considering the long queue due to the fuel scarcity, I decided to fill up my tank, after queuing inside the station for about 30 minutes,” he recalled.

Upon getting home, Mr Ayitogo said he realised his car started acting strangely.

“It was jerking uncontrollably as if there was water or no fuel in my tank. I made several attempts to try to salvage the situation but the problem persisted,” he said.

He said, “So I decided to call my mechanic, when he came, he told me I must have bought the bad fuel that was in circulation so they had to empty my tank.”

Mr Ayitogo said he was advised to report to the fuel station, which he did but got not significant results.

At the filling station, he said he requested to see the manager but was not granted access to the manager.

“They directed me to one of their supervisors, so when I narrated my ordeal to the supervisor, he said my complaints were strange as I was the first person coming with such complaints. So I left the station,” he said.

More Bitter Tales

Some Nigerians who said they had similar experience took to social media to vent their anger.

Maazihashem, a Twitter user said, “My car just went up in flames on Gwarimpa express less than 3 minutes after purchasing black market fuel. Be careful out there guys,”

In a similar message, @timosilva in response to @Maazihashem tweet said, “Too bad yours had to burn.. I’m still trying to solve mine… I went to buy fuel and bought gbese (debt), the car wont start.. Drained all the fuel and bought another type.. still.”

Another user, @Leroiemmytv, said “Same thing happened to my car. Change the fuel pump and wash off any trace of the old fuel.”


Options

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Nigerians are paying deadly price for Europe’s dirty fuel.

Ridwan Oke, a Lagos-based lawyer, said affected motorists can explore legal options to demand compensation.

“If your engine has issues due to the adulterated fuel, you need to get prove from an expert to confirm the cause and the cause must be ascertained to be the adulterated fuel,” he said.

Mr Oke said affected person should be able to provide evidence of purchase of the adulterated fuel and the station you purchased from.

“Anybody that has prove to the two options above, can come together to sue the NNPC, every company responsible for importing fuel into the country as well as the filling station that sold the fuel,” Mr Oke said.

The lawyer said the suit would be a class action and that before you can do this, you must be able to prove that a specific damage has been done to you.

As for the filling stations, he said, “You might be wondering, why sue them? This is because they sold to you and they have the responsibility to sell a quality product to you. Failure to do so, they are also liable for the damage caused.”


 

Qatar Airways suspends all flights to Ukraine amid conflict - THE CABLE

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

Qatar Airways says it has temporarily suspended all flights to Ukraine in the wake of conflict with Russia.

The airline disclosed this in a tweet on Thursday.

It, however, added that it is monitoring the situation of the war while directing affected passages to check for other available options suggested to them.

“All Qatar Airways flights to Ukraine have been temporarily suspended,” the tweet reads.

“We continue to closely monitor developments. Impacted passengers should visit My Trip at https://t.co/1T0MS4AJnD for available options.” 

TheCable had reported that Ukraine’s interior ministry said Russia attacked the country on Thursday.

Explosions were reportedly heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk and other parts of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Boris Johnson, Prime minister of the United Kingdom, said Russia and Vladimir Putin had now “plainly” violated Ukrainian sovereignty and “completely torn up international law”.

The European Union and the United States have also vowed to impose significant sanctions against those involved in the invasion.

Joe Biden, the United States President, condemned the attacks, describing them as unprovoked.

Biden said the US and its allies — members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) — would deliver a decisive response.

British Airways avoiding Russian airspace for overflights, IAG CEO says - REUTERS

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways owner IAG is now avoiding Russian airspace for overflights and cancelled its flight to Moscow on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot from Britain, CEO Luis Gallego said.

Britain has prohibited all scheduled Russian airlines from entering British airspace.

"Following the UK government decision to ban Aeroflot from landing in the UK, we have taken the decision not use Russian airspace for overflights," Gallego said. "We are avoiding Russian airspace for the time being."

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"The impact for us is not huge because right now we are only flying to a small number of destinations in Asia and we can reroute our flights."

(Reporting by Kate Holton; writing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Airfare hikes appear as coordinated action by airlines, FG insists - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim


The Federal Government on Thursday insisted that the sudden and over 60 per cent hike in airfares by domestic airlines which occurred almost the same time appeared to be a coordinated action that must be probed.

On Wednesday, domestic airlines under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria denied the allegation of colluding to fix airfares following the increasing criticism that trailed their recent hikes in fares.

Their denial also came after an exclusively report by The PUNCH which revealed that the Federal Government had commenced investigations into their alleged collusion to fix airfares on all domestic routes.

But despite the denial by AON, the government insisted on Thursday that the sudden hike by all the carriers looked coordinated regardless of the argument by the carriers.

The Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Babatunde Irukera, disclosed this in Abuja during the inauguration of a joint technical committee by the FCCPC and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to address consumer complaints in the aviation sector.

He said the hike in airfares had aggravated the level of despondency among air travellers, as the latest responses to the development had been huge.

Irukera said, “Immediately the information about the increase in airfares came to us, we immediately set out to figure out what could potentially have gone wrong and the best approach, which is to start by engaging the NCAA.

“But what we didn’t anticipate was the share volume of responses from the public. We didn’t anticipate the level of aggravation and despondency that we’ve seen.”

Insisting that the recent hike was an action that appeared to be coordinated, the FCCPC stated that the issue distorted the country’s aviation sector, as he noted that cases of flight cancellations and delays had become incessant.

He said, “How do we address what is becoming more incessant from a delay and cancelation standpoint to the level of responsiveness and sensitivity the airlines show when unavoidable or permissible delays or cancellations occur?

“And more recently, what (airfares hike) appears to be a coordinated conduct in restraint of competition and completely distort a market that has become the vital backbone to the nation. These are really serious issues.”

Irukera told the NCAA team that these issues had to be addressed by the two agencies for the benefit of Nigerians, stressing that there were no options on the matter before both organisations.

“Any type of understanding or arrangement between competitors can only work in one direction and that is hardship and a loss of value to consumers,” he stated.

Irukera further observed that “sadly aviation is one of the high areas of complains and dissatisfaction.”

The Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said the domestic carriers were supposed to submit their new airfares to the authority seven days before officially increasing the air tickets.

“In our regulations, airfares are deregulated subject to meeting certain conditions. The airlines are expected to submit to the NCAA, at least seven days before any increase and we are supposed to review it,” he stated.

British Pound Melts Down Against Japanese Yen - FX EMPIRE

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

The British pound has melted down against the Japanese yen during the trading session on Thursday as Russia has attacked Ukraine. This obviously has caused quite a bit of fear in the market, and therefore it makes sense that we would see plenty of selling pressure when it comes to risk appetite. Ultimately, this is a market that I think will continue to be very difficult to deal with but at the end of the day it is likely to see more selling than buying. Because of this, I like the idea of fading rallies as they occur and jumping on them at the first sign of exhaustion. This will be especially true if things actually escalate in Ukraine, something that seems very possible.

Adding more tension is the fact that China has just made a statement about how “Taiwan is not Ukraine.” And reiterated their opinion and statement that it is a part of China itself. In other words, things are unraveling quite quickly with the world’s authoritarian regimes.

At this point, it looks very likely that we will see an attempt to reach down towards the 200 day EMA, an area that of course attracts a lot of technical attention. Because of this, I would anticipate some type of big bounce near that area, because it is such an important part of most technical traders you point. I have zero interest in trying to get long of this market right now, at least not until Russia stepped out of the Ukraine area. That does not look likely, so therefore I think we have far too many things working against us to believe that we are suddenly going to turn around.

Court sentences kidnapper Evans, two others to life imprisonment - THE GUARDIAN

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

The Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans and two others, Uchenna Amadi and Okuchuwkwu Nwachukwu, to life imprisonment.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi handed out the sentence to the trio on Friday after convicting them on two counts of conspiracy and kidnapping of a businessman, Donatus Duru, the managing director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

In convicting the trio, Justice Oshodi held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge against them beyond a reasonable doubt.

In reaching his verdict on Evans, the judge held that he observed the demeanour of the witness, stating that in some of the confessional videos played in court, Evans had mentioned some of the other defendants and the roles they played in the crime.

“He showed no remorse in the dock and tried to lie his way out of the crimes despite the video evidence,” Justice Oshodi said.

“He was seen freely laughing and willingly answered questions. A close look at his body shows no sign of torture. He did not look unkempt. He is seen laughing even when he was told that he must be a rich kidnapper.”

He concluded that the evidence tendered before the court especially their video confessions corroborated their guilt.

The court discharged and acquitted Ogechi Uchechukwu and two former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, for lack of sufficient evidence linking them to the crime.

The Lagos State government had arraigned Evans alongside Uche Amadi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Aduba for allegedly kidnapping the Managing Director of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu, on February 14, 2017.

The state had claimed that the convicts committed the alleged offence between February 14 and April 12, 2017.

The prosecution had further told the court that the incident took place at about 7:45 pm, along Obokun Street, in the Ilupeju area of Lagos.

Longer flight times after Russia bans UK airlines from airspace - THE GUARDIAN UK

FEBRUARY 25, 2022

UK airlines face higher fuel costs and longer journey times on flights to Asia and beyond after Russia banned British carriers from its airspace.

The move came in swift response to Boris Johnson’s decision to ban Russian national carrier Aeroflot from landing in the UK as part of a range of new sanctions against Moscow.

British Airways, the only UK airline flying to Moscow prior to the ban, said it was warning customers that some flights to destinations east of Russia would now take longer due to rerouting.

BA usually operates three flights a week to the Russian capital but does not fly to any other destinations in Russia or Ukraine.

The retaliatory move from Russia will increase already escalating jet fuel costs and pose more headaches for the national carrier’s long-haul services.

A BA spokesperson said: “We apologise for the inconvenience but this is clearly a matter beyond our control. We are notifying customers on cancelled services and are offering a full refund.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Virgin Atlantic said that the flight ban would increase flight times to India and Pakistan by up to an hour. The airline had decided from Thursday evening to avoid Russian airspace before Moscow’s edict confirming the ban.

A spokesperson said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times.

“The safety and security of our customers and people always comes first and we’re monitoring the situation in Ukraine and Russia extremely carefully following the escalation of conflict, continuing to operate in full compliance with relevant safety regulators, authorities and governments.”

The longer flight paths will affect four Virgin routes, between London Heathrow to Islamabad, Lahore and Delhi, and between Manchester and Islamabad.

Virgin has not flown in Ukraine airspace since 2014, on its own risk assessments, above and beyond official guidance, and said it had further increased distances from the hostilities at the Russia-Ukraine border since December.

All airlines remain acutely conscious of the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, shot down over Ukraine in 2014 by what investigators concluded was a Russian-made missile fired by pro-Moscow forces, killing all 298 people aboard.

The US and the EU have yet to follow suit on any flight ban. Aeroflot currently operates as part of the SkyTeam alliance, and has codeshare flights in and out of the US with Delta.

Wizz and Ryanair were the only airlines operating direct flights from Ukraine to the UK. All flights have been suspended. Wizz, the only airline with bases in Ukraine, was on Thursday trying to evacuate its remaining aircraft and crew from Kyiv and Lviv.

"You're on your own": African students stuck in Ukraine seek refuge or escape route - REUTERS

FEBRUARY 26, 2022

By  and 

  • Summary
  • Thousands of students seek vocational training in Ukraine
  • Students flee homes with just documents or a bag

Feb 25 (Reuters) - When Percy Ohene-Yeboah peered down from his high-rise apartment in the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine on Thursday morning, the street below was clogged with traffic. People hurried along the sidewalks, wheeling suitcases behind them.

The Ghanaian engineering student went to a window on the other side and discovered why: Russian planes were flying low above the city, trying to evade missiles that rifled through the sky - a scene resembling one of his favourite video games, Call of Duty.

As reality dawned, and with nowhere to turn, the 24-year-old, packed a bag and ran to the nearest underground train station for shelter, one of thousands of African students stranded in Ukraine during a Russian invasion, with no idea of how to escape.


"In a situation like this, you're on your own. You've got to find the best way to find refuge for yourself," he told Reuters by phone from the basement of a church where he eventually settled on Thursday night.

Cities under siege across Ukraine are home to tens of thousands of African students studying medicine, engineering and military affairs. Morocco, Nigeria and Egypt are among the top 10 countries with foreign students in Ukraine, together supplying over 16,000 students, according to the education ministry. Thousands of Indian students are also trying to flee.

What was meant to be a cheaper alternative to studying in Western Europe or the United States has turned overnight into a war zone as Russian tanks, planes and ships launch the biggest European invasion of another nation since World War Two.

With flights grounded, African governments thousands of miles away are struggling to support their students. The students Reuters spoke to said they had had no help from home.

"It's now that the reality is really hitting me," said Ohene-Yeboah. "I think for me it's a bit too late for evacuation and all those things."

STAY PUT OR RUN

A Ukrainian flag is seen flying at the embassy in Abuja, Nigeria February 25, 2022. REUTERS/ Afolabi Sotunde

People on a motorbike drive past the Ukrainian embassy in Abuja, Nigeria February 25, 2022. REUTERS/ Afolabi Sotunde

A Ukrainian flag is seen flying at the embassy in Abuja, Nigeria February 25, 2022. REUTERS/ Afolabi Sotunde


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People on a motorbike drive past the Ukrainian embassy in Abuja, Nigeria February 25, 2022. REUTERS/ Afolabi Sotunde

Ghana's student presence in Ukraine is big enough for it to have a local union chapter. In the days before the invasion, the union sent reports about the situation to the government in Accra.

"They confirmed that they received things like that, but we never got any real reply to any of our concerns," said Ohene-Yeboah.

Afraid of taking the road west, and without flights or money, he will stay put for now.

Others are on the move.

When Russian bombs began to fall near the capital Kyiv, 400 km (250 miles) west of Kharkiv, on Thursday morning, a group of Kenyan medical students decided to leave. They have been in touch with officials from their government, one of them said, but they must find their own way out of Ukraine.

The five students rushed to Kyiv's train station on Friday morning in the hope of boarding a train to the western city of Lviv. From there, they aim to go over the border into Poland from where they can return home.

A spot on board the train is not guaranteed.

"It is really, really bad. Everyone is fleeing the city," said one of the medical students, who asked not to be named.

She and her colleagues brought nothing with them in the rush, only vital documents.

"We can't carry luggage. Luggage will make us lag behind."

Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Alison Williams

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