Travel News

What It’s Like to Visit Las Vegas Right Now - BLOOMBERG

MARCH 04, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- On a recent Saturday morning in Las Vegas, customers waited as long as a half-hour to get their coffee fix at the Starbucks at the Mandalay Bay resort. By midday there were lines to get into the Louis Vuitton and Gucci stores at the Crystals mall. A queue of about 50 people waited to ride the gondolas at the Venetian resort.Visitors to Las Vegas these days can expect to see a city that’s largely open for pleasure, although not that busy for conventioneers traveling midweek. Crowds regularly swarm the city on weekends when leisure travelers pack the casinos, restaurants, and showrooms, and hotel prices almost exceed those before the pandemic.

It’s best to book as much as 90 days early to get the best room rate. That’ll also make it easier to get a spot in one of the Strip’s more popular eateries, such as Lago at the Bellagio, Carbone at the Aria Resort, or Mizumi, the Japanese seafood house with a view of the waterfall at the Wynn Las Vegas.Yet convention attendance last year was only one-third of its 2019 levels, and turnout for recent events such as the Consumer Electronics Show in January has been weak. That’s lead to some downright steals from Sunday to Thursday. On those days, rooms at the $4.3 billion Resorts World, which opened on the north end of the Strip last year, were recently going for $89 a night. Older properties such as the MGM Grand can be had for $61. 

Those quiet midweek windows are among the few lingering effects of the pandemic that travelers will notice. The plastic dividers that separated patrons at card tables and slot machines for months after the casinos first reopened in 2020 have been removed. Hand sanitizers are still omnipresent, but rules requiring that masks be worn indoors were lifted just before Super Bowl weekend. 

One week later, over the long Presidents Day weekend, masks were by far the exception to the rule in hotels and casinos all over the gambling mecca. The five-star Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas told guests upon arrival that a face covering was optional, though many of its staff appeared to be wearing them. 

Despite the looser rules, Nevada has seen a significant decline in cases since the omicron peak in mid-January. In terms of vaccines, the state ranks slightly below the national average, with about 151 doses doled out for every 100 residents, according to the Bloomberg Covid Vaccine Tracker. 

All that means it’s now as easy to live large in Sin City as it used to be. But you’ll still need an updated guide on what to see and do.

The Dining Scene

The hottest trend in town is supper clubs, an old school Vegas tradition that’s seen a resurgence in recent years. Examples include the Mayfair at the Bellagio, which serves $88 Waygu prime rib, slow roasted for seven hours to make it tender and juicy, along with a high-energy group of dancers and singers who move through the room.

Delilah, a supper club at the Wynn, serves uni and black truffle shooters and fish and chips made with potato-encrusted Dover sole. While you’re eating, there’s live music, DJs and jazz on Sunday nights, all in an over-the-top art deco setting. Recent surprise performances have included Drake, Dave Chapelle, John Fogerty, 50 Cent, Doja Cat, and Tiffany Hadish.

Ross Mollison, whose company, Spiegelworld, now runs three shows in Vegas featuring acrobats, ribald jokes, and the like, last year opened Superfrico, a restaurant at the Cosmopolitan featuring what he calls an “Italian American Psychedelic” menu. That means appetizers such as polenta with Fresno chile jam and calamari with tangerine honey and grilled scallions. Diners can then segue to the theater next door to see Opium, a space-themed, adults-only show that includes jugglers, a sword swallower, and acrobats in neon costumes. Its bar serves “spocktails” like a peach-infused French 75 that’s garnished with Pop Rocks.

“People, especially in Vegas, I think they want to keep moving,” Mollison says. “You’ve got this great energy in the restaurant, and they’re feeding into each other.”

Culture Makes a Comeback

Shows are reopening, but there are still caveats that require careful planning. Some productions operate at reduced hours, meaning dark nights early in the week or fewer nightly performances—mostly because of the lack of convention traffic.

While Adele postponed her residency at Caesars Palace’s Colosseum in January after reporting that half of her crew had Covid, plenty of other headliners are scheduled. Lady Gaga is playing at the Park MGM beginning in April, and Billie Eilish is at T-Mobile Arena on April 1. Those shows currently require proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, but not masks. Rules vary by event, however. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, playing together at the Dolby Live theater through May 29, are not requiring vaccinations or tests. Neither is Katy Perry, who’s at Resorts World starting in March.

Here are more options, depending on your comfort levels right now.

If you’re still Covid-wary: Vegas may be best known for its indoor pursuits, but it also makes a great home base for outdoor explorations. Nature lovers should take the scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 25 miles west of the Strip, where they can choose from a number of hiking trails, viewing petroglyphs carved in the rock walls or seasonal waterfalls at Ice Box Canyon. A quirkier experience is the Neon Museum, an outdoor space less than a mile north of downtown that’s a “neon boneyard” of signs from hotels and casinos throughout the city’s history. The $20 attraction opens at 2 p.m., but it’s best seen at night. 

If you need a gentle reentry: Many of the pools at resorts, which are often closed in the winter, will begin reopening in mid-March. Some, including those at the Venetian and Park MGM, let you sit in lounges right in the water. Resorts World features five pools, from a kid-friendly family one to a VIP deck with a stunning view of the skyline to the south. Avoid any major DJ-led parties and you should be able to find some privacy.

Las Vegas also has no shortage of restaurants with outdoor tables that allow you take in the action of those walking and driving on the Strip. At the Venetian resort, Lavo is known for its one-pound beef, sausage, and veal meatball.  Simon Painter, a producer with Cirque du Soleil, prefers to kick back and eat oysters at Mon Ami Gabi, the French bistro at the Paris Las Vegas, where he can enjoy the Bellagio fountains from across the street. “It’s just a lovely place to sit,” he says. “It’s the first place I ever went in Las Vegas.”

If you want to pretend the pandemic never happened: Sports is a big thing in Vegas nowadays. The city now has pro hockey and football teams, playing in the new T-Mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium. A number of high-profile events this spring, such as the PAC-12 college basketball tournament in March and the NFL Draft in April, are sure to turn out crowds.

It’s all created a lot of energy, particularly at nearby properties such as Park MGM and Mandalay Bay, which host outdoor “tailgate” parties on the streets leading to the stadiums before big games with food trucks and beer gardens. The $1 billion Circa, a 777-room resort that opened downtown in 2020, features a rooftop pool deck with a 143-foot TV screen. Think of a giant pool party for sports fans.

If sports don’t happen to be your thing, try Cirque du Soleil. The Canadian circus troupe is unveiling its first new Vegas show in three years at the New York-New York casino in May, Mad Apple. It will be a salute to Manhattan with dancers spinning on a taxicab and musicians performing the works of Billy Joel, George Gershwin, and Run-D.M.C.—though the show is also reported to take cues from the nightlife heyday of Studio 54. 

Getting Around

Little has changed in terms of navigating the Strip, besides the masks being required on public transit, as in other U.S. cities. But one thing is good to note: If you’re driving, most of the casinos now charge for parking, with some making exceptions for guests and customer loyalty club members. Rare exceptions include the Venetian and Resorts World, where parking is still free.

The Lingering Covid Etiquette

The old motto “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” feels somewhat disingenuous when germs have all the potential to follow you back home. But as long as you’re here, anyway, there’s little concern over any of that. This is a town full of gamblers, after all.

Nigerian student makes gruelling 1,000 mile trip from Kharkiv to Berlin as Ukraine exodus continues - iNEWS

MARCH 04, 2022

Volunteers and officials are accelerating efforts to process arrivals at Ukraine’s borders, many of whom have travelled for days on end

A Nigerian student has told of his gruelling 1,000 mile journey from Kharkiv to Berlin as thousands of refugees continue to try to flee Ukraine in the face of advancing Russian forces.

The United Nations confirmed earlier on Thursday that more than one million people have already escaped the country.

In the week since President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion, more than half of those who left Ukraine have entered Poland, the UN refugee agency revealed.

Volunteers and officials across central Europe are accelerating efforts to process arrivals, many of whom have travelled for days on end to escape the fighting, facing uncertain futures.

Nigeria Immigration unveils enhanced electronic passport facility for South-East - DAILY POST

MARCH 04, 2022

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has launched an enhanced electronic passport facility for the South East.

Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, unveiled the centre on Thursday in Enugu State.

Aregbesola said applicants no longer need the services of third parties to obtain passports.

“It is so easy to apply online. Applicants will only be required to go to the selected Passport Office on the appointment date for enrolment”, he said.

The minister noted that this would eliminate passport racketeering, touting and clumsy processes.

He urged applicants to visit the NIS Passport portal via passport.immigration.gov.ng to apply, complete the form, pay online and get an appointment.

Aregbesola advised them to have their National Identity Number (NIN) and be ready to supply verifiable documents for easy processing of their applications.

Acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Jere Idris said the enhanced ePassport was the latest technology.

Jere explained that it comes in three categories: 32-page, five-year validity; 64-page, five-year validity; 64-page, ten-year validity.

The data page is polycarbonate, water-resistant and has additional 25 security features more than the ordinary e-Passport.

“With the commissioning of the Production Centre in Enugu, all the five Passport Offices in the South-East have been migrated to the enhanced Passport platform”, he said.

The CGI told holders of the ordinary e-Passport not to worry as the two documents are valid and run concurrently.

Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi represented by Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simeon Otuanya thanked the NIS for its contributions to the nation’s security.

In December 2021, the enhanced e-Passport facility for the South-West was launched in Ibadan, Oyo State.

African students fleeing Ukraine report racial discrimination at borders - YAHOO NEWS

MARCH 04, 2022

BY  Chanelle Chandler·Senior Producer/Reporter

At least a million refugees have fled Ukraine over the past week, seeking safety in neighboring European countries from Russia’s advancing military forces. Amid the chaos and deadly attacks on major cities that the U.N. estimates has so far killed approximately 3,3000 civilians, some African students have reported encountering ugly instances of racism from some civilians and members of the Ukrainian military as they try to escape the country.

Students like Korrine Sky, a 26-year-old second-year medical student from Leicester, U.K., documented on Twitter what she endured, using the trending hashtag #africansinukraine.

On Feb. 25, after hearing the air-raid sirens sound in Dnipro, a city in eastern Ukraine, Sky, a Zimbabwe-born British citizen, and her husband, a neurosurgery student she met in Ukraine, hastily gathered documents and some of their belongings and set off for the Romanian border. The couple faced long lines for gas and to get money out of an ATM before they joined an automotive queue at the border. Still in Ukraine, they slept in the car for two days.

“On our way to the border, a man held a gun up at me and told us that if we don’t leave in five minutes, he would shoot us,” Sky told a pool of reporters that included Yahoo News. “Other Black women have been reported being shoved, being pushed, women with children. It’s horrific. The treatment has been awful.”

The last 24 hours of her journey in the queue, Sky said, were the worst because that’s when she started facing “racism and segregation.” The student said that while she and her husband were making their way to the front of the line, Ukrainian civilians began aggressively circling their car, with one man allegedly lunging at her.

Fearful of the mob, Sky’s husband pulled the car off the road to seek assistance from the Ukrainian military, but was met by another civilian who attempted to divert them onto a pedestrian border crossing.

“In that pedestrian queue, there were only people of color,” Sky said. “There were Asians, Arab people, Black people. There were no Ukrainian people.”

At another crossing point, Sky said, Ukrainian people were just walking through the border

“If you look on the other side, there was a fence, there were Ukrainian people just walking through, but we were told to queue. We had to queue and there was not a single Ukrainian person in that queue,” Sky said. “Students who come from different countries to get an education for a better life for our families and friends, we’re the least of their worries.”

Another African student, Alexander Somto Orah of Nigeria, tweeted that when he finally reached the border with some companions, Ukrainian police and members of the army initially refused to let them cross while allowing white Ukrainians through the entry point without incident.

According to the New York Times, 24-year-old Nigerian doctor Chineye Mbagwu, who resided in the western Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk, said she was stranded in the town of Medyka for two days at the Poland-Ukraine border crossing as foreigners were denied passage by border guards.

“The Ukrainian border guards were not letting us through. They were beating people up with sticks” and tearing off their jackets, she added. “They would slap them, beat them and push them to the end of the queue. It was awful.”

Other accounts using the #africansinukraine hashtag (but unverified by Yahoo News) involve African men, women and children being shoved off of trains and buses by Ukrainian troops.

Sky, who said she fled Zimbabwe with her family at a young age to seek asylum in the U.K., was one of tens of thousands of African students studying in Ukraine when Russia launched its invasion last week. She said she had come to the popular destination for international students to study medicine, engineering and military affairs.

“I was heartbroken because Ukraine was becoming our home. We never expected this. We never planned for this. Nobody really believed it was going to happen and to happen on this scale,” she said.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that Russia’s invasion had “affected Ukrainians and non-citizens in many devastating ways” and emphasized the country’s support for African students fleeing the country.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Commissioner Filippo Grandi also condemned the alleged instances of discrimination on the Ukrainian border. “There has been a different treatment. ... There should be absolutely no discrimination between Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians, Europeans and non-Europeans. Everyone is fleeing from the same risks.” The U.N. official added that UNHCR “plans to intervene to try to ensure that everybody receives equal treatment.”

On Monday, the African Union, which represents the 55 countries on the African continent, also warned that “reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach [of] international law.” The union urged all countries to “show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war notwithstanding their racial identity.”

Sky and her husband, who drove for over 40 hours before finally arriving in Romania on Monday night, are now heading back to the U.K. after what has proven to be an emotionally charged week.

“The Romanian people have been so good to us. It’s been a massive effort of volunteers from people in Romania, seeing where they can assist.” Sky added Romanians provided them with hotel rooms, food and water at the border.

Sky has also used her newfound platform to raise funds and awareness to get help for other students. She’s created a database via Telegram for students, including hundreds still stuck in Sumy, Ukraine, to stay in contact and provide resources while they navigate to safety.

“What we need right now is support from the U.N. or people who have the power to ensure the safety of those students,” she said.

On Thursday, during a second round of talks, officials from Russia and Ukraine agreed on a pact to create safe corridors to evacuate civilians and deliver aid.

Noting that many of those students still stuck in Ukraine are as young as 16, Sky said she worries about what they and their families may face in the days ahead.

“There’s children there, basically, and their parents are worried sick about them,” she said.

EXCLUSIVE: How Reluctance Of Nigerians To Return Aborted First Evacuation Mission - DAILY TRUST

MARCH 04, 2022

The refusal of some Ukraine-based Nigerians to board evacuation plane back home frustrated the commencement of conveying citizens trapped by the ongoing war between...

The refusal of some Ukraine-based Nigerians to board evacuation plane back home frustrated the commencement of conveying citizens trapped by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

As a result of the ongoing war, Nigerians had escaped to Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, to seek refuge.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the sum of $8.5 million for the evacuation of at least 5,000 Nigerians who are stranded in Europe.

The mission was to commence on Wednesday as Air Peace and Max Air flights had headed for Europe.

However, the evacuation was postponed suddenly on Thursday evening, with no official reason given.

Reporters, who had thronged the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to cover the exercise, were asked to leave and return the next day (Friday) because the trip had been cancelled.

When reporters pressed to know the reason for the sudden development, an official, who did not want to be quoted, had said the trip was cancelled on technical grounds.

But a senior government official confided in Daily Trust that the refusal of some Nigerians to return to the country led to the postponement.

The official, who pleaded anonymity, said, “The reluctance of some of the evacuees to return home made the trip impossible. The airline got only half of the passengers that can fill the entire plane. There was an arrangement to bring back those who agreed to return, but the airline refused to fly a half-filled plane.

“Thankfully, the issue has been resolved and more of the evacuees have been convinced to return home. The flight should be on its way back home on Friday. Those who have agreed will be profiled ahead of the journey back home.”

The unwillingness of some Nigerians to return to the country as a result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis became a topical issue after Treasure Chinenye Bellgam, a medical student in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, said some Nigerians would not accept to return home.

“Most Nigerians who are here on hustle are not willing to leave, they prefer to die here. It’s like after God has lifted you one step higher you want to go two steps backward, it’s like being demoted. But you need a lot of humility to go back to Nigeria because some people sold lands, cars, and the rest to come here and they have amazing stories,” Bellgam had said.

Another Nigerian living in Kiev buttressed the point raised by the medical student, saying, “Considering the economy in Nigeria, I think a lot of people would look for the safest place here than returning to Nigeria. They should do it (supply of aircraft) so that it becomes a choice for those who would want to stay back or those who want to return.”

When he met with Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, earlier in the week, Geoffrey Oneyama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke about some Nigerians who preferred to remain in Europe.

“We hope to start evacuation hopefully Wednesday, although some do not want to come back,” the minister had said.

When he featured on a television programme on Wednesday, Christian Ugwu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland, also spoke on Nigerians affected by the crisis but did not want to come back to the country.

“I have addressed the Nigerians not to stay outside the hotel premises where we have accommodated them. By the time they go to the streets, the police will arrest them, and most of them do not have their passports with them. So, they have been advised to stay within their hotel premises until when the aircraft comes. But the problem we are envisaging is that many of them don’t want to leave Poland, and this is not possible,” he had said.

The Ukraine crisis is happening at a time when Nigerians are battling fuel scarcity and epileptic power supply.

How Visa Facilitators Scramble, Mop Up Visa Appointments Online to Swindle Nigerians - THISDAY

MARCH 04, 2022

BY  Chinedu Eze 

Illegal visa facilitators who provide Nigerians US visa interview appointment dates at exorbitant fees spend days browsing the internet to mop up available dates, book and sell same to applicants seeking to obtain visa interview appointments with the US embassy, THISDAY investigation has revealed.

Although illegal, the venture has become a source of livelihood for many, especially young Nigerians who secure makeshift locations around the embassies in Lagos to woo visa applicants who patronise them sometimes out of ignorance or desperation.

THISDAY spoke to many of the facilitators who said all they do is to stay online 24 hours a day and grab visa application dates made available by the US Consulate.

Recently the US Country Consular Coordinator, Susan Tuller accused these facilitators and travel agents of illegally manipulating visa appointments in Lagos and extorting Nigerians who are made to pay outrageous fees for visa interview appointment dates.

According to Tuller, “One of the problems that we have with being able to increase the visa appointments is that our visa appointment system is manipulated by the visa facilitators that function here especially in Lagos. So unfortunately visa facilitators, travel agents and some others manipulate our visa appointment system for their own financial gain. And even though in Lagos they operate in the parking lot next door to our consular operations, we really have little control over that, because they are not operating on our property and we can’t police them ourselves.

“Unfortunately the visa facilitators here operate with impunity, they operate for financial gain, and as long as they are allowed to do that and as long as Nigerians continue to pay the very high fees to them to get an appointment, that will likely continue and it makes it very hard for us to really control the number of visa appointments that we make available. So before we talk about the specifics, I really want to reiterate that there is no reason to pay any additional fees to a visa facilitator or a travel agent.

“Right now there are thousands of appointments available for this new interview renewal programme. They are available online right now and as long as you meet the criteria and follow the procedures, there is no reason to pay somebody to get that appointment. One of the real challenges with paying somebody or the appointment is that the visa facilitators use fake information to book these appointments. So then when you buy an appointment from them, you don’t know what information they have put in the system. Once the information is entered into this system, this system is part of your consular.”

The facilitators in their makeshift locations at the car parks and adjoining buildings around the US Consulate at Walter Carrington Crescent, told THISDAY that they charge applicants between N250, 000 to N500, 000 fee for B1, B2 (tourist) US visa category. Pretending to be an applicant, THISDAY requested for a date from one of the facilitators who identified himself as Joseph.

“I will charge you only N250, 000. Before the drop box (US interview waiver programme) opened we collect N500, 000. The reason is that we follow the same process with B1, B2, just as you came. But this one I can accept N250, 000 from you because of the main fact that you are a little bit worried. We don’t collect any money from you unless we get that date. So when we secure the date for you and you see it, then you can pay us. If you don’t pay us, we cancel it,” he said.

Another facilitator told THISDAY that what they are doing was not illegal and said that it does not hurt US in anyway; “if I did, the US would not allow it.” The facilitator also denied that Nigerians who work in the US Embassy help them, insisting that no one can penetrate US Server; that every visa appointment date they have access to are made available on the internet by the Consular office.

“Nigerians who work in the embassy don’t engage in such practices because they are well paid. Before one month they can collect up to N6 million. So how much are you going to give to them? People that work there, majority of them are Nigerians because they have an agreement with the Nigerian government. They cannot just come and employ their people alone, but in the customer’s section, the visa section and the consular sections are manned by Americans,” he said. The facilitator also explained the process they use to obtain and sell visa application interview dates.

“For you to get a date, you have to pay your visa fee. It is the visa fee receipt number and your data page (your international passport) and the bar code of the application form that you have filled online, that is the one that we will to create a profile, user name and password. That is what we will use to book a date for you, so that the date in your appointment and the barcode number in your GS160 form will tally. If it does not tally they will not allow you to enter,” he explained.

Meanwhile, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) denied the allegation that its members were involved in US visa appointment manipulation. NANTA President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye called for caution on such comments against travel agents.

First batch of Nigerians arrive Abuja after fleeing Ukraine - THE GUARDIAN

MARCH 04, 2022

The first set of Nigerians that fled from Ukraine arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja Friday morning aboard a Max Air flight.

The evacuees, most of them students, made the journey from Romania where they had escaped to after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Nigerians to spend more as diesel crosses N500 per litre - THE CABLE

MARCH 04, 2022

The ex-depot price of diesel has crossed the N500 a litre mark, causing more discomfort for businesses who need diesel to power work activities and households, TheCable understands.

Checks by TheCable show that fuel stations are now selling as high as N540 and N560 while others shut down diesel services since it is a deregulated market, unlike petrol that is regulated and price fixed by the government.

Mobil filling station, Ozumba Mbadiwe road, is now selling at N540 a litre while MRS along Alakija sells for N520.

Branches of Total Nigeria Plc, Ardova Plc along Lekki, Ikorodu, are not selling diesel as at Friday morning.

“It has happened, diesel has crossed N500 ex-depot,” a source said, raising an alarm.

For about a month, the scarcity of PMS caused by the importation of off-spec petrol has grounded activities, causing traffic gridlock as a result of long queues in Lagos, Abuja and other cities.

The price increase in diesel means that Nigerians will pay more for the commodity as they queue up at filling stations for fuel.

“Few days ago, diesel was sold for N430 a litre,” a petrol attendant told TheCable.

Luke Ofojebe, head of research, Vetiva Capital, linked the rise in commodity prices to Nigeria’s low oil output, which is still below OPEC’s quota hovering below 2million barrels per day, and the surging oil prices.

Ofojebe said the reason is that Nigeria still depends on imported petroleum products from other advanced countries.

“The current oil prices will translate to high landing costs for the products,” he said.


He noted that the pricing of regulated oil products like PMS will remain relatively stable but will lead to high subsidy expenses because landing costs will increase significantly.

“But deregulated products like diesel, jet fuel, and even lubricants will see higher prices,” he added.

No Nigerian will be stranded in foreign land – Buhari - BUSINESSDAY

MARCH 04, 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that no Nigerian will be stranded in foreign land, adding that his administration will continue to defend the interest of Nigerians wherever they may be.

President Buhari made this assertion Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya at a Town Hall Meeting with a group of Nigerians resident in the country, even as the nation begins the evacuation of citizens stranded in the aftermath of the happenings in Ukraine.

“On our part as a Government, we shall continue to defend the interests of all Nigerians wherever they may be. We have demonstrated this over time, as we have had cause to evacuate our citizens in harm’s way abroad,” he said.

“We did it in Libya, South Africa and we have just commenced doing the same in Ukraine, where thousands of our citizens, especially students, are trapped by the on-going war between Russia and Ukraine.

“We expect your willingness to ‘give back’ to Nigeria, some of your resources, talents, skills and global exposure in the development of our great country, Nigeria.”

He commended the diasporans in Kenya for the unity that exists among them, and peace with their host communities, urging them to respect the laws and be good ambassadors of Nigeria.

President Buhari who was represented at the event by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, reiterated that it was the determination of the current administration to forge a partnership with the ‘Ambassadors-at large’ towards building the country together that led to the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).

He expressed delight that the Commission had been engaging the diasporans and had also come up with laudable programmes that would appeal to them.

He, therefore, encouraged the Ambassadors to key into the programmes of NiDCOM especially the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund whose mandate is holistic for all Nigerians abroad adding that the platform would assist them to expeditiously contribute to the development of their fatherland.

The President assured them that the administration is forging ahead with the provision of critical infrastructure for the collective prosperity of all despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and activities of terrorists.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, appreciated the Ambassadors for honouring the invitation, urging them to register with the Commission in order to have an up- to-date database of them for easy interface, adding that working with them, the Nigerian government will build the country of our dreams.

Nicholas Ozor, the President of Nigerians in Diaspora (Kenya) on behalf of the diasporans expressed his appreciation to the President for always meeting with them when he is in the country as this boosts their morale. He appreciated efforts of the Nigerian High Commission officials for their support and care.

He however requested the President to intervene in some of the challenges confronting them, such as; the stoppage of visa on arrival for Nigerians; delay in getting student permits; obstacles to ease of doing business, and undue negative profiling of Nigerians.

Also present at the occasion were the Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Rufai Abubakar.

Nigeria Air debut postponed to mid-2023 - CH-AVIATION

MARCH 04, 2022

The launch date of Nigeria Air (Lagos) has been adjusted to June 2023, according to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) that regulates public-private partnerships in the West African country.

The startup has been given the presidential nod of approval. All hands were now on deck to make it happen, ICRC Acting Director-General Michael Ohiani told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“We are working round the clock to get it operational. We are working with the Ministry of Aviation, and we have just gotten Presidential approval,” Ohiani was quoted in the report posted on the official ICRC website. He said the process would be moving to “the next stage by the end of February”.

“We will get the concessionaire; once we have gotten the concessionaire, which is a major step, the issue of operation will now follow. I can assure you that before the end of this administration, Air Nigeria will start flying,” he said. Buhari is expected to leave office in May 2023, following the end of his second term.

Long-mooted, Nigeria Air will be a public-private partnership with the federal government slated to have a 5% stake, while 49% would be held by as yet unassigned strategic equity partners, and 46% by Nigerian entrepreneurs.

First proposed in 2018, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) in November 2021 greenlighted the commencement of the process to establish the airline. At the time, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika had proposed April 2022 as a feasible timeline.

Meanwhile, Ohiani said six cargo airports would be developed to boost the transportation of agricultural produce within and from Nigeria.

The ICRC was also working on procuring tenders for terminal operations at four international airports in Nigeria, finalising the establishment of an MRO facility for which an investor was already lined up; and concluding proposals for an aircraft leasing company that would be submitted to the Federal Executive Council.


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