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In Fresh Peace Move, Osinbajo Leads FG Team to Niger Delta



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  • In Fresh Peace Move, Osinbajo Leads FG Team to Niger Delta

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will tomorrow begin an official visit to the Niger Delta, with Delta State as his first port of call, in an exercise that would take him to a number of communities in the oil-rich zone. A statement by the senior special assistant to the vice president on media and publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo will also visit Bayelsa and Rivers states at a date to be announced. Akande said the visit was a further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to peacefully and comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

However, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State said at the weekend that the Buhari government was not doing enough to resolve the burning issues in the Niger Delta. Dickson accused the federal government of dilly-dallying in the on-going dialogue with stakeholders in the region. The governor, who spoke during a chat with journalists in Abuja, Friday night, lamented the treatment being meted out to the family of the immediate past president and indigene of Bayelsa State, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan’s wife, Patience, has faced a string of corruption prosecutions in recent times, resulting in the freezing of some of her accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. And Jonathan, too, has been named in various corruption cases. But Dickson said the former first family deserved respect from the Buhari government.

Osinbajo’s peace mission to the Niger Delta is coming against the backdrop of renewed attacks on oil facilities in the region by aggrieved groups.

Akande said Osinbajo would lead high-level delegations of the federal government to states in the zone to try to amicably resolve the grievances.

He said during the visits, the delegations would interact with leaders and representatives of the oil-producing communities in continuation of on-going efforts by the Buhari administration to find a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis.

The statement from the vice president’s office added, “The Buhari presidency is fully committed to having an effective dialogue and positive engagement that will end the crisis in the oil-producing areas, and believes that these visits would further boost the confidence necessary for the attainment of peace and prosperity in the areas and the Nigerian nation in general.”

Unconfirmed reports said during the Delta State leg of his Niger Delta visit Osinbajo would meet leaders of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, and might also meet with ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias “Tompolo”, as part of efforts to halt bombings of oil assets in the area.

Meeting had been scheduled for last week, but it was hurriedly cancelled following threats by the Niger Delta Avengers to resume attack on the oil infrastructure. This was due to alleged federal government’s failure to engage in sincere dialogue with the zone’s leaders as represented by the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum led by Chief Edwin Clark.

Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom and country home of Tompolo, is already being prepared for Osinbajo’s visit. The Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom and acting secretary Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, said the visit was long overdue.

Gbenekama said, “The vice president’s visit is long overdue. Anyway, it is a good development and we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for sending the vice president here to see things for themselves. We are waiting to receive him and his team.”

An Ijaw leader and chairman of Kokodiagbene community in Gbaramatu kingdom, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, hailed the federal government’s decision to send a team led by the vice president to the kingdom. “It is a welcome development if the federal government is committed to the demands of the people. I want to believe that this is not a political visit because there is no need for fact finding again. All the facts are known to the government,” he said.

Speaking in a similar vein in Abuja on Friday, Dickson advised the federal government to pay more attention to the Niger Delta, stressing that the region is strategic to Nigeria’s existence.

He said, “If you are talking about raising billions of naira for the implementation of our national budget and the fact that the state governments’ revenue is also predicated on oil revenue, then we must be concerned about the source of that money.

“It is an issue everybody should be concerned about, and we in the Niger Delta, especially me and my colleagues, are collectively working to address the matter. As you know, Bayelsa State is the safest state in Nigeria today. And, clearly, it is the most stable state in the Niger Delta, even though historically, it is the centre of the crisis.”

Dickson said the Buhari government should reciprocate the efforts of the Niger Delta leaders to bring about permanent peace in the zone.

“But unfortunately, as Pa Clark said, not much is happening from the federal government’s side,” he said, adding, “All we ask is for the federal government agencies to be more sensitive and show more commitment and be more proactive.”

On the alleged persecution of Jonathan and his family, Dickson said, “Talking generally now, not just about Jonathan and his family, I feel that the perception that some of the policies of the current federal government are selective or targeted at some persons and some sections is huge. And it is inimical to the success of the reform that the federal government is trying to execute, and that should be addressed.

“Jonathan should be treated with respect. Let us see how things play out; there should be less sensationalism; let us see facts—if there are issues.

“Another thing I will like to say is that this country and the people will soon come to appreciate the kind of sacrifices and services that Jonathan’s presidency and Jonathan as a person rendered to this country…
“His contribution to democratic process was uncommon. You can see what is happening in Gambia now. Gambia is in crisis.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process



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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.

The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.

Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.

The statement in full:

“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.

The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.

With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;

Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website;

  • applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
  • a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
  • upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
  • that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
  • that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
  • applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
  • a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.

The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.


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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week



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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

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Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum



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The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.

The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.

The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.

The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.

He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”

You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.

Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.

Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.

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