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Senegalese Troops Enter The Gambia

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Gambia's President Jammeh smiles during a rally in Banjul
  • Senegalese Troops Enter The Gambia
Senegalese troops entered The Gambia on Thursday in support of its new President Adama Barrow, who took office demanding loyalty from his own armed forces in a tense standoff with his defeated rival.

Barrow was sworn in at The Gambia’s embassy in Dakar, although longtime leader Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down despite international pressure following his December election loss.

Celebrations erupted in the Gambian capital, which has been on edge over the crisis in the former British colony in west Africa.

Dressed all in white, 51-year-old Barrow waved to crowds at the ceremony that anointed him, seeking to end the 22-year rule of Jammeh, who has not been seen but is believed to be still in Banjul.

“This is a victory of the Gambian nation. Our flag will now fly high among those of the most democratic nations of the world,” he said.

Shortly after the inauguration, the UN Security Council unanimously backed efforts by the regional bloc ECOWAS to force Jammeh to hand over power, without formally authorising military action.

“I command the chief of defence staff and officers of high command to demonstrate their loyalty to me as commander in chief without any delay,” Barrow said at his inauguration.

“I command all members of the armed forces to remain in their barracks, those found wanting or in possession of firearms without my order will be considered rebels.”

Britain was among foreign powers to congratulate the new president.

Barrow, an opposition coalition candidate, defeated Jammeh, who had ruled the former British colony since taking power in a coup in 1994, in a surprise election win on December 1.

– Jubilation for Barrow voters –

Troops from Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria readied for a possible intervention against Jammeh, whose mandate expired at midnight Wednesday.

A Senegalese army spokesman confirmed his country’s troops had crossed the border, after Nigerian jets overflew The Gambia.

Shops had stayed shuttered and streets were quiet in and around the capital Banjul before the inauguration. Tour operators had continued to evacuate hundreds more tourists from the tiny country’s popular beach resorts.

But Barrow supporters on Thursday evening took to the streets of Banjul, where soldiers were seen but did not intervene.

“For the last 22 years we were living under a state of dictatorship,” Corra Kah said in a suburb of Banjul as he watched the inauguration. “Now we are free”.

In off the cuff remarks, army chief Ousman Badjie insisted his soldiers would not get involved in a “political dispute” or prevent foreign forces from entering the west African nation.

Barrow, a real-estate agent turned politician, flew to Senegal on January 15 after weeks of rising tension over Jammeh’s stance.

The incumbent initially acknowledged Barrow as the victor but later rejected the result.

He then attempted to block Barrow’s inauguration with a court ruling and by declaring a state of emergency this week.

A senior member of Barrow’s opposition coalition, Isatou Touray, welcomed the army chief’s declaration.

“That’s a very positive outlook from him, given that Jammeh’s regime is done,” Touray told AFP.

“We don’t have to risk the lives of innocent citizens.”

In remarks at a hotel restaurant late Wednesday, Badjie said he loved his men and would not risk their lives in a “stupid fight,” witnesses said.

– ‘Really scary’ –

Arriving back from The Gambia at Manchester airport in England, several passengers could be seen comforting a Gambian national and UK resident who had tried unsuccessfully to get his family out.

Ebrima Jajne described the situation as “really scary for everybody… because this president (Jammeh) doesn’t want to step down and people are fleeing.”

Tourist Ralph Newton said local residents had done what they could to reassure visitors, despite the threat to themselves.

“All the locals were just worried… They said it’s a bad time for us but you’ll be alright… It’ll be us they come for, if they come for anybody.”

After 11th-hour talks in Banjul, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz held a meeting with Barrow also attended by Senegal’s President Macky Sall, the private RFM radio station reported.

It was not clear whether the Mauritanian leader had secured a deal or made an asylum offer to Jammeh.

The last-minute intervention came after several unsuccessful attempts at diplomacy by the 15-nation Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mauritania is not part of ECOWAS and diplomats have previously reached out to the conservative desert nation in hopes of brokering a deal with Jammeh.

AFP

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

Government

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

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Nigerian International passport- Investors King

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 www.immigration.gov.ng;

  • 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.

Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″

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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week

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INEC-PVC- Investors King

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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House of representatives

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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