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Flight Ticket Purchase by Politicians, Expatriates Rises as Election Nears

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  • Flight Ticket Purchase by Politicians, Expatriates Rises as Election Nears

There has been an increase in international flight bookings for families of many prominent Nigerians and politicians as well as expatriates, investigations have shown.

An airline source told our correspondent that the increase might not be unconnected with the forthcoming elections.

It was gathered that between January and the first week in February, many prominent families had bought tickets to travel out of the country.

A source said top destinations included Dubai ( United Arab Emirates), Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

“Many prominent families have been buying tickets to travel out since the beginning of the year,” one of the sources said.

A travel agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was normal for politicians to move their families out of the country during elections.

“Once it is election time, most politicians send their families out of the country or they just move to places where they cannot be reached easily,” the source stated.

He, however, added that the fact that they (politicians) were buying international flight tickets did not mean they would eventually travel out of the country.

According to him, such families sometimes buy the tickets but stay in secluded places within the country until elections are over.

“They can afford to buy tickets and not use them, which happens often,” the source added.

According to the Director of Research, Zenith Travels, Olumide Ohunayo, “There is a huge divide between the supporters of the two major presidential candidates, making it look more like a war situation. So, it is not surprising that some people are leaving the country.”

Ohunayo said that apart from some politicians and elite, expatriates and companies that had technical partners had also seen many of their staff members going on vacation abroad, pending the outcome of the elections.

He said, “Even some indigenous firms are waiting for the outcome of the elections. I think supporters and team members of the major political parties are the major problems.

“This has affected travel. We just hope the elections come and go so we can live normal lives and everyone can move on with their lives.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Aglow Limited, an aviation support services company, Mr Tayo Ojuri, said it had been a trend.

He said some of the movements were based on security reports from embassies and companies that evaluated and controlled risks.

He said, “So, there has been an increase in the movement of Nigerians but mostly expatriates. Many people are travelling, some expatriates’ insurance terms do not allow them to stay in a country during elections, they move and return afterwards.

“Within the aviation industry, what that does for us is it increases outbound flights and after the elections, there will be an increase in inbound flights. So, there is an increase in traffic right now because February is normally quiet in aviation but not this time.”

The President, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, Mr Bankole Bernard, also confirmed that there had been an increase in international travels but was cautious in linking the development to the elections.

He said, “Yes, there has been an increase but we must be careful not to tie it to the elections. Although it is expected because once it is an election, people want to play safe by travelling out. Expatriates especially don’t want to be trapped because it will cost more to evacuate them when they could fly out and return when elections are over.”

Bernard, however, stated that the percentage increase in the number of travellers was still within reasonable limits.

“It has not become worrisome because it is not a huge surge, if there is a two to five per cent increase, it is not so much. It becomes worrisome if it rises to about 30 per cent increase,” he added.

Aviation analyst and Chief Executive Officer, Belujane Konsult, Mr Chris Aligbe, said, “There is always something like that during elections, many people are doing it but I don’t think it is necessary.”

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.

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COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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