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Nigerian Navy Acquires Hydrographic Research Vessel

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The Nigerian Navy has acquired a new hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel, NNS LANA, to replace the previous one which was decommissioned ten years ago, with a view to enhancing the safety of the nation’s maritime domain as well as in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Navy took delivery of the new offshore survey vessel from the French shipyard, OCEA, in Saint Nazaire, France, after the provisional acceptance trials were concluded.

The vessel is expected, among other benefits, to allow the Nigerian Navy to have a better knowledge of its maritime territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone; enhance coastal and deep-sea scientific research and studies; provide assistance and supplies to other boats, as well as helicopter winching and towing of ships.

Speaking at the Flag Transfer ceremony in France, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, disclosed that the vessel was launched in September 2020, explaining that the NN’s choice of OCEA to carry the contract followed an international call for tenders for the acquisition of a hydrographic research vessel and associated logistical support services.

The minister who was represented by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said: “The provision of survey services and charting place a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security.

“Hence, this vessel will not only enhance the safety of Nigerians maritime environment but the ship will serve as a critical component in the projection of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. It will also play a critical role in the protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thus, contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce”.

According to him, “It is also capable of conducting geophysical studies, search and rescue operations as well as patrol duties. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art modern survey equipment as well as a well-equipped 7.6m surface vehicle for shallow water surveys. Furthermore, the ship has an Automatic Weather Station, AWS, wet and dry laboratories, scientific and technical workshops as well as operating and processing rooms for survey data.

“For security, the ship would be equipped with 30 mm and 2×12.7 mm guns upon arrival in Nigeria. NNS LANA was handed over to the Nigerian Navy in France on January 15, 2021, after the provisional acceptance trials were concluded. The crew training commenced in January 2021 and ended on April 12,201.”

The change of flag ceremony, according to him, marked the vessel’s readiness to embark on her maiden homebound voyage to Nigeria and is expected to join the Nigerian Navy Fleet in May 2021.

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Woman Kills Boyfriend Over Dispute on ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Earnings

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In a shocking turn of events, a 27-year-old woman, Oluchi Nzemechi, has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend, Kelechi Nzemechi, to death over a disagreement on how to share the proceeds from their internet scam business, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’.

The incident occurred in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

According to a statement released by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, the suspect has confessed to committing the crime.

Oluchi revealed during interrogation that her boyfriend had introduced her to the world of cybercrime.

Their illicit activities recently culminated in the successful duping of an Indonesian victim out of 250 million rupiah (approximately $16,500 USD).

The fatal dispute arose when Oluchi and Kelechi were discussing how to divide the substantial sum. The argument quickly escalated, and in a fit of rage, Oluchi grabbed a kitchen knife and fatally stabbed Kelechi.

Realizing the gravity of her actions, she attempted to divert suspicion from herself by leaving a misleading note on Kelechi’s body, which read, “You think you can eat my money and go free? I am baba for the boys. I am coming for your wife and your child, including your family,” before fleeing the scene.

ASP Okoye’s statement also mentioned that Oluchi and Kelechi had been living together since 2019 and had a child together.

The police are currently taking necessary steps to recover the fraudulently obtained 250 million Indonesian rupiah to return it to the rightful owner.

The suspect is now in police custody and undergoing further investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department. She will be arraigned in court once the investigation is concluded.

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Napoli President Travels to Convince PSG on Osimhen’s €120M Clause

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In a high-stakes move to secure the future of one of European football’s hottest talents, Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has flown to France to engage in direct talks with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) officials.

The purpose of the trip is to persuade the French club to trigger the €120 million release clause of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.

The 24-year-old forward has been a pivotal player for Napoli, drawing widespread attention with his impressive performances.

Last year, Osimhen expressed a desire to explore new opportunities, prompting Napoli to offer him a new contract that included a substantial release clause.

Despite his outstanding form, concerns over his recent injury have caused potential suitors to hesitate.

De Laurentiis’ trip to Paris underscores Napoli’s determination to secure a lucrative transfer for Osimhen. With PSG reportedly cooling their interest in recent months, the Napoli president aims to reignite their pursuit and finalize the deal.

“We believe Victor is worth every cent of his release clause,” a Napoli insider revealed. “De Laurentiis is committed to ensuring that any transfer reflects his true value.”

In addition to Osimhen, De Laurentiis is expected to discuss Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has reportedly agreed on personal terms with PSG.

The Napoli president aims to prevent the French giants from swooping in for another of their prized assets without due negotiation.

Over the past year, several top European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, have been linked with Osimhen.

However, his €120 million release clause and injury issues have deterred them from making firm offers. Chelsea, in particular, has turned its attention to alternative targets such as RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko.

Despite these setbacks, De Laurentiis remains hopeful. “PSG has the financial power and the ambition to sign a player of Osimhen’s caliber,” he said before his departure. “We are here to ensure they understand the opportunity that lies before them.”

This development comes as Napoli seeks to balance their books and invest in strengthening their squad for the upcoming season. A successful sale of Osimhen would provide significant financial flexibility and allow them to pursue other high-profile targets.

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EU to Raise Schengen Visa Fees, African Nationals Hit Hardest

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Starting Tuesday, African nationals seeking entry to the European Union will face increased visa fees as the EU raises the cost of Schengen visa applications from €80 to €90.

This 12.5% hike announced by the EU Commission adds to the financial burden for many applicants, particularly from African countries that already face high rejection rates and significant expenses.

According to recent Schengen visa statistics, African nationals received 704,000 negative responses to their visa applications in 2023.

This high rate of rejections resulted in approximately €56.3 million spent on non-refundable visa fees.

The report highlights that these expenses, referred to as ‘reverse remittances,’ represent a substantial financial outflow from African countries to the EU, benefiting no one but the recipient nations.

The impact of these costs is disproportionately felt by African applicants, who accounted for 43.1% of the total amount generated by rejected applications in 2023.

Among the hardest-hit were nationals from Algeria and Morocco. Algerians, who filed the second-highest number of applications, saw 42.3% of their 289,000 requests denied.

Moroccan nationals faced an even higher rejection rate, with 62% of their 437,000 applications being turned down, leading to €10.9 million spent on unsuccessful visa bids.

Overall, the EU earned €3.4 million from rejected Schengen visa applications submitted by Nigerian citizens alone, illustrating the significant financial burden placed on individual applicants.

The high rejection rates for African and Asian countries, which together bear 90% of all visa-related expenses, exacerbate the economic challenges faced by applicants from these regions.

The recent study by EU Observer underscores the growing trend of increased expenses and rejection rates.

Schengen visa rejections generated €130 million in 2023, up from €105 million the previous year, indicating a rise in both visa costs and the financial impact on applicants.

Marta Foresti, founder of the LAGO Collective, commented on the broader implications of these financial dynamics.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration; it is time to change that,” she said.

As the EU implements the new visa fee structure, the financial strain on African nationals is set to intensify. With some of the lowest wages globally, many Africans will find the increased costs even more challenging to bear.

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