The Federal Government expressed displeasure as it moves to fight the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the visa ban imposed on Nigerians.
A few days ago, UAE announced a ban on Nigerian travelers following the outcry over a broad rejection of visa applicants of Nigerian origin. The Arab nation immediately contacted its trading partners in Nigeria and a series of travel agencies to notify them of the new development, Investors King understands
UAE did not only impose a visa ban on the citizen of Nigeria but also restricted its airline, Emirate Airlines from flying into the country. This, the Nigerian government attributed to the ongoing trapped fund tussle between itself and foreign airlines led by Emirate Airlines.
The Nigerian Government however has expressed its surprise at the turn of the event, describing the situation as unnecessary.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said Nigeria is a big market for their business and to threaten the country over the issue of trapped funds is demeaning and a slap in the face.
Emefiele, who was present at the House of Representatives, said the Federal Government was making moves to repatriate trapped funds to various countries.
He however heaped the blame on the global economy that made it difficult to generate the necessary foreign exchange needed to repatriate trapped funds.
Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika who was also riled up by the measures adopted by UAE over the issue, said although he genuinely sympathized with them, however, that is no reason for them to go to such childish lengths.
According to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the issue of foreign airlines’ trapped funds was a major concern to the House. He reiterated that efforts were being made to ensure payments are made by December and urged the international airlines to lift the ban imposed on Nigerian travelers.
Similarly, Professor Ayo Omotayo, the Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Jos, Plateau State, who was also displeased at the turn of events, said as Nigerians, we do not know our worth, we have what it takes to be better than Dubai, there is nothing overly special about Dubai, adding that, we should not allow ourselves to be trampled upon by Dubai.
He said: “I have been to Dubai several times. I don’t see any big deal going to Dubai. As Nigerians who have self-pride, we should ban ourselves from going to Dubai. Is it the hotels or the sea that is not anywhere else in the world? I don’t think we should be at the mercy of any country.”
“We have what it takes to be better than Dubai. The Emirates did not make the place themselves; it is a combination of people from all walks of life that made Dubai. We should give ourselves a self-ban. We have nothing to lose,” he concluded.
The prof., urged Nigerians especially upper-class citizens to learn, unlearn and relearn their approach to how to get things done, he said, there should be diverse methods and approaches to addressing the issues affecting the country.
“We are in the era of destructive leadership. You cannot continue to do things the way you have been doing those things. We must begin to have different perspectives on doing things. We must exchange ideas. We cannot afford to continue to move in a cycle. We must reflect ideas, we must create an avenue for solutions to our problems.”
Immigration Service Orders Passport Offices to Work on Saturday
Passport offices to work on Saturdays across the country amid the surge in demand
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has directed passport offices across the country to work on Saturday amid the surge in demand for international passports.
The directive which was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Akuneme, noted that the directive is aimed to enable the Service to reduce the backlog occasioned by the 2020 and 2021 prolonged lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CG has directed that passport offices across the country with a high volume of pending applications to work on Saturdays. (However), the Saturdays preceding the Christmas and New Year holidays are exempted.
“The period for this exercise is expected to be every Saturday commencing from December 3, 2022, to January 28, 2023, between the period of 10 am and 2 pm,” the statement partly read.
Investors King understands that Nigerians have been going through a long queue while trying to acquire an international passport. In some cases, it could take as long as four to six months.
This long queue has created room for racketeering. A standard passport which normally costs N26,000 is being done at the rate of N50,000. It could be as high as N70,000 to N100,000 in some cities such as Abuja and Lagos.
According to the statement, the Controller-General of the immigration service has also approved the deployment of the Passport Controller in Ekiti to Jigawa, while the one in Ondo was moved to NIS Zonal Office in Ibadan.
The CG added that he will hold passport officers accountable for any acts of indiscipline by officers under their watch.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of irregular migration, so as not to waste their future.
The CG who gave the advice disclosed that the service will intensify its efforts to sensitize Nigerians on the danger of irregular migration.
He noted that most of the victims are being brainwashed by travel agents who only care about making money from such trips.
Passengers Groan as Air Tickets Increase by More than 100%
The price of Jet A1 which was N200 in December 2021 is currently sold at N800 per liter
Travelers have lamented the arbitrary increase in air tickets. The increase which has now caused one-way tickets from Abuja to Lagos to rise above N150,00 has been blamed on the scarcity of aviation fuel also known as Jet A1.
The price of Jet A1 which was N200 in December 2021 is currently sold at N800 per liter. The increase is mostly due to scarcity and the rise in foreign exchange.
A check by Investors King on the booking pages of some domestic airlines shows that a one-way trip from Abuja to Lago on Air peace Airlines costs between 65,000 to 150,000 depending on the flight schedule.
On Air peace, Lagos to Anambra on 23rd of December 2023, goes for N150,000.
Similarly, while a lot of near-date seats have been sold out on MaxAir, medium-distance date ranges between N65,000 to 80,000 nairas.
The same thing goes for Dana Airlines. A check on Dana Airlines shows between N66,000 to N85,000 from Abuja to Lagos on an economy ticket.
According to some industry experts, other factors that are driving the price of air tickets include the demand that often comes with the yuletide period.
Looking at the available seats, it is obvious that many people had already booked seats ahead of the festive period. Additionally, the demand for air tickets was also driven by the political season.
Investors King understands that campaign activities often drive the demand for air tickets as politicians and their supporters move from one state to the other.
Furthermore, the Nigerian aviation industry is faced with high operating costs, taxes, and surcharges.
Airlines also have to pay for landing costs and multiple aviation agencies’ charges among others.
It will be recalled that in February 2022, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) pegged one-way ticket fares to a minimum of N50,000 amid the scarcity and sharp rise in the price of aviation fuel.
National Assembly Passes Education Bank Bill, Seeks to Provide Interest-Free Loan to Students
Nigeria seeks to establish a structured education bank to provide student loans and support students
The Nigerian Senate has passed the student loan establishment bill to support Nigerian students and parents/guardians going through tough times.
The bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila was passed by the lower chamber earlier this year.
The proposed legislation titled ‘Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Bank’ seeks to provide interest-free loans to Nigerian students in the higher institutions within the county.
Investors King learnt that with senate concurrence, a clean copy would be produced and transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
If signed by the president, the bill will see to the establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank which shall have powers to supervise, coordinate, administer and monitor the management of student loans in Nigeria.
Additionally, the Nigerian Education Bank will have the mandate to receive applications from students through their respective institutions of learning. The body “Nigerian Education Bank” will also have the power to screen applicants and administer loans to those who met the laydown requirements.
Without prejudice to gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind, the bill shall ensure that all Nigerian students have equal rights to access the loan.
While commenting on the bill, the House speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila noted that the bill will ameliorate the hardship being faced by Nigerian students especially those who come from low-income families.
He added that the legislation will also promote and enhance education among the youth by making it easy to study.
“A well-educated citizenry was critical to the nation’s development and its ability to compete in the global economy” he noted.
Although Investors King can not ascertain the requirements to access the loan, sources closer to the development however revealed that the major criteria is to be a student in any of the higher institutions of learning in Nigeria be it a University, Polytechnic or Monotechnic.
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