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NDLEA Confiscates N20bn Lodged in 103 Bank Accounts Linked to Nigerian Billionaire Businessman

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has confiscated N20 billion lodged in 103 accounts linked to billionaire businessman Mallison Ukatu.

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has confiscated N20 billion lodged in 103 accounts linked to billionaire businessman Mallison Ukatu.

He was arrested on the 13th of April 2022 for allegedly importing N3bn worth of tramadol.

Mr. Mallison who is the Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, was arrested onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 Terminal of the Murtala Muhammadu Airport, Ikeja Lagos.

He however regained freedom on October 12, 2022, after perfecting bail conditions issued by the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, and was later rearrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the court premises on the same day.

Following his recent arrest by the NDLEA, before the Federal high court Abuja, the NDLEA filed a 23-count charge against him and his six companies, which include; NISPO Porcelain Company Limited, Gas Limited and Urban Space Services Limited, NISPO Oil, Fruitroprics Industries Limited, Mallinson and Partners Limited, and MBL Multi-links Services Limited, which he used to launder proceeds from the unlawful act.

The NDLEA had earlier obtained an interim seizure of 25 of his properties.

In a similar case, earlier this month, Investors King reported that the NDLEA discovered 13 million tramadol pills worth N8.8 billion in a luxurious building in Lagos.

The drugs which were 1.8 tons (1,855 kilogrammes),was estimated to be worth more than $278.2 million, an equivalent of N194.7 billion in street value.

According to the drug enforcement agency, the mansion where the drugs were recovered from belonged to billionaire drug Baron Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia who is already in their custody.

The mansion which is located in Lekki was reported to be void of occupants, which had five exotic vehicles in two of the mansions, including a bulletproof jeep.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has stated that it is working tirelessly to go after those in illegal possession of unlawful drugs in the country.

The agency disclosed that between January and July 2022 alone, it has succeeded in arresting over 18,940 suspects and has also secured 2,904 convictions.

To upscale its drug trafficking war, the president Buhari-led administration last month provided the agency with armoured vehicles worth N580m, Investors King understands.

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Travel

UAE Lifts Visa Ban on Nigerians, Introduces N640,000 Non-Refundable Application Fee

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially lifted the visa ban imposed on Nigerian passport holders, effective July 15.

However, this positive move comes with a substantial caveat—a new non-refundable visa application fee of N640,000.

The announcement, made following bilateral discussions between Nigerian and UAE authorities, ends a prolonged period of restricted travel between the two nations due to diplomatic disputes and financial issues.

New Visa Regulations

Under the new guidelines set forth by the UAE government, Nigerian passport holders seeking to travel to the Emirates must adhere to several stringent requirements:

  1. Application Fee: Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of N640,000 for visa processing. This fee represents a significant increase compared to the previous $100 fee before the ban.
  2. Document Verification Number (DVN): Before applying for a visa, applicants must obtain a Document Verification Number (DVN). This number is valid for only 14 days from issuance or until the visa application is processed, whichever comes first.
  3. Application Process: The application process for UAE visas remains stringent, emphasizing the importance of meeting all specified criteria to enhance the chances of approval.

Public Reaction and Outcry

The introduction of the N640,000 visa application fee has sparked widespread criticism and public outcry among Nigerians, particularly on social media platforms. Many have expressed their discontent, labeling the new fee as exorbitant and financially burdensome, especially in light of economic challenges facing the country.

Social media users have taken to various platforms to voice their concerns:

  • @firstladyship: “It is obvious the UAE don’t want Nigerians. They reluctantly unbanned the Nigerian passport, but slammed a hefty N640,000 on Nigerians. Guess what? The money is nonrefundable & has expiration date. This is see finish.”
  • @Peco3D: “This is just extortion in fine words. Shameless.”
  • @Comr_lucky1: “This is exploitation and shameful if allowed by Nigeria government.”

Government Response

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, announced the lifting of the visa ban and emphasized that Nigerian passport holders are now eligible to apply for visas to the UAE.

The government has acknowledged the concerns raised by citizens and assured them of continued engagement to address the issue.

Background

The UAE had imposed the visa ban on Nigeria approximately two years ago amid diplomatic tensions and financial disputes.

Efforts to resolve these issues included discussions and negotiations between the Nigerian and UAE governments, leading to the recent breakthrough in visa restrictions.

Despite the imposition of the N640,000 visa fee, the lifting of the ban represents a step forward in diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the UAE, potentially paving the way for enhanced bilateral cooperation and economic ties.

As Nigerian travelers navigate these new visa regulations, reactions continue to pour in, reflecting the broader impact of international relations on individual mobility and economic opportunities.

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Nigeria and UAE Reach Agreement on Visa Access for Nigerians

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The Nigerian Federal Government announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate visa access for Nigerian citizens.

This announcement came following the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Bola Tinubu.

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, made the announcement while briefing journalists after the FEC meeting.

He highlighted the importance of this agreement in strengthening the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, and in fostering greater economic and cultural exchange.

“After extensive negotiations, we are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with the UAE that will enable Nigerians to access UAE visas,” Idris stated.

“This development is a testament to the commitment of President Tinubu’s administration to improving the mobility and opportunities for Nigerian citizens globally.”

The agreement is expected to streamline the visa application process, making it easier for Nigerians to travel to the UAE for business, tourism, and other purposes. This move comes as a relief to many Nigerians who have faced difficulties in obtaining UAE visas in recent times.

In addition to the visa agreement, the FEC also directed the Ministry of Budget to propose amendments to the 2024 budget.

This directive aims to address emerging fiscal challenges and align the budget with current economic realities.

Idris further announced that President Tinubu will meet with labor leaders on Thursday to finalize discussions on the new minimum wage.

This meeting is part of ongoing efforts to ensure fair wages for Nigerian workers without triggering inflationary pressures.

“The President is committed to delivering a minimum wage that is both fair and sustainable. After thorough consultations, the proposed figures will be submitted to the National Assembly,” Idris explained.

The FEC’s deliberations on the wage increase focused on balancing the need for higher wages with the potential impact on the economy.

“We are determined to provide wages that improve the standard of living for Nigerians while maintaining economic stability,” Idris added.

This week’s FEC meeting also discussed various national issues, including infrastructure development, security, and public service reforms.

The council reiterated its commitment to pursuing policies that promote growth and improve the welfare of all Nigerians.

The agreement with the UAE and the forthcoming minimum wage proposal are seen as significant steps in President Tinubu’s broader agenda to enhance Nigeria’s international standing and address domestic economic challenges.

As the government moves forward with these initiatives, citizens and stakeholders are hopeful for positive outcomes that will benefit the nation.

In the coming days, further details of the UAE visa agreement and the new minimum wage proposal are expected to be disclosed, providing more clarity on the government’s plans and their implications for Nigerians.

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Spain Triumphs in Euro 2024 Final, Defeats England with Last-Minute Winner

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Spain clinched their fourth European Championship title with a thrilling 2-1 victory over England, thanks to a last-minute goal from Mikel Oyarzabal.

The dramatic finale at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Sunday saw Spain’s dominance throughout the tournament crowned with a well-deserved win, while England suffered their second consecutive final defeat.

The match began cautiously, with Spain controlling 65% of possession in the first half but failing to capitalize on their dominance.

England’s Phil Foden had the only shot on target, reflecting a tense and tightly contested opening period.

The breakthrough came just two minutes into the second half when teenager Lamine Yamal, who had been effectively contained in the first half, found space down the right wing.

His precise cross met Nico Williams, who slotted the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, giving Spain a 1-0 lead.

Spain enjoyed a period of sustained pressure following the goal, with Dani Olmo, Alvaro Morata, and Williams all coming close to extending their lead.

England’s previously solid defense appeared to be losing its shape under the relentless Spanish attacks.

In response, England manager Gareth Southgate made strategic substitutions, bringing on Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer.

The changes paid off when Jude Bellingham set up Palmer, who curled a low shot from 20 meters out into the net in the 73rd minute, leveling the score and igniting hope among the English fans.

The match seemed destined for extra time until a lapse in England’s defense allowed Spain to strike again. Marc Cucurella, left unmarked on the left flank, delivered a cross into the box.

Oyarzabal, who had come on as a substitute, stretched to poke the ball home, securing Spain’s victory four minutes from the end.

The final moments of the game saw frantic action, with Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon making a crucial save from a Declan Rice header, and Dani Olmo clearing a follow-up effort off the line. Despite England’s late surge, Spain held firm to secure the 2-1 win.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente expressed his pride in his team after the match. “I couldn’t be happier. This confirms what we are. For me, they are the best in the world,” he said.

England, who had fought back from a goal down for the fourth consecutive match in the tournament, were left to rue missed opportunities and defensive lapses.

Southgate, who has led England to two Euro finals and a World Cup semi-final during his tenure, acknowledged the team’s effort but conceded Spain’s superiority.

“The players have got to take enormous credit for getting us to the point they did. They fought and represented the shirt with pride. But I think Spain were the best team in the tournament and they deserved to win,” Southgate said.

Spain’s victory adds a fourth European Championship title to their collection, following wins in 1964, 2008, and 2012.

As only the third team in the last nine Euros to win the trophy without a penalty shootout, Spain’s triumph cements their place as one of the dominant forces in European football.

Meanwhile, England’s wait for a major tournament victory continues, extending their “30 years of hurt” since their 1966 World Cup win to at least double that number.

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