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Nigerian Passport Dropped From 62nd Position in Global Ranking

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The Nigerian passport has fallen 38 places from 62nd position in a global passport ranking done by Henley Passport Index in the last 17 years.

According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports according to the number of countries their holders can access visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival programme, the Nigerian passport now ranks 100th in the world.

The report shows a steady decline in strength amongst the 199 countries and 227 travel destinations studied although the Nigerian passport gained access to 11 more destinations on visa-free or visa-on-arrival, an increase to 46 countries from the 35 countries it had in 2006

However, Nigerians cannot access over 181 travel destinations without a visa, visa-on-arrival or e-visa arrangement and as at September 2022, travelers with Nigerian passports can only traverse 25 countries visa-free.

The Henley Passport Index report is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and its rankings are based on factors like country’s efforts to strengthen its diplomatic relations with other nations and its efforts to modernise its visa processes and improve security measures at its borders.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service via its spokesperson, Amos Okpu has said it is not concerned with the ranking of the passport rather it is concerned with how the passport will meet up with international standards.

“While we appreciate the work done by Henley & Partners, we are more concerned with deepening our passport technology to meet up with the standards of the ICAO; ensuring that our passport complies with ICAO guidelines.”

“This ranking is based on passport admissibility. And that is largely a function of mutual understanding, reciprocity among countries which does not necessarily reflect the true strength of a passport. A good example is the European Union and the ECOWAS,” he concluded.

African countries like Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique , Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe offer Nigerians visa-free, visa-on-arrival and e-visa access.

Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Timor-Leste, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Fiji, Micronesia, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are countries outside Africa that do same.

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International Students in UK May Work Ten Extra Hours as Job Shortages Worsen

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The United Kingdom is facing the challenge of job shortages that is already berthing economic losses to institutions and organisations, Investors King has learnt.

The situation is fuelling inflation in the country, especially in the area of offsetting wages of the shrinking labour force.

It was gathered that most companies and organisations had to pay higher for workers who have had to work more and spend more time on duties.

Accordingly, Investors King can report that the situation of decline in manpower is affecting the country’s productivity and rendering of services.

To tackle the challenge, the government of the United Kingdom might be planning to review upward the number of hours international students can work during their studies.

It’s expected that when the extension is done, widening job vacancies across the country would be filled and inflation would be abated.

The nation’s ministers, after due diligence and planning, might extend the work hour limit for international students from 20 to 30 hours per week or to remove it completely.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was said to have indicated desire to boost the workforce in order to prevent employers from spending heavily on the existing workers.

It was gathered that the policy, if considered, would afford the students opportunity to work more and meet up with the financial needs even as they are contributing t the economic growth of the country.

The employment gaps were created following increasing economic challenge and the withdrawal process of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Meanwhile, the consideration of the extension of the work hours for international students have been greeted with mixed feelings from stakeholders.

While some said the students would benefit in it if it is eventually adopted in terms of fetching them more money and boosting their job experience, others have expressed concerns that the development may affect the academic performance of the international students.

Some Nigerians were of the view that their relations schooling in the UK wouldn’t be affected negatively as it would encourage more people to study in the country.

For them, working longer hours while studying can help address the hike in the cost of living owing to the effects of inflation in the UK.

“If it can be done, I believe it will help a lot of us studying here in UK. We can strike a balance between our studies and work and I can assure you that there won’t be problem in either our work or studies.

“Due to the expensive prices if things here, we will be happy to over more sources whereby we can make legitimate income and this planned work extension would be a welcome idea to us studying here,” a Masters student in UK who simply identified himself as Wumi told Investors King.

However, others contended that the policy would make students to struggle with making good grades in their careers.

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NAHCO Says Strike Didn’t Cause Major Business Loss, Plans Salary Increment Dialogue With Workers

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The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has stated that the industrial action recently embarked on by airport workers did not cause a great loss in the sector.

It assured that negotiations on the agitation for salary increment for workers would begin on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 to Saturday, January 28th, 2023.

Investors King recalls that in the early hours of Monday, January 23, 2023, both local and international airports were shut down and flights grounded due to the strike of some aviation workers but at about 3pm that same day, the strike was called off and work continued. 

In a press statement obtained by Investors King on Wednesday, signed by the Company Secretary, Dikko & Mahmoud Solicitors, Bello Abdullahi, clarifications were presented on what transpired.

Abdullahi explained that the industrial action was embarked on by some members of staff of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association (ATTSSSAN) to request for salary increase and protest NAHCO Management as touching their demands.

According to him, their action was in violation of the pronouncement by the National Industrial Court on 20th January 2023.

“The withdrawal of services by the striking workers led to NAHCO Plc’s inability to provide service to our client airlines. The resultant effect was that scheduled flights were unable to operate from our airport stations across the country, thereby leaving passengers stranded across the various airports,” he stated.

Abdullahi disclosed that a meeting was held by the NAHCO Plc management, the affected unions, the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Department of State Security (DSS) and other stakeholders at NAHCO Plc Head Office in Lagos on Monday.

He highlighted the resolutions enacted at the meeting as:

  1. The discontinuance of the suit filed against the NUATE and ATTSSSAN unions at the National Industrial Court.
  2.  Issuance of a counteroffer to the Union’s demands by the NAHCO Plc Management before close of business of Monday, January 23, 2023.
  3.  Commencement of negotiations on salary increment on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 and conclusion by Saturday, January 28th, 2023.
  4.  The immediate resumption of all staff to work.
  5. Non-victimization of staff due to participation in the strike action.

The Company Secretary then assured the public and shareholders of the organisation’s commitment to quality delivery of aviation services.

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Passengers Stranded as Local, International Airports Officials Embark on Strike

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In the early hours of Monday, aircraft commuters were stranded as the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) commenced industrial action over workers’ salary increase.

Investors King reports that several local and international airports were closed down leaving the passengers outside and unattended to.

This was observed at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, (MMA2) Lagos, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), Air France/KLM, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Air and some others where NAHCO handles check-in, boarding and ramp services.

Passengers have lamented the situation, saying that no information, notice nor emails were sent to them to inform them ahead.

One of the international airport customers, Alex Nwuba who already booked a flight to Qatar, said he was disappointed when a member of NAHCO staff told them that they will not attend to any passenger because they are on strike.

He said the Qatar flight he ought to board already landed in the morning but has flown to Doha since there is no body to handle it.

Travellers whose flights have been delayed or rescheduled called for urgent attention to forestall further grounding of flights.

Investors King learnt that the NAHCO management had a meeting with its staff on Sunday before embarking on the strike action on Monday. 

According to an aviation analyst, Daniel Young, the situation will result in enormous financial losses by passengers if not solved timely.

“These individuals who pepertrate these actions are obviously oblivious of the long term efffects of some of those insensitive decisions they take. This behaviour by NACHO staff portrays the company as one whose self distruct code is activated. Even more so, it affects the overall perception of the country and the aviation industry,” he said.

Young urged the federal government to intervene before the matter gets out of hand as the country is currently going through a lot.

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