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Monday, 20 April 2020

Breaking:: US crude oil crashes to 0$ per barrel as producers forced to pay to dispose of excess

US oil prices turned negative for the first time on record on Monday as North America’s oil producers run out of space to store an unprecedented oversupply of crude left by the coronavirus crisis.

The price of US crude oil collapsed by more than 105% to -$2 per barrel in a matter of hours, forcing oil producers to pay buyers to take the glut of crude which they cannot store, as rising stockpiles of crude threaten to overwhelm oil storage facilities.

The crash in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also forced Canada’s benchmark oil price to plunge into negative territory for the first time on Monday.

“The problem of the global supply-demand imbalance has started to really manifest itself in prices,” Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil at Rystad Energy said. “As production continues relatively unscathed, storages are filling up by the day. The world is using less and less oil and producers now feel how this translates.”

The Guardian reported over the weekend that a record 160m barrels of oil was being stored in “supergiant” oil tankers outside the world’s largest shipping ports, including the US Gulf, following the deepest fall in oil demand in 25 years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last time floating storage reached levels close to this was in 2009, when traders stored more than 100m barrels at sea before offloading stocks when the economy began to recover.

The price collapse in North American oil markets accelerated because it is the last day oil producers can trade barrels that are scheduled for delivery next month, when oil storage is expected to reach capacity.

The US price for oil delivered in June, which will become the default oil price from tomorrow, is also falling due to the economic gloom caused by the coronavirus, but has managed to remain above $20 a barrel.

In an unprecedented day of trading, the price for the May contracts wiped out all value, breaking every low for oil prices since 1946. The exchange where WTI futures trade said the contract would be allowed to price below zero. The extreme move showed just how oversupplied the U.S. oil market has become with industrial and economic activity grinding to a halt as governments around the globe extend shutdowns due to the swift spread of the coronavirus. An unprecedented output deal by OPEC and allied members a week ago to curb supply is proving too little too late in the face a one-third collapse in global demand.

Concerns over the economy, which directly affect oil demand, have been heightened by the growing standoff between the US president and state governors over whether the US can begin to lift restrictions on movement and businesses.

The heads of all the UN’s major agencies issued a graphic warning of the risk of coronavirus to the world’s most vulnerable countries after disclosing that international donors had pledged only around a quarter of the $2bn the UN requested for its emergency Covid-19 response in March.

Global oil prices are expected to begin recovering over the second half of the year as tight restrictions on travel to help curb the spread of the virus are lifted, raising demand for fuels and oil.

The world’s largest oil-producing nations have agreed an unprecedented deal to hold back between 10m to 20m barrels of oil a day from the global market from May, and many oil companies are likely to shut their wells as financial pressures mount.

Cailin Birch, global economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “US crude oil production has begun to fall in the last two weeks, and will continue to fall in the coming months as already heavily indebted shale firms scale back activity or are forced into bankruptcy or consolidation.”

Despite the historic production cuts, most analysts believe that oil prices will fail to reach the same price levels recorded at the beginning of the year before the outbreak. The global oil price in January reached highs of almost $69 a barrel in January before plummeting to less than $23 a barrel at the end of March.

Dwindling Oil Revenue: Oyo Lawmakers Donate 30-percent Monthly Income to Civil Servants' Salaries

As COVID-19 pandemic bites harder on the global economy leading to drastic drop in oil price, national revenue and subsequently about 60 percent drop in federal allocation to States, the Oyo state House of Assembly has agreed to a 30 per cent slash in their monthly allocation effective from April.

The 30 percent deduction includes both the lawmakers' salaries and other monthly allowances entitled to them as State honourables.

This sacrifice will be made by political office holders in Oyo State to ensure the regular payment of civil servants' salaries is not affected  irrespective of the economic situation of the State.

The agreement was reached when Governor Seyi Makinde met with the state’s lawmakers at government house, at the weekend.

At the meeting, Governor Makinde explained that the pandemic had resulted in about 60 per cent drop in the federal allocation and it is taking toll on the state’s economy.

Chairman, Oyo House Committee on Information and Media, Honorable Kazeem Olayanju said the lawmakers agreed to the slash in the interest of the smooth running of the state.

“Our income has been slashed by 30 per cent as our support towards COVID-19. The governor brought the idea and we agreed that effective this month, there should be the 30 per cent deduction.

“We were made to understand that the pandemic had greatly affected the economy of the country and the state as well as that the Federal Government has reduced allocation by 60 per cent.

“This situation could have affected regular payment of salary of Oyo State civil servants but the governor maintained that irrespective the economic situation of Oyo state, the salary of civil servants must not be affected. Hence, we agreed that political office holders should make sacrifices,” Olayanju said.


The Commissioner of Police Oyo State Command, CP Shina Olukolu psc(+) have observed with dismay and trepidation the persistent panicky wide spread distress calls on non existing criminal activities in several communities across the state,  but rampant in the night time in the State capital, Ibadan.

In a press release received by NUJ Europe from the office of the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP.  Fadeyi Olugbenga, Oyo State Police Command maintained that the police remains ever conscious and always  demonst6 theier capabilities, readiness and willingness to carry out its constitutional responsibilities of the protection of lives and properties.
The Commissioner of Police stated that it  maintenance of law and order and other extant laws in Oyo State is sacrosanct.
CP Olukolu appeals to the entire peace loving and good people of Oyo State to be circumspect in their persistent unverified or nonexistent criminal activities and distress calls to the Police Command on a daily basis particularly at night time.

"There is no doubt that some of the unpalatable and fear inducing, stories, videos and write ups they probably have seen or watched on the social media, whatsapp platforms and the Newspapers may have psychologically being responsible for some of these unverified distress calls mainly burn out of fear." Commissioner asserted.

It must however be noted that the persistency of such unverified distress calls have largely served as a distraction and thereby derailing the focus and the concentration of Security Agencies reaction to genuine victims who are actually in distress.

" In as much as the Commissioner of Police is very highly appreciative of the communal efforts, including that of the Vigilante Groups, the Hunters, Landlords, Youths and the entire citizenry efforts and collaboration to rid our society of criminal elements in our midst, but the introduction of panicky measures of burning tires on the roads which is a critical infrastructure, the firing intermittently of gun shots under the guise of scaring criminal elements away, the beating of the gates of neighbours in a bid to force them to join the Vigilante groups as well as the uncontrolled acquisition of dangerous weapons by individuals is an open invitation to anarchy, chaos and unprecedented, bastardisation of the security architecture."
Consequently, the Commissioner of Police wishes to appeal to all and sundry to be patient, show more understanding and get across to the security agencies via their EMERGENCY telephone numbers namely: 0705 5495 41, 0808 1768 614 and 615 (toll free) only when it is absolutely necessary. It must be noted that these telephone numbers are active and being attended to 24/7 i.e. on a daily basis for 24 hours. Hence, except where it becomes absolutely necessary, People are strongly advised to use these emergency numbers, rather than individual officers’ personal GSM numbers which are reserved for extreme cases. 
In addition, another major observation of the Commissioner of Police is the nonchalant concerns of many of our people as to the reality of COVID-19 and the subsequent rules and regulations, medical advisories and curfew imposed on the State by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde from 7pm to 6am. 
"I want to seize this opportunity to reiterate and remind our people that COVID-19 is real, so we must obey the rules and regulations and the medical advisories including the curfew imposed on the state", Olukolu emphasized.

"The recalcitrant individuals are hereby strongly warned to desist from their nonchalant attitudes as the Security Agencies are ready and willing to enforce the curfew and other extant rules imposed on the state for the benefits of all and sundry in our collective efforts to fight and defeat the pandemic"
The enforcement, the statement emphasized is being monitored on a daily basis by the Commissioner of Police himself.

"I wish to reiterate that the Security Agencies in Oyo State led by the Nigeria Police Force are ready, willing, determined to ensure that lives and properties in Oyo State are safe and secured, while encouraging the law abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without any fear or favour as adequate security have been emplaced to protect them. The criminal elements in our midst will be given a good fight and brought to justice anytime, any moment, anywhere they commit an infraction against the law. Nonetheless, the Commissioner of Police wishes to continue to solicit for a more fruitful partnership, synergy, collaboration and support of the people with useful credible and timely information to enable us serve them better".


Statement Ref: AZ: 5250/OY/PPRO/ VOL. 5/143                                         Dated       20th April, 2020.

Reported by Lashley Oladigbolu, London 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

The World Will Not Be Destroyed By 5G Or Virus - My Weep For Journaliism In Nigeria | By Owei Lakemfa


The World Will Not Be Destroyed By Fire Or Virus.

By Owei Lakemfa

A veteran journalist called me on April 4 to confirm if indeed the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) issued a statement advising government against approving the Fifth Generation Mobile Technology (5G)    claiming  it is dangerous and linked to the outbreak of Covid-19. The NUJ  also  reportedly rejected the invitation of Chinese doctors in order to avoid: “… a situation where Nigerians will be used as a Guinea pig for any experiment” I told him it was an incredible and absurd  story but that I will make enquiries.

I immediately called the NUJ National  Secretary,  Mr. Leman Shuaib Usman who confirmed the union issued the statement. I asked whether the NUJ had investigated its  claims about 5G being dangerous to human beings, or made enquiries from the National Communication Commission (NCC) about it. The answer was negative.

 I then asked the basis on which the NUJ is officially  rejecting the 5G which will have tremendous effects on journalism practice. There was none based on knowledge, investigation or research. Next, I asked the basis on which the NUJ made a link between the alleged installation of  5G masts in  China and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic; was it based on investigation, published research or verifiable information? It was none of these. 

Then I enquired why the NUJ was rejecting the invitation of Chinese doctors to help us fight Covid-19. Mr. Leman told me it was based on the observation that while Wuhan was the epicenter of Covid-19, it did not devastate Chinese cities like Shangai and Beijing, which confirmed the hypothesis that it was a controlled Chinese virus. 
I told him that the logic of the NUJ leadership is that the Chinese should be condemned for being able to contain the virus, stopping it devastating  more Chinese cities and decimating  its population. I appealed that he reviewed the entire issue and if the NUJ had erred, it should have the courage to recall the statement. 

The co-signatory was the NUJ National President, Mr. Christopher Isiguzo who I called next. I  made my observations and   told him that he and Mr. Leman owe Nigerian journalists the duty of withdrawing the embarrassing statement which from my discussions with them is based on rumours, conspiracy theories and false news.  He listened and promised to call me the next day.

 He did not, but sent me a statement by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) rejecting the invitation of the Chinese doctors as if that in itself justifies the NUJ leadership’s violation of the ethics of journalism. 

Every rookie journalist is taught that while comments or opinions are free, facts are sacred; that a journalist must report only facts and if in doubt, spike the report or the portion he cannot confirm.

The NUJ President followed this up on Wednesday by sending me a video of   the   self-serving rantings of a transactional pastor whose commercialization of God’s words according to Forbes statistics, has earned him a hefty $30-$50 million  profit. The pastor who could not even define what theory is, could be heard in his usual sophistry, claiming that Covid-19 is a scam; the figment of human imagination and that what is killing people is the 5G technology not any virus. It is tragic the depths people can go in order to deceive and  profit off peoples’ lives.
The NMA appears ill-informed about the Chinese doctors whom it assumes are being employed by the Nigerian government. Based on this misinformation, it argues there are unemployed Nigerian doctors, and implied that the money government is going to pay the Chinese doctors can be better utilized providing  necessary medical equipment and facilities . 

However, the verifiable information is that these doctors are being  brought  in   by the  China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)   as part of its corporate social responsibility. They are to spend one month in the country, and to share experiences with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and not to practice medicine in Nigeria. 

The fact is,  given the titanic battle China  waged against Covid-19,  Chinese doctors are some of the most experienced in fighting  the virus, and a drowning man   is not interested whether his rescuer is  Nigerian, Chinese, Yemeni or Dutch. 

The NMA went  low  when it wrote that: “The spike in cases and the death toll from COVID-19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance.” This cynical and unsubstantiated claim gives  the impression that  Chinese doctors are going around the world spreading the virus and deliberately infecting non-Chinese. In this, the NMA without any empirical evidence or facts, is accusing its Chinese counterparts of betraying the physicians global ethical code (The Hippocratic Oath) which is basically, to respect and  save human lives.

The rejection of 5G or the false claim that it is the source of the Coronavirus is like people rejecting telephone on the basis that it is the cause of small pox.

The 5G network is basically an improvement on the high-speed mobile internet (4G) which was an improvement on the voice and mobile data (3) itself an advancement on the Digital Voice (2G) and the Analogue Voice (1G) In rolling out 5G which some countries like South Korea, Britain, United States, Switzerland, Finland and Germany have done, the   approving authorities put into consideration basic issues like health, security, labour, commercial and social implications. 

The 5G will not be decided by rancorous debates, rumours or fake news. It is the logic of science, the pull of technology, demands of knowledge and commerce and the inevitability of an idea whose time has come. It should be clear to all that 5G is global and not a Chinese invention.

Bodies like the NUJ and NMA need to start thinking and discussing the likely  implications of 5G on their members. Otherwise, it would be like the introduction of the internet when  the media was dragged by the ears  into the new world. Many media organisations which could not adapt, died while all parts including reportorial, sub-editing, photography and production underwent fundamental transformation.

Many of the purveyors of fake news on Covid-19 and 5G are pathetic victims of imperialist propaganda; mere repeater stations of foreign half-truths and falsehood. Africans and the underdeveloped world should focus on what benefits their people and how they can also contribute to human development and not be cheerleaders at the turf battles   for global leadership. They should not become disciples of Donald Trump, the archangel of vicious agitation, propaganda and fake news.

I am convinced that this is  a world without end, but if  creation were to be destroyed as in Biblical times, it will not be  by water, fire or virus; it will be fake news the next time.


I have repeatedly made the point that one of the abberations of the time we live in is that we have so-called organisations, unions, etc. issuing statements which the Nigerian media just enjoys playing up, for whatever reason.

The fact is that most of these statements are personal views of a few individuals, tainted by their ignorance and biases.  In some instances,  those organisations either do not legally exist or only function as pseudonyms for these individuals.

It is a shame seeing the quality of leadership at the helm of affairs of the NUJ, brimming with so much ignorance. What is there to expect anyway?  Is the man listed as President not the same one who used to publicly front for a political persuasion? 

Shame, everything now  is politics.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

North launches own security outfit ‘SHEGE KA FASA’, seeks formalities

Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has unveiled Northern Regional Security Initiative “SHEGE KA FASA” for ratification by the northern governors as part of measures to address security challenges within the region.

Addressing a press conference shortly before unveiling the outfit, CNG emphasised that for the past 12 years, the North has struggled with disabling challenges that include dwindling economy, rising poverty and more worrying, a crippling security situation that has taken a huge toll on lives, property and the overall cohesion of the region.

The spokesperson of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman who addressed the press before the unveiling said that challenges manifested in 2008 in the form of a deadly insurgency from the Northeast and within a short time, spread to other parts of the region and virtually turned the entire region into a battlefield.

The Coalition noted that while the insurgency raged, other disturbances were created in the region in the form of cattle rustling that pitched northern communities against each other.

“A new dimension was introduced to the farmers/herders conflict which gradually deteriorated into an uncontrollable proportion and deepened the artificial rift between communities in the region.

“This trend suddenly metamorphosed into a deadly armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom which is recycled for arms and drugs. This is in addition to another frustrating trend of the theft and forced trafficking in northern children to other parts of the country for reasons that are largely dubious.

“The culmination of these security challenges has for the past decade turned the entire region into a house of horror with violent killings reported on a daily basis, communities displaced with formal and informal IDP camps spreading across the region.

“The situation today, on most northern highways, innocent travelers are waylaid, robbed and abducted, towns and villages attacked and sacked by bandits who have created an atmosphere of palpable fear across the region.

“As the situation grows more desperate by the day with the North as the most porous and vulnerable, with northerners as the most distressed and estranged.

CNG stressed that it is absolutely impossible to expect that communities would continue to fold their arms while criminals invade their abodes, kill, abduct and displace them.

“By this, today we unveil the symbols for the Shege Ka Fasa outfit which would be formally inaugutated in the coming few weeks when all necessary legal processes might have been completed or formally adopted and ratified by the northern states governors.” It stated.

CNG, therefore, observed that, there is an apparent correlation between the current security situation and the unchecked proliferation of hard drugs and other dangerous substances and that the current security challenges in the region are therefore driven by the proliferation of firearms and hard drugs which are deliberately introduced into the region by outside interests.

It also observed that the drug and firearms trade is fueled by illegal funds channeled by international financial criminals such as Yahoo boys desperate to launder money into the country and that already, this trend has completely undermined the economic and social fabrics of the North, and is responsible for the rampant social problems like banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other forms of security challenges witnessed today.

“That the current desperate situation in the North can be largely contained and eventually controlled by intensifying the task of anticipating and checkmating the manoeuvres of all criminal elements and blocking the supply channels for such dangerous merchandise as firearms and drugs.

“That this task can only be successfully achieved with the active involvement of the members of all northern communities that are at the receiving end of the apparent security lapses.

“That in the prevailing circumstances, the only option, is to resort to voluntary self-defense mechanisms in line with initiatives taken by other regions that are even least affected in comparison to what obtains in the North”.

CNG, therefore, resolved that “Against the backdrop of these concerns and observations, the Coalition of Northern Groups does not wish to remain silent or passive and allow things that affect the North and potentially cause greater instability in the country to continue unchecked.

“Aware also of the need for concerted efforts to assist the Federal Government to restore peace and security and to disband all militias and armed groups in northern Nigeria to ensure that no group has the capacity to challenge the State in its prerogative to maintain law and order, and protect citizens’ lives and properties, the CNG has:

“Initiated practical measures for the setting up of a northern regional security outfit to compliment the efforts of the police, the military, the security services to detect, expose and defeat all criminal machinations and carry out specific and general tasks that would realign the attitude and thinking of the public with the ideals and objectives of the founding fathers of the region.

“The outfit, codenamed “SHEGE KA FASA” is designed to be the vanguard of the entire North encompassing every ethnic group and religion and to be deeply patriotic in its operation.

Read Also: Insecurity: FG directs NCC to revise SIM card policy

“In addition to performing general complimentary tasks for enhancing security in the region, the outfit shall also Coordinate operations against the influx of hard drugs into the North, take steps to neutralize all centers of gravity for the supply, manufacturer and distribution of such drugs and other dangerous substances”.

The group further revealed that the outfit will Coordinate vigilance to check and expose illegal arms trade, supply channels and possession. Guard against the theft and illegal traffic in kids and other vulnerable sections of the northern population and expose operations of fraudsters like the Yahoo boys whose ill gotten wealth forms part of the source of funding for the drug and arms trade.

The group calls the attention of all governors of northern states to the urgent necessity to join their counterparts in the South-West and South-East by adopting and ratifying this initiative for northern regional security and providing the necessary legal framework for its operation in order to secure the lives of the people that are in constant threat.

It also resolved to formalize this request by writing to the governors through the Northern Governors Forum and to the leaderships of traditional, religious and cultural institutions in the region.

It restated that if the state governments and other leaders of the region fail to take action to protect the region the way their southern counterparts are doing, adding that CNG is willing to follow through with all the processes of obtaining the required legal backing for th

Spurs 3-2 Southampton: Son & Lucas set comeback & send Spurs into FA Cup last 16

Tottenham recovered from 2-1 down to beat Southampton 3-2 in Wednesday's FA Cup fourth-round replay thanks to a couple of late goals.

Match Report

Son Heung-min scored a late penalty as Tottenham produced a late rally to beat Southampton 3-2 in Wednesday's FA Cup fourth-round replay.

Spurs were pegged back by Sofiane Boufal's strike in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's in the first meeting and looked set to be knocked out of the competition when they trailed 2-1 in the return game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tanguy Ndombele's shot deflected in off Jack Stephens to give the hosts the lead against the run of play, but Shane Long profited from some poor Hugo Lloris goalkeeping to level before the break.

Danny Ings then put Southampton in front 18 minutes from time, only for Lucas Moura to fire in an equaliser and Son to convert from the spot after he was fouled by Angus Gunn, setting up a home tie with Norwich City in the next round.

Match Events

3' Sessegnon's shot too straight

Easy stop for Gunn. Tottenham are looking to break at speed, and Dier's quick free-kick allows the hosts to swiftly free Son on the left. 

He tees up Sessegnon, but the shot is straight at Gunn.

12' OWN GOAL! Tottenham 1-0 Southampton (Stephens)

Stephens turns in Ndombele's shot!1-0 Spurs! Southampton have been by far the better side, but Winks feeds Sessegnon in behind, causing Stephens some real problems. 

A scrambling challenge sees the ball break to Ndombele, whose low wayward shot deflects off Stephens and into the net.

19' CLOSE! Ings hits the beam

Huge, huge chance for Southampton! It is a stunning pass in behind from Ward-Prowse, and Lloris bizarrely opts to stay on his line. 

Ings gets to the edge of the six-yard box before hammering against the crossbar. Lloris stood little chance from that range, but Ings could not hit the target.

34' GOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Southampton (Long)

Lloris has given Southampton every opportunity to score with his poor handling, and his latest parry grants Long the simplest of finishes.

Redmond twists in the area and shoots low, and Lloris pushes the ball out to Long.

40' Injured Ward-Prowse replaced by Vestergaard

That seemingly serious Ward-Prowse injury just stifled the atmosphere, but Southampton are maintaining control of the ball.

46' Redmond's long shot over the bar

Southampton move the ball nicely on the edge of the Tottenham area and it is finally Redmond who gets space 20 yards out to shoot. 

He leaves Winks behind but blazes over. It is a really poor effort in a great position.

49' Hojbjerg's header over the bar

Ings picks the ball up on the left and runs across the area but cannot work an angle for a shot. 

They stay patient. Finally, a cross from the left finds Hojbjerg, who heads over. 

52' Missed! Lucas' header wide out

Son just keeps the ball in from Sessegnon's deflected pass down the line on the left. 

Son then swings in a stunning cross to find Lucas Moura in the centre of the area, but he somehow heads wide.

64' Vestergaard's header stopped by Lloris

Son just keeps the ball in from Sessegnon's deflected pass down the line on the left. 

Son then swings in a stunning cross to find Lucas Moura in the centre of the area, but he somehow heads wide.

72' GOAL! Tottenham 1-2 Southampton (Ings)

Southampton have the lead they deserve! 2-1! It's Ings! Their form man has a clinical finish at the end of a rapid break, Tottenham's ambition from the corner punished ruthlessly.

78' GOAL! Tottenham 2-2 Southampton (Lucas)

Lovely, lovely goal! It's 2-2! Out of nothing, Lucas Moura dances into space just inside the area and sweeps a right-footed finish into the bottom-left corner.

87' Penalty Goal! Tottenham 3-2 Southampton (Son)

Tottenham have a huge chance to win it! A wonderful pass from Alli sets Son clear and he skips past Gunn and goes down. There is very little contact but the penalty is given.

Harry Kane usually takes these spot-kicks, but Son keeps his cool and tucks his finish inside the left-hand post. 

It's harsh on Southampton, but the pressure had been building.

Player Ratings

Check out the exclusive overview of Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton 👉 Click here now >>>

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

FG LAUNCHES NEW VISA POLICY: Creates New Visa Categories For Ease Of Doing Business, Dual Citizens In Diaspora To Use Foreign Passport To Enter Nigeria

The Nigeria Federal Government has officially launched the Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP)2020.
The Visa Policy which is coming on the heels of the signing of the African Continental Free trade agreement a treaty seeking to establish a continent-wide market place with increased trade and freer movement among its major Economic powers, has as its objective in strengthening Nigeria’s Position as a key economy in Africa by attracting more foreign direct investment into the country’s economy which will, in turn, provide jobs.
Briefing StateHouse Correspondents after the launch at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja, Interior Minister Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said operation of the new Visa Policy is cardinal to the ease of doing business in Nigeria and will further enhance The Nations security architecture and open Nigeria to more foreign business.
He added that the new visa policy which is also part of the economic recovery and growth plan (2017-2020) will boost Tourism, Aviation, entertainment, commerce and other areas where Nigeria has comparative Advantage over other African Countries.

According to the interior minister, the New Visa Policy will also present Nigeria with the opportunity to apply the principle of reciprocity with her visa policy in the Nation’s Bilateral and Multilateral Relations.
The policy also makes it possible for Nigerians in Diaspora with dual citizenship to be able to make use of the Passport of their adopted countries to visit Nigeria without the need for short stay Visa.
Aregbesola assured Nigerians that the new visa Policy will not compromise National security in anyway as adequate control measures have been provided before and after entry into the country.

The statement reads in full :


FG LAUNCHES NEW VISA POLICY: Creates new visa categories for Ease of Doing Business

The Federal Government has officially launched the Nigerian Visa Policy (NVP) 2020. This enhanced visa policy by Nigeria, one of Africa’s key economies and demography, comes on the back of the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a treaty seeking to establish a continent-wide marketplace with increased trade and freer movement among its major economic powers. The objective of the reforms that have birthed NVP 2020 is to strengthen Nigeria’s position as a key economy in Africa by attracting more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country’s economy which would in turn provide jobs for the people and lift Nigeria’s teeming population out of poverty in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to take 100million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

NVP 2020 is also designed to support the attainment of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 -2020) and is a pathway to achieving the Security, Economy and Transparency (SET) Agenda of the present Administration.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola while speaking at the launch of the NVP 2020 at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday 4th February 2020, stated that its operation is cardinal to the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria. The new visa regime is expected to boost economic activities in the areas of tourism, aviation, entertainment, commerce and other areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage over other African countries. It also presents Nigeria with the opportunity to apply the principle of reciprocity with her visa policy in the nation’s bilateral and multilateral relations.

“The NVP 2020 introduces special visas for Nigerians in diaspora who either by birth, marriage or nationalization have assumed dual citizenship. Such category of Nigerians will now be able to make use of the passports of their adopted countries to visit Nigeria without the need for short stay visa”, he said. The Minister expressed the commitment of his Ministry to the implementation of the NPV 2020 in view of its supervisory role on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola assured that the NIS would adhere to the published conditions of issuance of visas in a professional, timely and transparent manner. He assured that NIS would invest heavily in the training of the officers and men that will be charged with the responsibility of processing visas in all our visa issuing centers and passport control at our points of entry. The Minister emphasized that NIS would also work with all stakeholders within and outside Nigeria to ensure that the policy is not abused and the security of Nigeria and indeed other countries is not compromised.

“The implementation of the NVP 2020 will not compromise national security as adequate control measures have been provided both before and after entry into Nigeria”, the Minister stressed. While encouraging Nigerians in Diaspora to respect the provisions of the immigration laws of their new countries as well as those of Nigeria, the Minister congratulated the Nigeria Immigration Service for the landmark policy and also invited all prospective visitors, investors and residents to a new and refreshing experience in Nigeria and with Nigeria Immigration Service.

“The implementation of the NPV2020 will require collaboration with several MDAs involved in diplomacy, trade, investment, education, tourism, manufacturing, monetary policies, security, intelligence and many more”, the Minister reiterated.

Some of the features of NVP 2020 include, Visa On Arrival for African Union nationals, increase in the classes of visas from 6 to 75, creation of visa codes for all classes of visa and introduction of e-visas.

The benefits of the new NVP 2020 are many. It presents a good opportunity for Nigeria to be a major consideration for investment in Africa and hosting of international events particularly the ones scheduled to hold in Africa. It also serves as a major boost for Nigeria’s aviation, entertainment and tourism industries.

The new visa policy is expected to take Nigeria some steps up in the Africa Visa Openness Report published annually by the African Development Bank (AfDB) which would be a further boost on the global Ease Of Doing Business league table.

Mrs. Grace Njoku

Chief Information Officer

For: Director, Press and Public Relations

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

BREAKING: Court Restrains Sacked Oyo LG Chairmen, AGF, IGP From Forceful Takeover Of LG Councils

An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, the State capital, on Tuesday restrained the 68 sacked council chairmen and chairmen of Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) from the forceful and illegal takeover of the council offices across the state.

The Court, presided over by Honourable Justice Moshud A.A. Abass, granted the four reliefs sought by the lead counsel to the Oyo State Government, Dr. Akin Onigbinde, SAN, including an order of interim injunction restraining the sacked chairmen from forcefully taking over the Local Government Councils or taking steps capable of causing breach of peace in the State.

The orders of interim injunction, which were granted by the Oyo State High Court followed an ex-parte motion filed by the State Government in Suit No: I/78/2020.
Also restrained were the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, Mr. Shina Olukolu, and the Oyo State APC chairman, Mr. Akin Oke.

The parties and their agents were restrained from taking any step that could tamper with the pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

According to the Court, the sacked chairmen, as well as the four other defendants, their officers, agents, privies or otherwise, were restrained from taking steps that would cause a breach of peace by embarking on self-help to give effect to a letter dated 14th January 2020 with reference number HAGF/OYO/2020/VOL.I/1 issued by the Attorney General of the Federation to the sacked chairmen and the Inspector General of Police pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Monday, 27 January 2020

LG crisis: We will prosecute those who vandalized LGs properties -Oyo govt

…Says sacked chairmen’s destruction of councils criminal
’Govt’ll await Appeal Court judgment’
The government of Oyo State declared on Monday that it will bring the full weight of the law to bear on the criminal and violent takeover of some Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas' secretariats by the dissolved illegal chairmen loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reports from different parts of Oyo State confirmed on Monday that the sacked chairmen resorted to break-ins and vandalisation of government properties, leading some imposters to seize offices of council Chairmen.
The State Government, in a statement by Honourable Babatunde Oduyoye, the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters to Governor Seyi Makinde, maintained that the action of the sacked chairmen amounted to criminality and unwarranted provocation.
It condemned what it called unwarranted lawlessness and motor-park-like brigandage perpetrated by the sacked chairmen on Monday.
According to the State Government, the imposters broke into council offices, vandalising gates, doors, windows and other properties at the respective local council secretariats.
The government, however, appealed to the teeming people of the State to remain calm, law-abiding and patient, pending the decision of the Court of Appeal on the matter slated for 19 February 2020.
It promised that  "a drastic measure “will be taken on the reports of destruction and violence which characterised the actions of the sacked chairmen on Monday.
Hon Oduyoye said: "We have received reports of vandalisation of government property. We have received reports of wanton destruction of doors, windows, and others, and I can tell you that the governor will not sit down and watch while some people decide to be lawless. This is criminal and the government will pursue it to a logical conclusion. 
"So, pending the determination of the cases at the Court of Appeal, I think it is only appropriate for these chairmen to be law-abiding because we had said earlier that it is sub judice and we cannot do anything until these cases are determined in the court. 
"For the records, the state government, in a statement yesterday, did say that we are going to ensure we do not allow a breakdown of law and order. As we speak, there are two cases in the Court of Appeal and the cases are coming up on February 19th. I do not know why the Attorney-General of the Federation wrote such a letter that is now being used as excuse by some to act recklessly. We will recall that he did a similar thing on the issue of Amotekun.”
The Special Adviser added that as a law-abiding and peace-loving Government, the 68 caretaker chairmen appointed by Governor Makinde were directed to stay away from the secretariats in order to forestall an outbreak of violence, noting, however, that the chairmen have been charged with keeping peace and order in their respective local councils.
He added: “We in Oyo State are law-abiding citizens. The government directed the chairmen to maintain peace. We have just finished a meeting now and workers in the state under the umbrella of NULGE are on strike, and you now begin to ask why the sacked APC council chairmen went to the local government councils. 
“The issue is, there is industrial action by NULGE. I think they are justified by the level of reports we have received of people macheting PDP members they found around the local government councils’ premises, destroying government properties, forcing doors open and all that. NULGE was right to have taken such a decision. We do not begrudge them for doing that but we have told our people to be law-abiding. We have told the chairmen too to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order within the local government areas.”
Speaking on the situation that led to the current imbroglio, Oduyoye maintained that the Court should be allowed to take its decision on who is right or wrong on the matter on ground, insisting, however, that the government, under the leadership of Governor Makinde, would not sit down and watch some desperate elements destroy the state and create fear in the minds of the people.
"Whether one is right or the other is wrong, it is not for me to decide. The court will decide.  This is a very simple matter. An election was held when there was an injunction. Second, elections took place in LCDAs not recognised by the Constitution. These are matters before the court.
“As I said, the court will decide if you can conduct elections in areas not recognized by the constitution and, if you can go ahead to conduct an election when there was a pending injunction, these are matters for the Court of Appeal to decide upon.
Pending that time, we have appealed to the good people of Oyo State to be calm, law-abiding and we will ensure we do something about the report sent to us on those who have destroyed government property,” Oduyoye said.

Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye
Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters
January 27, 2020.



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Sunday, 26 January 2020

Northern backs 'Amotekun', demand for "Operation Shege ka Fasa"

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) is canvassing the establishment of Operation Shege ka Fasa in the North in response to the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun. ‘Shege ka Fasa’ means I dare you.

The coalition, which was the brain behind the 2018 quit notice to the Igbo living in the North,said yesterday that the North is even more genuinely entitled to be angry in view of the current high level of security challenge in that part of the country. It cited the incessant attacks on and killings of innocent citizens by gunmen,abductions, destruction of communities and terrorism.

Spokesman for the group, Abdulazeez Suleiman,said in a statement in Kaduna that the North has persevered in a dangerous security environment fuelled by outside interests that thrive on the supply of deadly merchandise including hard drugs and other harmful substances and the proliferation of arms in the region. The group wondered why the SouthWest had to wait until after the conclusion of the 2019 elections before coming up with Operation Amotekun. But it said the security outfit should function within the ambit of the law.

“We are convinced that there is indeed a justifiable reason for Nigerians to seek to take extra measures for self- protection and preservation in the prevailing circumstances,” it said. It added: “This need is necessitated by the apparent failure of the government to discharge its primary duty of protecting the lives and properties of all citizens. “Recall that in 2015, Nigerian voters trusted Buhari to lead our nation through and out of its limitations, into a future in which we will live secure lives and pursue livelihoods in a united Nigeria whose human and material resources will be protected by leaders.

“Regrettably, five years on, the story is that of poverty ravaging communities, hunger stalking millions of homes, inflation making life difficult, people losing jobs, businesses closing down, infrastructure decaying, young Nigerians losing hope, which are all drivers to the current security situation.

“Worth recalling also, is that long before the current deterioration, the government had been advised severally to take definite steps to end the conflict between farmers and the pastoral communities which it shunned. Instead government came up with various ambiguous policies in the form of Ruga, livestock transformation, etc that all ended in controversy, and were never implemented.

“At a point, the CNG and Northern Elders Forum were compelled to consider advising the pastoralists to return home to safety at which the presidency intervened by renewing the vow to protect all citizens’ rights to live and thrive anywhere in the country.

“Having evidently failed to do that, the ensuing level of fear and uncertainty pervading the country now sparks concerns that government’s willingness and the quality of coordination of efforts, management of resources and the capacities and integrity of the mechanisms charged with the nation’s security do not do justice to the magnitude of the problems, or address the sense of urgency in dealing with an escalating disaster.”

On the launching of Operation Amotekun by the SouthWest,the CNG said: “While we do not dispute the right of the South West to initiate the Amotekun as a necessary alternative to secure their safety in the face of government’s control lapses, we nevertheless understand the need for such measures to abide by due processes that conform with relevant laws of the land.

“In this regard, CNG recognizes the authority of the Federal Government to take steps to disband all militias and armed groups everywhere in Nigeria to ensure that no group has the capacity to challenge the State in its prerogative to maintain law and order, and protect citizens’ lives and properties.

“The acceptable position remains that only legally constituted outfits and lawfully sanctioned organizations under the direct control of the Federal Government, as recognized by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, can be so organized, armed and fitted.

“Any extra judicial arrangement by which regions set up state-sponsored armed militia groups may therefore not be tolerated as it only confirms suspicions of a wider agenda similar to that of IPOB, to cajole other parts of the country to submit to their ambition for political ascendancy.

“In particular, the idea of Amotekun on the claim of deteriorating national security at this point, raises the question of why, if they are sincere, the South West leaders fought so hard to secure the return of this same administration for another term, notwithstanding the security lapses that manifested long before the elections of 2019.

“If indeed the aim of the South West leaders is to use Amotekun as weapon to coerce the nation into ceding the presidency to them in future, CNG finds it pedestrian and tactless as brigandage will only jeopardize their chances the way IPOB did to South East politics. On the contrary, any section of the country that is able to present a credible alternative shall certainly gain the support of Nigerians without the need for resorting to bluffing.

“ In the prevailing circumstances, the North is even more genuinely entitled to be angry at the rate its people are attacked, killed, towns and villages vandalized, innocent citizens including children abducted, and terrorized, families traumatized and communities displaced on a daily basis.

“All this while, the North has persevered in a dangerous security environment fuelled by outside interests that thrive on the supply of such deadly merchandise as hard drugs and other harmful substances and the proliferation of arms into the region.

“With the current level of anger, frustration and uncertainty that is fueling communal disharmony and mutual distrust, CNG believes that the North should as well take similar steps to arrange for the protection of the region and its people from these daily attacks and destructions.

“Thus, failure of the authorities to provide proof of its capacity to protect citizens in all parts of the North as minimum evidence that they are serious about their responsibilities, would leave the people with no option than to resort to forming an Arewa Security Initiative to secure their people’s lives with the proposed code name “Shege ka Fasa.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, notwithstanding that Nigerians may not have quarrels with region taking measures to protect its people, they are at the same time unlikely to give in to calculated manipulation, coercion, intimidation, aggression or undue show of force in whatever guise.

“On its part, the North remains confident that it will not shy away from any process leading to any form of national reassessment that may arise now or in the future, in the context of a genuine dialogue without hidden agendas or preconditions.”

Source: The Nation

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