“Nigeria has spoken with a political voice through actions that is why you see greater cooperation from our neighbours.
“I am glad in terms of immigration, within the period we closed the borders, we have received a lot of people who have left our territory through the unlawful path. Those people, we have taken to court and prosecuted them,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 2019 shut Nigeria’s land borders to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into the country from neighbouring West African nations.
The President, however, ordered the immediate reopening of the borders on December 16, 2020.
From January 1 British and EU citizens will be confronted with the reality of Brexit as the transition period ends and borders that were done away with decades ago return.
From that date, Britons will be treated by the EU as “third country” nationals, no longer enjoying freedom of movement to work, study or retire across the European Union.
Britain in turn will process EU nationals at its borders as it does other non-UK passport holders.
EU citizens proving residence in Britain, or Britons already living in a European Union country, will theoretically retain their rights under a Withdrawal Agreement struck in late 2019.
– Tourists –
Tourists will see some immediate changes — apart from the fluctuating coronavirus restrictions already crimping travel — but both sides have agreed that travel will be visa-free, as long as the other side keeps it that way.
But the EU will stop British passports being used in its automated e-gates, potentially meaning longer queues at manned passport booths.
Britons must hold passports still valid for at least six months and will be limited to EU stays of 90 days in a rolling 180-day period.
They will also need to show travel insurance coverage, sufficient funds and a return ticket on request.
Europeans entering Britain can use a national ID card until October, after which only passports will be accepted, for stays of up to six months.
EU passport holders will be able to continue using British e-gates under current guidance.
Those with criminal records may be banned and non-European family members of a European may need a visa, depending on nationality.
The UK treats Irish citizens separately from other EU nationals under a bilateral arrangement dating back nearly a century that allows continued freedom of movement between Britain and Ireland.
Europeans will be able to keep using EU pet passports as long as rabies vaccines are up to date. Britons however must see a vet to prepare their pets for travel a month before their trip to an EU country.
– Business travellers –
The EU-UK deal reached Thursday has set out the visa requirements for business travellers, the details of which are yet to be made public.
In the EU, Britons attending conferences or meetings likely will be exempt from visas where they do not receive payment or provide services.
However, for other UK business travellers, including posted workers and the self-employed, a visa and/or a work permit may be imposed in line with each individual EU country’s laws.
There will also be tax and social security considerations.
Certain services or company ownership in those countries may be off-limits to non-EU citizens or residents or those lacking national licences, and customs declarations may be needed for goods brought in.
In Britain, EU citizens with a job offer will be required to prove English-language skills and a minimum salary, dependent on whether the position is skilled (26,500 pounds, equivalent to 29,600 euros or $35,000) or a shortage occupation (20,480 pounds, 22,800 euros).
– Students and universities –
From January, EU students going to Britain will need a visa for courses longer than six months, and will have to pay steeper tuition fees — four times as much for degrees such as medicine or MBAs at prestigious universities.
That hefty burden may force many European students to choose EU institutions — some of which are free — over British ones, which UK universities fear will blow a big hole in their finances.
They also say they are already being shunned for research projects led by EU universities.
According to UK parliament research, there were 143,000 EU students in British universities in the 2018 to 2019 school year.
International students have made Britain the second-most popular education destination after the US, and they injected £25.8 billion (29 billion euros, or $34 billion) into the UK economy in 2015.
British students will be excluded from the Erasmus+ programme offering subsidised exchanges to EU countries.
British students wanting to go to EU universities will encounter higher fees in some countries as well as visa requirements that in many cases will curb their right to work.
– Emigrants –
For the estimated 1.3 million Britons living in the EU and the more than four million EU citizens living in the UK before the end of the transition period, their rights to stay are protected under the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.
Those wanting to emigrate elsewhere in the EU after January 1 will find a very different situation.
Britons, for example, have long favoured Spain, France, Germany and Italy to set down new roots as workers or retirees.
But the end of freedom of movement will see them having to jump through the same hoops as other “third country” nationals, which often include health insurance, income and language requirements.
Even Britons settled under the Withdrawal Agreement will no longer have automatic rights to move to a different EU country, and will face national immigration laws if they want to do so.
Britain, for its part, is bringing in a points-based system from 2021 that will make it significantly harder for Europeans to move there.
Age, English language ability, funds and the requirement to pay a health surcharge will all be evaluated, with caps on some of the immigration channels.
A raft of EU nations reopened their borders to fellow Europeans on Monday after months of coronavirus curbs, but China was battling a new outbreak that has stoked fears of a second wave.
As caseloads have declined in recent weeks across many parts of Europe, governments have been keen to ease painful lockdowns that have saved lives but devastated economies and wearied confined populations.
Belgium, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine were among those lifting border restrictions on Monday, while shops and outdoor attractions in England were set to welcome their first customers since March and in Paris cafes and restaurants were allowed to fully reopen.
“We’re desperate about tourists, we need them and we want them. If we don’t have the people, how will we survive,” says Michalis Drosos, who works in a souvenir shop in Fira, capital of the Greek island of Santorini.
However, the pandemic is gathering pace in Latin America, and Iran and India have reported worrying increases in deaths and infections — adding to concern over challenges the world will face in the long fight against COVID-19.
China, where the virus emerged late last year, was the first country to implement extreme restrictions on movement early this year, forcing local transmission down to near-zero as the crisis hammered the rest of the world.
“If the conditions are right to lift the requirement before July 1, we will.”
The announcement came a day after Spanish lawmakers voted to extend the state of emergency a final time to June 21.
It was the sixth time the measure has been renewed, although with the epidemic well in hand, associated restrictions have been significantly eased over time.
Maroto said 6,000 German tourists would be able to travel to Spain’s Balearic Islands “in the second half of June” within the context of a pilot project between the archipelago’s regional government and the German tour operator TUI.
Cuba will quarantine foreign tourists from Tuesday when it seals its borders to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said Monday, in a move cutting one of the communist country’s few revenue sources.
“All tourists still in hotels will be placed in quarantine… They cannot leave the hotel” until they find a flight home, Manuel Marrero said on state TV, adding that there were 32,500 holidaymakers from overseas on the Caribbean island on Monday.
Some of them rushed to the airport in Havana Monday, anxious about their chances of finding a flight — many are already full and carriers have started canceling routes.
Economically crippled by US sanctions, Cuba is largely dependent on its tourism revenue.
Until now, Cuba had bucked the regional trend of closing its borders to foreigners.
Ethiopia on Monday shut its land borders to nearly all human traffic as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Africa’s second-most populous country has so far recorded just 11 infections and no deaths, but officials have struggled in recent days to enforce prevention measures including bans on large gatherings, raising fears the tally could climb.
The land border closure was part of a set of new measures announced Monday by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office.
Soldiers will be empowered “to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country,” a statement said.
Security forces will also play a role in enforcing existing measures prohibiting large gatherings and meetings, it added.
Ethiopia has so far refrained from imposing the kind of shutdown seen in other East African countries like Rwanda and Mauritius.
But even its more limited measures have not been fully enforced, and Abiy’s Prosperity Party has been criticised on social media for holding large meetings in various parts of the country where attendees have sat close together.
Monday’s statement said political parties would “adhere to social distancing and preventative measures when convening meetings.”
Ethiopia has kept its main airport open for international flights, although Ethiopian Airlines has been forced to suspend services to destinations in nearly 40 countries, according to its website.
Monday marked the first day of a new rule requiring all passengers arriving in Ethiopia to be quarantined in hotels for two weeks at their own expense.
Ethiopia shares land borders with countries including Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia — all of which have confirmed coronavirus cases.
Djibouti announced its second case on Monday.
Eritrea, with one case, on Monday announced new measures of its own including a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
The country’s health ministry also urged residents to avoid public transportation and said Eritreans currently living abroad should refrain from returning.
Ethiopia’s refugee population of more than 735,000 includes large numbers from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has voiced concern about how border restrictions implemented to fight the coronavirus could affect the rights of asylum seekers.
The UN “requests that measures be put in place to take into account access to territory of asylum seekers for those fleeing persecution,” Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s Ethiopia representative, told AFP on Monday.
Mexico reported its first coronavirus death — a 41-year-old man with diabetes who died Wednesday in Mexico City. Mexico has 118 confirmed cases of infection.
Latin America has so far recorded 1,921 cases and 18 deaths.
– Chile stimulus plan-
Chile’s stimulus plan “will strengthen our ability to face the health, economic and social needs that the coronavirus pandemic is signifying and that will probably tend to worsen in the future,” President Sebastian Pinera told a press conference.
Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced a lockdown of Chile’s Easter Island, saying no one could enter or leave the remote Pacific island for the next two weeks.
Manalich said that though none of the island’s 7,000 population had the disease, many people from the island were trying to return and risked carrying the virus back with them.
Chile has registered 342 cases of the virus to date.
Colombia will block all international flights from Monday for 30 days, President Ivan Duque announced Thursday.
“As of 00:00 hours on March 23, the arrival of all international passenger flights to the country’s airports is prohibited,” the president wrote on Twitter.
Duque said the shutout was necessary because some people who had entered the country had tried to avoid mandatory quarantine regulations.
Colombia closed its land and sea borders on Tuesday.
– Bogota confinement –
Bogota city hall said the capital’s seven million people would face confinement from Friday to Monday as part of a trial run for a probable future quarantine.
Other cities across Colombia, which has more than 100 cases of the coronavirus, were also under nighttime curfews.
Brazil said its 15-day border closure would affect all neighboring countries, with the exception of Uruguay to the south.
It shut its border with Venezuela on Tuesday.
Senior Brazilian officials, such as Chamber of Deputies speaker Rodrigo Maia, had called for a total border shutdown.
Latin America’s largest country, with a population of 210 million, has so far registered 428 cases of the coronavirus, with four deaths.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, the lawmaker son of the Brazil’s president, joined US President Donald Trump in criticizing China over the pandemic, prompting demands from Beijing for an apology.
China’s embassy accused Bolsonaro of perpetuating the anti-China stance of Trump, who repeatedly refers to the “Chinese virus.”
“We are familiar with your irresponsible words. You imitate your dear (American) friends. On your return from Miami, you unfortunately caught a mental virus, which infected the friendship between our peoples,” the embassy said in a tweet.
Chile and Peru announced a total closure of their borders on Monday while Latin America’s largest airline said it was reducing operations by 70 percent as the region scrambled to stem the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic.
Latin America has registered more than 800 cases and seven deaths, according to an AFP count, after the Dominican Republic became the latest nation to report a fatality.
“We’ve decided to close all our country’s terrestrial, maritime and aerial borders for the transit of foreigners,” said Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera.
The announcement came as Chile revealed on Monday its number of coronavirus cases had more than doubled since Sunday to 155.
Peru followed suit soon afterwards with President Martin Vizcarra announcing a two-week border closure from midnight, while Colombia announced it would close its borders until May 30.
Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay confirmed partial border closures. Paraguay also imposed overnight curfews.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced late Monday that his country would enter “collective quarantine.”
Latam Airlines said it was reducing operations by 70 percent, just four days after already cutting back by 30 percent.
“If these unprecedented travel restrictions increase… we’re not ruling out being forced to decrease our operations even more,” said the airline’s vice-president Roberto Alvo.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday clarified the controversy surrounding the reports on the closure of the nation’s borders.
Contrary to the reports, the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, stated that no border has been closed.
He, however, explained that the Service was conducting an operation with the Nigeria Customs Service at the borders.
“There is no border closure, but there was a border drill and there was an announcement from the office of the National Security Adviser,” Babandede said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He added, “Our spokesperson for the closure is the Nigeria Customs because this operation is jointly carried out by the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs; it is a border drill.
“You know very well that a safe border is a safe nation. So we are securing these borders for our national interest.”
The former AIG added, “In terms of our borders that are spread wide all over, I don’t think we have enough human resources to cover them effectively, but technology can actually help.”
He said there was a need to adopt the use of technology to prevent illegal movements and send security forces to stopped foreigners infiltrating the country.
Mr Cualcrick noted that the recent security challenges in the country were partly as a result of the weak border.
He also decried the menace of arms proliferation, saying, “I’m certainly not satisfied that we still have a large cache of arms in the hands of the wrong people.
“Nevertheless, a lot has actually been done with regards to ensuring that some of these arms are recovered. The government is actually doing more to ensure that these arms are mopped up significantly.”
The former AIG added, “I want to sincerely believe that there is still need for a more holistic approach; we are talking about a better approach, particularly with regards to the application of technology.”
But in a warning to protestors, he also imposed a night-time curfew from 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) to 4:00 am (0200 GMT).
Bashir, who swept to power in a 1989 coup, was one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes.
But organisers of the protests, which first erupted in December, rejected the army’s move and vowed to keep up their campaign until the whole regime was swept aside.
“The people do not want a transitional military council,” said Alaa Salah, who became an icon of the protest movement after a video of her leading demonstrators’ chants outside army headquarters went viral.
“Change will not happen with Bashir’s entire regime hoodwinking Sudanese civilians through a military coup,” she tweeted.
“We want a civilian council to head the transition.”
The protestors’ Alliance for Freedom and Change said the regime had “conducted a military coup by bringing back the same faces and the same institutions which our people rose against.”
It urged people “to continue their sit-in in front of army headquarters and across all regions and in the streets.”
‘We’re not leaving’
Since early Thursday morning, huge crowds of jubilant Sudanese had filled squares across the centre of Khartoum as the army promised an “important announcement”.
Chanting “the regime has fallen,” they poured into the open ground outside army headquarters, where defiant protesters had braved tear gas and gunfire to keep up an unprecedented sit-in, now in its sixth day.
But the festive mood later soured, as protestors chanted: “We don’t want Ibnouf!”
“We are not leaving, we are not leaving. Just fall and that’s all,” they shouted.
The opposition Sudanese Congress Party called on the military council to dissolve itself and form “a joint military and civilian council to run the government for a four-year transition term”.
It also urged the army to give executive powers to civilians.
Adel, a protestor outside army headquarters, said Thursday’s announcement meant “we have not achieved anything.”
“We will not stop our revolution. We are calling for the regime to step down, not only Bashir,” he said.
Army vehicles carrying troops were seen deploying across the centre of Khartoum from early Thursday.
Troops raided the offices of the Islamic Movement, the ideological wing of Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party, witnesses told AFP.
Martial music was played on state television as soldiers ordered the TV to halt its normal programming ahead of Ibnouf’s announcement.
Outside army headquarters, dozens of joyful protesters early Thursday climbed on top of land cruisers and armoured vehicles that had been posted to protect them from intervention by other branches of the security forces.
Braving the searing 42 degree Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) heat, they hugged and kissed soldiers in the crowd.
Prisoner release The military council said it was declaring a ceasefire across the country, including in war-torn Darfur.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s feared intelligence service said it was freeing all the country’s political prisoners, state media reported.
“The National Intelligence and Security Service has announced it is releasing all political detainees across the country,” the official SUNA news agency said.
But in the eastern cities of Kasala and Port Sudan, the releases failed to materialise, prompting protesters to storm NISS buildings, witnesses said.
That came despite protest organisers urging demonstrators to refrain from attacking government figures or buildings.
Demonstrators have spent five nights defiantly camped outside the sprawling army headquarters complex in Khartoum, which also houses Bashir’s official residence and the defence ministry.
“We had enough of this regime — 30 years of repression, corruption, rights abuses, it’s enough,” said one protester at the sit-in.
The demonstrators have braved repeated volleys of tear gas from NISS members since they began camping outside the complex on Saturday, protest organisers say.
Officials say 49 people have died in protest-related violence since the demonstrations first erupted in December.
Neighbouring Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in similar circumstances, said Thursday it supported the Sudanese people and the army in their political transition.