Falana Calls For Renewal Of #EndSARS Protesters’ Passports

#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called for the renewal of the passports of the #EndSARS Protesters

Falana made this call in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, identifying the affected protesters as Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye.

“The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #EndSARS protests,” the statement partly read.

“Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability.

“This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

The senior lawyer also lamented that the thugs that attacked the #EndSARS protesters last year were treated as sacred cows.

While accusing the police authorities of releasing the criminals who the protesters handed over to security agencies, he said the thugs were yet to face persecution.

“While scores of those who engaged in murder, arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #EndSARS protesters have been treated like sacred cows.

“Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #EndSARS protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

“The protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel,” he added.

Falana Writes AGF, Requests Release Of 10 People From ‘Navy Detention’
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana

 

Falana alleged that Nigeria’s security forces, instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4) of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters.

According to him, many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities as a result of the attacks.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Pandemic: NYSC Gives Conditions For Admitting Corps Members Into Camp

However, the military and the police have consistently claimed innocence of such accusations.

This comes three months after many young Nigerians marched out in many states of the federation to embark on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality in October 2020.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

RENEW PASSPORTS OF #ENDSARS PROTESTERS

In October last year, Nigerian citizens, in many states of the Federation, embarked on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality. Instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4)  of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 the security forces colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters. As a result of the attacks many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities.

Thereafter, the protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel. While scores of those who engaged in murder,  arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #endsars protesters have been treated like sacred cows. Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #endsars protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

However, the revelations oozing out of the various judicial commissions of enquiry currently probing police brutality in many states of the Federation and the federal capital territory have justified the #endsars protests. But despite the promise made by the Presidency and Police Authorities to reform the Police the leaders of the protesters have had their bank accounts frozen and passport seized on the illegal orders of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Immigration Service respectively. So far, the heads of both agencies have not been called to order by the President.

The Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has  willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #endsars protests. Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

In spite of the open declaration of President Buhari to meet the genuine demands of the #endsars protesters the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service  have continued to embarrass the federal government. In Nasiru El-rufai v Minister of Interior (2011) the Federal High Court held that the decision of the Federal Government not to renew the passport of the Applicant was  illegal and unconstitutional. In consequence, the Court awarded N1 million damages against the Respondents. Since the Court has held that the Ministry of Interior lacks the power to subject citizens to denial of consular services the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye should be renewed without any further delay.

 

17th January, 2021.

 

Femi Falana SAN

Interim Chair,

Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond

(ASCAB).

Immigration Enforces Ban On 100 Travellers For Violating COVID-19 Protocols

NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, speaks in Abuja on September 6, 2019.
A file photo of NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede.

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has commenced the enforcement of travel restriction order on 100 passengers who violated the COVID-19 protocols of the Federal Government.

NIS Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, announced this in a statement on Monday.

According to him, the Comptroller-General of the service, Muhammad Babandede, has directed the relevant formations in the country to ensure immediate compliance with the travel restriction order.

The NIS spokesman explained that the action of the immigration boss was in line with the government’s directives on temporary travel restrictions on the 100 passengers.

He said the erring travellers failed to comply with the mandatory day-seven post-arrival COVID-19 PCR Test for all inbound passengers.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Exceed 90,000 As NCDC Confirms Nine More Deaths

“The 100 defaulting passengers have been restricted for a period of six months, from January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021.

“All the affected passengers have been notified and will be prevented from passport re-issuance and travelling outside the country during this period,” the statement said.

The service warned the affected passengers to comply with the restriction order to avoid breaching public health protocols and refusal of departure.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had hinted that the details of the first 100 passengers who failed to take the test would be published in the national dailies.

Mustapha, who is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), gave the hint at the PTF briefing held on Tuesday last week in Abuja.

He added that the passports of the affected people would also be suspended till June 2021, to serve as a deterrent for others.

This comes as the government imposes stricter measures to curb a further spread of the disease as Nigeria begins to see the second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Despite the disturbing single-day number of cases reported recently, the government believes a second nationwide lockdown is not yet the way to go.

As of Sunday night, Nigeria has a total of 90,080 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of which 75,044 people have been discharged and 1,311 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

625 Deported Nigerians Returned Via Abuja Airport In 2020 – Immigration

This photo taken on July 6, 2020, shows the front view of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

A total of 625 deported Nigerians returned to the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He added that 24 other Nigerians were repatriated for various criminal and immigration-related offences abroad.

Back in the country, 12 foreign nationals who failed to comply with Nigerian entry requirements were refused admission and returned, said James.

He noted that the year witnessed a global pandemic – COVID-19 – which prompted various countries to enforce mandatory lockdown and border closure before their eventual relaxation within the year.

The NIS spokesman stated that Nigeria had its fair share of the COVID-19 experience and the Service, as the lead agency in charge of migration control and border management at the airport in Abuja, stepped up personnel protection to insulate them from contracting the disease.

He listed some of the measures taken to include the installation of glass shields that separate the operatives from passengers, as well as the use of face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitisers, among others.

“No fewer than 239,114 outbound and inbound migrants passed through NAIA, Abuja between 1st January 2020 and 15th December 2020. So far, 73,582 Nigerians and 46,665 non-Nigerians departed NAIA, Abuja for various destinations abroad.

“Similarly, 81,277 Nigerians and 37,590 non-Nigerians arrived through NAIA airport within the period under review,” the statement said.

James revealed that in the course of the year, 34 Nigerians – predominantly young ladies – were refused departure for non-compliance and violation of immigration regulations and other extant laws.

He explained that the young ladies were victims of human trafficking being transported for the purpose of forced prostitution and sex exploitation and were between the ages of 18 to 28.

“Their final destination was Dubai, UAE. Upon interception, they were profiled and forwarded to NIS Service Headquarters for further investigation and released to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for rehabilitation.

“In the same vein, the change of operational strategy led to the uncovering of the persons recruiting and trafficking these ladies via sting operation where six recruiters/traffickers were apprehended – four males and two females. In addition, the identities of 3 recruiters/sponsors resident in Dubai were equally uncovered,” the statement said.

The NIS spokesman disclosed that NAIA Command, within the period under review, received and handed over 100 Nigerians whose offences were not immigration-related, such as drug-related issues, financial crimes, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, to relevant agencies.

FG Renews Commitment To Degrading Bandits, Insurgents

File Photo of Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola

 

The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to degrade the bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements along Nigeria’s borders.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this on Monday at the passing out parade of 320 immigration officers who underwent training in Kano to participate in a special operation in the north-western part of the country.

Aregbesola said the increasing number of security personnel at the borders will not only check the proliferation of light weapons and contrabands but also cripple the activities of bandits, insurgents and kidnappers.

He added that the operation is a definitive military initiative to respond to criminal activities in northwestern Nigeria, with a view to restoring peace and security in the area.

While observing that much has been committed to training them, the Minister asked the immigration officials to justify the same by being professional in all their doing to protect the country from influx and infiltration by irregular migrants, calling for support for the Military in the region.

He noted that the nature of the border communities calls for the NIS-Border Community relationship to safeguard the borders.

Speaking further, Aregbesola asked the immigration personnel to gather intelligence from community members who will only share information available to them when they have confidence in the operatives.

In his remarks, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, assured that the training will equip his men to perform excellently in securing the north-west.

The NIS warned the officers against compromise in the cause of their duty, reiterating that the service will not tolerate non-challant attitude and arbitrary abuse of their duty call.

Immigration Blocks 58 Nigerian Doctors From Leaving For The UK

NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, speaks in Abuja on September 6, 2019.
NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, speaks in Abuja on September 6, 2019.

 

The Nigerian Immigration Service said on Friday that it had blocked 58 medical doctors from leaving the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos via a chartered flight.

According to a statement signed by Immigration spokesman, Sunday James, the doctors had no visa for entry to the United Kingdom, while only two had a valid visa.

The statement stressed that the NIS had received no notification from the “Ministry of Health in Nigeria or any known Medical body” of the doctors’ itinerary.

The NIS added that it “will not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians who should know the procedures for travelling out of their country and the requirements” to flout relevant laws, especially amid a coronavirus pandemic.

“This is to avoid refusal of Entry and repatriation back to Nigeria amidst Covid-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by government,” the statement said.

The chartered flight, the NIS said, has already left without the doctors.

 

Read the full NIS statement:


NIS/SHQ/PRU/290

10th July 2020

PRESS RELEASE

NIS REFUSES DEPARTURE OF 58 NIGERIAN MEDICAL DOCTORS TO LONDON THROUGH MURTALA MUHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LAGOS BY A CHARTERED FLIGHT

1. The Nigeria Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos has refused departure of fifty-eight (58) Nigerian Doctors who attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London. Fifty-Six (56) of the Doctors had no Visa for entry to United Kingdom, while only two (2) had visa.

2. The Fifty-eight (58) Medical Doctors were refused departure in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, on powers conferred on the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service by the Immigration Act 2015, to prohibit departure of any person under the conditions stated in the Act. The chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry forty-two (42) medical doctors for a training program but they were fifty-eight (58) with only two (2) having Visa for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.

3. The Nigeria Immigration Service as the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria of persons will not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians who should know the procedures for travelling out of their country and the requirements, which include having a valid visa for entry into a destination country to leave. This is to avoid refusal of Entry and repatriation back to Nigeria amidst Covid-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by government.

4. There is no official communication to the Service from the Ministry of Health in Nigeria or any known Medical body notifying the NIS of the travel of this number of Medical Doctors. The Aircraft has departed for London without the Medical Doctors.

5.The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, MFR, is taking this opportunity to advise Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols and ensure they have Valid passports with Valid Visa to the country they intended travelling to before going to any Airport, Seaport or Land Border Control to avoid refusal to depart.

Signed
DCI Sunday James pcc
Service Public Relations Officer
For: Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service

 

Job Scam: Be Mindful Of Fraudsters, Immigration Warns Nigerians

NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, speaks in Abuja on September 6, 2019.
A file photo of NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede.

 

 

Authorities of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have warned jobseekers to be mindful of fraudsters while seeking to be enlisted into the service.

The Service Public Relations Officer, James Sunday, gave the warning in a statement on Tuesday while reacting to reports that the NIS was recruiting.

“The attention of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede MFR has been drawn to a fake NIS recruitment scam site and link posted on social media by fraudsters with the intention of defrauding innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians of monies.

“The Service had warned severally and is still warning good spirited Nigerians to avoid such fake recruitment offer which is not officially posted on the official NIS website,” he said.

According to Sunday, no fee is charged for NIS recruitment and jobseekers should avoid falling victims to criminal elements.

He stressed that the NIS would always publish and announce its official recruitment and notifications through credible dailies and media platforms.

Immigration Arrests 24 Togolese, Nigerians At Ogun Border

 

Operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have arrested 14 Togolese nationals and 10 Nigerians at Ajilete and Ilase border posts in Ogun State.

The Service Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to him, the Togolese nationals who are all females comprise eight adults and six minors.

James explained that they were arrested in a J5 bus at Ajilete and the other 10 Nigerians were apprehended at Ilase for defying the government’s directive on the closure of land borders.

He added that five of the Nigerians were victims of human trafficking and would be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The NIS spokesman said the arrested persons were profiled by the Comptroller of the Ogun State Command, Kunle Osisanya, after health officials subjected them to COVID-19 tests in line with the medical procedures of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

In his reaction, the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, commended the officers for the success and asked them to up the tempo of their patrol.

He noted that some of the arrests were along illegal points created by the smugglers in the area.

Trump To Suspend Immigration Due To Coronavirus

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on February 25, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP.

 

President Donald Trump said Monday that he would temporarily suspend immigration to the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the US already being the worst-hit country in the world.

Trump referred to the “Invisible Enemy,” a phrase he has used to describe the virus that has killed more than 42,000 people in the US, which has more than 766,660 infections.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” he tweeted Monday night.

The State Department issued around 462,000 immigrant visas in the 2019 fiscal year, while US Citizens and Immigration Services granted permanent residence to nearly 577,000 individuals.

Trump said the move would also protect American jobs, although the state-imposed lockdowns to slow the virus have already left 22 million people in the US out of work.

His tweet gave no further details about what the measure would entail, how it would be implemented or how long it would be in place.

READ ALSO: US Oil Bounces After Crash But Stocks Suffer Big Losses

Trump could sign an executive order as soon as Tuesday, The Washington Post reported, citing two White House officials.

The real estate tycoon campaigned for office on a platform of immigration skepticism and has made policies restricting immigration central to his presidency.

Criticising the ban, California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said Trump was using the coronavirus outbreak to push his anti-immigrant stance.

“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she tweeted.

“The abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”

Trump has touted his move to restrict travel from China over the coronavirus in January after it emerged there late last year, and he halted travel from much of Europe in mid-March as the virus spread there.

– ‘Bans come too late’ –

The president likely has the authority to restrict immigration to protect public health, Cato Institute researchers Alex Nowrasteh and Andrew C. Forrester said in a blog post.

“However, blanket bans like those imposed by the administration in recent months and those coming on April 21 are akin to closing the barn door after the horse has escaped,” they wrote.

“Most research on travel bans in response to pandemics finds that they don’t limit the spread of diseases, in part because they are always imposed after the disease has spread.”

Trump’s tweet also implied that immigrants are spreading COVID-19 in the United States, they said.

However, examining the coronavirus date, “the rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths by county in the United States is not correlated with the share of the population that is foreign‐born.”

Trump has at times appeared impatient with efforts intended to slow the spread of the virus in the US — appearing to lend support to protesters angry at governors’ stay-at-home orders — and has said parts of the country can begin to abandon lockdown measures soon.

He said Monday, however, that “we’ve really done the right thing” on fighting the virus, and that letting it spread unchecked would have been an “atrocity.”

Trump has been widely criticized for initially downplaying the virus, which he likened to ordinary flu and said was under control in the United States, before later accepting that it was a national emergency.

It was not immediately clear who would be affected by the latest immigration move as Washington has already suspended nearly all travel to the country.

The US last month suspended all routine visa services around the world — including for immigrants — due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has also imposed a series of travel bans.

The latest move is also likely to affect those hoping to apply for permanent resident “green cards.”

AFP

Immigration Boss, Babandede Recovers From COVID-19

(FILE) Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammed Babandede, speaks during an interview with Channels Television.

 

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, has recovered from COVID-19.

Babandede’s recovery comes after testing negative twice to the disease.

Taking to his Twitter handle, the Immigration boss made the announcement of his recovery on Tuesday.

Babandede had earlier on March 29 issued a statement on him testing positive to the virus upon his return from the United Kingdom on March 22.

READ ALSO: Immigration Boss Babandede Tests Positive For Coronavirus

But three weeks after, he described his recovery as a victory from God.

The Comptroller-General also thanked everyone for their support since he was hit by the dreaded disease.

“I just received my 2nd Negative report on COVID-19, I will like to thank all of u for your supplications. This victory is from God, we thank Him for giving me the opportunity to have the experience which is more than my education and public service,” he said.

Immigration Boss Babandede Tests Positive For Coronavirus

NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede, speaks in Abuja on September 6, 2019.
A file photo of NIS Comptroller-General, Mr Muhammad Babandede.

 

 

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Service Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, revealed Babandede’s health status in a statement sent to Channels Television on Sunday.

He noted that the comptroller-general returned recently from the United Kingdom, although the purpose of the visit was not disclosed.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Coronavirus Cases Rise To 97 As NCDC Confirms Eight More Infections

As a top official of the government, James said Babandede adhered to the instructions of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to self-isolate and undergo a test.

“The result of the test came out positive, hence the need to make it public. He conveys his goodwill to all, and he is in stable condition responding to treatment,” the statement said.

According to the Service spokesman, the comptroller-general is active and directing as expected, the affairs of the service online.

He said the Deputy Comptroller-General overseeing the administration of the service has been in touch with Babandede online to keep the activities of the service running within the period.

“The Nigeria Immigration Service community will continue to deliver on its mandate for the nation, even in these trying times as we pray the whole world gets over it, Nigeria inclusive,” the statement added.

Immigration Thwarts Attempt To Traffic Three Nigerians For Prostitution

A file photo of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

Operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at Seme Border Control Post have apprehended three suspected human traffickers and three victims en route to Ghana.

The Service Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Tuesday.

According to him, the Comptroller of NIS in charge of the Seme Control Post, Olushola Ajisafe, confirmed the status of the victims as being trafficked after a thorough investigation.

James noted that Olushola, who was the former Comptroller in Katsina, had during his duty tour arrested several human traffickers and their victims in the state.

“The victims were deceitfully persuaded to embark on the trip for a job, but on being interrogated they were discovered to be victims of trafficking for the purpose of prostitution.

“The human trafficking illicit business has been on the increase under the various guise, but they have always been discovered by the officials through timely intelligence and operational synergy between officers along the national borders and airports leading to the arrests,” the statement said.

The Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, therefore, cautioned parents to keep eyes on their children, especially teenagers.

This group of people, according to him, are prone to fall victim to the deceitful acts and ways that make them believe the tricks of traffickers who may be close family members, friends and even sources on the internet connecting them to such criminal elements.

Babandede also advised parents to embark on proper guidance and counselling to prevent their children from becoming victims of trafficking.

US To Stop Issuing Visas For ‘Birth Tourism’

 

 

The United States on Thursday said it would no longer issue temporary visitor visas to pregnant women seeking to enter the country for so-called “birth tourism.”

In announcing the rule change, which takes effect Friday, the White House said foreigners were using the visas “to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.”

“The integrity of American citizenship must be protected,” it said in a statement.

Calling the practice “a glaring immigration loophole,” the White House argued the crackdown on “birth tourism” was for public safety and national security as well as immigration control.

“The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in federal prosecution.”

The US constitution guarantees automatic American citizenship to anyone born on US soil.

US President Donald Trump has made restricting immigration a top priority of his administration and has threatened in the past to abolish birthright citizenship.

AFP