Migration: Onyeama Seeks Support From UNGA President         

         

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Tuesday, asked for support from the President of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to address the issues of climate change and migration in Nigeria.

Onyeama said this during a meeting with President of the UNGA, Maria Garces, at the nation’s capital in Abuja.

He also asked for the support of the UNGA in recharging the Lake Chad which according to him has shrinked by over 90%.

According to him, an estimate of forty to fifty billion dollars is required to recharge the lake.

Garces in response said the multilateral cooperation remains key to addressing challenges like climate change and migration.

She praised the role of the Nigerian government at the United Nations and added that the UN remains committed to helping Nigeria address issues of poverty and inequality.

Garces and her delegation arrived in Nigeria on a working visit earlier on Monday.

They were received into the country by officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations office in Abuja.

President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces (M); Senior Adviser to the PGA, Alexander Tope, and other UN officials, during the arrival of Maria Garces at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Monday. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun

We Told Nigerians To Avoid Libya, Says Dabiri-Erewa

Report Traffickers, They Must Be Prosecuted – FG Tells Nigerians
Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Federal Government has continued to react to the reports on the slave trading in Libya involving some Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa on Thursday said Nigerians have earlier been warned about going to the country due to the dangers involved.

Dabiri-Erewa on Channels Television’s Programme, Politics Today said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the office of Foreign Affairs warned Nigerians not to go to Libya due to the situation in the country.

READ ALSO: Report Traffickers, They Must Be Prosecuted – FG Tells Nigerians

“NEMA, my office, IOM told Nigerians that avoid Libya, it is deadly, it is dangerous, don’t go there. Also on the news, you have cases of Nigerians being brought back from Libya on a regular basis. So Nigeria has been bringing back its citizens from Libya,” she said.

Speaking on the dangers some Nigerians expose themselves to in traveling to Libya, she said Nigerians subject themselves to horrendous experience just to leave the shores of the country.

“You can imagine the dangerous journey. Walking about 3,000kilometers that’s flying for about three hours if you are going to Europe. This might be attributed to poverty. Yes, the government must do the needful by creating enabling environment and jobs but it goes beyond that. What do you say of a mother who sells her land and pays off $4,000 for her daughter to go to Europe?”

The SSA to the president also stressed the importance of family values saying traffickers are exploiting victims who are desperate to travel abroad, to get richer.

“We should look at the family value and the systems. For every person who goes on that journey, a trafficker is being empowered, a trafficker is getting richer,” she said.

She promised that the Buhari government is working to ensure more youths are gainfully engaged to avoid dangerous expeditions in search of greener pastures.

President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to bring home those stranded in the North African country and ensure that Nigerians are no longer trapped in foreign lands in some of the most horrendous illegal journeys. The president also vowed to stop illegal migration through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea by providing basic social amenities such as education, healthcare, and food security at home

Nigerian Envoy Allays Fear Over U.S. Immigration Ban

Nigerian Envoy Allays Fear Over U.S. Immigration Ban
Ambassador Hakeem Balogun

For some Nigerians with plans to travel to the United States, but are worried over what awaits them in view of the clampdown on immigrants, Nigeria’s Charge d’ Affairs in the U.S., Ambassador Hakeem Balogun, has dismissed such fears.

Speaking with reporters in Washington D.C., Ambassador Balogun insisted that Nigeria is not on the list of countries with travel ban tag placed by U.S. President, Donald Trump.

He, however, asked citizens to always adhere to set rules to avoid punitive measures.

The clarification comes barely three weeks after the U.S. Embassy in Abuja said there is no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.

It added that there was no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the country.

Nigeria Not Listed On Immigration Order – U.S.

Nigeria Not Listed On Executive Order on Immigration - U.S.The U.S. Government has clarified that there is no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.

The clarification was made in a statement issued on Wednesday by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The U.S. Embassy stated that Nigeria was not named in the Executive Order on Immigration issued on March 6 by the White House.

It added that there was no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the United States.

The clarification followed conflicting reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

While Honourable Dabiri-Erewa said she got reports that Nigerians were being denied entry into the U.S. on arrival, the Ministry insisted that the claims were false.

Xenophobia: Nigeria Asks South Africa To Protect Foreigners

South Africans Attack Foreign Nationals In PretoriaNigeria has appealed to the South African Government to take every step necessary to protect its citizens in the face of renewed wave of xenophobic attacks in the country.

The call was made by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijat Bukar Abba, at a news conference in Abuja.

Mrs Abba urged Nigerians to be calm while assuring them that the government was taking steps to address the matter.

The appeal followed the protest by Nigerian students at the premises of some South African businesses in the Federal Capital Territory.

Earlier in response to a summon, South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Mnguni, briefed the Foreign Affairs Ministry on what was being done by his country to stop the attacks.

The Nigerian community in South Africa had confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West in South Africa.

The group, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said that they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

The Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

She advised Nigerians to be extra cautious, saying it appears the South African Government seems to have no control over the attacks.

House Cmtte’ Blames FG For Xenophobic Attacks On Nigerians

House of Representatives, JudiciaryThe House of Representative Committee on Diaspora has criticised the Federal Government for failing to stem the attacks on Nigerians living abroad.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Rita Orji, stated this on Monday while speaking to journalists at the National Assembly on the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

She said the failure of the Federal Government to address previous attacks of Nigerians in South Africa was responsible for the incessant killings of Nigerians abroad.

The lawmaker recounted some of the killings of Nigerians in South Africa, Libya and other countries, claiming that the committee had investigated some of the cases and sent a report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with no visible action taken.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement said the Nigerian community in South Africa confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.

The group, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said that they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

Honourable Dabiri-Erewa described the attacks as an unnecessary setback and advised Nigerians to be extra cautious, saying it appears the South African Government seems to have no control over the attacks.

She also urged the African Union to intervene urgently in the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years and in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed.

“This is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria,” the Presidential aide said.

Economic Recession Will Subside In 2017 – President Buhari

Economic Recession Will Ebb In 2017, Says President BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that the current economic recession will ebb in 2017.

He said this on Monday, in Abuja while declaring open an induction course organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Nigerian Career Ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.

President Buhari said: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.

“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”

The President, who said the prevailing economic circumstances have led to a restructuring of Nigerian missions abroad, reminded the Ambassadors-designate that, “as we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions.

“As Heads of missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times, and all of us are expected to do more with less.”

Positive Values

President Buhari specifically charged the Ambassadors-designate to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.

“I want to emphasise your duty to change the narrative of Nigeria as seen by the outside world.  For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasizing our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.

“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people.

“We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent. Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them,” he said.

Nigerians In Diaspora

President Buhari also enjoined them to leverage on the achievements of Nigerians within the country and in diaspora.

“Think of people like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Chinedu Echeruo who founded Hotspot application which he sold to Apple for over a billion Dollars; think of Bayo Ogunlesi, who runs over a billion Dollar Infrastructure Fund and is now Adviser to US President-elect; and Jelani Aliyu, an accomplished car designer at General Motors.

“Indeed, these and other hardworking Nigerian professionals in the diaspora have never forgotten their roots and have been making significant contributions to their communities back home, and even to our economy through their huge remittances.”

He urged them to sustain the work ethic characterized by the love of country, professionalism, excellence, integrity and honour associated with the “Nigerian diplomatic tradition established in 1957 by the pioneers of the Nigerian Foreign Service, sometimes referred to as the “Twelve Apostles” and also “bequeath same to succeeding generations”.

President Buhari also charged the Ambassadors-designate to stress Nigeria’s commitment to international peace and security through contributions “to nearly every UN peacekeeping initiative since 1960 when we achieved our independence. In addition, we are the stabilizers and shock absorbers of West Africa having helped to contain potentially de-stabilizing developments in the sub-region.”

He urged the Ambassadors–designate always to be mindful of the national priorities that “revolve around the economy, security, anti-corruption, good governance, agricultural transformation and infrastructural development, including rail, roads and power” and use their roles “as Principal Representatives to build meaningful partnerships to attract foreign investments, new skills and technologies”.

President Buhari stressed that “as Nigerian Ambassadors, you must set the standard of putting Nigeria first in all your actions.  You must show leadership, fairness and justice to all.  Discipline, probity, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption must be your watchwords. You are expected to project the best image and traditions of our country in your conduct and all you do”.

Sexual Misconduct: Reps Clear Colleagues Of Allegations

House-of-Representatives-in-Rowdy-sessionThe House of Representatives has cleared three of its members of allegations of sexual misconduct brought against them by the former United State Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.

This is one of the recommendations approved by the House after considering the report of a joint committee that investigated the matter.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The joint committee said it found that there was no evidence to back up the allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

The House is also asking that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write to the United State Embassy, reminding them to always adopt official means of communications in its dealings with any organ or institution of government.

After the US envoy made the allegations against the lawmakers, the House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Representative Yusuf Tajudeen, asked the U.S. Embassy to up with facts and place them before the House.

He said the House of Representatives was expecting the U.S. Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House was convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

He further noted that “Hon (Mark) Gbillah travelled with his wife and daughter”.

Rep Tajudeen, however, wondered why the accused were not called for questioning during their two-week stay in the United States and why it took the U.S. Embassy over four weeks after their (lawmakers) return to lodge the complaint.

Responding to the request, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria said there was a proof that three members of the House were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwistle said he would present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

The U.S. Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai was asked to investigate the matter.

In the course of further investigations into the issue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said there was no evidence to confirm the allegations.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

The Minister’s presentation is based on an interaction he had with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, concerning a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

FG Fine Tunes Repatriation Terms With Netherlands

Libya, Deportees, NigeriansThe Federal Government on Wednesday met with the Netherlands Immigration and Repatriation Authorities over the regularization of the stay of Nigerian immigrants and the dignified repatriation of voluntary returnees.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olusola Enikanolaiye, during a meeting with the General Director of the Netherlands Repatriation and Departure Service, Mrs Rhodia Mass, said the Nigerian government has signed series of agreements with several countries and expect immigration to be treated within the context of development.

Mrs Mass said notwithstanding the migration crisis, repatriation with planned reintegration through the help of the International Organisation on Migration, remains one of the cardinal parts of migration policies in the Netherlands.

Buhari Swears-In Special Advisers, Permanent Secretary

Corruption CasesPresident Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in four special advisers and one permanent secretary at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The swearing-in ceremony took place shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Buhari on Wednesday.

Those sworn in include the Special Adviser on Social Investment, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser on Political Matter, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu; Special Adviser on Planning, Tijani Abdullahi, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Rafiu Enikanolaye.

While Uwais, Ojudu and Dipeolu were deployed in the Office of the Vice President, Abdullahi was deployed to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

Lawmakers Seek Firm Action On Murder Of Nigerian In S.Africa

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaThe House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has asked the Federal Government to take definitive action on the death of a Nigerian, Mr Timothy Chinedu, who was allegedly killed in South Africa last week by the South African police.

Following the killing of the Nigerian, the chairperson of the committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, held a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consular-General of Nigeria to Johannesburg, South Africa.

She said the House would take urgent parliamentary action that would get the attention of the South African parliament and government.

Mr Elendu-Ukeje further stressed that the death of the Nigerian was the fourth in the space of three months and the fifth death of a Nigerian in the hands of the South African police.

“It is a matter that ought to be of great concern to the Nigerian government,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, said the Federal Government would ensure justice was done.

Ambassador Lolo told the lawmaker that incremental steps would be take over the coming days, including an official engagement at the bi-national commission level to put a stop to the trend of molestation and killing of Nigerians in South Africa.

Buhari Holds Bilateral Talks With Indian PM, Modi

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has held talks with the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, with focus on deepening co-operations and using the potential of both countries to greater advantage.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of the dialogue held on Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danjuma Sheni, said that the discussion also centred on how India and Nigeria could assist each other to meet their aspiration of becoming members of an expanded United Nations Security Council.

Recovery Of Stolen Funds

President Buhari also met with the Nigerian community in India, promising to make Nigeria more secure, especially with regard to the health sector to avoid capital flight.

While addressing the President and other Nigerians at the meeting, the Acting High Commissioner in India, Shola Enikanoliaye, expressed optimism that Buhari’s administration would double effort to reduce capital flight to India, where over 40,000 Nigerian go to every year for medical attention.

In his speech, the President further reiterated his administration’s resolve to curb corruption and plug all loopholes in public sector accounting.

He vowed to sustain the recovery of stolen funds and prosecution of persons who had been indicted for corrupt practices.

This, he added, was to serve as a deterrent to others who nurse the ambition of seeking public office solely for illegal personal gains.

The high point of the meeting held at the Nigerian High Commission in Delhi was the revelation that no Nigerian living in India belongs to the ISIS terrorist group.

The President urged them to obey the laws of the land, promising to make life comfortable back home.

President Buhari arrived in India on Tuesday, where he is expected to participate in the 3rd summit of the India-Africa Forum slated to hold in the city of New Delhi.

According to statistics, over 10,000 Nigerians are living in India, with majority of them as students, with some of them especially from Kano, carting away academic laurels from Indian Universities.

Nigeria established its High Commission in 1962 to cater for the needs of Nigerians living in India.