Vote Us Out If You Are Displeased With Our Performance, Senate President Tells Nigerians

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has challenged Nigerians to vote out the members of the 9th National Assembly, including himself in 2023 if they are not satisfied with their performance in office.

He made the call on Friday as he declared open a retreat organised for top management staff of the National Assembly in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The lawmaker stated that it was preferable for Nigerians to vote out the current crop of Federal lawmakers and replace them with better representatives in the next general elections.

He believes this is the way to go rather than engaging in endless agitations to close down the National Assembly and debates over reported jumbo salaries and allowances enjoyed by the lawmakers.

READ ALSO: FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

According to the Senate President, the current budgetary allocation of the National Assembly in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which is N125 billion, is less than one per cent of Nigeria’s total budget of N13 trillion.

He also revealed that the National Assembly was working to ensure the passage of the 2021 Budget by the second week of December 2020.

The lawmaker gave an assurance that the 9th Assembly would conclude work on the proposed constitutional amendment and review of the Electoral Act in 2021.

The current members of the Senate and House of Representatives assumed office following their victory in the 2019 general elections.

While some of them are returning lawmakers, it is the first time for others to represent their constituencies and senatorial districts at the green and red chambers.

They were inaugurated as lawmakers on June 11, 2019, and the tenure of the 9th Assembly is expected to run until 2023.

We Must Do All To Avert Second Wave Of COVID-19, Buhari Charges Nigerians

A file photo of a health worker writing on a paper. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to do everything to avert a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Nigeria’s economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown.

“Looking at the trends in the other countries, we must do all we can to avert the second wave of the pandemic. We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown,” he said.

While advising all citizens to continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, wearing of face masks, and washing of hands, the President noted that the country has so far managed the problem successfully by keeping the numbers as low as possible.

On the occasion of this year’s Eid-el-Maulud, President Buhari urged all Nigerians to reflect on the virtues of the Holy Prophet by showing love and understanding for fellow citizens.

He also appealed to all Nigerians to shun all negative tendencies as manifested in the recent hijacking of peaceful protests to loot and destroy public and private property, reiterating his earlier promise to bring police officers responsible for misconduct as well as the looters to justice.

#EndSARS: We Are Survivors Of Police Brutality, Nigerians Storm Embassy In Australia

 

A group of Nigerians have stormed the Nigerian High Commission in Australia seeking an end to police brutality and extra-judicial killings in Nigeria.

The protesters said the demonstration is in solidarity with the ongoing protests in Nigeria.

In a video clip obtained by Channels Television on Monday, the protesters can be seen chanting “End SARS,” “End SARS.” with some of them narrating their experience as victims of police brutality by the Nigeria Police.

“Some of us here have lost brothers, we have lost cousins. Some of us are survivors. We are survivors of police brutality,” one of the protesters said.

“You go about in Nigeria; you can’t even go about your daily duties. Why would we be governed by people who are charlatans in power?

“Why would we be governed by people who do not apply rural decency? Why would we allow injustice to thrive on our street?” he questioned.

The #EndSARS protests calling for an end to police brutality; extrajudicial killings and scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a unit of the police force notorious for human rights abuse –  have continued for over 12 days.

Some Nigerians in Australia march to the Nigerian High Commission to protest police brutality in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s police chief, Mohammed Adamu, had on heels of the disbandment of SARS, announced a new tactical unit – Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) – to replace the scrapped arm of the force.

Irked by the move, more Nigerians trooped to the streets, calling for the rejection of the new unit.

Using the #EndSWAT hashtag on the social media platform,  Twitter, the protesters believe the new arm of the police would be no different from the disbanded SARS.

They argue that the introduction of SWAT is ill-timed and does not align with their demands for a reformation of the country’s policing system.

‘We Are Sorry’: Osinbajo Apologises To Nigerians As Protests Against Police Brutality Continue

File photo of Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has apologized to Nigerians and admits the Federal Government could have “moved faster” in addressing the demands of #EndSARS protesters. 

“Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry,” he said in a series of tweets on his handle late Friday.

“I fully understand how many young people feel. Many feel that we have been too silent and have simply not done enough. These feelings of frustration are justified.”

READ ALSO: #EndSARS Protesters Hold Candlelight Procession In Abuja

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

Taking Responsibility

According to him, “There are far too many people who have been brutalized at the hands of the police and this is unacceptable.

“We must take responsibility for protecting young people, even sometimes from those who are paid to protect them.”

READ ALSO: [#EndSARS] Protesters Hold Candlelight Vigil In Lagos

He also believes the protests rocking the country goes beyond agitations about the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“They’re deep and systemic and we’re undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions, and training,” he explained.

A file photo of protesters in Abuja.Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV.

Ongoing Work

According to the former University of Lagos lecturer, meetings have been held with several stakeholders in the country with a view to addressing the demands of the youths who are championing the protests.

“We understand that you want to see action from us and I’m here to tell you that work is ongoing,” the Vice President noted. “I chaired a meeting of 36 state governors and the Minister of the FCT (NEC), where we resolved to set up judicial panels of inquiry so we can see justice served, and fast.

“The reason being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public.”

READ ALSO: [#EndSARS] Presidential Panel Recommends Dismissal Of 37 SARS Operatives

While reiterating the disbandment of SARS, he assured that officers from the unit will not be part of any tactical squad.

Osinbajo equally commiserated with the “families of Jimoh Isiaq, and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of wayward police officers. To those injured, I wish a full and speedy recovery.

“We have proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which will support. This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.”

Read his tweets, below:

 

 

Nigerians Disappointed Because They Are Looking For Results In The Wrong Place – Fashola

 

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on Thursday said Nigerians are disappointed in the present administration because they are looking for results in the wrong place.

Fashola who disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television said Nigerians should note that governance is not magic and the results they promptly need can only be delivered by state and local government which are the closest to grassroots.

READ ALSO: [email protected]: PDP Asks Buhari To Rejig Cabinet, Save Nigeria From Collapse

“Governance is not magic. It is the act of the possible and our responsibility is to always project hope. Perhaps those who feel that way (disappointed) should be made to realize that what we expect of the Nigerian Federal government lies more with the state government and the local government…some of the most basic things.

“What we should do is to focus on the government that is closest to us. I will urge people to go and read the constitution, the powers the President has are about 45, many of them are categorised as power but they are even functions and duties.

“The government that can transform us and give us what we want quickly are the government closest to us – state and local government,” he said.

Fashola notes that basic infrastructure like primary healthcare, primary education, among others which Nigerians clamour for, can only be delivered by state and local governments.

“Looking for the Federal Government or a magic President is why we seem to have been disappointed. We are looking for the results in the wrong place,” Fashola said.

He urged Nigerians to read the constitution to understand better the divide between the state and the Federal Government.

According to him refuse management, water supply, primary healthcare, basic education, etc are all matters within the local and state government and the duties rest upon the state governors.

US Considers Policy To Limit Stay Of Nigerian Students, Others

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP
File photo: US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on September 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

The United States Government has proposed a policy to limit the duration of foreign students, including Nigerians that apply for the visa.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced the proposal to add changes to visas for students, exchange visitors and foreign media.

“This effort would create a fixed time period of admission for certain aliens, consistent with most other temporary visa classifications, while still allowing these aliens an opportunity to legally extend their stay or re-apply for admission where appropriate,” the statement partly read.

“Amending the relevant regulations is critical in improving program oversight mechanisms; preventing foreign adversaries from exploiting the country’s education environment; and properly enforcing and strengthening U.S. immigration laws.”

If the new rule is approved, it could translate to affected students not getting four-year visas for four-year courses in the U.S.

International students could apply to extend their visas beyond the limits, but the rule would severely tighten the requirements for an extension, the D.H.S said.

According to the D.H.S, the rule would help prevent visa fraud, protect national security and discourage students from overstaying.

The countries targeted in the new policy are those on the U.S. “state sponsor of terrorism list” and ”students from 43 countries that visitors have overstay rate of more than 10 per cent”.

Countries that will be affected by this new DHS proposed law include those listed as state sponsors of terrorism, and countries whose citizens have overstayed their visas.

Nigeria is not on the list of state sponsors of terrorism but is part of countries with high visa overstay rates.

PHOTOS: Nigerians, Foreigners Storm Abuja Airport For International Trips

Passengers storm the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja following the resumption of international flights on September 7, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels Television

 

The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is witnessing increased activities as it hosts returning and outgoing travellers.

Two days after the resumption of international flights at the airport, more aircraft have continued to ply the facility.

During a visit to the airport on Monday, Channels Television crew observed that operations were being conducted in line with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on COVID-19.

These include wearing of face masks by both travellers by Nigerians and foreign nationals, as well as social distancing by persons on queues.

Similarly, incoming flights were disinfected shortly after their arrival at the airport and before passengers disembarked from the aircraft.

The Federal Government had fixed Saturday last week for the resumption of international flights at the airport in Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

However, the government set out strict measures for passengers and airlines willing to come into the country, such as passengers presenting a negative COVID-19 test result conducted not more than four days before departure and taking the test again on arrival.

Highlights of Monday’s visit to the airport are captured in the pictures below:

Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment Of Citizens In Ghana – FG

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

 

The Federal Government on Friday reacted to the harassment of Nigerians residing and doing businesses in Ghana.

In a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government said it is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities and will no longer tolerate it.

As part of measures to contain the situation, the government is urgently considering a number of options, Mohammed said.

READ ALSO: ‘I Disappointed Myself’: Fani-Kayode Apologises For Harassing Journalist In Calabar

The Minister revealed that the government “has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.”

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS RELEASE

Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment of Its Citizens in Ghana – FG

The Nigerian Government is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities and will no longer tolerate such.

In this regard, the Federal Government is urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.

The Federal Government has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities. These include:

– Seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, which the Nigerian Government has used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years. This action is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

– Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

– Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between Jan. 2018 and Feb. 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported from Ghana.

– Closure of shops belonging to Nigerians. Over 300 Nigerians shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians shops have been locked.

– Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service. These include the compulsory Non-citizen ID card (US$120, and US$60 for yearly renewal); Medical examinations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (about US$120), and payment for residency permit (US$400 compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria)

– Outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act. When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner is required to invest at least US$300,000 by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanaians. This Act has now been amended twice, with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to US$1m. Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians. The GIPC Act also negates the ECOWAS Protocol.

– Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude towards Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general. The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.

– Harsh and openly biased judicial trial and pronouncement of indiscriminately long jail terms for convicted Nigerians. There are currently over 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana alone.

The Federal Government would like to put on record the fact that even though over 1 million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, they are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana.

Also, even though the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authorities did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the lease.

By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.

Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications, especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.

This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.

In the meantime, the Federal Government wishes to appeal to its citizens resident in Ghana to remain law abiding and avoid engaging in self-help, despite their ordeal.

 

Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Honourable Minister of Information and Culture

Abuja

28 Aug. 2020

 

Nigerians Not Confident Enough For Testing – NCDC Boss

 

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, says most Nigerians do not have enough confidence to test for COVID-19.

Ihekweazu disclosed this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s COVID-19 Pandemic Update.

The NCDC boss explained that the lack of trust has posed a serious challenge in the Federal Government’s efforts to effectively tackle the virus in the country.

“People are not coming out in sufficient numbers to get tested for all sorts of reasons. We are working very hard to bring the sample collection centres closer to the patients.

“70 per cent of Nigerians access their healthcare in the private sector, there is a reason for that. We need to work very hard and that is what we are working on.

“We have to work together. It is not a question of blaming NCDC. It’s really thinking like a nurse, doctor or a leader of the state Ministry of Health that what can we do collectively to increase the level of confidence of the services that we provide,” he said.

READ ALSO: Southern Kaduna Elites Are Greedy, Lazy, Promote Violence – El Rufai

On efforts to properly contain the pandemic in the country, the NCDC boss admitted that the “primary challenge is not in infrastructure.”

Ihekweazu called for an improvement in the nation’s healthcare delivery system in order to serve the people diligently.

He is confident that “we will have the biggest transformation in our laboratory capacity in Nigeria ever.”

Speaking further, Ihekweazu commended Lagos State Government for its efforts in increasing more testing of patients.

He explained that the state is the “biggest indicator of where we are. Lagos has consistently made efforts to test as many people as possible.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria reported 298 more infections on Sunday – the third-lowest since June 8 since the gradual reopening of the economy over a month ago.

170 Stranded Nigerians Return From Dubai

The aircraft conveying the stranded Nigerians from Dubai. Credit: NIDCOM

 

One hundred and seventy Nigerians have returned from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Friday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on board the Fly Dubai airlines.

According to the agency, the returnees who arrived on Friday night came on board one of three free flights offered by the UAE government.

The UAE government offered the gesture to Nigerians whose documentation expired since March 1 and were given till August 17 to leave the country.

All evacuees tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are now on a mandatory 14-day self-isolation as part of the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force.

This development comes three days after 292 more Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE.

On Thursday, NIDCOM said 175 Nigerians returned from Uganda.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Election: Governor Duoye Diri To Know Fate As Tribunal Set For Judgement

As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.

APC-Led Govt Has Failed Nigerians – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike berates the ruling APC while receiving PDP Executive Council members visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital on August 13, 2020.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike says the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government has failed Nigeria.

Wike disclosed this on Thursday while receiving the newly inaugurated Executive Council members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

While charging the PDP members to focus on governance rather than playing politics, he said the move is necessary to demonstrate a commitment to the people.

According to him, the ruling APC has failed to deliver on its electoral promises, adding that Nigerians are hoping on the PDP.

“APC has failed Nigeria. Nigeria is hoping on PDP. There is nothing anybody can talk about again. This is no more time for politics.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Nigeria Police Overstretched, Akeredolu Defends Inauguration Of Amotekun

“You have promised and you have failed, nothing to try you again. We have tried APC and it has not worked.

“Nigerians have realised that it is better they stay with PDP that has the future, that has the interest of Nigeria than the party that gives excuse every day.

“We are tired. You know there is a problem with Nigeria and you make promises that if you vote for me, I will do this. Now they have voted for you, yet you cannot solve the problem. The party cannot solve any problem,” he said.

Speaking further, the governor charged the party exco members to respect COVID-19 safety protocols.

He also asked them to run an inclusive party for all in order to maintain victory in future polls in the country.

292 More Nigerians Arrive In Abuja From UAE

Emirates Airlines
File: The Emirates Airlines plane conveying some evacuated Nigerians from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on June 19, 2020.

 

Two hundred and ninety-two Nigerians have returned from the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to 2,933.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Wednesday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 02:30 pm on board an Emirates flight.

Although the agency said the evacuees had tested negative to COVID-19, they would be undergoing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, in line with the guidelines issued by the Federal Government.

Today’s evacuation from the UAE comes two days after 288 more Nigerians returned from the country.

On Sunday, NIDCOM said 327 Nigerians returned from the United Kingdom.

READ ALSO: 331 Nigerians Arrive In Abuja From UAE

As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.