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JUST IN: FG Begs US To Reverse Visa Restrictions On Nigeria

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The Federal Government has appealed to the United States of America to consider the long standing relationship between the two countries and reverse its Visa restrictions on Nigeria.

Mr Mohammed Manga, Director Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Interior, in a statement said the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made the call on Thursday.

Manga said Aregbesola, made the call when the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, and her team paid him a visit in Abuja.

Aregbesola said the Government of Nigeria believed that the cooperation with the U.S. would help address Immigration and Consular issues in control of persons seeking to enter both countries through issuance of visa, passport and other travel documents.

The minister said as the Chairman, Presidential Committee on the Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, he was bold to say that Nigeria had complied with most of the issues of concern raised by America.

He said this includes but not limited to the uploading of over 700 stolen or lost Passports on the Nigeria Immigration Service’s Database,’ saying Nigeria is not a pariah nation.

Aregbesola said he believed Nigeria was too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction, adding that the country should be commended rather than sanctioned.

He further appealed to the U.S. to review its Visa Validity to Nigerians from two years limit to at least five years.

He also urged U.S. to establish a third office in Nigeria in reciprocity with the country which has establishments in Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C.

Aregbesola emphasised the need for both countries to strengthen the Security Governance Initiative between his Ministry and American Embassy through proper enlightenment and awareness creation.

The minister added that the relationship between both nations must be mutually beneficial.

He gave assurance that the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration was not only committed to ensuring internal security and citizenship integrity of Nigerians and foreigners alike, but also to the fight against terrorism and transnational crimes and criminalities.

‘We are positive that visa restriction is a temporary one, it will soon be put behind us,” the minister reiterated.

Aregbesola hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari would commission the Nigeria Immigration Data Technology Centre before the end of the year 2020, as part of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that her data is linked with security agencies globally.

Corroborating the minister’s comment, the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, said the country had improved on her border management through its Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).

Earlier, the ambassador said her team was in the Ministry to share ideas on possible ways of addressing Information sharing gap between the two nations.

Leonard added that America had a very broad collaboration with Nigeria, which covers immigration, safety issues and security.
The envoy gave assurance of her country’s determination to continue to collaborate with Nigeria, so as to further strengthen their relationship.

(NAN)

Inside Nigeria

Lockdown Will Be Extended If Nigerians Don’t Behave Themselves — Lai Mohammed

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lai mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has stated that the lockdown currently experienced in some parts of the country may be extended if Nigerians don’t behave themselves.

The minister, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, disclosed this in Abuja when he featured in a forum to give an update on government efforts at containing the pandemic, NAN reports.

He said,

“If we don’t behave ourselves, there is a likelihood that the lockdown will be extended, but if we behave ourselves, there might not be an extension and I hope we do so.

“If we stay at home for two weeks and we are doing everything we are supposed to do, we should be able to effectively contain the disease.

“Therefore, my appeal to Nigerians is that they should obey the directive on social distancing, personal hygiene and shun gatherings; after two weeks, we will resume our normal life.

“But if they think it is a joke, then we may have to stay at home more than the two weeks.”

There are 210 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria including four deaths.

The pandemic, which has infected about one million people globally, has paralysed economic and socio-religious activities in most parts of the West African country.

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Inside Nigeria

COVID-19: FG To Evacuate Nigerians Abroad — But Not For Free

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Dabiri-Erewa

The federal government has begun moves to bring back Nigerians who are stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), asked those willing to return to notify the Nigerian missions in their respective countries.

She added via a statement on Friday that the missions will subsequently forward their names to the ministry of foreign affairs for action.

Dabiri-Erewa, however, said the financial implications of such evacuation will be borne by the respective individuals “who will be compulsorily quarantined when they return.”

“The interested Nigerians are advised to inform the missions in the various countries they are in, who will then collate and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the statement signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, NIDCOM spokesman, read.

“To this end, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerians stranded abroad willing to return home to key into this Federal Government gesture by providing their information to the mission in their respective host countries.”

She said while embassies in several countries are also on lockdown, Nigerians willing to return should fill a form here.

Some countries have been evacuating their citizens from Nigeria amid the pandemic.

TheCable

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Inside Nigeria

BREAKING: Nigeria Records 20 New Coronavirus Cases, Two Deaths

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Nigeria has recorded 20 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 210.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made this known via its Twitter handle on Friday.

NCDC also announced that the country recorded two deaths in Lagos and Edo States.

The NCDC tweeted, “Twenty new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria; 11 in Lagos, three in the FCT, three in Edo, 2 in Osun and one in Ondo.

“Two new deaths have been recorded in Lagos and Edo States.

“As of 10:30 pm on 3rd of April, there are 210 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria.”

Details later…

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