Posted by: David Lawal


Considering the decision of the newly announced head coach of the Nigerian national football team, Super Eagles, some interesting facts are playing out on why Oliseh may be most comfortable to work with Jean Francois Losciuto from Belgium as his assistant.The assistant, Losciuto is a Belgian who has coached several African teams, who is based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.Oliseh-Jean-Francois

Besides being assistant to Sunday Oliseh while at Verviétois in Belgium where the new former Super Eagles captain was head coach, he was the coach of Rwandan club, Rayon Sport FC which he left for ASFA Yennenga of Burkina Faso in 2014.

The new Super Eagles assistant coach also holds a UEFA coaching license like his boss, Sunday Oliseh. Read More →

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London – More than half of the pregnant immigrant women seen by a medical charity in European clinics lack access to basic healthcare and permission to reside, the Medical Charity said on Monday.

The charity Doctors of the World said they interviewed more than 300 pregnant women in clinics from Belgium to Turkey.

They added that because of their illegal status, two thirds of the women restricted their movements for fear of arrest, hindering their access to antenatal care. Read More →

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Geoff Iyatse


While many Nigerians may have known visa fees of different European and American countries, not many take interest in what the country charges other nationals for the document.Nigerian-visa

But the fact is that the Nigerian Immigration Service has a long list of the fees on its website, indicating clearly the differences in terms of countries, the visa type and number of entries.

If what the NIS displays on the website is anything to go by, nationals of Mauritania, Monaco, Morroco, New Zealand, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Burma, Dominican, Chile and Colombia are charged between N100 and N 200 for a single-entry Nigerian visa. For those applying for multiple entries, the fee is multiplied by the number of entries they are seeking. Read More →

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by Niyi Odebode, Fidelis Soriwei, Ihuoma Chiedozie, Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja; and Tunde Odesola, Osogbo

 


Civil rights groups, opposition parties, the Trade Union Congress and eminent Nigerians on Friday took a swipe at President Goodluck Jonathan over his overseas trips.

The groups, including the Action Congress of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change and the Campaign for Democracy, warned the President against following in the footsteps of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

They said that Jonathan’s overseas trips were becoming too frequent and counter-productive.

The President, who arrived from Brazil on June 22, where he attended the UN Earth Summit, left for Belgium on Wednesday for the Summit of the World Customs Organisation.

Opposition parties had last week criticised the President’s trip to Brazil amid bombings and reprisals in Kaduna State and gun attacks in Yobe State.

But the President on Sunday dismissed the criticisms, saying he had no regret travelling to Brazil.

He had said, “One of the tactics of terrorists is to strangle government. If they hear that the President of Nigeria, the Vice-President of Nigeria wanted to travel but they couldn’t travel because they struck, they are going to celebrate it.”

The CPC spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, in an interview with SATURDAY PUNCH, said that charity should begin at home.

He stated, “It is conventional wisdom that charity begins at home. Unfortunately, President Jonathan has not imbibed this Where did the incessant shuttles of Obasanjo’s eight years lead us to in terms of foreign investment? Did it positively affect our balance of trade?

“Maybe because President Jonathan had spent billions of naira purchasing comfortable planes, he finds it extremely pleasurable travelling out of the country.

“If he has to board Arik aircraft just as David Cameron boards British Airways everywhere he goes, there will be serious checks on these frivolous journeys.”

The ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, said that happenings within the country should dictate the propriety of Jonathan’s overseas trips.

Specifically, Akande said it was wrong for Jonathan to travel abroad when some parts of the country were under siege by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

The national chairman, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Lani Baderinwa, on Friday, noted that Jonathan was following in the footsteps of Obasanjo with his frequent overseas trips.

According to Akande, who is a former governor of Osun State, the President should have sent Vice-President Namadi Sambo to Belgium for the customs conference.

He said, “Both Obasanjo and Jonathan believe in the same political philosophy. Obasanjo installed Jonathan; so, you should not expect anything less than frequent travels when the country is facing security challenges.

“We are not saying he should not travel abroad, but the mood of the country should dictate his sojourn abroad. The Brazil summit is likely to benefit Nigeria, but of what use is the summit when Nigerians are being killed on a daily basis?

“You don’t play to the gallery when your house is burning. There will be no Nigeria if Boko Haram has killed all Nigerians before he returns.

“The Syrian president did not attend any of these summits because of the problems facing Syria. That should have applied to Nigeria; President Jonathan should have suspended the travels.”

Also, the Campaign for Democracy president, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, noted that when Obasanjo was embarking on his frequent trips, the challenges of the country were not grave.

She stated that Jonathan’s new found love for overseas trips could not be rationalised with the current insecurity in the country.

Okei-Odumakin said, “He is creating his own footsteps really. As Obasanjo was with foreign trips, the challenges of the country were not as grave as they are today.

A“There is no explanation for what he is doing than the fact that he does not understand the call of his duty.”

lawyer and social critic, Mr. Fred Agbaje, expressed his reservations about Jonathan’s visit to Belgium a few days after he returned from a very controversial trip to Brazil.

Reacting to the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent, Agbaje said, “I am not too surprised that the President is travelling again after the hullabaloo that greeted his last journey.

“If you know where the President is coming from; he is an offshoot of the Obasanjo administration, you can’t expect any difference.

“Has any of the trips that the President has embarked on impacted on the lives of Nigerians?

“I think the man should sit down and address the challenges facing Nigerians instead of gallivanting all over the place.

“There are so many problems on the ground that he should sit down and address.

“Nobody would have quarrelled with him if Nigerians had been getting the benefits of these foreign trips.”

An economist and manufacturer, Henry Boyo, in an interview, said that Jonathan was following in the footsteps of Obasanjo, who, he said, spent about 50 per cent of his two terms on overseas trips.

“We didn’t see the results of the investment drive that Obasanjo promised us from his trips overseas and it is difficult to see how Jonathan’s investment drive will attract investors to Nigeria,” Boyo said.

He advised Jonathan to put his house in order first before looking for investments from outside the country.

He said, “It is clear that travelling abroad to look for foreign investments may not be the right way out.

“What we need to do is to create an enabling environment that will attract investments on its own. We need to fundamentally change our monetary policy model…what we have now is a model that ensures that we get poorer the more dollars we earn (from crude oil sales).

“If we attract Foreign Direct Investments now, it will only go into treasury bills and bonds. To get FDI, our inflation rate must not be more than 3 per cent, and the cost of borrowing should not be more than 7 per cent. Investors won’t come into an environment where it is clear that there is instability in the system.

“While insecurity is an issue (the US and European countries still invest in places like Libya), it is not as critical as creating the enabling environment that we’re talking about.”

Boyo cautioned the government about isolating any sector of the economy for investors to come in.

Rather, he said the government should institute a monetary policy that will make the naira stronger by allowing the component units of the federation get their income in the currency it is earned.

Also, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, urged the President to spend more time in the country to solve the security challenges threatening the existence of the country.

He said that the President should have cut short his journey with the aggravated security situation to ensure that things were in order.

Tsav said that Jonathan should have taken further steps to confront the security challenges after sacking Gen. Owoye Azazi as the National Security Adviser.

He advised the President to stay in the country in order to seek a solution to the security issue as he would not be able to delegate his responsibilities.

The President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Peter Esele, said the President could only embark on travels that were of serious economic significance to the country.

He called on the President to reduce such visits that were lacking in economic value.

Esele said that the oversea travels of the President should reflect the economic reality in the country and even the global economic situation.

He recalled media reports that the last trip of the President to Brazil had over 100 people in the entourage.

He said that it was unacceptable for the President to have such a huge entourage in country with serious economic challenges

However, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said those accusing the President of travelling abroad too often were unkind and unfair to Jonathan because none of his overseas trips amounted to junketing.

Abati urged Nigerians to ignore those who are holding such erroneous position, noting that such people were known for playing politics with everything.

He said all the overseas trips undertaken so far by Jonathan were made absolutely in the interest of Nigeria.

He said, “For instance, the President went to Brazil recently to attend the UN Summit on the state of the earth and climate change. Over 180 world leaders were in attendance.

“The recent flooding of Lagos and Ogun states are indications that that summit was relevant to Nigeria.

“He also attended a session on Lake Chad, which is important to Nigeria.

“He was in Belgium to give a keynote address at the 119th/120th Summit of the World Customs Organisation, which has over 177 countries as members. For all his foreign trips, the President was on duty and they were not frolics or junkets.”

 

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Onwuka Nzeshi

 


Serial negligence of security institutions, inadequate number of patrol  ships,  dilapidated equipment and the desperation of some Nigerians  to make a living out of crime were yesterday identified as critical factors responsible for the upsurge in illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria.

Naval patrol

Also Thursday, fresh facts emerged  on  the recent arrest of two foreign ships suspected to be involved in illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

The Nigeria Navy said that contrary to the information in the public domain, one of the ships named MT Vanessa had no crude oil cargo in it as at the time it was impounded by naval personnel. The earlier report said the vessel had 8.5million barrels of crude oil.
The flag of the vessel, the Nigerian  Navy  said  was  Belgium and not France  while it had a fifteen man crew made up of six Romanians and nine Filipinos.

These revelations came as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Olusheyi Petinrin and the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim appeared before the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) and Navy where they  gave some insights into the challenges  security agencies face  in combating crude oil theft in the coastal areas of the country.

In a presentation before the lawmakers, the  naval chief said that the large expanse of the Nigerian territorial waters and inadequate number of ships to patrol the vast coastline has been a major challenge to the Navy.

Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim disclosed that the. Navy had always had difficulties patrolling the  country’s territorial waters spanning across 84,000 square nautical miles and having  an  oil  pipeline network stretching across 6,000 miles.

“The ships we have are tired old war  horses  that are dilapidated beyond economic repairs. This is due to serial negligence of national security  institutions  over the years. The House Committee on Navy is aware of the state of the Navy. In other climes, the Navy is supposed to take delivery of new ships almost every year.

“For the Nigerian Navy to be efficient, we must talk about recapitalisation. In simple terms, we need to change the face of the Navy by buying new and more  vessels for our operations.  NNS Thunder, the latest in the fleet  which  acquired from the United States is forty three years old. We need a renewal of our vessels that are largely old,” he said.

Ibrahim said the challenges of the Nigerian Navy has been further compounded by the activities of some unpatriotic Nigerians who live off stolen crude oil and are prepared to continue with it as a business till death.

In a separate presentation,the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Olusheyi Petinrin said the security agencies have been working hard to combat the menace of illegal oil bunkerers operating  in the country.

He said going by the statistics made available to security agencies by the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), crude oil theft which hovered around nine million barrels per month as at January last year has decline to about three million barrels per month after the inauguration of a special task force on the issue.

According to Petinrin, the security agencies have commenced the registration of all engine  powered boats and barges in the coastal areas of the country to enable government track and identify each of them.

Beyond the registration of the vessels, security agencies have also begun to capture the biometric data of their owners to ensure that any vessel  involved in any illegal business could be traced to its owner. The Navy, he said , has also begun to mount house boats at the mouths of the various creeks  to serve as surveillance posts against those local vessels that usually transport stolen crude oil to ocean going vessels anchored on the high seas.

 

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