Connect with us

Uncategorized

US exempts Nigeria from $15,000 visa bond imposed on travellers

Published

on

  • 15 African nations affected

The United States has imposed a $15,000 bond on tourist and business travellers from 24 countries with high overstay rate in 2019.

The list, which excludes Nigeria, includes 15 African nations such as Libya, Liberia and Angola.

Nigerian is not on the list as its overall score was said to be below the threshold of 10 per cent and above overstaying rate.

The new rule requires travellers to the US from the affected countries to pay a bond from $5,000 to $15,000 with effect from December 24.

The programme runs through June 24 and targets countries whose nationals have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travellers.

A Department of Home Security report shows the worst offenders were typically from Chad (44.94 per cent), Djibouti (37.91 per cent), and Mauritania (30.49 per cent).

Other African countries affected are Angola, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde and Burundi.

The list also includes Iran at 21.64 per cent and Afghanistan at 11.99 per cent, as well as Bhutan, Laos, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Yemen.

According to the DHS, out of 177,835 Nigerians who visited the US in 2019, 17,566 overstayed, of which 764 departed late and 16,802 stayed in the country.

The overstaying rate was put at between 9.45-9.88 per cent but in other classifications, 11.12 per cent of 9,336 Nigerian non-immigrant and exchange visitors overstayed.

 Another 13.67 per cent of in-scope nonimmigrant visitors also overstayed same year.

A report by Reuters quoted the Trump administration as noting that the six-month pilot programme aimed to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and would serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas.

Trump, who lost a re-election bid earlier this month, made restricting immigration a central part of his four-year term in office.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to reverse many of the Republican president’s immigration policies, but untangling hundreds of changes could take months or years.

Uncategorized

Lagos extends period of traffic diversion on Apapa/Oshodi Expressway

Published

on

The Lagos State Government has extended the period of traffic diversion on the Apapa/Oshodi Expressway till 30th of October 2021.

 

Scheduled for completion on the 3rd of October, 2021, repair works on the Airport Flyover Bridge was still ongoing by the Federal Ministry of Works, hence the extention of the diversion.

 

This was announced via an official statement by the state government based on a release signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde.

 

Oladeinde explained that the extension of the period would allow the concrete jacketing of the damaged bridge to achieve maximum strength before it is reopened.

The statement party read, “Oladeinde assured that the main carriageway will be opened as soon as the process is completed, noting that hastiness will be detrimental to the progress made in restoring the structure back to the optimum standard.

 

“He stated that motorists will continue with the current traffic diversion plan involving the use of alternate lanes freed up by the contractors during the course of the rehabilitation.

 

“While lauding the citizenry for their perseverance in the face of simultaneous construction works across the State, the Commissioner appealed for more cooperation with the government and its agencies to speed up the completion time of ongoing projects and provide seamless traffic movement in Lagos.

“Recall that the structure of the bridge was affected by the inferno that occurred in January 2021 as a result of a loaded PMS tanker that exploded.”

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Anambra election: Fear, doubts over November polls as Nigerian govt mobilizes against unknown gunmen

Published

on

In less than one month, eligible voters in Anambra State will file out to elect a new Governor for the State. There have, however, been controversies over the election as many believe that the election is already threatened. This is because of the spate of violence in the state, which has for months remained sustained.

The first real doubt about the election holding first came in March 2021, when some unidentified gunmen stormed the home town of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Isuofia in Aguata LGA of Anambra State and attacked a gathering where he was speaking with young people about his vision for the state. Soludo is the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for next month’s election.

The gunmen came at a time when Soludo was still struggling as an aspirant to get the ticket of APGA. Even before the attack on Soludo, there have been sustained attacks on federal establishments, including Police Stations, Correctional Centers and burning of vehicles belonging to government establishments, including attack on INEC. The attack on Soludo, however, gave it a political coloration, leaving all with the question of whether the election would hold or not.

In the last few weeks, the level of insecurity in the State has become alarming. It came to the climax penultimate week when Dr. Chike Akunyili, the widower of the late former Minister of Information and former Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Dora Akunyili, was murdered in the most gruesome manner, along with eight others.

Before then, in Ajalli, Orumba North Local Government Area, a police station was attacked and two policemen killed. Also, the vehicle of a member of the House of Representatives and former PDP governorship aspirant, Hon. Chris Azubogu was attacked, and his driver killed.

The gunmen also set ablaze the offices of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Nnewi, Anambra State, leaving two people dead on their trail. Also set ablaze was the Nnewi country home of a Lagos-based chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Joe Igbokwe, and the home of another prominent son of Nnewi and former minister, Dr. Chu Okongwu, which was also invaded and burnt down.

In most of the incidents, eyewitnesses have pointed at the separatist group; Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), even though the group has been struggling to extricate itself from it. Those who have witnessed scenes of attack always say the heavily armed groups have always passed one message for their lucky victims who escaped alive to go and tell the concerned authorities that there will be no election in Anambra State.

Away from IPOB, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been in a war of words over who is responsible for the attacks in the State.

The APC had first accused APGA of not doing enough to stem the tide of insecurity in the state. Senator Andy Uba, the party’s governorship candidate, had accused Governor Willie Obiano of having a hand in the increasing violence in the State for the purpose of putting off the scheduled election.

Uba said with the huge monthly security vote collected by the governor and his wife, the security of the State ought to be better managed. Uba who spoke through the media director of his campaign organisation, Hon. Afam Ogene said: “Each time Gov Obiano clownishly adorns himself in military camouflage, does he do so for mere comic display?”

But in a swift response, APGA stated that by accusing Governor Willie Obiano of having a hand in the insecurity in the state, the APC was indirectly accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of ineptitude, since the president is the Chief Security Officer of the country.

The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba who also doubles as the Director of Media and Publicity of the Soludo Campaign organization, argued that the “Anambra APC indicts President Buhari anytime it comments gratuitously on a negative security development in the state. President Buhari, not Governor Willie Obiano, is the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and head of all security agencies in the country. Security is on the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

“Each of the 36 state governors in the federation is merely the titular chief security officer of his state. No governor has control over the police force or the Department of State Services or the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in his state, let alone any of the Armed Forces. Even the Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) is supervised by the state police command, like any other state vigilante service,” Adinuba explained.

As the brickbat continues, there have been arguments about whether there will be election in the state or not. Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami reacting to this said the federal government was determined to ensure that elections hold, and that even if it means imposing an emergency rule in Anambra, it will not hesitate.

Malami has, howeve,r been roundly condemned for the statement, with many stating that he has an ulterior motive by making such an utterance, especially, being that he is a member of the APC campaign council in the state.

Governor Willie Obiano who visited President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue said: “I was warmly received today at the State House in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari. I reported the statement credited to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to him. The Minister had threatened that the federal government will impose a state of emergency on Anambra State over security challenges.

“The President assured me and Ndi Anambra that the federal government is not contemplating taking such drastic action. Rather, President Buhari said that the federal government will increase its support to security agencies operating in Anambra State to contain the challenges. Among other measures, the President said that there will be more booths on the ground”.

Obiano said that President Buhari frowned at those who use his name and that of the federal government to intimidate Anambra voters. “We also discussed the November 6th. 2021 Anambra gubernatorial election. President Buhari assured me that he will not support intimidation of the electorates in any form, and promised that the federal government will support INEC and other agencies connected with the election to ensure the conduct of a free, fair and credible Anambra gubernatorial elections”.

On the feasibility of elections holding in Anambra State, the federal government has responded by launching operation Golden Dawn, not only for Anambra State, but for the entire South east. DAILY POST confirms that there is a massive presence of the military and mobile police operatives in all corners of Anambra State.

Hon Emeka Aforka, a member of the House of Assembly, while reacting said: “Anambra has not recorded death above 15 persons since the new scales of violence in the state. For a state that has for the past 7 years enjoyed well-deserved reputation of being Nigeria’s safest and most peaceful state.

“Anambra has not recorded a fraction of casualties the nation has seen in places like Borno, Zamfara, Katsina, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Niger, Adamawa, Taraba, amongst others, where terrorists have killed several thousands of civilians and attacked military formations. The bandits operating in Northern part of the country have even brought down some sophisticated combat aircraft, were elections not held successfully in these states in 2019?

“Is the number of victims of the politically motivated violence in Anambra State anything near what the nation has seen even in such states as Imo and Ebonyi controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)? Why hasn’t Malami considered a state of emergency in these APC-controlled states? Anambra will hold its election, and it will be peaceful,” he declared.

Echoing same stand, A human rights Lawyer, Barr Kelechi Eze who spoke with DAILY POST said, “Let us assume that the insecurity continues, have there not been elections in other states in the North, even in the heat of terrorists attacks? I am very confident that elections will hold in Anambra. The state governor has said he is ready for the election, the APGA, APC and even PDP have also said same. So, is it people from other states as the governor has said that will come and destabilize what we are doing here?

“It is a one-state election, and so all focus would be here. I think the federal government can also mobilize to ensure that the state is better protected for the election.”

Daily Post

Continue Reading

Auto

General Motors to launch Ultra Cruise, mostly hands-free model, next year

Published

on

General Motors has announced plans to launch in 2023 a premium model that will enable hands-free operation in 95 per cent of driving scenarios.

The US auto giant said this on Wednesday, adding the technology, called “Ultra Cruise,” would be a centerpiece of a newly unveiled plan that the Detroit company would enable it to double annual revenues by 2030.

“The vehicle has become a software platform,” Chief Executive Mary Barra said at a briefing with reporters ahead of a two-day investor presentation.

Executives said the programme would be available on premium vehicles for the 2023 season, which will be introduced in late 2022.

Although he declined to say which vehicle or vehicles would have the function, Barra said Ultra Cruise would operate effectively in “most” urban and rural scenarios, except for cases such as “very complex” intersections.

“Customers will be able to travel truly hands free with Ultra Cruise across nearly every road including city streets and subdivision streets and paved rural roads in addition to highways,” GM said in a statement.

According to the statement, the programme has 360-degree perception around the vehicle and employs cameras, radars and sensors to enable a vehicle to follow speed limits, automatically change lanes and avoid close objects.

GM announced the technology in tandem with a series of presentation on its strategy for building up its slate of electric vehicles and developing new businesses through its autonomous and digital investments.

“There are so many growth opportunities we have” said Barra, who also discussed “disrupting” the car insurance business and building up GM Defense, which sells vehicles to government agencies. The presentation comes on the heels of several earlier announcements by GM of new electric vehicle models and investments.

With Ultra Cruise, GM is said to be pushing to expand the utility of its hands-free tech across all US and Canadian paved roads, starting at launch with two million miles of pavement, 10 times the number it currently advertises for Super Cruise.

The system will work not only on major highways but also paved rural roads, city streets and even subdivisions, GM says.

Continue Reading

Trending