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

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  • 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.

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NURTW moves against highway crime, adopts vehicle e-tracking

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The National Union of Road Transport Workers says it will track members’ vehicles electronically as a way to address the spate of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways.

The union, during the National Executive Council meeting in Osogbo, Osun State capital, said it was imperative for them to use electronic tracking device in curbing the menace of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways in the country.

President of the union, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa, said the NURTW had lost many members to banditry while many were kidnapped.

He said, “We have resolved to use tracking to monitor our members’ vehicles. This will help us to alert our members of impending dangers.

“We admonish our members to be security conscious; the issue of insecurity in the country is worrisome. Many times our members are been kidnapped across the country, we have lost many members as a result of insecurity and there is no compensation from the government. So we really need to be careful and vigilant when we are on the steering. E-tracking will help passengers and our members after we put it to use”.

Baruwa thanked members for their support and confidence in his administration.

He said the administration was faced with serious financial challenges and the emergence of the COVID19 affected their revenue, adding that it was a miracle to have survived the devastating effects of the lockdown.

 

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EFCC arrests, grills ex-Imo governor, Okorocha

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha.

He was arrested in Abuja and was later questioned by the EFCC over issues bothering on alleged corruption.

Okorocha, currently representing Imo West at the Senate, was grilled at the EFCC Abuja office on Tuesday.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development but did not give further details.

 “It is true, he was arrested today in Abuja but we are not giving details,” he said.

Okorocha had been accused by the Imo government of looting the state’s treasury through various malpractices.

He was in February arrested by police from the Imo State Command for allegedly unsealing Spring Palm Estate linked to his wife, Nkechi.

Okorocha was later released but about 14 of his loyalists are being tried.

The Imo State Government had sealed the Spring Palm Estate and other properties claimed to have been “diverted” by Okorocha and his family members.

But the Senator said the properties were legitimately by him and his family members.

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NBS: Used vehicles, motorbikes, PMS top Nigeria’s imports

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Used vehicles, motorcycles, premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol, and antibiotics were the major products imported by Nigerians from India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China in the fourth quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.

The bureau stated this in its just released Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020, according to a Punch report.

It also stated that the major commodities exported from Nigeria to the five nations were crude oil and natural gas.

The NBS said, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.

“The major exports to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were petroleum motor spirit, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”

The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.

“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.

According to worldstopexports.com, Nigeria imported about half (49.6 per cent) of its imported goods by value from Asia in 2019; another 30 per cent from suppliers in Europe with 11.2 per cent arriving from North America.

Smaller percentages were said to come from fellow African nations (6.5 per cent), Latin America (2.3 per cent) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.3 per cent) led by New Zealand and Australia.

Given Nigeria’s population of 201 million people, its total $47.4 billion in 2019 imports translated to about $240 in yearly product demand from every person in the West African region country.

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