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Ban still on drop-box visa applications in Nigeria – US embassy

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The United States embassy in Nigeria says it has not lifted the restriction placed on drop-box service or interview waiver for those renewing visas in the country.

The US State Department had recently announced the expansion of interview waiver eligibility.

Previously, only applicants whose non-immigrant visa expired within 24 months were eligible for an interview waiver but it temporarily extended the expiration period to 48 months.

However, Nigeria was removed from the waiver eligibility list in 2018 but the recent announcement was misunderstood to mean applicants from the country would now qualify.

The embassy, in a statement posted across its social media platforms on Friday, said despite media reports, the interview waiver scheme remained suspended in Nigeria.

According to the embassy, those who want to travel from Nigeria must apply for a visa and appear for an interview.

The embassy explained that each country eligibility is assessed based on numerous factors like overstay rate and visa-related fraud.

“’Drop Box’ visa processing is not available in Nigeria, according to the US mission to Nigeria,” the embassy said.

“Despite recent media reports, the non-immigrant visa interview waiver process, popularly known as the “drop box,” has been discontinued in Nigeria since 2018.

“The State Department continually evaluates each country’s eligibility based on numerous factors including overstay rates and visa-related fraud.

“The US Mission Nigeria is committed to promoting legitimate travel to the United States. All applicants who wish to apply for a visa must kindly appear for an interview.”

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Buhari departs Abuja for African Finance Summit in France

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday departed Abuja for France ahead of the African Finance Summit.

The summit will review the African economy, following shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and getting relief, especially from the increasing debt burden on countries.

During the four-day trip, Buhari will also meet with Emmanuel Macron, president of France.

Buhari and Macron are expected to discuss the growing security threats in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, climate change, economic ties, political relations, partnership to improve Nigeria’s health sector and contain the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement on Saturday, the presidency had said the summit will also be “focused on reviewing African economy, following shocks from coronavirus pandemic and getting relief, especially from increased debt burden on countries”.

“Before returning to Nigeria, President Buhari will receive some key players in the oil and gas sector, engineering and telecommunications, European Council and European Union Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Commission, and members of the Nigerian community,” the statement said.

Major stakeholders in the global financial institutions and some heads of government are expected to attend the summit.

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Three officers killed as gunmen attack police station in Delta

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Gunmen have razed the Nsukwa divisional police station in Aniocha south LGA of Delta state.

The attackers were said to have invaded the police station at about 2am on Sunday.

Although the actual number of casualties is yet to be ascertained, three police officers were reportedly killed.

The assailant were also said to have burned down vehicles in the premises and carted away police ammunition.

Bright Edafe, police public relations officer in the state, did not respond to calls and messages sent to him by TheCable.

Lately, there has been a series of attacks on security and government facilities, in various states including Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and other parts of the south-east and south-south.

Last week, two police stations were razed in Abia within 72hours.

On Tuesday, hoodlums burnt the office of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NLDEA) in Amaekpu in Ohafia LGA.

Two days earlier, gunmen also razed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ohafia.

At least four police stations were attacked last weekend in various parts of southern Nigeria.

There is no confirmed cause of the attacks yet, but the killings in the south-east tripled after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) launched a security arm — the group denies any wrongdoing.

The federal government recently approved new security measures to be deployed to restore peace in the south-east and south-south

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IBB advises FG on security, wants soldiers properly trained, equipped

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Former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd), has asked the Federal Government to train and equip soldiers with modern weapons in order to tackle insecurity.
IBB, who expressed concern over the state of insecurity, said he had been engaging and advising the government without making it public.
According to him, it is imperative for the citizens to support government and the military in order to bring an end to the security crisis.
When asked if those at the helms of affairs were playing the desired role in bringing an end to insecurity, he said, “There are many things they need to put right. If they agree to sit down and think over, I believe success will be achieved.”
While speaking further on what is expected of those in power, he said it was important to rally round the soldiers and other security agents.
“Provide them with all they require and let them know this is their country, they’ve no other better than this.”
“Nigerian soldiers need modern weapons and they also need to be trained on how to use the modern weapons, not to get weapons and just hand over to them. They should be trained,” he said.
He also spoke on how to end insecurity ravaging his country home, Niger State, saying he had been engaging the government on the matter.
IBB said, “We give advice as we can but we don’t make noise about it. We don’t announce that this is what we say. We should unite, we should support those in power, we are all working towards achieving the same goal. Between the leaders and citizens, we need peace and a harmonious relationship.
“This problem of insecurity, every government had its experience… but if we unite, I remember how we fought the civil war for 3 years, the people supported the government, the government did its best, bought what was necessary, those who fought were made to understand that this country is the best for them.
“It’s not only in Nigeria, many countries encountered this kind of problem, some had it for ten years but through concerted effort, they are out of it. I believe we can get out of this problem. Both citizens and those governing are trying, but we should know that it is not an easy task.”

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