US exempts Nigeria from $15,000 visa bond imposed on travellers – Newstrends
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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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Lagos-Calabar coastal highway flag-off: It’s my bragging (rights) day, says Tinubu, highlights project benefits

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Lagos-Calabar coastal highway flag-off: It’s my bragging (rights) day, says Tinubu, highlights project benefits

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday inaugurated the construction of a 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway, saying it gave him maximum joy and some bragging rights.

Specifically, the President said it would give about 30 million people improved access to production and marketing centres, among other economic benefits.

The ceremony was held in Lekki, Lagos as part of events marking his first year in office.

Tinubu said, “I commend the Honourable Minister of Works once again, like I said, it’s my bragging (rights) day. Don’t be afraid, we will do this road; 700 kilometres. It will be a success for Nigeria, and we will do more of this. You and I together, the whole Nigeria, a very bold endeavour. Please share with me, share in the joy. I am a very happy man today.”

He also said, “On the next 10 benefits of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway; during the period of construction, the road will provide direct employment for thousands of people, and indirect employment for tens of thousands of politicians and more. Economic opportunity for millions is being opened.

“It will fast-track the community’s development, It will bring development closer to the people, and give 30 million people improved access to production and marketing centres. You can easily predict a journey, vertically and go along the horizontal line and do the definition of free movement of people.”

The Federal Government said the highway was designed to extend through nine states with two spurs leading to the northern states.

The project starting in March was criticised by some Nigerians over due process and following the demolition of some buildings on its path in the Lekki area.

Minister Umahi had said 750 houses on the path of the coast highway had been marked for demolition.

He also announced the payment of N2.75bn in compensation to property owners affected by the project covering 0 to channel 3 on the mega highway.

President Tinubu on Sunday further appealed for the understanding of the general public, particularly those whose properties and means of livelihood would be affected by the project.

He said, “I further crave the understanding of the general public, especially those whose properties and sources of livelihood will be impacted by this iconic project. We all make some sacrifices to enable our country to grow.

“However, be rest assured that this government is a compassionate government that cares for you and will do the utmost to offer succour, by way of compensation.”

He said the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway was a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity for Nigerians.

“This project is more than just a road – it is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity. It will connect our communities in nine states, foster trade and commerce, boost tourism, and create new opportunities for generations to come.

“A similar road in Ireland, called the Wild Atlantic Way, 2,600km long is expected to fetch three billion euros a year in tourism revenues.

“I want to express my gratitude to the team of engineers, workers, and stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point. Your dedication and expertise are the driving force behind the take-off of this project.”

Tinubu stressed the significance of safety, sustainability, and social responsibility of the project.

He urged stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the benefits for all, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

He said, “This is not only a legacy project of this administration but a dream come true that will connect some neglected towns and cities along the coastal route.

“Over time, it has been noticed that both Tin Can Island and Apapa ports are becoming shallower, thereby limiting the size of ships that can berth at those strategic ports.

“It is pertinent to note that the Lagos State Government in partnership with private investors developed Lekki Deep Sea Port which does not have a link road.

“It is however obvious that this development will open up businesses and investment along the project corridor.

“The potential of this road is enormous because it will have two spurs which will link up with Sokoto-Badagry Expressway which is under procurement and African Trade Route which connects South-East to Cameroon, thereby connecting every region of the country.”

He said the 10-lane road project represented a crucial step in the government’s efforts to enhance connectivity, facilitate economic growth, and improve the quality of life for our people.

He added, “The project is more than a mere road; it is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity. It will connect our communities in nine states, foster trade and commerce, boost tourism, and create new opportunities for generations to come.

“To the glory of God and benefit of our people, it is my greatest pleasure to flag off this project and also virtually flag off the spurs about to be procured.

“I also flag off the massive rehabilitation of 330 roads and bridges across the nation. Let the construction begin.”

While commending the dignitaries, Tinubu said everyone wanted a good highway, but no one wanted the government to go through their backyard.

He said, “Everybody, they say, wants a good highway, but nobody wants you to go through their backyard.

“I thank you tremendously, the Chairman of HiTech, Gilbert Chagoury, and my partner, Engineer Roland. We walk together to take the Atlantic and turn a disaster into an asset of great value together.

“We lost weight, we took abuse, but we tamed the Atlantic, we achieved our goals. Here again, we are in it together, thank you, Roland, for being who you are.

‘A particular stakeholder, responsible corporate leader, Aliko Dangote, thank you for understanding your field and investment in Africa, and your incapacity to navigate the stormy water business.

“Yes, Nigeria is going through a patch, but we depend on you to continue doing this, so that other people will emulate and copy your example, thank you, Aliko.”

Also speaking, Minister Umahi said the government was waiting for private investors to bring their funds.

He said, “It is worthy to state that the model of EPC+F( Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Plus Finance) which the ministry is adopting is commendable.

“This sees the Federal Government investing while waiting for private investors to bring on board their counterpart funds.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Works and the staff of the Ministry who are ensuring that the contractor delivers good quality work.”

The 10-lane coastal road is intended to link Lagos to Cross River, passing through Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom states before ending in Cross River.

Umahi revealed that the road would be built using concrete pavement.

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Deploying troops in Kano may cause anarchy – Atiku

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Deploying troops in Kano may cause anarchy – Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has warned against deploying troops as a way of resolving the ongoing Kano emirate tussle, saying it may result in anarchy.

Atiku, a presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 elections, said this in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, in Abuja.

He said the deployment of soldiers in Kano by the Federal Government would upset the peace and security of the state.
He described the action as a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

The statement read, “In performing their constitutional duties of law making, the Kano State House of Assembly, KSHA, passed the amended Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Bill 2024 in consonance with the provision of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution as Amended whereas the governor of Kano State, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, subsequently signed into law the said bill.
“The law, therefore, repealed the 2019 version, which balkanized the ancient Kano Emirate into five.

“The foregoing circumstances happened within the confines of the law and in compliance with the powers conferred on the Governor as provided by Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and also in consultation with the Kingmakers of Kano, reappointed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (also known as Muhammadu Sanusi II) as the 16th Emir of Kano State and, accordingly, handed him a letter of appointment.

“It is surprising that in the early hours of today, exactly at about 5:30 am the former Emir of Kano, His Majesty Aminu Ado Bayero, backed by federal might, made their way into the Nasarawa Palace of the Kano Emirate while the reappointed Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II was at the Gidan Dabo, which is the main residence of the Emir of Kano.

“In this wise, the former Emir could not have made his way into the Nasarawa Palace without the support of the Federal Government having done so with the support of the Army and other security personnel in his company.
“The deployment of soldiers in extra constitutional matters, such as this, undermines the integrity of the Nigerian military.

“We need to remind the Tinubu administration that Kano State is known for peace and harmony spanning thousands of years, and any attempt to destablise the peace of the Land of Commerce shall be resisted. Recall that when Muhammadu Sanusi II was dethroned on March 9, 2020, Kano forged on in peace without any fracas.

“We wish to state unequivocally that if for any reason, law and order breaks down in Kano State, particularly Kano Municipal, the federal government should be held responsible as the act of providing security cover to the former Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero to come back to Kano is an invitation to anarchy.”

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Forcing naira to appreciate won’t work, Peterside tells FG

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Forcing naira to appreciate won’t work, Peterside tells FG

Founder of Stanbic IBTC, Atedo Peterside, has advised the Federal Government not to force the naira to appreciate against the dollar and other currencies in a hurry.

He stated this on a Channels Television programme: “Politics Today,” on Thursday.

Peterside said, “Going to sell dollars to Bureau De Change at N1,000, N1,050, those guys will turn around two weeks later and sell it at N1,400, N1,500 and they will go away laughing.

“What’s the point for that? It’s better to have some stability they can sustain; keep between N1,300 and N1,400, which looks to be the natural equilibrium band today.

“Keep it there for a while, build up your reserve to let confidence come back.

“So stop trying to appreciate the naira in a hurry. It’s not going to work.”

Peterside said the next step for the government is to start doing things to build confidence in investors and stop reckless spending.

He said the habit of doing five things right and doing two things wrong would not help the government achieve anything tangible.

He said Tinubu’s monetary policy is on the right direction, but the government should tackle huge fiscal indiscipline.

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