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Buhari sets up committee to study, address US visa ban

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Nigeria visa ban

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Saturday, set up a committee to look into the suspension of the issuance of ‘immigrant visas’ to Nigerians by the United States’ Government.

According to a State House statement in Abuja, the committee chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, is mandated to look into the matter with a view to meeting the requirements of the new US’ policy on visa issuance,

“The committee will work with the US Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented,” the statement signed by Buhari’s media aide, Femi Adesina, said.

The new visa regime, which was announced by the US’ Government on January 31, comes into effect on February 21.

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The US named Nigeria among six other countries affected by the new policy, including Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan.

However, the Presidency noted that the restriction did not affect other categories of visas like official, tourism or business visas.

The Presidency’s reaction to the development read:

“On January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced temporary travel restrictions on six countries, including Nigeria.

For Nigeria, the restriction is the suspension of the issuance of ‘immigrant visas’ to Nigerian passport holders only.

“This suspension shall come into effect on February 21, 2020. The suspension does not apply to other U.S visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.

“The DHS states the suspension of “immigrant visas” became necessary following a review and update of the methodology (performance metrics) adopted by the US Government to assess compliance of certain security criteria by foreign governments.

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“This resulted in certain enhancements on how information is shared between Nigeria and the US.

“Nigeria remains committed to maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be chaired by the Honourable Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements.”

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I didn’t receive N28m from Magu, Falana says

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Femi Falana

Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, on Sunday repudiated a report he was a loot funnel for suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.

In a letter dated July 12 written to a media house over the said report, Falana, through his lawyer, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, a Silk, distanced himself from whatever alleged corrupt practices likely perpetrated by Magu whose tenure temporarily came to a halt last Wednesday when President Muhammadu Buhari approved his suspension.

The letter reads in part,

“The publication and the imputations it conveyed is damning, as you will no doubt agree with me. It is particularly damning against my client because his entire career as a lawyer has been devoted to fighting human rights abuses and corruption in high and low places (among the many public causes he has become noted for). So, to charge such a person with the imputations in your publication is not something that he can (in fairness to himself and the reputation he has worked for all his life) ignore despite that he is also a well-known advocate and defender of press freedom.

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“It is noteworthy that no attempt was made by you to contact and request my client to react to the allegation before publishing and circulating it to your worldwide readers. The impression my client gets from this is that you were well aware that you were publishing a planted story, hence there was no desire or need on your part to seek and balance it with my clients reaction. This speaks volume as to your professionalism, as well as your malicious intent.

 

“My client does not deny that he is a supporter and public advocate of the EFCC, and indeed of all agencies set-up to rescue our country and its downtrodden masses from the noose of corruption. He has been since the inception of the EFCC and the tenure of its first Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu.

 

“As a token of his support and public advocacy against corruption, he has, since the Commission was established in 2003 and up till now,  refused and rejected all approaches by the high and mighty (who are loaded with cash and able to pay for his services and thus save him from the indignity of having to criminally scrape around for =N=28m or any sum whatsoever from anyone in the EFCC) to take-up their cases or causes against the EFCC. He stands tall to also say despite his public advocacy for the Commission and its anti-graft efforts, all reports or allegations of human rights abuse of disobedience of court orders by the Commission or any of its officials that came to his attention were always taken-up by him with its Management.

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“My client acknowledges that just as his anti-corruption activism has won him friends, they have also bred enmity from those who see things from a different perspective and have therefore always tried to paint and present him (or anyone that strives or claims to be different) as someone that is also not free from the stains of corruption! Not long ago, these elements invented and spread through the media the lie that my client was a beneficiary of property purchase from the EFCC. When given the opportunity to prove the allegation, the publisher failed to take up the opportunity but apologised for the false publication. I am not too sure that your case will turn out different if you permit it to degenerate to the level of being sued.

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“In the circumstance, my immediate instruction is to demand that you acknowledge your wrongdoing, expressly admit that what you imputed against my client was false, and apologise for your unprofessionalism and the damage you have caused to him. I do hope that you will, within the next 48 hours, comply with this gentlemanly request by publication on the front page of your newspaper. Failing compliance, my instruction is to issue a Writ in the tort of defamation in other to afford you an opportunity to prove what you imputed against my client’s character.”

 

See the letter below;

 

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Hungary bars travel from Africa, Asia

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Hungary’s government said Sunday it was barring travel from Africa, most of Asia apart from China and Japan, and restricting entry from several European countries after worldwide spikes in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas said that Hungarian health officials have placed 154 countries into three risk categories based on numbers of coronavirus infections.

“We need to protect our security so that the virus is not introduced from abroad… the level of active infection cases at home is falling, and we want to keep it like that,” he told reporters in Budapest.

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Entry into Hungary would be barred for citizens from countries assessed as “red” from Tuesday midnight, including all African and Asian countries apart from China and Japan.

European countries in the red zone are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus, Montenegro, as well as Hungary’s neighbor Ukraine.

Hungarian citizens returning from “red” countries must pass a virus test and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, said Gulyas.

Citizens from countries in a “yellow” category — including the US, UK, Norway, Serbia, Russia, China, and Japan — will have to enter two-week quarantine unless they have tested negative for the virus within five days.

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Four of Hungary’s fellow EU members — Bulgaria, Portugal, Sweden, and neighboring Romania — will also face the same restrictions.

Countries in the “green” category can continue to enter without restrictions.

Hungary’s population of almost 10 million has been lightly affected by the pandemic in comparison with other parts of Europe, reporting just over 4,200 coronavirus infections and around 595 deaths so far.

Earlier this month, Orban said Hungary would not follow an EU recommendation to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for more countries outside the bloc, citing a risk to health.

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The EU’s border relaxation, announced June 30 and left to member states to implement, was a bid to help rescue the continent’s battered tourism sector, which had been choked by a ban on non-essential travel in place since mid-March.

The number of infections and deaths has risen relentlessly in many of the world’s biggest nations, with the United States crossing three million confirmed cases.

In Europe, where many nations had successfully suppressed their outbreaks, spikes have occurred in recent weeks.

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Kwara records 71 fresh cases of COVID-19

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The Kwara Government says 71 more people have tested positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total of confirmed cases in the state to 382.

The Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor and Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, made this known in a statement issued on Sunday in Ilorin.

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According to him, this brings the total of confirmed cases to 382, with 167 patients discharged and 12 death recorded in the state.

“As at 11:00 pm on Saturday the number of active cases is now 203, while 167 have so far been discharged and 12 deaths recorded,” he said.

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