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Croatia police deport Nigerian students, who participated at World InterUniversities Championships, to Bosnia

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Croatia police deport two Nigerian students, who represented Nigeria at  5th World InterUniversities Championships, to Bosnia refugee camp

Two Nigerian students of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), who participated at the fifth World InterUniversities Championships held this year in Pula, Croatia, have been wrongly deported to Bosnia by the Croatian police.

The organisers of an international student sports competition have called for two Nigerian table tennis players to be returned to their own country after Croatian police wrongly deported them to a Bosnian refugee camp.

Abia Uchenna Alexandro and Eboh Kenneth Chinedu, both 18 years old, left Pula for Zagreb after the tournament and were supposed to fly back to Lagos on 18 November.

However, the night before their departure, while taking a walk in the Croatian capital they were stopped by two police officers who asked them for identification documents.

“We tried to explain who we were and that our documents were in the hostel, but they took us to a police station,” Chinedu told the Bosnian website Žurnal.

“They paid no attention to what we were saying.”

The officers mistook them for undocumented immigrants, put them in a van and transferred them to the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina where, that day, Croatian authorities had gathered together a group of migrants intercepted as they were attempting to cross the country. They ordered the group to move through the woods and into Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“I refused to go into the woods,” said Chinedu.

“The officer told me he would shoot me if I didn’t move.”

Uchenna and Chinedu were eventually deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina and ended up in a camp in Velika Kladuša, where thousands of migrants are stuck in tents without water or heating with temperatures as low as -2C.

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The two Nigerian students could not make themselves understood and it took until the end of November before volunteers at the camp contacted representatives of the table-tennis competition to tell them Uchenna and Chinedu were trapped there.

“They told me two students from Nigeria were taken to Bosnia by Croatian police,” the organiser Alberto Tanghetti was quoted by UK Guardian as saying.

“I asked them to send me photos and their names. After careful verification, we confirmed that those boys had participated in the tournament and had regular visas, issued by the Croatian authorities. I really don’t understand what happened, because even the police in Pula were notified that they were here.”

He added:

“It is even more absurd that no one believed the boys when they tried to explain to the police officers that they had regular visas. It would have sufficed to accompany them to the hostel to verify that they had entered Croatia legally.”

A spokesperson for the Croatian interior ministry said that the police had investigated the Nigerians’ claims

“Police officers have already witnessed cases of individuals who make an attempt to or even abuse their participation in sports competitions in Croatia to remain in the country,” the spokesperson said.

The ministry of the interior has confirmed that the Nigerians had regular visas and entered Croatia legally, but suggested that the students were making an attempt to remain and that the pair had checked out from the hostel before being stopped by the police.

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But the police’s version of the facts does not explain why the officers deported the Nigerians to Bosnia, knowing that the students had entered the country with a flight to Zagreb and not from Bosnia.

“Those people are victims of illegal acts of the Croatian side,” Dragan Mektić, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s minister of security, told Al Jazeera.

“Respecting legal procedures, we now have to take them back to Croatia … It is obvious that they have Croatian visas, that they are in Bosnia and Herzegovina illegally. From their statements, it is obvious that Croatian police forcibly displaced them and we have to bring them back there.”

For years, aid workers and agencies have accused the Croatian authorities of illegally sending migrants trying to cross the border back to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Migrants are systematically beaten by Croatian police, who strip asylum seekers of their personal items and destroy their mobile phones to avoid being filmed.

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It’s shameful educated Yoruba youths are dying in desert, sea in bids to enter Europe – Prof Banji Akintoye

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The President of Yoruba World Congress, Prof Banji Akintoye,

The President of Yoruba World Congress, Prof Banji Akintoye, has decried the trafficking of Yoruba youths to some European countries and other parts of the world for prostitution and modern-day slavery.

Akintoye blamed the massive migration of Nigerian youths abroad on poverty and the absence of youth development programmes.

“Nigerian young men and women are dying in droves in the desert trying to reach Europe. It is happening all the time and the government of Nigeria knows it,” he said in a TheCitizenNG report.

“Yoruba people are known for their love for education and an average parent in Yorubaland can do anything to send their children to school up to the university level.

“But it is wrong that we do not have plans for youth development and youth empowerment. We have identified that as a problem and that is why the Yoruba World Congress is doing something about youth development. A state government in the South-West has partnered us.

“The next step after education is youth development but we have failed to do that. That is why we have a big problem on our hand now. It is a shame that Yoruba youths, after obtaining university degrees, are dying in the desert and in the sea while trying to cross to Europe. It is also a shame that Yoruba youths are being used for prostitution and slaves in Europe and other countries.”

Meanwhile, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has said the state will ensure the repatriation of all its indigenes found to have been trafficked to Lebanon.

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According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, Makinde said this while being briefed by the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, on the plight of Oyo State indigenes trafficked to Lebanon.

The governor said,

“This state will pay for their flights and the fees requested to conduct COVID-19 tests on each of them.”

Sarumi-Aliyu said 40 female indigenes of the state had been identified in Lebanon while the state was going ahead with identification of others to know the actual number of Oyo State indigenes being used as slaves in Lebanon.

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Only 30 policemen protecting 100 Katsina villages, says Masari

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Katsina

Katsina state governor, Aminu Masari has disclosed that only 30 policemen provide security in 100 villages in the state despite the incessant killings by bandits and other criminal elements in the state.

Speaking on the incessant killings in the state, Governor Aminu Masari said the state would in the interim amend its extant laws to give power to village heads and local authorities in the battle against the bandits.

A worried Emir of Katsina Abdulmumin Usman advised him to also consider sending a high-powered delegation of Katsina indigenes to President Muhammadu Buhari on the insecurity in the state.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is however set to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Katsina and other Northwest, as well as Northeast, states to check banditry and other forms of crimes in the zones.

Masari who lamented the killings at a luncheon by NAF to celebrate the Eid-El-Kabir with frontline troops in Katsina said 30 policemen were  “gross inadequate” especially now that the bandits had become emboldened.

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He said: “This would complement ongoing efforts to emplace a robust community policing structure, whilst addressing the gross deficit in the number of police personnel available at local levels, which is in the range of an average of about 30 policemen to about 100 villages.”

He emphasized that if such actions were not taken, “even if the bandits were wiped out by the military, another generation of criminal elements would quickly take their place in the absence of governance and adequate policing.”

“The bandits are intertwined within the communities so sometimes it may be difficult for the NAF or the Army to distinguish them from the locals in order to conduct offensive operations devoid of collateral damage. The locals must stop giving support, information or safe havens to these criminals,” the governor said.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said arrangements had been concluded to deploy  UAVs in  Katsina and Gusau in the Zamfara states as part of measures to bring a  quick end to the attacks in the Northwest and Northeast.

‘He thanked the President for “the acquisition of unmanned  aerial combat vehicle that will be deployed not only in the Northwest Zone but also in Northeast.’’

At a special prayer session involving members of the three arms of government in the state, Emir Usman asked   Masari to convene a meeting of eminent Katsina citizens to aggregate suggestions and opinions on the current challenges facing the state and also lead a team to meet the President.

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The Emir said:

’’Lack of regular interaction and communication have remained the bane in our quest for development as a state.

‘’Our governor needs to rally Katsina citizens and seek suggestions from them in order to proffer solutions to the myriads of challenges facing the state.’’

The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has called on the Federal Government to end the killings in southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states.

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It also urged the government to stop banditry and other forms of insecurity in Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, and other states in the northern part of the country.

ECWA made the call in a statement issued at the end of its General Church Council (GCC) meeting held in Jos, Plateau State on Sunday.

The statement partly reads:

“Council views with serious concern the unabated attacks of armed men and bandits across the country, especially in the northern states.

“They have continued to destroy lives, farmlands and property of innocent citizens in southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Zamfara, Kogi, Adamawa, Katsina, Taraba and Niger states.”

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Oyetola approves N500m for pensions

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has approved N500million for payment of entitlements to retirees on Contributory Pensions Scheme.

The approved sum covered the payment of contributory pensions to retired primary school teachers and local government workers, to the tune of N300 million, while N200 million was earmarked for retired workers in the civil service and parastatals.

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Head of Service Dr Festus Gboyega Oyebade said in a statement that “this gesture is part of the evidence of Governor Oyetola’s concern for the people’s welfare”, adding that the current administration would prioritise the welfare of serving and retired workers.

He said:

“This gesture is evidence that the governor listens to the yearnings of the citizens. We are delighted and proud of his response to the needs of retirees, especially at this time COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world economy.

“The government under the leadership of Governor Oyetola is aware of the importance of pension to those who have retired. The governor’s consistent gesture validates his commitment to continue to cater for those who have served the state meritoriously.”

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