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FG backtracks, reduces visa fees for Americans

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Visa Immigration

Barely 24 hours after the US Embassy in Nigeria announced a new visa regime for Nigerians across the world, the Federal Government has approved a reduction in visa charges payable by United States citizens from $180 to $150.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, explained on Wednesday, that the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, had been directed to implement the decrease in the visa charges with effect from Thursday (Tomorrow).

The development was sequel to the new visa regime announced by the US Government on Tuesday, stating that Nigerians applying for US visas will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, with effect from August 29.

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The US Mission in Abuja had said that the reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the Machine Readable Visa fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.

It explained that the reciprocity fee was applicable to all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications, noting that Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa were denied would, however, not be charged the new reciprocity fee.

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The Mission explained that both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.

READ ALSO: US increases visa fee for Nigerians [See new fee schedule]

But the ministry in a statement by its spokesman, Mohammed Manga, said a committee set up to conduct due diligence in line with the ministry’s extant policy on reciprocity of visa fees had earlier engaged with the US embassy on the issue, adding that the implementation of its recommendations was delayed due to “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level.”

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It said,

“The committee had concluded its assignment and submitted a report, but the issuance of authorisation for its recommendations was delayed due to transition processes in the ministry at the policy level.

“The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has approved the decrease of visa charges payable by US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the committee.

“Accordingly, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, has been directed to implement the decrease in Nigeria’s visa charges to US Citizens with effect from  August, 29, 2019.”

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JUST IN: Nigeria records 416 new cases, total now 10, 578

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This is after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced 416 new cases of coronavirus in the country.

The NCDC made the announcement on Monday, adding that no fewer than 299 patients have died of coronavirus-related complications in the country.

416 new cases of #COVID19;

Lagos-192
Edo-41
Rivers-33
Kaduna-30
Kwara-23
Nasarawa-18
Borno-17
FCT-14
Oyo-10
Katsina-7
Abia-5
Delta-5
Adamawa-4
Kano-4
Imo-3
Ondo-3
Benue-2
Bauchi-2
Ogun-2
Niger-1

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10578 cases of #COVID19Nigeria
Discharged: 3122
Deaths: 299

Details later…

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UNIBEN delegation visits family of slain student

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The Management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), on Monday, visited the family of Late Miss Vera Omozuwa’s family to commiserate with them on the death of their daughter.

The Management led by the Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Patrick Igbinaduwa, described the murder of the institution’s 100 level student as unfortunate and evil.

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In a statement issued in Benin, Prof. Igbinaduwa called on relevant authorities to step in and fish out the perpetrators of the evil act.

“The delegation conveyed the condolence message of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, and her strong condemnation of the evil acts of rape and murder perpetrated against the late student.

“She had begun to show a lot of promise in her educational pursuit,” Igbinaduwa said.

According to reports, it was recalled that Omozuwa, a 23-year-old student of UNIBEN was raped by a gang of unknown men on May 27 and died a few days later in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.

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COVID-19: PTF lifts ban on religious gathering, shortens curfew

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Mr. Boss Mustapha, the chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19, has said that the ban on religious gathering has been lifted based on guidelines and protocols agreed with state governments.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said this at the PTF on COVID-19 daily briefing on Monday in Abuja.

This is as the curfew from the current 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. had been shortened from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., starting from Tuesday.

According to Mustapha, the relaxation of the restriction on places of worship is based on guidelines issued by the PTF and Protocols agreed by State Governments.

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He, however, said bars, gyms, and nightclubs would remain closed.

“After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and the President has approved them for implementation over the next four weeks, spanning June 2, to June 29, subject to review,” he said.

He said that there would be an application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of high transmission of COVID-19 in the country.

He noted the mobilization of resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID-19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities.

According to him, sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions will apply nationwide and includes a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people outside of the workplace.

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Mustapha said the protocols include managing access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission, Ban on inter-state travels except for the movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods, and essential services.

Others are “mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places; mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitizers in all public places and extensive temperature checks in public places”.

He added maintaining two meters between people in public places.

In his speech, the National Coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sanni Alihu, said that the aviation sector would be asked to prepare for the possible resumption of domestic flights from June 21.

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Aliyu added that a national curfew would be shortened to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. from Tuesday, from the current 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. order.

He explained that the nation’s financial sector would also be able to resume normal working hours.

The National Coordinator stated that other curbs remained in place, such as a ban on interstate travel, with a few exceptions, such as for essential workers.

He added that face masks must still be worn in public.

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