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Nigerian Passports Would be Issued Within Two Weeks- Tunji-Ojo

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Nigerian Passports Would be Issued Within Two Weeks- Tunji-Ojo

By: Michael Mike

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has said that from December passports would be made available in two weeks to applicants.

The Minister also promised that Nigerians would also be saved of the pains of having to wait on the queue to upload the needed information to get passport issued. He said that registration would be done online and the only thing that would be needed to be done at any passport office is the biometrics capture and the collection of issued passports.

He said the ministry is working at getting the needed equipment to make this possible in December

The minister gave the promise during a press briefing where he disclosed to journalists how the ministry, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other stakeholders achieved clearance of 204,332 passports backlogs across the country within three weeks.

The minister said it all started when Mr. President said: “look I didn’t appoint you to that ministry to give excuses, go and change the narratives, especially of passports applications and collections. Nigerians have had enough of that problem. “

He said in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, the Ministry of Interior, the NIS, and other stakeholders aligned with “the talk and do” mantra of the present administration.

Tunji-Ojo revealed to journalists how the deadline he handed down on the 7th of September was delivered by the Immigration Service, stating that personnel of NIS had to do three shifts each day including Saturdays and Sundays to deliver.

According to him, the Service providers of the NIS were also made to double up their printing capacities and capabilities, especially in areas where passports backlogs were higher.

The minister said:” Yes. I gave two weeks deadline. I however have to apologise to Nigerians that we delivered on it in three weeks. We had 204,332 Nigerians whose data had been captured. And we cannot continue to watch them waiting endlessly. I visited the headquarters of the Immigration Service and told them the narratives must change.

“So in critical frontline desks like Ikeja, Alausa, Ikoyi, Ibadan, Abuja, we ordered that more printing machines be brought in by the Service providers. Then we increased the working hours of the personnel of NIS. They started running three shifts.

“Let me at this juncture commend the Acting Comptroller General of the Immigration Service, Mrs Wura-Ola Adepoju, especially for her positive responses to the pressures I mounted on her. I would call her late and demand updates, and she would provide updates. That was the spirit. “

Tunji-Ojo however revealed that so far out of the 204,332 backlogs cleared, only 94,981 have been collected by the applicants, leaving 109,351 yet uncollected.

He said while the entire backlogs were cleared as of October 1st, Nigerians should appreciate the extraordinary efforts of those who made it possible by showing up in the various offices of NIS to collect the travel documents.

He regretted that for instance in Ikoyi Passports office, 39,170 backlogs were cleared, only about 9,458 applicants have showed up to collect the booklets. And while 21,108 were cleared in Alausa, a huge number of applicants are yet to show up to collect the documents.

The Minister said to sustain the momentum, the Ministry would embark on some reforms with the NIS, stating that by December this year, Nigerians can upload all supporting documents including their passports online to the Immigration Service.

He said the measures would reduce human interfaces and corrupt practices, while bureaucratic bottlenecks that have been dismantled would not resurface anymore.

According to him, applicants would only show up at Immigration offices for biometric capturing of data as it would reduce applications and collections of passports to two weeks.

Nigerian Passports Would be Issued Within Two Weeks- Tunji-Ojo

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

By: Our Reporter

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Sunday, said his administration cannot do more regarding distributing food items to internally displaced persons and vulnerable residents.

Zulum stated this in Mafa while addressing a group of internally displaced persons who have protested, threatening to go to the bush where Boko Haram terrorists camped.

The governor expressed displeasure over the action, and he said, “Yesterday, I received a report that some IDPs in Dikwa have protested that they will return to the bush because we could not provide food for them. This afternoon, others in Mafa have also done the same.”

Zulum said, “In the last couple of years, we have consistently provided food to internally displaced and vulnerable people. Believe me, what we are doing is even beyond our capacity.

“In the last four years, the Government of Borno State spent nothing less than N40b to provide food and non-food items to the people of the state.”

The governor said, “No government, be it state or federal, has the capacity to provide food to everyone and let me categorically state that I cannot do more than this,”

“The hardship we are facing is not only in Borno State but all over Nigeria. There are economic crises in all parts of the world. No state in Nigeria is doing better in the distribution of palliative than Borno,” Zulum stated.

He added, “We distributed food to IDPs and vulnerable communities every quarter. However, with the improvement in the security situation, we decided to reduce the number of our distribution because people have started earning their livelihood.”

“Most of you here (more than 80%) now have access to agricultural land, and I believe you have cultivated your farmlands and harvested your farm produce.”

“Both state and federal governments spend huge amounts of money on security. We have realised substantial progress in terms of development and security. Let me be frank with you that we will not condone mischievous acts by anyone.

The governor expressed gratitude to the federal government for providing the needed support to attain substantial peace in Borno State.

Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

By: Michael Mike

The disputed Business and Investment Forum (BIF) planned during the proposed official visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is now going to hold, the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria has revealed in an official correspondence with Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs.

It would be recalled that a leak official correspondence between The Qatari government and Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs last week had said the forum would not be holding during Nigeria’s President planned visit on March 2 and 3 due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

The leaked correspondence had also said Qatar’s ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Nigeria’s president desired to visit.

Qatar further stressed that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian side for business and investment purpose.

The country also added that its officials would be too busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Nigeria’s president planned to visit.

“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter stated.

But in the latest correspondence between the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria and the Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the event on 3rd March 2024, as proposed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the correspondence, the Embassy said it was glad to convey the readiness of Qatar Chamber of Commerce to host the forum to the Nigerian government.

Reacting to the latest correspondence in a statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir said the clarification has become necessary to clear deliberate misinformation and misrepresentations in the media on the purported cancellation of the event.

Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Members of the Council of European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) have arrived in Abuja to begin a four-day working visit to the country.

During the visit taking place from 26-29 February 2024, the COAFR members will engage with Nigerian authorities, government agencies, civil society groups, regional and international organisations and private sector actors in Abuja and in Lagos.

According to a statement on Sunday by the European Union in Nigeria, the Africa Working Party (COAFR) is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

The statement said in Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others.

They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.
In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent.

The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

According to the statement, this is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria, noting that in addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team.

The statement further revealed that this year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).

It said more than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country.

Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.
is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

In Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others. They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.

In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent. The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

This is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria. In addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team. This year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).
More than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country. Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.

Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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