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Immigration Chief ‘withdraws’ officials at Lagos airport over extortion

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The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isah Idris, on Monday, ordered the investigation of a case of extortion allegedly perpetrated by officers of the NIS at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.

The order followed a recent outcry on Twitter by a Dubai-bound Nigerian, who alleged massive extortion of under-40 Nigerians travelling to the Gulf city.

Idris also ordered “the withdrawal” of the entire shift on duty at the time of the incident.

This is according to a statement signed late Monday by the Comptroller-General, titled ‘Alleged misconduct at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.’

In a tweet on October 14, 2022, a user with the handle name @darbyy alleged that she paid the sum of N10,000 to the immigration officers before her passport was stamped.

This was despite presenting her UAE visa at the immigration booth.

She also alleged that the extortion scheme is targeted at Nigerians perceived to be below 40 as older travelers do not face such treatment.

“It was then I noticed all the people they had brought to this (separate) aisle were young and going to Dubai. It was all a plan to use fear to exploit us. The couple got their passport stamped after paying. Oga turned to me and said “it’s in your hands. How much do you have?” wrote the tweep.

Responding to the development, the NIS in a statement late Monday said: “Following the recent allegation by a Dubai-bound Nigerian citizen of sharp practices by some Personnel during passenger clearance which occurred about 3 weeks ago at the Lagos Airport, the Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Idris, MFR, has ordered an investigation into the matter.

“Furthermore, he ordered the withdrawal of the entire shift on duty at time of the incident to allow unhindered investigations.

The Comptroller General wishes to use this opportunity to reiterate his administration’s zero tolerance for sharp practices and that such would be met with stiff sanctions to any staff found involved.

“The CGI hereby encourages members of the public to feel free to contact the Service through its various public communication channels, including twitter and Facebook handles @nigimmigration to lay complaints and report any misdemeanour by any member of staff for appropriate sanctions.”

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Buhari’s administration has saved Nigerians from hunger, says Lai

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Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has achieved food security and the scaling up of made-in-Nigeria products.

The minister said this on Thursday in Abuja at the 9th edition of the ”PMB administration; scorecard series (2015-2023)”.

According to Mohammed, in spite of the crises affecting the cost of living globally, the administration had done well since assuming office in the area of self-sufficiency in most basic needs.

“I am sure many of us have seen video clips of empty supermarket shelves in the Western world, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war and the economic uncertainty, which have all combined to disrupt global supply chains,” he said.

“Long before these crises, however, President Muhammadu Buhari had, in a statement that has now turned out to be prescient, admonished Nigerians to grow what they eat and eat what they grow.

“Then, many neither understood the importance of that admonition nor appreciated its relevance.

“Well, it turned out that the consequence of that statement made Nigerians look inward and relied less on imports.

“This has saved Nigerians from hunger, especially during the prolonged global lockdown, when exporting nations shut their ports and borders and nations that relied on imports were struggling to meet their needs.”

Mohammed also said the worst could have happened if the country had, during the period of the crises, relied on imports to feed itself.

The minister added that the presidential fertiliser initiative was a successful policy that made the production and distribution of fertiliser to the farmers effective.

According to him, the number of fertiliser blending plants in the country increased from 10 in 2015 to 142 and the increase in the number of rice mills also from 10 in 2015 to 80 integrated rice mills.

This, he added to have aided food sufficiency.

“Our farmers are now part of our economy. Companies and factories are coming up to manufacture, process and distribute food,” he added.

“If you visit our markets and supermarkets today, what you will see mostly are ‘made-in-Nigeria’ products. This is a huge progress in such a short time.”

Speaking further on the high prices of food items, the minister assured that as the country engaged more in local food production and moved closer to achieving food security, prices would begin to fall.

“For now, we must acknowledge the success we have achieved in the area of food production and in scaling up made-in-Nigeria products’’ he said.

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Military is under pressure to compromise 2023 polls, says defence chief, Lucky Irabor

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Lucky Irabor, the chief of defence staff, says the military is under pressure to compromise the 2023 elections.

The defence chief however said the military will remain neutral and assist the police in monitoring and securing the process.

Irabor spoke on Thursday at the ministerial media briefing organised by the presidential communications team at the presidential villa, Abuja.

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INEC reacts to viral video of staff copying numbers on PVCs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims accompanying a viral video that its workers were stealing voter information from permanent voter cards (PVCs) in Lagos.

Within the past 48 hours, videos have gone viral on social media platforms showing some persons copying information from PVCs onto their mobile phones.

There were also claims following the videos that INEC was trying to rig the 2023 elections.

In a statement on Wednesday, Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner, said the commission was aware of the video.

While confirming that the persons in the video were INEC staff at an office of the commission in Festac, Amuwo Odofin LGA in Lagos, Okoye said the video shows the staff “harvesting” voter information numbers (VINs) from PVCs as part of an inventory process for older, uncollected cards.

“In its determination to enhance the rate of collection of PVCs, the Commission decided to establish a PVC collection process that includes an online component,” the statement reads.

“The procedure entails that registered voters with access to the Internet could go to a dedicated portal to ascertain whether their PVCs are ready and to find their locations for subsequent collection.

“All they are required to do is to provide their details such as name, date of birth, state of registration or the last six digits of the VINs that they provided/received during registration, to locate their cards.

“This would improve the PVC collection process, but without prejudice to those who wish to go directly to the collection centres.

“For the newer PVCs, that is those from the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) that took place between January and July 2022, the VINs were harvested automatically and made available online.

“However, for the older uncollected PVCs that predate the new guidelines, their VINs must be harvested manually and painstakingly for upload to the PVC collection portal (www.voters.inecnigeria.org). The portal will also improve the records of the Commission regarding collected and uncollected PVCs.

“While the Commission appreciates the vigilance of Nigerians and their determination to see the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in 2023, it is exceedingly important that information such as contained in the said video is verified before sharing it with the public.

“A major threat to the upcoming general election comes from fake news and disinformation. The Commission appeals to Nigerians to remain conscious of this, even if the prior intention is worthy.”

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