The United States Embassy in Nigeria said Nigeria is not part of the countries affected by the new $15000 visa Bond policy introduced by the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump.
The US Embassy clarified that Nigeria is not included in this six months pilot programme.
The Embassy said “In response to the April 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates, the Department and our embassies and consulates overseas conducted an in-depth analysis to identify and address root causes of overstays.”
“Among other efforts to address this challenge, the State Department is considering additional steps to address overstays, including piloting a limited visa bonds program to test, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the operational feasibility of posting, processing, and discharging visa bonds as means to ensure the timely departure from the United States of certain travelers.”
“Accordingly, the State Department will begin a limited six-month visa bond pilot program beginning on December 24, 2020. We are committed to combating visa overstays and making sure travelers to the United States respect our laws.”
“The implementation of this pilot builds on our engagement with foreign governments in recent years and will ensure continued progress to reduce overstay rates. Nigeria is not included in this six months pilot program.”
The new rule by the outgoing Trump administration will require applicants for tourist and business visas from some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to visa fees which currently range from $160 to $300.
The US Department of State says the requirement will be implemented on a temporary basis for a period of six months between December and June as a pilot scheme to test run the policy. The visa bond will apply to countries whose nationals had overstay rates of 10 per cent or more as of 2019. In total, 23 countries will be affected.
The seeming rationale for the visa bonds, which will range from $5,000 to $15,000, is that they will serve as a deterrent to visitors overstaying visas given the prospective penalty of forfeiting the money. But the US is also wielding the policy as an instrument of diplomacy to force other governments to become more proactive with driving down overstay rates of their nationals.
As a department of state memo says, through the policy, “the US Government sends a message to all countries that high overstay rates may result in measures that negatively affect broad categories of their nationals, thereby encouraging countries to take action to encourage their nationals to comply with US immigration law.”
Quartz reports that the move is also more likely to be seen as yet another anti-immigration policy by the Trump administration which disproportionately affects African countries.
Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022
Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.
The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.
He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.
Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.
#EndSARS: Panel Affirmed Nine Killed, Four Missing, 24 Injured At Lekki Toll Gate
No fewer than nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.
This was contained in the report of the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters obtained by our correspondent on Monday.
According to the report, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four were presumed dead.
The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.
Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.
The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.
According to the 309-page report, the protesters were killed by suspected policemen and soldiers.
Part of the report read, ” The evidence before the panel shows that after the Nigerian Army left, Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing
protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one shot close to Serah Ibrahim.
“Several unidentified bodies were removed by security agencies and LASEHMU (Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit) and deposited at various hospital mortuaries in Lagos State.
“Three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of October 21st October, 2020 to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.
“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon.
“The Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020, or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa.”
The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.
Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the terms of reference of the Panel were expanded to cover that incident.
The panel sat for over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.
The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million to 70 victims.
Lagos #EndSARS Panel Submits Report
The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report on Monday to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the government house, Ikeja, Lagos.
The panel submitted two sets of reports — a consolidated report on police brutality cases and the Lekki incident investigation.
On October 19, 2020, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos government inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state.
Speaking after receiving the report, Sanwo-Olu said it is the beginning of the “difficult process of proper reconciliation and restitution”.
The governor commended members of the panel for the work done, adding that posterity will be kind to them.
He said the report will be submitted to the national economic council (NEC), adding that “proper response” will be accorded to the recommendations.
Sanwo-Olu also constituted a four-member committee headed by Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state’s attorney-general, to come up with a white paper on the panel’s recommendations within the next two weeks.
“I’m believing and trusting that this process will help us start the very difficult process of proper reconciliation, restitution, bringing together of anyone that must have been one form or the other being affected,” he said.
“By either the police or any of our citizens that must have been wronged by one form or the other, the process of healing, I imagine, with the submission of this panel report, will start that process.”
The sitting was initially meant to last for six months but the period of proceedings stretched into one year.
The panel concluded its sitting on October 18, 2021, and said its findings and recommendations would be submitted to the state government.
Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, had said 186 of the 252 petitions submitted were deliberated upon.
According to an infographic released by the panel, the sum of N409.7 million was awarded to 70 petitioners.
However, the decision of the panel not to disclose its report on the Lekki shooting incident did not go down well with many Nigerians, including lawyers representing #EndSARS protesters.