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US Exempts Nigeria From New $15,000 Visa Bond Policy 

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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.

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WASSCE Now To Hold From August 16

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The West African Examinations Council, WAEC has announced the date for the conduct of 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE which is set to hold between August 16 to September 30.

This was contained in a statement by the Ag. Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus G. Ojijeogu, on behalf of the council.
According to Ojijeogu, the Head of Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, was misquoted when he said that WASSCE was postponed during a press briefing on Tuesday to announce the results of 2021- first series WASSCE for private candidates.
Part of the statement read: “The attention of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria has been drawn to publications in some national dailies and online media, to the effect that WAEC has postponed the May/June 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This information was allegedly given by the Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, at a Press Briefing to announce the release of results of WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2021 – First Series on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
“We wish to categorically state that the Head of National Office was quoted out of context.
“The Head of National Office had in his address during the Press Briefing stated as follows:
“Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector. The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable
“for the conduct of the examination will soon be released”.
“The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education.
“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.
“All stakeholders should please be so guided.” WAEC Ag, PRO explained.

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Minister Confirms Deployment Of SWAT Officers To States 

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Muhammad Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, disclosed that the officers of the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team have been deployed to state commands.

Mohammed Adamu, former inspector-general of police, had constituted the SWAT team, following the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad in the wake of the October 2020 EndSARS protests.

Speaking when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Friday, Dingyadi said the SWAT officers have concluded their training, and have been posted to the states they were drafted from.

“They have ended their training, and they have been posted to the state police commands that brought them for training,” he said.

“They are there with them and they are performing these functions of the SWAT.”

The creation of the new tactical team had received mixed reactions, including from the United Nations, which said the police swiftly created SWAT “without first addressing some of the root causes of police violence and putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent future violations.”

But Frank Mba, force spokesman, had quoted the former IGP as saying SWAT will operate within “high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices”.

“The IGP reiterates that no personnel of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will be a member the new Tactical Team. He notes that the officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operations,” he stated.

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PDP Condemns Flogging Of Anti-Buhari Campaigners In Kogi

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is insensitive for two young people who protested against President Muhammadu Buhari in Kogi state to have been subjected to whipping.

The protesters had paraded graffiti and posters reading “Buhari must go” when the thugs accosted them.

The Kogi government, however, had hailed the flogging of the protesters, saying the people of the state remain fanatic followers of the president.

But reacting, the PDP, in a statement on Friday signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its spokesperson, said the protest by the youths was against the incompetence of the Buhari administration.

“These graffiti by Nigerian youths are a loud demonstration against the impunity, divineness, high level incompetence, massive corruption as well as the insensitivity of the APC and its administration to the sorry situation they have plunged our dear nation,” the statement reads.

“The Nigerian youths, by the graffiti, are demonstrating against the failure of President Buhari and the APC to take decisive steps to address the incessant mass killings, high level unemployment, poverty and economic hardship that their administration has foisted on our country.

“The graffiti is also an open aversion to the looting of over N15 trillion by APC leaders at the time our nation is battling with 33% unemployment rate; at a time over 40 million Nigerian have lost their means of livelihood due to APC misrule and where most families cannot afford the basic necessities of life.

“Moreover, the use of political graffiti by citizens is a global practice to express themselves particularly in democratic setting.

“It is therefore a mark of intolerance, disdain and insensitivity to the plight of the people that instead of accepting and taking steps to address their anxieties, the APC chose to unleash their thugs to flog and dehumanise Nigerian citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, as witnessed in Kogi state.”

The PDP said it rejected the allegations of trespass as basis for the attack on the protesters, noting that such claims should have been taken up in court.

The party said it recalled how Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the APC in 2014, led other leaders of his party who took to the streets and “disrupted public activities in exercise of such freedom and nobody hired thugs to attack or flog them in public”.

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