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Xenophobia: Nigerians in SA look forward to the two presidents meeting

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Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA), is optimistic that the meeting between Nigerian and South African Presidents in October, will bring lasting solutions to the recurrent xenophobia.

The President of NICASA, Mr Ben Okoli, made this known in a telephone conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Okoli said President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, were expected to meet in October to discuss modalities to address attacks on Nigerians living in that country.

“We are looking forward to the state visit by President Buhari and we believe his coming will help reduce the suffering Nigerians go through in South Africa.

“We will use the opportunity to lay our complaints to the president and highlight security of lives and properties of our members, as the area of concern that we want addressed.

“We will also be able to get assurance from our host country’s president towards securing lives and properties of Nigerians here.

“We hope the visit will comfort Nigerians here, because we expect our plight to be tabled before the host government, so they can provide adequate protection to ensure Nigerians feel safe,” he said.

He lamented the high handedness of police operatives in South Africa on matters that concerned Nigerians, saying issues like brutality and killings should be brought to the fore at the meeting.

“We will list all potentials that could bring about economic benefits and growth to Nigerians through the anticipated state visit,” he said.

He said that Nigerians ha, without any fear of contradiction, contributed immensely to the growth of the South African economy.

“We urge the South African Government to ensure that the attacks do not reoccur. We appeal to them to device alternative strategies since previous efforts to stop xenophobia have not worked.

“We believe xenophobia can be stopped and therefore appeal to the South African government to provide succour to foreigners who have lost their source of livelihood, especially Nigerians.

He commended the Nigerian Consulate General to South Africa, Godwin Adama, for the pro-active steps he had so far taken to douse tension via the media in that country.

“The mission’s gate has never been shut against Nigerians; it has always kept its door open.

“What happened is that after the crisis in Pretoria where South African’s destroyed Nigerian businesses and property, those whose property were destroyed went to the mission out of frustration and anger.

“I understand the situation; it is not easy for somebody to lose his property and just be watching; but the mission gate was not shut against them,” he said.

He said they were invite in and received by an official of the consulate who went as far as organising food and drinks for them to make sure that they are comfortable.

“So they were attended to and nobody would say that the gate was shut against them.

“The mission allowed them in even though they came in by force and destroyed part of the entrance.

“They were encouraged to go and calculate their losses and bring back the report through the organisation. So, we are actually collaborating with people who have lost their property.

“We are taking inventory of what our people lost, which I will make available to the high commissioner in due time,” Okoli said.

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National News

FG insists on compensation for victims of xenophobic attacks

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Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, says the Federal Government is pressing for compensation for affected Nigerians in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Dabiri-Erewa stated this at the maiden Diaspora Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).

The lecture was entitled: “Role of Africans in Diaspora in the Transformation of a University of Technology.”

Dabiri – Erewa, who was represented by Mr. Abdul-Rahman Balogun, her Special Assistant on Media, noted that the Nigerian government was also putting in place measures to ensure perpetrators were prosecuted and justice given.

According to her, those that have been evacuated to Nigeria would be well taken care of.

Dabiri-Erewa also enjoined all state governments to create a Diaspora Desk, saying Nigeria has the highest diaspora potentials in Africa and the third in the world.

Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has also said that Nigerians who just returned from South Africa due to xenophobic attacks would receive soft loans from the Bank of Industry if they are interested in doing business.

She said this when the returnees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday.

Apart from the soft loans for interested returnees, they would receive transport stipends that would take them to their different destinations as well as airtime on their phones that would last for over two months.

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National News

320 Nigerians expected from South Africa

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nThe first batch of Nigerian returnees from South Africa will be airlifted from Johannesburg to Lagos today, according to the Nigerian Consul-General, Godwin Adama. The 320 passengers, who are among over 600 Nigerians to be airlifted by Air Peace Airlines, are expected to arrive the Murtala Muhamed International Airport, Ikeja at 9 am.

Geoffrey Onyeama

Adama said their evacuation followed the conclusion of their documentation in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa.

He said: “We are documenting people through the

filling of relevant forms with information such as place of birth, state of origin, local government areas. We also check nationality and discourage wives with different nationalities to avoid bringing in other nationals. We equally discourage those wanting to take advantage of the flight.”
The Consul-General, who added that the second batch will leave South Africa tomorrow, shed light on the evacuation and flight schedules.

He said: “The manifest for the first flight is ready and we are working on the next flight. The two missions are working together to make a success of the evacuation. Nigerians will be conveyed in buses from the two missions to the airport at early hours of the morning to ensure smooth operations.”

The Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Mr. Allen Onyema, who confirmed the deployment of the B777 aircraft to South Africa, said the returnees will be airlifted free of charge.

Onyema, however, lamented that he had received an e-mail from South Africa that some unauthorized persons were illegally collecting 1,000 dollars from each Nigerian that wanted to take advantage of the flight.

He said: “We have not designated or recruited any agent in South Africa to collect money on behalf of Air Peace. So, nobody should pay money to anyone or group of persons posing as Air Peace agent or staff. Any Nigerian who has paid money for repatriation to Nigeria with Air Peace should request for a refund and report to appropriate authorities.”

Adama assured Nigerians of a hitch-free evacuation, saying that the Nigerian Mission in South Africa had put in place measures to ease the process.

He also said the mission had introduced measures to ensure that other nationals do not take advantage of the free flight by Air Peace to come into Nigeria.

Ahead of the evacuation, the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, appealed to Southeast governors to come to the aid of the returnees who are of Igbo extraction.

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Politics

Presidential Election Tribunal Adjourns Till August 21

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The presidential election tribunal has said that it will deliver judgement in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Septemeber 11, 2019.

President Muhammudu Buhari and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

All the parties in the suit had made their final submissions on August 21, when the tribunal declared that the date for the judgement will be communicated at a later date.

Read Also: Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Diezani’s Jewellery Worth $40m

The PDP and its candidate are seeking to nullify the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 poll.

They insist that the election was marred by irregularities and are asking the tribunal to declared Atiku as the duly elected president.

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National News

Non-IMN are not banned from religious processions – IGP

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The Nigeria police has announced that non-Muslims are not banned from conducting Ashura procession in Abuja and other states.

Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu

Members of the IMN had forewarned that journalists, members of the public and security personnel may lose their lives today during their procession.

However, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu issued a strong warning to the group against embarking on the procession.

The Islamic group went on to hold its annual Ashura procession in Abuja and Kaduna.

That of Abuja lasted for 30 minutes in Wuse Market and ended about 8:am with no violence reported.

However, the force in a statement on its official Twitter page warned that only non-IMN Muslims are allowed to have procession in Abuja or anywhere else in the country.

He added that the ban on procession is only applicable to IMN members who have been tagged as terrorists.

The statement read: “The IGP has directed all CPs and their respective supervisory AIG of Police in Commands and Zones to give full effect to the above clarifications and ensure that non-IMN Muslims are not in any way restricted from exercising their freedom of religion, worship and peaceful assembly.

“Ban on procession, applicable to IMM members only. Non-IMN Muslims marking Ashura free to observe peaceful procession.

“Following the deluge of enquiries concerning the ban on procession on the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), it has become absolutely imperative to clarify that the ban on processions is applicable to members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria only.

“Against this backdrop, Muslims marking the commemoration of “Ashura” throughout the country along with other Muslims across the world are free to carry out the annual “Ashura” procession.

“They should, however, do so within the confines of the law and guard against infiltration by unscrupulous elements who may want to take advantage of the event to cause disruption of public peace, order and security.”

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