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Borders: FG assures AU of commitment to free movement of persons 

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Borders: FG assures AU of commitment to free movement of persons 

…As Aregbesola wonders why humans cannot freely move as desired, like animals***

The Federal Government has assured the African Union (AU) of Nigeria’s readiness to partner with it, in achieving free movement of persons within the ECOWAS countries.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, gave the assurance when he played host to an AU delegation, which paid him a visit in Abuja.

This came to light in a statement by Mr. Afonja Ajibola, the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Aregbesola wondered why humans did not have the liberty to move from any place to wherever they desired, but other smaller creatures could move freely from one boundary to the other without any hindrance.

He, therefore, assured the delegation of the Federal Government’s commitment to the partnership, aimed at realisation of the ECOWAS protocol of free movement of persons, goods and services across the sub-region.

The minister, however, said insurgencies and other conflicts, which posed a major threat to the protocol, especially in countries within the Sahel region, discouraged Nigeria from rectifying the protocol.

He said that the ousting of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, breached Nigeria’s security, following the proliferation of arms that led to full-blown insurgencies.

The minister added that in furtherance to the realisation of free movement across the sub-region, Nigerian government introduced the Visa on Arrival policy, to expedite movement.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, also reiterated that the Nigerian government’s hesitance to implement the protocol was largely because of insecurity.

Belgore, however, assured the delegation that consultations were ongoing with other stakeholders over actualising free movement of persons and goods across the region.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Rita Amokhobu, said that the purpose of the visit was to inform the minister of the outcome of their visit to the Benin-Seme border.

According to Amokhobu, it has accorded them the opportunity to gather information on how Nigeria complies with the AU treaty on free movement of persons and goods.

She commended the Federal Government for mounting facilities at the country’s borders, which encouraged movements across the entry points.

Amokhobu however, pointed out that most of these gadgets were not functional due to erratic power supply at the borders.

Economy

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

In continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Lagos State Government has announced that traffic will be diverted at the Old Tollgate to Berger section of the road from Monday 30th January till Friday 15th April 2023.

In the notification received by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, it was disclosed that the construction will be carried out in short segments to minimize inconveniences for Motorists while traffic on the Ibadan-bound carriageway will be narrowed to two lanes to allow for the reconstruction of half of the Ibadan bound carriageway.

The Transport Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde further stated that the U-turn in front of the Lagos State Emergency Centre will be temporarily closed to traffic, adding that Motorists on the Expressway will be diverted to the next U-turn at the Old Toll Gate by the traffic control point.

 In the same vein, Traffic from CMD Road intending to connect 7UP and Motorways on the Lagos bound carriageway will make use of the Old Tollgate/Traffic Point U–turn as well.

He equally stressed that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be diverted to Ojota Interchange. 

The Commissioner also explained that traffic on CMD Road inbound the Expressway will be diverted to the entry point beside the FMW weighbridge to access the Expressway on a contraflow as the exit route to the Expressway by Caleb International School will equally be temporarily closed, adding that CMD Road will be used as an alternative for the displaced Ibadan bound traffic.

Oladeinde appealed to the citizenry to shun indiscriminate stopping, waiting and parking along CMD Road as it will complement the efforts of the Traffic Management Team that will be deployed to manage vehicular movement. He also affirmed that signage with directions will be mounted along the road to guide Motorists.

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LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

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LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

… Says traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am*** 

The Lagos State Government has advised Motorists to plan their movement around Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Old Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island ahead of the Students Rave 2023 event scheduled for Friday, 27th January 2023.

As a result of the above rally, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde disclosed that traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am on the aforementioned day. He assured that Officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) will be available to manage traffic flow.

Explaining the alternative routes, Oladeinde advises Motorists plying Island Club road by Police Headquarters Zone 2, Onikan to go through Ozumba Mbadiwe road inbound Falomo Bridge (Five Cowries Bridge) to link Alfred Rewane and Osborne road to complete their journeys.

In the same vein, Motorists from Bonny Camp according to the diversion plan can access CMS/Marina Bridge after Independence Bridge (Mekunwen Bridge) and loop it down towards Cathedral Church to connect Lagos Island proper through Odunlami Street for their desired destinations,

The Transport Commissioner also advises Motorists to utilize Force road beside Muson Centre to link J.K Randle Avenue (Race Course) or go through Onikan Roundabout to connect JK Randle Avenue/Water Board area to access CMS Bridge by the State House/Old NITEL Building.

He further explained that Water Board inbound Broad Street to Tinubu Square will be available to Motorists, adding that they can equally access Old Defense road/ Ganiyu Smith from Water Board to link Igbosere/Sandgrouse to Simpson Street and connect Third Mainland Bridge to continue their journeys to other parts of the State.

The Transport Commissioner reiterated that Security and Law Enforcement Agencies will be at all strategic junctions and intersections to ensure the safety and security of all road users and the free flow of traffic within the perimeter of the venue and alternative routes outside the venue.

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Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

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Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

…Agrees there are human-induced challenges***

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said in Abuja on Thursday that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) produced more than 1.7 million passports in 2022.

Fielding questions at the 64th edition of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, Aregbesola said the figure was a landmark achievement.

He rated the Ministry of Interior and its agencies as having scored above 80 percent in terms of performance.

“By Dec. 31, 2022, we produced more than 1.7 million passports.

“In the annals of Nigeria that has not happened before; as I am talking to you, we have more than 200,000 booklets in our store.

“We are not denying the fact that there are human-induced challenges if you look at the number of applications, vis-a-vis the number of passports produced.

“We are above 80 percent in performance; in any way, take it as given that we produced more than 1.7 passports in 2022,’’ Aregbesola said.

The minister said that a presidential directive had been issued with regard to the domestication of passport production.

He said the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the NIS, had impanelled a “project steering committee’ with a mandate to actualise the goal.

Aregbesola also said there was a major reformation and digitisation of passport issuance and administration as a temporary electronic passport had been introduced.

“We are digitising the process; my plan was to fully digitise the Ikoyi Registry in Lagos by Dec. 2022 but I could not fully achieve that.

“What does that mean? When this process is concluded, an applicant does not need to bring anything anymore; you complete your process online and by that time, you don’t need an agent.

“There can’t be racketeering. I am on it and I want to guarantee that we will do it before we leave.

“We have also concluded arrangements on the temporary passport issue; we have the passport, but we have some issues with our sister ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we are solving it,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the temporary passport will facilitate a return to Nigeria for Nigerians living abroad if they need to get back in emergencies and did not have current passports.

Such Nigerians would return home, carrying their expired passports also, the minister said.

“Much as that won’t be a problem for us to take at our reception desk, some airlines could be difficult.

“I can even tell you that we are discussing with South Africa now; South Africa does not allow the use of expired passports as a nation contrary to International Civil Aviation Orgnanisation (ICAO) regulation.

“ICAO says that every citizen of a nation dead or alive cannot be denied entry to his home; which is logical anyway.

“The last time I treated a file from South Africa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they were insisting that if one’s passport is not current, one cannot be taken in or out of South Africa’s space.

“It is their policy; you cannot deny a nation its national policies and programmes.

“To avoid that, we introduced what is called temporary electronic passport; it is a one-way passport to return home,’’ Aregbesola explained.

He said that under the temporary passport regime, citizens who had the data pages of their expired passports could take them to Nigeria’s embassies to get the temporary electronic passport after paying the appropriate fees.

“The temporary electronic passports are almost exactly the same as their expired passports.

“It does not have more than one page to take you home; when you hold the electronic passport, you cannot go anywhere but home.

“We are still in negotiation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’’ Aregbesola said.

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