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#EndSARS: Nigeria’s President Buhari, Lagos Governor Meet Behind Closed Doors

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State behind closed doors where he received pictorial reports on properties damaged by hoodlums during #EndSARS protests in the state.

Mr Sunday Aghaeze, the Personal Assistant to the President (Photography), confirmed this via pictorial reports on the meeting.

“The governor presented a report on the extent of the destruction suffered by Lagos State in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests,” one of the captions of the pictures indicated.

The governor, however, declined to take questions from State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting.

It would be recalled that similar report on the aftermath of the #ENDSARs protest by the Ministers from the south west zone of the country was presented to the president during the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, submitted the report on behalf of the affected ministers where they urged the Federal Government to support Lagos State to restore damaged facilities.

They particularly appealed for the immediate repair of those facilities related to the maintenance of law and order, and the administration of justice such as police stations, court buildings and forensic laboratory in the state.

Buhari had in Oct. 21 sent members of the Federal Executive Council to their home states, with a view to solicit the support of stakeholders including political, traditional, religious and community leaders against the violence that emanated from EndSARS protests.

The presidential directive was also meant to douse tensions that resulted from the EndSARS protests across the country.

Fashola said: “The other matter in which I briefed council on behalf of ministers from the South-West namely, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, representing Ekiti; Rauf Aregbesola, representing Osun, Sunday Dare, representing Oyo, Olamilekan Adegbite, representing Ogun, Olorunimbe Memora, Lagos and Tayo Alasoadura, representing Ondo, was in regard to how we executed the directive on the Oct. 21 to ministers, for us to visit our states’ governors.

“So, we first met and then met with governors. After meeting with the governors, the position of the governors was that Lagos being the epic center, commercial and strategic city state in the South-West is where we should all go.

“That was what informed our visit to Lagos. So, I just briefed council about the reports that were presented to us by the Lagos State Government when we visited.’’

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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Figure, Biti, Released on Bail after Assault Charges

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Zimbabwe’s former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, has been released on bail after he was arrested and charged yesterday for allegedly assaulting a Russian national.

Biti, who is the vice president of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was granted a $10,000 bail after spending the night behind bars.

Provincial head magistrate in Harare, Vongai Muchuchuti, set the case against the 53 years old for trial on January 18.

Biti’s arrest follows an incident at the Harare Magistrates Court on November 30 where there was an exchange of words between him and Russian national Tatiana Aleshina, who is involved in a property dispute with one of Biti’s clients.

Biti, who denies wrongdoing, admits calling Aleshina an “idiot”, but maintains that there was no physical confrontation.

Writing on Twitter after his arrest on Friday, Biti said: “I have been stuck at CID Law and Order since 11 AM being charged with the most spurious, the most desperate of all charges.

“It is said I called someone an idiot and that is said to be an assault. No amount of harassment will prevent us from fighting and exposing corruption. They want to detain me overnight, so be it.”

According to his party, Biti, who is a qualified lawyer, only crime was unearthing anti-graft scandal against Aleshina, the complainant.

“Biti’s only crime is unearthing the corruption scandal concerning the Harare Airport Road land deal involving the complainant, Aleshina and businessmen linked to (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa,” the MDC said in a tweet.

His lawyer Alec Muchadehama also argued that Zimbabwean police “not working on their own.

“There is an external force telling them what to do and who to arrest,” he said.

Biti has previously been charged with treason, among other criminal offences.

Zimbabwean police have in the past arrested several opposition officials, which the party argues is a way of weakening their struggle against the ruling ZANU PF.

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COVID-19: Kenyan Lawmaker Seeks Dedicated Road Lanes For Ambulances

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A Kenyan lawmaker, Nominated Senator Iman Falhada Dekow, has asked the parliament to create designated special lanes on major roads and highways for ambulances.

According to Dekow, creating designated road lanes for ambulances will ease emergency medical evacuation during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

She noted that the Traffic Act 403 Section 119 provides special treatment of ambulances when they are taking people to hospital but most drivers in the East African country make it hard for the vehicles to rush patients in need of emergency medical services to the hospitals.

Dekow said most motorists do not give way for the ambulances forcing them to manoeuvre traffic yet they are carrying critical patients.

“It is important that traffic police enforce traffic rules and ensure motorists who block ambulances are arrested,” she said.

She said the trend is common in towns with high traffic levels, such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa.

The Traffic Act 403 Section 119 validates traffic Rule 83, which states that: “Drivers should give right of way upon hearing sirens indicating the approach of police vehicles, ambulances or fire engines.”

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and without a coordinated response to these incidents; there is a potential of unnecessary increase in morbidity and mortality,” Dekow said.

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US Removes All Visa Reciprocity Fees For Nigerians

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Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday disclosed that the United States has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians seeking visas to the US with effect from December 3.

Ferdinand Nwonye, the foreign ministry spokesman, in a statement, said the move was sequel to the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for American citizens applying for Nigerian visas.

The statement was titled, ‘Update on the removal of visa fees for Nigerian citizens by the US Government,’ advised prospective travellers to the US to visit www.travel.state.gov for details.”

Nwonye said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.

“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian
Government.

“The United States Government has, therefore, eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”

The United States had imposed reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians in 2019. The fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants who are issued visas.

The additional reciprocity fees which ranged from $80 to $303 depending on the class of visa, took effect from August 29 last year.

The US Embassy in Nigeria said the reciprocity fees were in response to unsuccessful talks with Nigeria to adjust the fees it charges American applicants.

It argued that the total cost for a US citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria was higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.

The Mission insisted that the reciprocity fee was meant to eliminate the cost difference as required by US laws.

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