Guinea-Bissau has arrested and detained its migration agency boss, Col. Alassana Diallo, over his alleged involvement in cocaine trafficking.
The Police in the West African country say Diallo was taken into custody last Friday.
Domingos Monteiro, deputy director of the judicial police, on Tuesday, alleged that the migration boss took 83 capsules of cocaine for himself after they had been seized at the Bissau airport.
Diallo became one of the most senior officials in the West African country detained in connection with drug smuggling.
Guinea-Bissau is a major crossing point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe.
Experts and diplomats say some military and political officials are heavily involved in the trade.
Monteiro said that after the drugs were seized by the judicial police in March, National Guard soldiers burst into a police station to free the suspected dealer and take the cocaine.
“The soldiers said they were acting on orders from their boss,’’ Monteiro said.
At the time, Diallo was head of criminal investigations for the National Guard.
Diallo’s lawyer, Carlitos Diedhiou, confirmed his client’s arrest, however, said he could not comment further on the case.
He said Diallo would be questioned by prosecutors later.
Military officers in Guinea-Bissau have often opposed efforts by the judicial police to crack down on smuggling and have intervened to free suspected traffickers.
A former navy chief pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiring to import narcotics into the U.S. after he was nabbed in a sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Guinea-Bissau police made two of their largest ever cocaine seizures in 2019, including a 1.8 tonne haul in September.
In April, a court convicted 12 people of smuggling the drugs; however, the two alleged kingpins of the operation remain at large.
China Honours 49 Nigerians
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria has honoured 49 Nigerian employees of Chinese companies operating in Nigeria for their outstanding performances and contributions to strengthening diplomatic ties between both countries.
Mr Zhao Yong, Charge D’ Affaires of the embassy, presented N100,000 cash awards to each of the 49 beneficiaries on Monday in Abuja.
Zhao said the award ceremony was organised to commemorate both countries’ independence anniversary on Oct. 1 and 49 years of friendship and bilateral relations.
He commended the employees whose contributions, he said, had led to Nigeria’s development, especially in the area of infrastructure.
According to him, China and Nigeria have a long history of great friendship and solidarity, both of which have grown tremendously over the years.
He said that such friendship and solidarity would continue to grow stronger.
Zhao said both countries also gave each other invaluable support at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“The coming Oct. 1 marks the 60th anniversary of the Independence of Nigeria, as well as the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“Celebrating Oct. 1st together constitutes a unique bond between China and Nigeria.
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank Nigerian employees in local Chinese companies for your contributions to the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.
“With joint efforts, tangible results have been made in many areas, especially in the area of infrastructure.
“Next February will mark the 50th anniversary of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations.
“Let us work together to uplift China-Nigeria relations to new heights for the benefits of two peoples and country,” Zhao said.
Zhao said that in response to COVID-19, China would continue to support Nigeria.
He recalled that China was the first country to offer assistance to Nigeria when COVID-19 broke out in the country.
The deputy Charge d’ Affaires said that during the period, the Chinese government donated two large batches of medical supplies to Nigeria as aid.
According tom him, the third batch, which has already arrived the country will be delivered soon.
Zhao said the local Chinese community was extending its helping hand with the donation of masks and medical gloves, among other supplies and equipment.
He said that statistics from the China General Chambers of Commerce revealed that the total value of materials and funds donated by the local Chinese private stakeholders to Nigeria amounted to N3 billion.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Miss Nininlola Fafore, Public Relations Director, Huawei Nigeria, lauded the Chinese government for its sustained support and development to different sectors in Nigeria.
Fafore said as a Chinese company, Huawei was able to use its telecommunication expertise to ensure work continuity in a virtual space even at the height of the pandemic.
“This is an opportunity and event to celebrate the National Day for China on their 71st year and also the 60th year for Nigeria.
“It is an important thing to understand how much we have come together with China.
“China has brought so much growth and development to different sectors in Nigeria, across several industries.
“Without your support I do not think we would have had such growth in ICT development that runs across other industries, this has been a great support.
“We thank God we have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19. Support for provision of mask.
“Huawei has done a lot working directly with the Federal Government by provision of protective wear and aiding the continuous work in the virtual space for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and staff.
“We have been able to provide the network devices and have been able to provide tele-presence devices to the Federal government and even the President was impressed at what we have done,” Fafore said.
Fafore added that aside contributing to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Huawei has produced more than 20,000 Engineers in Nigeria who have moved from vendors to operators and working abroad in extreme position.
The Oct. 1 awards for China-Nigeria friendship began in 2018.
So far, it has been granted to 14 batches with a total of 670 recipients.
Students also receive such awards for their diligence and as a way of promoting friendship between both countries.
#NigeriansMustGo Trends In South Africa
South Africans have taken to social media to show their displeasure at Nigerians, making NigeriansMustGo the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Africa’s most industrialised nation.
The hashtag on the microblogging platform comes days after a small protest was held outside the Nigerian High Commission in the capital, Pretoria, under the banner #PutSouthAfricansFirst.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Bala Kabiru, said not all Nigerians in South Africa could be branded as criminals.
“We don’t accept the profiling of Nigerians in South Africa,” he was quoted by local as saying.
The latest hashtag has been partly fuelled by a report in local media that a police raid led to five Nigerians being arrested and charged with human trafficking after 11 women were found to be working as sex workers at brothels disguised as a bed-and-breakfast.
Last week, Digital Forensic Research Lab – which is made up of forensic researchers who track conflicts – said it had identified a dismissed lance corporal in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as running a fake Twitter account used to fuel xenophobia. The former soldier has not commented.
Some South Africans accuse immigrants of taking the jobs of locals, and of being involved in crime.
Others say that most immigrants are law-abiding, and should not be blamed for South Africa’s economic and social problems.
During last week’s protest, Nigeria’s High Commissioner Bala Kabiru said: “We don’t accept the profiling of Nigerians in South Africa.”
43 Nigerian Women Repatriated From Lebanon
The Lebanese community in Nigeria has sponsored the repatriation of 43 Nigerian women stranded in their country.
The women landed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 2 pm on Sunday, aboard Middle East Airlines aircraft with registration number OD-MEA/sub.
Mr Philip Wehbe, Public Relations Officer of the Lebanese Community, commended aviation minister Hadi Sirika for the approval granted for the flight towards achieving the feat.
Wehbe further commended members of the committee that gathered funds for the flight.
He listed sponsors of the trip to include the Chairman of Silverwings, Mr Mahmoud Said, and Chairman of RIACTA Ltd, Mr Elie Aboufarhat.
Others are the Chairman of S.J. ABED Ltd, Mr Donald Abed, and Chairman of Apple and Pear Ltd, Mr Habib Jaafar.
Some of the women regretted ever going to Lebanon to seek for greener pasture.
They claimed that they were “severely maltreated” in Lebanon and had to “run for our lives”.
“We are happy to be back home. We shall remain in Nigeria and do any legitimate business to survive. We appreciate those that arranged for this repatriation and shall continue to pray for them,” they said.
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