Reports had emerged online on Tuesday claiming that Governor Obiano was stopped from returning to Nigeria because of an altercation he had with some airport officials.
But reacting through the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, described the story as fabricated by Obiano’s political opponents.
He said: “The governor travelled with a diplomatic passport. So, the story is rubbish. It’s nonsensical and foolish to think that somebody with a diplomatic passport can be stopped from returning to his country for any reason by airport authorities.
“We know the author of that garbage. He is an aide to a governorship aspirant. He was jobless until he was engaged recently by the aspirant and he wants to impress his paymaster.”
The National Coordinator of the All Progressives Grand Alliance Media Warriors, Chinedu Obigwe said, “The return of the governor to the country clothed the opposition elements behind the fabricated tissue of lies with shame.”
Nigeria has never aspired to make the Republic of Benin or any other country a part of its territory, the spokesman of the nation’s foreign ministry, Ferdinand Nwonye, said Saturday.
Reactions have trailed the statement earlier made by Nigeria’s foreign minister, Godfrey Onyeama, who suggested that Benin wanted to become Nigeria’s 37th state after a meeting of both countries’ presidents and their respective ministerial delegations earlier in the month.
“The president of Benin said as far as they are concerned, they want (not just saying it like that) but in reality, Benin should be the 37th state of Nigeria,” Mr Onyeama told reporters, an audio of which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.
“We should really be one. They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship,” he added.
But the ministry appears to have walked back Mr Onyeama’s statement by saying the minister was quoted out of context.
“The honourable minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in the presence of his counterpart from the Republic of Benin granted a press interview after a very fruitful meeting between ministerial delegations from both countries,” the ministry’s statement read.
The statement further said that what the minister meant was that: “… the President of Benin Republic said he would like the relations between the two countries to be so close as if Benin was the 37th State of Nigeria.”
French-speaking Benin flanks Nigeria to the west, and both countries have been embroiled in a cold diplomatic row in recent years after the Nigerian government accused its Bénin counterpart of not doing enough to check smuggling through its borders into Nigeria.
This informed why the Nigerian government shut its borders in 2019, a move criticized by some back home and seen as an economic sanction on the tiny African neighbour. The Nigerian government reopened the border last year after over a year of closure.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama says President Patrice Talon has expressed readiness to cede the Benin Republic to become Nigeria’s 37th state.
Onyeama disclosed this to newsmen after a closed-door meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Aurélien Agbenonci,
The minister said the Beninoise president made the offer for the country to become Nigeria’s 37th state when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari a few weeks ago.
“The President of Benin says that as far as they are concerned, they want in reality for Benin to be the 37th state of Nigeria.
“We should really be one. They charged us to come together at the ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship.”
The Minister added that both presidents also discussed agreements between the two countries to put an end to the issue of smuggling.
LEDing Medical laboratory in Accra has described as fake Coronavirus test results being given by some Nigerian airlines in their name at the Kotoka International Aiport.
According to a traveller, Portia Kissi Adu who traveled to Lagos on Sunday, the airline officials insisted to do a new COVID-19 test for her since they do not recognise the one she had done at Noguchi.
“When I boarded the flight, a gentleman brought my results and asked that I pay GHC700 which I obliged to pay via mobile money. When I got to Nigeria, I wasn’t asked to pay the $135, and to date, I haven’t paid the GHC700 I was being asked to pay by the flight officials,” she told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Wednesday.
Reacting to the development, a part-owner of the LEDing laboratory Dr. Prince Pambo said steps are being taken to report the matter to the Ghana Airport Company and other regulatory authorities.
“Our response to the story is very simple, the certificate is completely fake and not coming from LEDING. If you come to our lab, we do not have any seven-digit code as is shown on this one. We state categorically that the fake COVID cert is not from us. If this name and number is entered into our system you will not get anything like that.
“Immediate steps are being taken to report the matter to authorities of the Ghana Aiport Company limited, a report is being made to the Ghana Police and all other relevant bodies,” he told Starr News Wednesday.
So far, 416 people have died from the deadly disease according to the President with the current active cases shooting up to 5, 358.
Currently, Ghana has 170 and 44 persons in severe and critical conditions respectively.
The President also urges churches and mosques to strictly implement covid-19 protocols adding that government will take delivery of first covid-19 vaccines by March 2020.
The Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the report in the Saturday Telegraph of January 9, 2021, allegedly linking the Embassy of Nigeria in France with passport racketeering was false.
‘The Ministry wishes to strongly refute the allegations in the report and state for the records that the Embassy of Nigeria in France is not engaged in such act.
‘The Ministry also wishes to emphasise that the allegation that applicants pay between 150-500 Euros for passports that cost 90 Euros is completely false. The fees for passport applications, which is the equivalent of 106 USD, are the same at Nigerian Missions worldwide. The information on the current charges and official procedure for services at the Embassy are well publicised,’ Nwonye said.
Nwonye also said the Embassy’s current online appointment system for applicants seeking passport and consular services was introduced over a year ago to promote transparency, streamline applications and ensure crowd control.
He added that in line with current regulations, Nigerians were expected to book for their appointments through the medium and only those with confirmed appointments were attended to.
‘The Ministry wishes to inform that the embassy has not engaged any agent or third party individuals to liaise with Nigerians when seeking appointments for its services and no one is expected to pay any hidden charges for services rendered at the Embassy. Therefore, Nigerians in France are advised to avoid dealing with anyone outside the Embassy or engage in any unofficial procedure when applying for a passport or any other consular services,’ Nwonye also said.
The spokesperson added that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 measures and the surge in the number of applicants who book for appointments, the Embassy currently had online passport applications bookings until the end of March 2021, which were being treated expeditiously.
‘The Ministry assures that the Nigerian Embassy in France will continue to efficiently render its services with professionalism and in line with COVID-19 health regulations,’ Nwonye further said.
The Nigerian government has responded to the move by the United States government to place Nigeria on a religious freedom blacklist, following complaints of Christian groups on rising insecurity in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed in a statement on Tuesday, described the allegation as a case of an honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of violence in Nigeria.
”Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does it have a policy of religious persecution. Victims of insecurity and terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions,” he said.
The minister further emphasized that Nigeria jealously protects religious freedom as enshrined in the country’s constitution and takes seriously any infringements in this regard.
Earlier on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom, the rare inclusion of a fellow democracy in the US effort to shame nations into action.
Apart from Nigeria, other nations on the blacklist include Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which both have historic albeit complicated alliances with the United States, as well as China and Iran, arch-rivals for President Donald Trump’s administration.
The other nations on the list are Eritrea, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce has denied paying ransom to kidnappers who abducted a Chinese in Ekiti state and faulted some sections of the Nigerian media for publicising an unverified story about the incident.
The Chamber in a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja on Friday, however, cautioned that dissemination and circulation of unverified misinformation posed severe potential security risks to the Chinese business community in Nigeria.
The group also said the report was capable of tarnishing the reputation of Nigeria’s business environment, which according to it, is gradually improving.
“The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce has recently noticed a news report published by various Nigerian media outlets, which quoted a so-called insider disclosure of an astronomical ransom paid to kidnappers in Ekiti State during the rescue operation of one unfortunate Chinese abductee.
“The so-called “disclosure” has already been debunked by the Ekiti State police authority. And after seeking verification from the involved company and various sources, the Chamber has confirmed that the narrative in the reports contradicts with fact in many ways and is far from being authentic.
“The public dissemination and circulation of such unverified misinformation is certainly acquiescence towards such felony offences, posing severe potential security risks towards the Chinese business community, and rendering grave threat towards every single diligent Chinese expatriate and other foreign nationals living in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, such a report would tarnish the reputation of Nigeria’s business environment, which is gradually improving under the co-endeavour of the federal government and every patriotic Nigerian, causing great panic and hesitation among potential foreign investors,” the Chamber said.
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NDICOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has denied the Nigerian government's involvement in yesterday's arrest of some Nigerians protesting against police brutality in Cairo, Egypt.
She also explained that the Nigerians were not arrested at the Nigerian Embassy but at another location.
In a video that surfaced online, the Nigerians were seen chanting solidarity songs.
While the policemen attempted to disperse them at the Nigerian Embassy, the protesters continuously chanted #EndSARS.
One of the protesters in the video explained to the policemen that the protest was not against police authorities in Egypt.
Another protester was heard clarifying that by protesting at the Nigerian Embassy, they are believed to be in their country - Nigeria.
A Twitter user, @DrOlufunmilayo, alleged that "Nigerians were having a peaceful protest in Cairo, Egypt today (Sunday) and the Nigerian Embassy called Egyptian police to arrest them. 20 people now arrested. How can Nigerians be arrested for peaceful gathering in a Nigerian embassy?"
"Consular to Nigeria Embassy in Cairo, Egypt refused to interact with peaceful protesters. They were all arrested shortly after their demands to speak with the consular," another tweep, @AdebayoApanpa, added.
But Dabiri, explained that Egypt has rules guiding public gathering.
Dabiri said this while reacting to a tweet by popular actress, Toyin Abraham, who had said, "Aunty Abike @abikedabiri, please we are waiting to hear from you ma. The peaceful protesters that were arrested in Cairo should be released."
Replying to the tweet, the NIDCOM boss said, "The Egyptian police dispersed them, then traced them to a very far place. They didn't arrest them at the mission. They came in a bus driven by an Egyptian. The driver has also been arrested. The mission will do all they can. Egypt is very very strict with its laws.
Nigerian mission did not call Police. In Cairo, gatherings without permits are banned. In Egypt you can't even travel from one part of the country without a permit to travel from the state you live . They have their own rules which they strictly enforce. https://t.co/cKpfzmWiqh
Abike Dabiri-Erewa (@abikedabiri) October 18, 2020
"Nigerian mission did not call Police. In Cairo, gatherings without permits are banned. In Egypt, you can't even travel from one part of the country without a permit to travel from the state you live in. They have their own rules which they strictly enforce.
"However, the mission will be engaging with the Authorities to see what can be done."
A source with the Transitional Sovereign Council in Sudan denied reports that the council discussed normalization with Israel earlier this week nor will it discuss it during a meeting Thursday.
The source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity, said normalization with Israel was “not on the meeting agenda” and the meeting Thursday “has nothing to do with Israel, from near or far."
Israeli news channel i24, citing unnamed sources, reported that the Council met Wednesday and after arduous discussions decided to normalize relations with Israel.
Sudanese and Arab media said the US gave Sudan a 24-hour ultimatum to respond to an offer made to Khartoum to normalize with Tel Aviv in exchange for removing Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Sudan was placed on the list in 1993 on accusations it supports terror groups.
In 1997, Washington imposed economic sanctions on Sudan and tightened them a year later after attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Qamar al-Din said Oct. 9 that Sudan’s “relationship with Israel is subject to discussion, but should not be mixed with the removal of Sudan's name from the American terrorism list."
The head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, held talks Sept. 23 on a host of issues, including the Arab-Israeli peace, with a US delegation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Israeli and American media reports said at the time Khartoum requested from the US that it remove it from its terror list and wanted a billion-dollar package in assistance in exchange for normalization with Tel Aviv.
Sudanese political forces announced categorical rejection of normalization amid talks of a possible Sudanese dead after the UAE and Bahrain signed US-sponsored normalization agreements with Israel in Washington in last month.
The two Gulf states ignored widespread Arab popular rejection in what was seen as a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinian Authority insists that any deal with Israel should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative on the principle of "land for peace" and not "peace for peace" as Israel claims.
US ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter denied reports suggesting that his government was considering the action against Kenyan officials for curtailing freedom of speech, assembly and association in the country.
The ambassador who spoke in Kirinyaga county said that he is not aware of such a move terming the claims as false.
“ As far as am concerned there is no such a move by the USA these are rumours, I don’t know such information and personally I have no powers to do so “, he said while urging Kenyans to watch out for fake reports.The envoy declined to comment on the controversial public order act that has drawn backlash from politicians and the media fraternity.
He was however clear that the US will not sit and watch youths being incited by politicians to cause mayhem in the country.
The ambassador spoke during his visit to Kirinyaga county government.
He also said that those who will be found culpable with the losses of covid 19 funds will face stern measures from his government.