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FG engages US over suspension of drop box visa

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Nigerians visiting America, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said.

Onyeama however lamented most of the unpleasant migrant decisions taken by some countries were triggered by the negative perceptions about few Nigerians who do not obey the rules of those countries.

He spoke on Tuesday during an interactive session with the Diplomatic Correspondents on his stewardship.

The issue of migration is a challenge and such a sensitive topic because the US has just suspended the drop box for visas renewals

“And a lot of it is that they released statistics to show that 10 per cent of people who overstayed their visas globally are Nigerians.

“Those who do not obey the rule of other countries’ have more negative impact on those who obeyed.

“The issue of those who overstayed their visa is a real issue. We have engaged with the US government over it.

“We are just trying to work through them and they are looking at various alternative and solutions and to make less difficult for the genuine visitors and the like.

“Things like you have to have guarantor or surety and the like all those things are what they are trying to apply to really address this prickly issue,” he said.

He said the ministry was doing what it could to ensure the issue of the recent suspension of drop box for visas renewal does not affect genuine visitors to the US.

 “We are doing what we can they (U.S. Embassy) told me that notwithstanding the suspension of drop box mechanism that there would be expedited interview for certain people.

“And that there would be that flexibility to request for interview that might make it easier for those seeking visa,” he said.

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Soldier, two NSCDC operatives shot dead in Rivers

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A soldier and two operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were shot dead on Sunday following a gun duel with suspected militants in Rivers.

The security operatives were killed and their weapons carted away while preventing militants from vandalising an oil and gas facility in Gio community, Tai area of Rivers.

Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the spokesman of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, confirmed the killings in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.

“The suspected militants attacked troops of 29 Battalion, 6 Division, with personnel of NSCDC in the early hours of Sunday.

“The team which was guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Trans National Pipelines (TNP) in Gio community prevented the militants from vandalising 24 and 28 of the TNP.

“Unfortunately, during the ensuing gunfire, one soldier and two personnel of NSCDC lost their lives and their weapons, one AK 47 and two G3 rifles, carted away by the assailants,” he said.

Iliyasu said the army later deployed more troops to the area with intent to apprehend the fleeing militants as well as other criminals in the community.

He said the cordon and search operation led to another gun duel with alleged cultists and an oil bunkering kingpin wanted by security agencies in the state.

The spokesman said Korobe Menele, a prime suspect in the killing of the security operatives, was shot dead in the gun duel with troops.

“At about 9 a.m. on Sunday, troops acting on reliable intelligence sighted a white Toyota Hilux that was without number plate. The vehicle was hastily driven with four occupants.

“Efforts to stop the vehicle by troops at a check point were ignored. However, troops chased the speeding vehicle and caught up with it around Kira Junction, along Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic.

“Sensing danger, the occupants opened fire at troops in a bid to escape. But, troops reacted and incapacitated the militants vehicle.

“Thereafter, they abandoned their vehicle and fled into the bush. However, one of the criminals was gunned down and was later identified as Korob Menele, a notorious cultist and oil bunkering kingpin,” he said.

Iliyasu said troops were currently on the trail of the three other fleeing suspects who had sustained gunshot injuries during the exchange of gunfire with soldiers.

He listed items recovered from the vehicle as one K2 rifle, two magazines with 52 rounds of 5.56mm one number plate, KRK 95DP Rivers, and some personal effects, including documents.

According to him, the body of the suspected cultist and recovered items had been handed over to NSCDC for further action.

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Boko Haram suicide bombing in Konduga kills 17

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A triple suicide bombing by Boko Haram jihadists killed 17 people in the northeastern Nigerian town of Konduga, emergency services said Monday.

Three bombers detonated their explosives outside a location where football fans were watching a match on TV on Sunday evening, they said.

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Buhari urges universities to intensify inventions to assist national development

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged universities to intensify efforts at making discoveries and inventions that can assist the development of the country.

Buhari made the call in Dutsinma, Katsina State, in a goodwill message to the fourth convocation of the Federal University,  Dutsinma (FUDMA).

Represented by Professor Hafiz Abubakar, the former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Buhari said that part of the speech would serve as a wake-up call to the nation’s universities.

“Research, critical thinking, moral dispositions, discoveries and inventions should find natural habitats in our universities, as they do in several other universities in the world.

“Universities are supposed to be strong drivers of the country’s development initiatives for sustainable development,” he said.

He challenged the universities for being slow in aspects of discoveries and inventions.

“It is not heart-warming that in our over 58 years of independence, Nigerian universities are slow in discoveries and inventions,” he said.

He, however, said that his administration would continue to do everything possible to improve structures and facilities in the institutions, and to enhance learning by training the required manpower through various interventions like TETFUND.

Buhari also urged FUDMA to partner with Sokoto River Basin Development Authority to produce improved agricultural varieties and give the required scientific and extension support to the local farmers.

He said that this would enhance the farmers’ productivity and economic viability.

In his remarks, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Adamu Baba-Kutigi, said that 430 students were graduating from the institution for the 2017/2018 session.

According to him, the university, whose vision is to be among the top-ranking universities in the world, has seven faculties that run about 40 programmes.

He disclosed that the institution had established micro finance bank, university farm, printing press and a shopping mall to enhance its internally generated revenue.

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