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Federal Executive Council approves N628 million for Abuja Airport

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The Federal Executive Council has approved a variation of N628 million for the new runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi stated this to Journalists at the end of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the Minister, said the variation consists of more or less an additional work on the runway.

“The Ministry of Transportation had two memoranda approved at the meeting. One of them had to do with the variation of cost for the Abuja runway which came earlier in April but was stepped down for the Ministry to liaise in terms of pricing with the Ministry of Works. That was done and brought back to cabinet. The work was reviewed and the cabinet approved the increase of N628, 123, 590.06 as variation on the job. Actually what we refer to as variation is an additional work that we ran into in the cause of the construction or repair of the runway,” he said.
The Transport Minister further said the Council approved the sum of N1.2 billion for the procurement of Pilot quarters for Tincan and Apapa Ports all in Lagos.
He said: “We have what we refer to as Pilot quarters, these are vessels that convey pilots, who move ships or vessels form point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and currently we have Pilot quarters everywhere, excluding Tincan and Apapa, which constitute the Western Ports so we came to Cabinet to request that they award the contract to enable us purchase the two pilot quarters to serve both Tincan and Apapa. That was approved; it was awarded at N1, 210, 385, 255. 37.”

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Nigeria Names Fifth Commander in Under 2 Years To Lead Fight Against Boko Haram

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Nigeria has named its fifth commander in less than 2 years to lead the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, the army said on Saturday, a move military sources say was related to continued attacks by Islamists.

The attacks could hurt President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances of re-election in Feb. 2019. He campaigned in 2015 vowing to end the insurgency but the conflict is entering its 10th year with attacks by Boko Haram and a group that splintered from it, the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA).

Major General Abba Dikko, who in July took over command of Operation Lafiya Dole, has been replaced as the head of that operation by Major General Benson Akinroluyo, the army said in an emailed statement that outlined dozens of redeployments.

Dikko has been moved to the Department of Civil Military Affairs to fill the position of chief of civil military affairs.

“The Nigerian Army has redeployed some of its officers from Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Delta Safe, as well as over stayed officers from the theatre as part of routine posting,” the army said in the statement.

Two military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was redeployed because of attacks by Islamists since he took over.

Since July, when Dikko was appointed, dozens of Nigerian troops have been killed in battles with militants and ISWA killed two abducted aid workers.

Soldiers also staged a protest at an airport in September.

An army spokesman did not immediately respond to text messages and phone calls seeking further details on the decision to replace Dikko as the head of the fight against Islamists just months after he took the role.


Reuter

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Diezani Alison-Madueke to be extradited from UK—EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process for the extraditing former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke from the United Kingdom has begun.
Acting Spokesman of the commission, Mr Tony Orilade, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
There have been calls from different quarters for the extradition of the former minister over several allegations of impropriety against her.
According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process, and that process has commenced.
He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.
“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.
“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package.
“This extradition is just an aspect of Diezani’s investigation and commencement of trial,” he said.
In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government.
Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.
Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.
“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”
In October, 2017, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Alison -Madueke back home to face trial.
Alison -Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.
But, Malami said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried on her in the UK.
“Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Alison -Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that.
“As things stand now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her,’’ he had said.
The EFCC spokesman could not, however, say the point at which it became necessary to seek extradition of the former minister.

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Nigerian Army redeploys 103 senior officers

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The Nigerian Army has redeployed 103 officers amongst who is Major General Abba Dikko, the Commander and Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole.
This was stated in a press release issued by the Army Headquarters, Abuja, through its Director of Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu.
According to the statement, the routine posting which affected 103 officers including Majors and Captains is aimed at injecting new hands to further actualize the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai which is: ‘To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles’.
It will be recalled that before this redeployment, the Chief of Army Staff had earlier sent goodwill messages to the troops congratulating them for their bravery, alertness and doggedness in the ongoing fight against boko haram terrorists.
Also redeployed is Major General Jamil Sarham; who is to remain at the Headquarters, 6 Division as the General Officer Commanding/Land Component Commander, then, Major General Nuhu Angbazo who now moves to Headquarters 3 Division as the General Officer Commanding, while Major General Benson Akinroluyo redeployed from Headquarters 3 Division to Headquarters Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole as Commander.
Others are Major General Victor Ezugwu from Depot Nigerian Army to Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Major General Adeyemi Adetayo from Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Department of Army Standard and Evaluation as Director Procurement and Projects and Brigadier General Ifiok Obot redeployed from Headquarters Operation Delta Safe to Nigerian Army University Biu as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Military).
Others as contained in the statement are Brigadier General Olufemi Dada from Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) as Director Combat Development, Brigadier General Solomon Udounwa redeployed to Defence Headquarters as Deputy Director Campaign planning, Brigadier General Adekunle Adesope from Department of Army Standard and Evaluation to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff as Acting Director in the Directorate of Audit and Financial Management.
Also, Brigadier General Caleb Dalhatu moves from Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre to Headquarters 81 Division Garrison as Commander, Brigadier General Abdu Hassan redeployed from Headquarters 2 Brigade to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre as Chief of Staff (COS), Brigadier General Kabir Mukhtar from Headquarters 81 Division Garrison to Headquarters Department of Army Administration as Acting Director Manpower, Brigadier General Nasiru Jega redeployed to Headquarters 2 Brigade as Commander, Brigadier General Sani Mohammed moves from Department of Administration to Depot Nigerian Army as Acting Commandant.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Kevin Aligbe is to remain in Headquarters 16 Brigade as Commander, while Colonel Adamu Nura from Headquarters 21 Special Armour Brigade is to move to Nigerian Army Armour School as Chief Instructor. Colonel Louis Lepdung is redeployed from Headquarters 25 Task Force Brigade to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre as Deputy Director Research and Development.
Likewise, Colonel Kingsley Umoh from Administration Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Defence Headquarters as Assistant Director Defence Information and Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya moves from Headquarters 3 Division Army Public Relations to Defence Headquarters Garrison Army Public Relations as Deputy Director Army Public Relations.

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‘You can’t be Vice President’ – El-Rufai hits Peter Obi again

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Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has attacked former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi again.

El-Rufai, in his latest attack, said Obi, who is the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was not qualified to serve as Vice President in Nigeria.

 

The Governor had in his first attack on Obi claimed that recalled that Obi supported his (El-Rufai’s) arrest by the State Security Service, SSS in 2014 on the ground that “El-Rufai has no business being in Anambra State as it is not Katsina State”!

Obi had since responded to the Governor’s claim, saying he would only pray for him.

But in another tweet on Saturday evening, El-Rufai said, “Any person that doesn’t recognize the human right of every citizen to move freely, live and work in any part of Nigeria, but implies that though foreigners can observe elections in his state, other Nigerians may only do so in their states of origin is not fit to be VP of Nigeria!”

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GLITZ, ENCOMIUM AS EZE CHUKWUEMEKA ERI CONFERS CHIEFTAINCY TITLE (ADAERI N’IDUU ERI) ON CHIEF HON. UJU EDOCHIE.

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BY MADUABUCHI NWALIEJI

AGULERI, 10th Nov, 2018— It was a gathering of creme de la creme in Anambra state at both the Obu-Gad palace of His Majesty, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri, Eze Akajiovo Igbo, the traditional ruler of Enugwu Autonomous community Aguleri in Anambra East LGA, Anambra State and the country home of Chief Hon Uju Ifunanya Edochie, the Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Media and publicity.

At the conferment ceremony which took place at the Eze’s ancient palace, under the watchful eyes of Ndichie Enugwu Aguleri, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri explained that conferring a chieftaincy title on an indigene of Enugwu Aguleri is an indication that such a recipient has made a significant impact to the progressive community. He therefore charged Chief Hon Uju Edochie to be prepared to contribute more towards the development of the community as according to him, “to whom much is given, much is expected”.

Eri is an ancient Igbo Kingdom, Enugwu Aguleri community will continue to uphold the rich Igbo cultural heritage and preserve it for the upcoming generations,” the royal father added.

In response after receiving the title, Adaeri expressed appreciation to Enugwu Aguleri community for the honour done to her, which she noted, would a long way strengthen her belief that she is loved and cherished by her community as a result of her major contributions both in the past and present times.

She said she was mindful of what the honour would mean and re-assured that she would remain committed to her social contract with Ndi Enugwu Aguleri to ensure the community maintains its traditional system and cultural heritage.

Afterwards, refreshments and entertainment of people who graced the occasion including Government functionaries, monarchs, politicians, nollywood characters, individuals and groups across the state and beyond followed at her country home, Aguleri.

CONGRATULATIONS TO CHIEF HON UJU EDOCHIE, ADAERI N’IDUU ERI, ENUGWU AGULERI.

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Prince Charles bypassing Jos ‘robbed Nigeria’s Christians of opportunity to create awareness about our travails’

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Prince Charles and Nigeria’s President Mahammadu Buhari (Picture: Twitter/UK in Nigeria)

 

Christians in Nigeria’s central state of Plateau are upset about the Federal Government of Nigeria advising Prince Charles to bypass Jos, the capital of Plateau, during his visit to the country as part of a tour of West Africa.
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, arrived in Abuja, the capital, on Tuesday, and were expected to travel to Jos on Thursday to discuss peace-building and conflict resolution.
But the planned visit to Jos, affected by violence in recent days, was later scrapped over security concerns.
“Due to operational constraints beyond our control, we have decided at this time not to include Jos during their royal highnesses’ visit to Nigeria,” said a British foreign office spokeswoman on Monday, adding that “the decision was taken upon advice from the Nigerian government and others involved in security and operational aspects of the visit”.
Violence attributed to Fulani militants in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, to which Plateau belongs, is believed to have claimed the lives of more women and children than Boko Haram in recent years.

The aftermath of Fulani attacks in Barkin Ladi, on 28 August 2018

In Plateau, one of the states most affected by the violence, attacks have been taking place on an almost daily basis.
In June, the violence reached another peak, as Fulani militants armed with sophisticated weapons went on a killing spree in 15 communities, leaving more than 230 dead. The attacks forced more than 11,500 to seek refuge in 13 locations across the state, while an undetermined number of people were injured and hospitalised in various medical centres in Jos.
It was one of the deadliest episodes in recent years, in a series of attacks carried out by Fulani militants against Christian communities across the Middle Belt and north-eastern state of Adamawa – also one of the three states most affected by the Boko Haram crisis.
In response to the prince’s decision, a Jos Christian leader said: “We would have liked Prince Charles to visit Jos and hear from Christians affected by the violence directly. But now we have been robbed of an opportunity to create awareness about our travails with a prominent world figure.”

Despite peace efforts by religious and political leaders in the region, the violence has continued unabated since June, with more villages attacked and scores killed, as World Watch Monitor has reported.
Over the last week of August, at least 20 were killed in a spate of attacks targeting various communities, including a mining site at Wereh village (Ropp District), and the villages of Abonong, Ziyat and Bek (Foron District), Nafan, Sagas, Rawuru, and Rambuh (Fan District) – all in the Barkin Ladi local government area.
Victims included a pastor and four members of his family. Rev. Adamu Wurim Gyang, 50, and his three children were set ablaze and burnt beyond recognition. His wife, Jummai, 45, was shot and left to die in a pool of blood. More than 95 houses were burned down and 225 farm crops awaiting harvest were destroyed.
Also, just few days later, dozens lost their lives during the first week of September following more attacks – some of which took place in the same area affected by the June attacks.
The violence reached the state capital, Jos, at the end of the same month, as 10 members of the same family were wiped out when armed men stormed the residential neighbourhood of Rukuba Road, in the south-western outskirts of the city. According to local sources, dozens of people lost their lives between 27-30 September in various acts of violence across the city. A number of properties were also looted or destroyed.
“Many lives have been lost,” said Rev. Dr. Soja Bewarang, the chairman of the Plateau state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. “Also, properties, including church buildings, have been destroyed. Many people have been displaced. People are living in fear, not knowing when death and destruction will visit their community.”
The violence there is often described as communal clashes between the predominantly Christian farmers and Fulani herdsmen, who are mainly Muslim, while Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari refers to it in terms of a struggle for natural resources such as water and fertile land.
However, many Nigerian Christian leaders in the area argue there is a religious dimension to the attacks and say that without acknowledging it, politicians will not be able to properly address it.

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El-Rufai calls Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi a tribal bigot

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Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State has called the running mate to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubaker and past governor of Anambra State Mr Petre Obi a tribal bigot. El Rufai in a tweet on Friday quoted an article Leadership titled ‘Peter Obi, Ghost Of The Past And Reality Of Today’ said ‘Peter Obi is a tribal bigot. He was widely quoted on national television that the SSS was right to detain me for 48 hours in an hotel in 2014 on the grounds that ”El-Rufai has no business being in Anambra State as it is not Katsina State”! I sued the SSS and awarded N4m damages.

Part of the article on Leadership reads ‘The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) running mate to Alhaji Atiku in the forthcoming presidential elections was also recently busted with the echoes of his past stance when he vehemently referred to Muhammadu Buhari as being too old to be president in 2015.

‘According to him, a 72-year-old man has no business. Unfortunately, Mr Obi is today standing in supportive tissue with Atiku who is 72 years old! Talk about consistent inconsistency. Tracing the many inconsistencies of Peter Obi was the reported embarrassing situation where the convoy of the former governor was sighted and caught in front of Next International Offices in Apapa, Lagos, carrying a whopping sum of N250 million in raw cash. ‘Public calculations were made and plausible questions were put forth on why a ‘financially disciplined’ former banker would have to move a quarter of a billion naira in this era of seamless electronic cash transfer? ‘Mr Peter Obi is dangerously being haunted by the hubris of his self-inflicted past, like a book every chapter is open to unbury gaffes, lies and double-faced personality. In one of his outings on the popular talk show platform, he regaled the audience on his prudent and austere lifestyle, so excited was he that he announced to the boisterous crowd of having just a wristwatch! He was cheered to high heavens as that leader that isn’t defined by the ostentatious bait of life. In the same vein, the soft-spoken former governor of Anambra announced his penchant for traveling on economic class, not staying in expensive hotels and bragging of owning just a house. These were however punctured as a house in the United Kingdom was traced to him with pictures of him adorning different shades of wristwatches. Is Mr Peter Obi living a two-faced life where what he preaches is in variance with who he is? Did the man overrate himself in sanctimonious garb to hoodwink the people when in measurable sense there are frightening contradictions in his personality? Should we allow Obi’s sheer boost of falsehood in the face of glaring truth? In every element of the future, there is an iota of the past. Those who look up to the future must have their past in tandem to the reality of today.

It would be unfair to allow the inconsistencies in the beautiful profile of Peter Obi to sail on when he can address them now that he seeks the mandate of the people. Leadership founded on deceit is a catalyst to a dysfunctional society. We are where we are because of where we are coming from and where we are today determines where we will be tomorrow. Whoever must lead us must carry the ware of integrity in character and deeds; never again shall we go back to the era where lies and deceits were the ingredients of existence. Great nations are made when the people are governed by people defined by the true spirit of honesty, moral compass, and by leaders whose patriotism overwhelm their personal interests devoid of primordial sentiments. This is the time to scrutinise the characters of our leaders beyond what they throw at us. For Mr Peter Obi, he alone can bury the ghosts of the past by coming out clean in his true character.

 

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The World Bank confirms Obiano’s strides in governance

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By Chinelo Amobi

The drastic fall in national revenues owing to the steep fall in global oil prices exposed the terminal weaknesses of the country’s economy as well as the vulnerabilities of a majority of the states. Though states are expected to possess some measure of financial self-sufficiency, once the financial flow from the center stops, the states go limp.

Since the financial crisis started couple of years ago it’s been a familiar refrain: non-payment of salaries, lack of infrastructure projects amongst several other challenges of governance. It is, therefore comforting to observe that a few amongst them have shown remarkable internal resilience and are, in fact, making commendable progress on many fronts despite the shrinking federal allocations amongst other odds. This is in large part thanks to the ability of their governors to leverage internal resources, strengthen internal revenue generation, promote a culture of good governance – prudence and fiscal discipline – as well as bringing innovation and creativity to bear on the conduct of government business. This small group of exemplary leaders are proves that we are not cursed and that if the right persons are given the opportunity to lead, they can set us on the path of social, economic and infrastructural development.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra stands out even within this group of performers as an outlier for good governance. The Governor’s adeptness at managing the state’s finances, aggressive pursuit of infrastructure development, and farsighted development initiatives are gradually consolidating Anambra state as a state where things generally work.
The practical results of Obiano’s leadership of Anambra are evident. To start, consider the emphasis it places on the welfare of its workers. Anambra state is one of the few states that are up to date in the payment of workers’ salaries. It is also the only state that has not only conducted an upward review of workers’ salary in the last five years but has been consistently paying workers on the 25th day of each month.
On the back of its healthy financial status made possible by the discipline of the Governor, the state has been able to successfully meet its obligations in a timely manner to its workers without seeking external help. In fact, Anambra is one of the very few states that did not apply for bailout from the Federal Government. It simply did not need to. Another interesting statistic is the prudent and far-sighted manner the State Governor is managing the debt profile of the state. At a time when the economic downturn justifies borrowing to fund infrastructure development projects, the Governor has resisted the temptation to go on a borrowing binge. According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Anambra currently ranks as the least indebted state in the country. This is impressive work and speaks to Obiano’s capacity for resource management.
The governor has demonstrated this proactive and committed attitude to good governance in his engagement of international development partners to good results not only for the people of Anambra but as a good example for the rest of the country. Recently, an assessment report conducted by the World Bank on projects that it has sponsored in the South East and South-South in 2017 showed that Anambra state emerged the clear winner in project delivery, monitoring, accounting and transparency.
On a visit to the state, the World Bank Country Director, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, could not hide the excitement of the Bank in finding a committed development partner in the Governor. He expressed his pleasure at the handling and monitoring of projects going on in the state. The Governor’s adept management of the relationship with the World Bank, with massive financial capacity to finance development projects in state, has enlarged the space for further collaboration that will deliver even more projects for the people of Anambra.
It shows leverage that is only possible leaders show they are committed to promoting the good of the community and not their pockets.
As proof of what to follow, Mr. Bebmessaou during the visit revealed that Anambra would benefit more from the World Bank as the institution has already resolved to execute about four more projects in the state in rural electrification, rural access and agricultural projects and other intervention projects.
This feat is significant and adds zest to the Governor’s efforts to achieve his development blueprint that is anchored on Agriculture, Industrialisation, Trade and Commerce and Oil & Gas. Winning the confidence and trust of key international development finance institutions such as the World Bank and engaging them on strategies to drive development projects is key to opening doors to concessionary funding.
Again, the governor’s ability to achieve this speaks to his commitment to transparency, a passionate desire to impact the people and make a difference in the state. He deserves the support of all those who mean well for the state and nurse the desire for an environment that will be convenient for individual and collective growth and prosperity.


Amobi, a pastor, author, and a princess from Ogidi, Anambra State, is the founder of Miriam Stephen Stroke Foundation. 08131323937

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President Buhari to attend first Paris peace forum

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President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja today Friday for Paris, France, to participate in the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, November 11-13.

Organised by the French Government and a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Forum is based on the “simple idea that international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.”

The Nigerian President will join the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and other world leaders in discussing contributions towards global peace while underscoring the imperative of collective action.

While in Paris, President Buhari will also join other world leaders to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918 between the Allied Forces and Germany in the forest of Compiegne in France to end the First World War.

During his visit to Paris, President Buhari will attend a luncheon hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France in honour of visiting heads of delegations.

Before returning to Abuja, the President and his delegation will have an interactive session with the Nigerian Community in France.

President Buhari will be accompanied to Paris by Governors Aminu Masari, Willie Obiano and Kayode Fayemi of Katsina, Anambra and Ekiti States.

Others include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd); and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.

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Ontario couple forced to return daughter to Nigerian orphanage because Canada refused to help

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John and Favour Nymann in Lagos, Nigeria.

Erin and John Nymann from Cambridge, Ont., love their six-year-old daughter, Favour.
But because of months of government inaction and a bureaucratic process immigration lawyers call “redundant,” the couple was forced to return their daughter to the Nigerian orphanage where they adopted her nearly four months ago. Now the Nymanns are back in Canada, without their daughter, desperately pleading for someone to help them bring their little girl home.
“I don’t know who it’s harder on, us or her,” John said, wiping tears from his eyes.

“She became our daughter and we love her,” he said. “It’s tough as a father to have a little child slip out of your fingers and there’s nothing you can do for her … because of the slow bureaucratic process.”

He and his wife applied to adopt a child in late-2015. After waiting for nearly three years – and working through multiple rounds of home visits and government approvals – the couple was notified by Nigerian officials in June that they were matched with a young girl whose mother died just a few months before they started the adoption process.
The couple also received a letter from Ontario officials approving the adoption.

They then travelled to Nigeria to meet Favour and finalize the adoption process.
“I couldn’t believe we were finally there,” Erin said, describing their first meeting with Favour at the orphanage. “She was a little shy, but all of a sudden … something just clicked.”
“She was hugging us and John was throwing her up in the air. We had this instant bond with her. It was just like she was meant to be in our family,” she said.

After a few days of supervised visits, John and Erin were given permission to take Favour from the orphanage. And on July 12 – in a courtroom in Lagos, Nigeria – the adoption was legally recognized.
The couple then submitted the necessary paperwork to the Canadian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, which processes adoption claims from Nigeria.
“We were super excited,” John said. “The idea of helping a little child who doesn’t have any family [and] for over half her life has lived in an orphanage … was very exciting.”

Thinking everything was OK, John returned to Canada to get their four other children so they could travel to Africa and get to know each other as a family.
But after six weeks with no news from the High Commission, and with illnesses Erin had contracted worsening, John began to worry.

“Erin eventually got quite ill. She contracted malaria and typhoid and became very sick,” he said.
John says he tried informing Canadian officials of his wife’s condition, asking them if there was anything they could do to help speed up the process, but he says he never heard anything back.
Concerned, he flew to Ghana in mid-September where he met with immigration officials who told him nothing had been done on their file since the time it was received.
He then got an email from the High Commission requesting additional documents, which he says he provided right away.
It’s at this point that the process broke down, John said. Rather than provide a clear indication of how long things might take, the government told him that their application had not yet been processed and that there was no real timeframe for when things would be completed.
“I was very upset,” he said.


Application could take years
John returned from Ghana after two days to find that Erin’s health had become even worse. She was hospitalized and eventually had no choice but to return to Canada with two of their children at the end of September.
John then stayed in Nigeria with Favour and the couple’s two other children, eventually moving the family to Ghana so they could be closer to the High Commission, he says.
A month later, on Oct. 15, he received another email from a Canadian official saying nothing had been done on their file. This was more than two and a half months after it was submitted.
“I’m afraid I don’t have very good news,” the official said. “The response from the visa office in Accra was that your application was in the queue and they couldn’t pull your file out of the queue as there are other cases similar to yours that have been waiting longer.”
John says he felt devastated.

And with no end in sight for the government’s approval of their application, and with him needing to return to work, John says he was forced to make the difficult decision at the end of October to leave Favour at the orphanage where they first met her — more than three months after the adoption was finalized.
“I strove to find ways to bring her to Canada,” he said.
“But as the days and weeks went on I came to the conclusion that I could do nothing but return her to the orphanage.”

As difficult as this decision was, John and Erin say it was the only option they had.

“Our line of credit was maxing out, we were paying bills in Canada and in Africa. Our financial resources basically dried up,” he said.
After returning to Canada with his two other children, John and Erin received a letter from the office of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, trying to explain why the process was taking so long.

Dated Oct. 26, the letter said that “even under ideal circumstances” the process of adopting a child from another country can take “at least six to eight months.” This includes the time needed for the adoption itself — which the Nymanns had already finished — and the time Immigration Canada takes to approve the child travelling to Canada.
The letter also said that depending on the child’s country of origin, “it is not unusual for the process to last for two years or even longer.”

According to immigration lawyer Adrienne Smith, the length of time it takes for Immigration Canada to issue travel permits and grant citizenship to adopted children is a problem, especially in cases like the Nymanns’ where both the governments of Ontario and Nigeria have already approved the adoption.
“It’s almost like a redundant process of assessing the best interest of the child,” Smith said.
“Every single week and month that goes by, where the child has been kept from their Canadian parents is detrimental,” she said. “It’s actually the opposite of being in the best interest of the child.”
While Immigration Canada has a responsibility to ensure adoptions are completed properly — and that children haven’t been taken illegally — Smith says it’s the province that has the final say on whether an adoption should proceed.
She also says issuing the required travel documents and visas shouldn’t be such a complicated process when no other legal authorities have raised any concerns.
“If the process has already been completed, and the provincial authority said it’s in the best interest of the child … then there shouldn’t be [any] concerns,” she said.
Ultimately, Smith thinks there should be some kind of mechanism where families like the Nymanns can travel back to Canada with their adopted child and complete all the necessary paperwork from home. She says this would resolve the problem of Canadian adoptive parents having to wait for months — even years — to bring their children home.
Despite receiving authorization to discuss the details of the Nymann’s case, Hussen’s office declined multiple requests for an interview — even after being told of allegations that government officials refused to offer the Nymann’s help when Erin was suffering from malaria.
Meanwhile, Immigration Canada told Global News it understands that parents like the Nymanns are eager to bring their adopted children home, but insists inter-country adoption is a complicated process and that the “best interest” of the child must always be considered.

The government says the Nymann’s case has been forwarded to their “Risk Assessment Unit for further verification” and did not provide a timeline on when this would be completed.
The government also says the Nymanns were “advised in advance” not to travel to Africa because processing times for adoption cases can vary.
The couple denies this outright, however, saying the only time Immigration Canada ever discussed possible delays in processing their claim was after the necessary paperwork was submitted.
And even if they had received such advice, John says they couldn’t apply to bring Favour to Canada until the adoption was complete, which required them to go to Nigeria in person. So there’s no way they could avoid travelling to Africa before submitting their claim to the High Commission, he says.
Global News asked for a copy of the correspondence in which Immigration Canada says it “advised” the family not to travel, but the government could not provide a copy of this correspondence upon request.
“She’s a six-year-old little girl who now has a mom and a dad, three brothers and a sister and an enormous amount of friends that are just waiting to meet her,” John said.
“And we can’t bring her here for months? Years? I just don’t understand.”


© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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