The Federal Government, has warned South Africa against the humiliation of Nigerians travelling to the country or face retaliation.
The warning, handed down to South Africa on Monday in Abuja is coming on the heels of the detention and deportation of Nigerians who had sought to enter South Africa last Friday but whose Yellow Fever vaccination cards were suspected to be fake.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, handed down the warning to South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Mambolo.
The Ministry said in a statement on Monday, “of particular concern to the Government was the unwarranted detention of a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the South African Port Health and Immigration Authorities for 48 hours at the Oliver R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
“The Permanent Secretary informed the High Commissioner that South Africans travelling to Nigeria, or those residing in Nigeria were not required to produce any evidence of vaccination against Yellow Fever, or for that matter against Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, both of which are prevalent in South Africa.”
The Permanent Secretary wondered whether the latest deportation and similar acts targeted at maltreating Nigerians in South Africa reflected the official position of the Government of South Africa.
Mambolo said the policy was not aimed at Nigerians alone and that Nigerians were not being targeted.
He was quoted in the statement to have said, “he maintained that it was a general requirement for all passengers coming into the country from what he called the ‘Yellow Fever Belt’, which included many West African countries.
“He especially expressed regrets about the treatment of the Senator and assured that the matter would be taken up with his Government immediately.”
The Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, on Monday further drove home the point about the Federal Government taking retaliatory measures.
Briefing State House correspondents on the issue, Moro said the actions would be inevitable if the Nigerian Government finds out that the South African Government had not acted in good faith.
He said that the government would demand for an apology and punishment for the officials who carried out the deportation order from the South African Government.
According to him, the government will do everything possible to get to the root of the problem.
He attributed the cause of the diplomatic row to the South African Police and Immigration whom, he said, had hatred for Nigerians.
“Officials in the Immigration Department are unfriendly to Nigerian travellers,’’ he said.
Ashiru regretted that the South African police randomly arrested Nigerians without just cause.
He said that the brotherly love existing between the leadership of the two countries was lacking among the nationals of the two countries.
Ashiru informed the committee that the Nigerian High Commissioner in that country had been directed to make a strong protest to the South African Government.
He said that the problem would top Nigeria’s agenda at the forthcoming biennial conference.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government said that the recent deportation of 125 Nigerian travellers by South African authorities contravened the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, stated this at a news conference on the International Certificate for Vaccination against Yellow Fever in Abuja.Chukwu described the South African action as an embarrassment to Nigeria.
It will be recalled that some 125 Nigerian travellers were last Friday deported from South Africa for allegedly being in possession of fake Yellow Fever certificates.
According to the minister, no country had so far written a formal report on fake Yellow Fever card to the Nigerian government.
Chukwu said it was curious that a country that had issued entry visas to intending travellers on the presentation of a valid Yellow Card would then turn around to deport same travellers.
“So far, no country, no individual, has made any report to the Ministry on the possession of fake Yellow Card by any one. If there are such cases, the Ministry would like to have reports for necessary investigation.
“It is obviously very curious that a country that had issued entry visas to intending travellers which issuance was in the first instance predicated on the presentation of a valid Yellow Card, will then turn around at the point of entry to deport those travellers.
“If those travellers had fake Yellow Cards, the question will then be how come they possessed valid visas.
Chukwu stressed that Nigeria had no Yellow Fever prevalence and as such its citizens should not have been subjected to such an action from the South African Government.
The minister said that the last confirmed cases of Yellow Fever in Nigeria was in 1995 when 25 cases and one death were recorded.
“The International Certificate of Vaccination or prophylaxis commonly known as Yellow Card has three diseases (Cholera, Yellow Fever and Smallpox: IHR 1969).
The minister added that the international certificate of vaccination or re-vaccination against Yellow Fever was valid only if the vaccine used had been approved by WHO.
“The validity of the Yellow Card extends for a period of 10 years beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination or in the event of a revaccination, 10 years from the date of the revaccination.
“Some countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Saudi Arabia require that Nigerians coming into their country produce evidence of vaccination against Yellow Fever.
He, therefore, advised Nigerians seeking to travel outside Nigeria to do the right thing by receiving the necessary vaccinations and report to the Federal Ministry of Health where the authenticity of the Yellow Cards given to them can be verified.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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