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Nigerians To Pay More For US Visas …As Trump Fights Buhari’s Bad Policy

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Nigerians travelling to the United States will, from tomorrow, pay more to procure American nonimmigrant visas of all classifications as part of deliberate policy to eliminate the difference between the costs of obtaining Nigerian visas by US citizens.
This revelation is contained in a statement issued by the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the US Consulate General, Lagos, and made available to The Tide, yesterday.
The Tide gathered that the new policy puts to rest claims in some quarters that the US Embassy was denying Nigerians visas to travel to the United States.
The statement reads, “Effective worldwide on 29 August, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.
“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.
“Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee.
“Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification”.
According to the statement, “U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.
“Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on U.S. citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.
“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their nonimmigrant visa application is approved.”
It also explained that. “The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.
“The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.
“Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.
“After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.
“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States,” it stated.
It further noted that, “The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee.
“The fee can only be paid at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location.”
The US Mission in Nigeria said that “the complete reciprocity fee schedule, organized by visa classification, include Class B1 with Reciprocity Fee of $110; B2 $110; B1/B2 $110; F1 $110; F2 $110; H1B $180; H4 $180; I $210; L1 $303; L2 $303; R1 $80 and R2 $80”, respectively.
It added that, “The reciprocity tables displayed on travel.state.gov will be updated to reflect the changes above”.

 

Nelson Chukwudi

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15 States Risk Severe Flooding This Month -FG

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The Federal Government has issued a warning about potential severe flooding in 15 States due to heavy rains expected later this month.
The Federal Ministry of Environment, through its spokesperson, Haruna Ibrahim, announced that these States should brace for significant rainfall from July 21 to July 25, 2024, which could lead to widespread flooding.
According to the release, the states are, Adamawa State, Benue State, Jigawa State, Borno State, Kebbi State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Katsina State, Kogi State, Nassarawa State, Niger State, Plateau State, Sokoto State, Taraba State, Zamfara State
Steps for Effective Flood Preparedness
1. Stay Informed: Monitor weather forecasts and heed local alerts. Use trusted sources like government websites, local news stations, or radio for real-time updates.
2. Emergency Kit: Assemble an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, water, medications, flashlights, extra batteries, and crucial documents. Keep it in a place that’s easy to access.
3. Elevate Electrical Units: Lift electrical systems and appliances above expected flood levels. Disconnect them during heavy flooding to avoid electrical hazards.
4. Use Sandbags: Deploy sandbags to shield your home. Arrange them effectively to redirect water away from critical areas.
5. Secure Loose Items: Fasten down outdoor items such as patio furniture and garbage bins to prevent them from becoming hazardous in strong winds.
6. Evacuation Plan: Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and plan accordingly. Determine safe locations or higher grounds for refuge.
7. Flood Insurance: If you reside in a flood-prone zone, consider getting flood insurance since typical homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage.
8. Communication Plan: Set up a reliable way to stay in contact with family during a crisis. Make sure everyone knows the emergency plan.
9. First Aid Skills: Acquire basic first aid knowledge to help yourself and others in emergencies.
10. Avoid Floodwaters: Never attempt to walk or drive through floodwaters. They can be unexpectedly deep and forceful, presenting severe dangers.

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Jonathan Urges NDDC To Complete Abandoned Projects In N’Delta 

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to prioritize the completion of abandoned projects in the region.

He also encouraged state governments within the Niger Delta to collaborate closely with the NDDC, so as to foster efficient synergy to achieve legacy goals.

This is as the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, has emphasized the urgent need to address environmental sustainability and economic diversification in the Niger Delta.

Speaking at the Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum 2024, at the Obi Wali International Conference Center, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the former President commended the Minister and the NDDC board and its management for their effective performance so far and advised them to complete all abandoned projects.

On his part, the Minister of the Niger Delta Development and Chief host, Engr. Momoh, while speaking on the theme, “Renewed Hope for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta Region,” emphasized the urgent need to address environmental sustainability and economic diversification in the region.

The Minister in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah, highlighted efforts like the Ogoni Clean-up Project and initiatives for cleaner energy such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Momoh stressed the importance of diversifying the Niger Delta’s economy by investing in various sectors and pointed out the region’s untapped potential in tourism and the blue economy.

He assured the audience of the government’s commitment to infrastructure development, citing recent projects like the 25.7km Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State.

He said that the summit’s theme was a call to action, aligning it with the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of President Bola Tinubu’s administration and emphasizing the need for collective effort to harness the region’s resources and cultural heritage for sustainable development.

He also emphasized the need for peace and security in the Niger Delta, urging all stakeholders to address the root causes of unrest and conflict.

Momoh advocated for inclusive development that reaches every community, prioritizing the empowerment of women and youth.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio commended the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the NDDC’s board and management for their commendable work.

He highlighted the stalled East-West Road project, emphasizing the need for strategic project management and continuity.

A former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke called for investments in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and technology to ensure the region’s long-term prosperity.

The event, co-hosted by NDDC Managing Director Samuel Ogbuku and Board Chairman Chiedu Ebie, was graced by former President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who represented President Tinubu; Senator Adams Oshiomhole; former Cross Rivers Governor Donald Duke; former Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson; and traditional rulers from across the Niger Delta.

Other attendees included Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, HM Ekperikpe Ekpo, Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Abia State Deputy Governor, Senator Monday Okpebholo, and Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

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Expedite action on minimum wage – NAAT tells Tinubu

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The leadership of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has called on President Bola Tinubu to expedite action on the new national minimum wage for workers.

Mr Ibeji Nwokoma, NAAT President said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Nwokoma said the union was worried over the continuous delay by the President in transmitting the new National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly.

“NAAT, as an affiliate of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), stands by the position of the organised labour and call on the federal government to expedite action on the matter to avoid industrial action,” he said.

He said the union condemned in strong terms, the unpatriotic position of State Governors claiming inability to pay even the N62, 000 proposed by federal government, though, rejected by the organised labour.

“The refusal of the Governors Forum to recognise the efforts of workers in creating wealth and prosperity in the states and the country in general, is most unfortunate.

“This undermines the essence and model adopted for national minimum wage. We therefore, demand that the Governors Forum should reconsider the position and toe the path of honour.

“The proposal by the governors to pay minimum wage based on their peculiarities is condemnable and rejected in its entirety,” he said.

He stressed that the constitutional provisions, on issues of minimum wage is contained in the exclusive legislative list.

The NAAT president also called on the federal government, to immediately implement the payment of the withheld salaries of its members and the resolutions of all other outstanding issues.

“NAAT is compelled to issue this press statement as a response to the non-payment of five and half months withheld salaries, non-payment of 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary increment arrears.

“Others issues are, the non-payment of Occupational Hazard and Responsibility Allowance arrears, release of enabling circular for CONTISS 14 and 15.

“Also, the non release of arrears of Earned Allowances as contained in Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) of 2020, 2021 and 2022,” he said.

Nwokoma recalled that the union embarked on a three-day warning strike in March, 2024 and had also met with the Minister of Education, Prof.Tahir Mamman and the
the House Committee on University Education and yet nothing came out of the steps taken

He added that in all the meetings, assurances were given, especially the withheld salaries, but, unfortunately, nothing had been done in that respect by the federal government.

“Having waited this far, the National EXCO at the end of its emergency meeting held at the National Secretariat, University of Abuja, resolved to toe the path of diplomacy and advocacy in actualising its demands.

“However, if this fails, the issue will be referred to the National Executive Council (NEC) at her regular meeting scheduled to hold this July 2024 for next line of actions,” he said.

Nwokoma, therefore, called on well-meaning Nigerians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, National Assembly, among others to prevail on government and ensure implementation of all the outstanding issues for a sustainable industrial harmony.

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