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FG Set To Install Electronic Border Surveillance System, Complete Passport Digitisation

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The Federal Government is planning to establish electronic surveillance posts at different locations to monitor the nation’s borders.
The Minister of Interior, Ogben Rauf Aregbesola, said this in Abuja when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
Aregbesola said that the electronic surveillance posts were meant to strengthen existing immigration checks, to enhance the security of the country.
“As a matter of fact, we are at the point of signing an agreement with Huwei on e-border.
“This means we want to employ technology to put all the critical border positions on 24/7 satellite based electronic surveillance.
“This will give us 24/7 real time surveillance of designated border areas from all our monitoring centres, particularly the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Headquarters.
“You can as well press a button, know what is happening in Kamba border post, Jibia border and even Mfum, among others,” he said.
Aregbesola assured that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring the safety of all citizens.
He added that the NIS in conjunction with other sister agencies would continue to do their best in curtailing illegal migration and all cross-border criminalities.
“We are the lead in border control, we are not the only agency in border management, but we’ll do our best to ensure Nigerians are safe.
“Virtually all the other security and intelligent agencies are involved, we are not relaxing, we are dedicated and committed.
“And we are zealous and ensuring that this move will reduce threats, and we’ll manage and control the borders,” the minister said.
Aregbesola said Nigerians should appreciate that the country has one of the longest borders in Africa.
“To really drive that home, Nigeria has about 5,000kilometres of borderline.
“What that tells you is that, it is not possible for you to have enough men that will man every inch or centimetre or millimetre of that borderline.
“But we have established border positions that are manned, spread across the entire length of the boundaries of Nigeria.
“But beyond that, which is about sovereignty, is the fact that the artificiality of our boundaries cannot just be thrown aside.
“It means that except where it is impossible for human beings to exist, there is no borderline where there is human existence that does not separate human beings, communities who are homogenous.
“It is in the South-South, South-West, North-Central, North-West, North-East, North-Central.
“Every line of our boundary separates communities, homogenous communities, people of the same tongue same eyes, same customs.
“So, how are you going to now ensure that the Nigerian, the Yoruba man on Nigeria side who is cut off by artificial line from his kinsmen in Benin republic will not interact?”
The minister however assured Nigerians that when deployed, e-border monitoring and surveillance would greatly curtail the rate of cross border crimes and other criminal activities.
Aregbesola also said that the full digitisation of Nigerian passport processes would be completed by December.
He said that full digitisation would completely eliminate any form of contact between passport applicants and immigration officers.
According to him, this will eliminate the inherent corruption in the system.
The minister said that the project was one of the priorities of President MuhammaduBuhari administration.
“We are on it, and by December, we will remove any manual processing of passports.
“Now, we still have some manual part, because files are still manually opened.
“By December, particularly in the busiest passport processing centres, there will be no manual segment of the passport processing, every part of it will be digitised,” he added.
According to him, there is no shortage of passport booklets in the country and advised applicants to begin the processing of their passports at least six months before scheduled time of travel.
“If you need a passport now, start the process very early; do not begin the processing efforts two weeks to your travelling.
“If you don’t, already you have created problems for yourself, because the system, after capturing, which is enrolment of your data, we harmonise it with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) data base,” he said.
Aregbesola also urged passport applicants to ensure their names and other information tally with their details on the National Identity data base.
“Every identity document must be the same to ease capturing,” he said, adding that even wrong arrangements of names could create delay in the processing of passport.
“You must understand what it is. It is a presidential order that the new passport regime should be such that all data, everything about you as an individual must be the same and harmonised.
“What you have in the passport, which is the most secured identity document, must be the same with every other aspects of you, whether in the bank or at the national identity data base.
“When you come to us to register, after filling your form online, you come for data capturing, and what you do there is to harmonise what you have filed in your form and your bio-data as we advance.
“So, when your name doesn’t tally with what we have, your data information is not the same on the relevant platforms, we will have some challenges with passport processing,” he said.
Aregbesola also said that escapee inmates of various custodial centres will be re-arrested and returned to custody.
“They can only run, they cannot hide; they are like trapped mouse, we will get them,’’ Aregbesola promised.
“They will open bank accounts; they will have telephone numbers; they are just deceiving themselves; they will be caught.
“They are like trapped mouse. Where is a trapped mouse going? If you release the rope used to trap the mouse, you are just entertaining yourself, later you’d retrieve the rope and bring the mouse home.
“They are trapped as far as I am concerned,’’ he stressed.
The minister conceded that the recapture of the fugitives was slow, but assured that they would be re-arrested all the same, no matter how long it took.
“Government is not giving up; government is the most difficult institution to offend; it has long insatiable memories.
“I have read about criminals or suspects who ran away from justice forever or even died as fugitives, but ultimately found out when the DNA of their bones were assessed and analysed.
“Government is a patient institution; we have done what we should do; there is nobody today in our custodial facility without all the biometrics registered; none.
“All inmates, either as awaiting-trial persons or as convicts in our custodial facilities are registered in our data base or have their biometrics in the data base.
“To the extent that that is done, unless that person does not exist as a human being, it is a question of time before we get them; that is the assurance I want to give Nigerians,’’ he said.
The minister stressed that the Ministry of Interior was collaborating with relevant security agencies and other ministries to ensure the arrest of the fugitives.
“We need the cooperation of all the other agencies; the cooperation of other operators in the system to help us.
“We have circulated the biometrics of the fugitives to every relevant organisation that could help us use the data to apprehend them and we are not relenting.
“I am meeting with the Minister of Finance on some things to do with that because we need to work directly with that ministry and some of its agencies.
“I am also meeting with the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy since some of its agencies are well-positioned to accelerate the process of re-arrest.
“The truth is, having registered the biometrics of all inmates and the fugitives, the escapees can only run, they can never hide,’’ he emphasised.
Aregbesola stressed that the process of re-arrest might take long, but as long as the escapees functioned as human beings, they would be recaptured.
The minister reiterated that all those who escaped from custodial centres including those involved in the jailbreak of July 5 at the Kuje Custodial Centre in the FCT would be rearrested.
Aregbesolafurther said that it was quite exciting that nationals of other countries are queuing up to become Nigerians.
“There is no continent in the world from where people have not applied to become Nigerians whether by naturalisation or registration,’’ the minister said on Sunday in Abuja.
Aregbesola noted that the Federal Government granted 286 of such foreigners the Nigerian citizenship recently.
The Nigerian government granted citizenship to the 286 new nationals on September 15.
The new Nigerian citizens are originally from the United States of America, Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa.
Those of them who became Nigerian citizens through naturalisation were 208, while the 78 others got the Nigerian citizenship by registration.
Aregbesola urged Nigerians to understand that in spite of the current challenges, Nigeria has boundless opportunities for all.
“We only need determined, bold, courageous and enthusiastic people to harvest the untapped opportunities that are here.
“Foreigners know where the opportunities are and how to go for them; that is why they are doing everything to be part of us,’’ he added.
The minister said contrary to the wrong notion that Nigeria is a challenging environment, other people who understood their missions and wanted to actualise them, were becoming Nigerian citizens.
“The real issue is determination and commitment to self-actualisation. Those who know what they want to do find Nigeria very welcoming and supportive,’’ he emphasised.
Aregbesola said the Ministry of Interior had received more applications for Nigerian citizenship from foreigners.
“We receive applications from far and wide; there’s no single continent in the world without people desirous to be part of us.
“If you saw them; if you witnessed the enthusiasm of those people who have become part of us, you will be glad that there can be this number of foreigners desirous to be Nigerians,’’ Aregbesola said.
The minister explained that for a foreign national to even have the right to apply to become a Nigerian, the persons must have stayed in the country continuously for a minimum of 15 years.
“For those that were granted citizenship in September, it took less than three years to process their papers,’’ Aregbesola said.

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Ikwerre Set To Deliver Two Projects Per Ward

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The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Engr. Samuel Nwanosike, has noted that his administration was ready to commission two projects in every ward before the end of January, 2023.
Nwanosike stated this when he received in audience the Rumuepirikom Kingdom Council Executive at his office, Isiokpo.
According to him, “My President did mention that we have done projects in all the political wards. I can announce to Mr. President that before the end of January, it will be clear that we have completed two projects in each of the 13 political wards.
“So, we have passed the stage of saying one project per political ward. As we speak, if not that we have entered the electioneering period, we would have had five projects lined up for commissioning”.
Nwanosike, while describing the courtesy visit as the most important since he assumed office on June 18, 2018, as chairman of Ikwerre LGA, thanked Governor NyesomWike for grooming and giving him and his team the opportunity to change the narrative of their people by managing their affairs.
He, however, narrated the achievements of his administration via the five-point agenda unveiled during his campaigns to the executive members of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Council.
The Ikwerre LGA chairman listed the achievements as building and furnishing of health centres, return of peace and sanity through the help of the Governor of the state, Chief NyesomWike, and the security agents, sending the farmers back to farm, sending the youths back to school, building of police station at Ubima, building of markets at Elele, Omerelu and Apani, construction of more than 1.5km drainage at Elele, building of town halls at Isiokpo and Omagwa, building and furnishing of schools at Aluu and Omademe, among others.
He added that many more projects were under construction and would be delivered in due time, especially NYSC members Lodge at Isiokpo, etc.
“We don’t just talk; we do what we say we will do. Because if you don’t do it, the people will not understand that there is work to be done”, he said.
On the other hand, Nwanosike praised Wike for choosing a technocrat like Sir SiminialayiFubara to succeed him and continue the NEW Rivers Vision, reiterating that Ikwerre Local Government was already SIMplified.
He promised to assist in the renovation of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Civic Centre by giving his entire December imprest.
Speakingearlier, the Chairman of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Council Executive, Chief Emma Okas-Wike, said they were in Ikwerre to pay the chairman a courtesy visit on behalf of the Paramount Ruler and Nyewe Eli Rumuepirikom, Eze Barry OparaOwabie, in order to identify with him as one of their own and specially thank him for always supporting their son, ChiefNyesomWike.
Okas-Wike said, “It might not be easy for somebody to talk about the footsoldiers of our leader, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief NyesomWike, without mentioning your name because when this fight started about 2007, we did the first fight, did the second fight, you were one of those that were inside caucus, inner caucus of those fights.
“I want to thank you that you did not abandon our leader and our brother and our son. That’s why we felt that it is proper for us to come and pay you this courtesy call”.
He used the opportunity to congratulate Nwanosike on his infrastructural development, political and academic achievements, especially the acquisition of doctorate degree.
“Information available to us, not just us but to the public, shows that you have, just like the governor is doing, you have affected almost all the whole wards in Ikwerre Local Government. And when we look at the record, we find out that the projects you are executing are not just minor projects that will just be something that somebody will say what is this one, is it not what somebody can do? No. These are landmark projects and we want to commend you for that”, the chairman of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Council Executive avowed.
While saying that Nwanosikewas part of Rumuepirikom Kingdom, Okas-Wike encouraged him to do more in order for his name to be spoken more within and outside Rivers State.
He appealed for his financial assistance in the renovation of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Civic Centre.
Those present during the courtesy visit were the Vice Chairman of Rumuepirikom Kingdom Council Executive, Chief Raymond Owabie; the Secretary, Sir Chief AllwellEgwurugwu; the PRO, Engr. Kingdom A. Johnson; the Legal Adviser, BarristerAmadi G. Nyebuchi; the Rumuepirikom Youth President, Engr. Samuel John Amadi; amongst others.
Highlight of the visit was a tour of some projects, including the NYSC Lodge being constructed by his administration at Isiokpo.

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CDC Chairman Warns On Likely Crisis In Rumuagholu

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Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Rumuagholu in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Comrade Amadi Okechukwu, has warned that there could be a breakdown of law and order in the community if the actions and utterances of certain individuals were not checked.
Okechukwu, who gave the hint while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, yesterday, called on the Rivers State Governor,Chief Nyesom Wike, and security agents to call one NyegwaKiniganwo, to order to avoid breakdown of law and order in Rumuagholu.
Amadi said this had become necessary following recent radio announcement wherein Nyegwa addressed himself as Rumuagholu paramount ruler, while the matter was still pending in court.
The CDC chairman noted emphatically that Nyegwa’s actions could create serious crisis, if not checked.
Amadi said on no account should Nyegwa parade himself as a chief, let alone Rumuagholu paramount ruler.
He hinted that Nyegwa’s recent falsehood and blatant lies followed steps taken by the three communities that make up Rumuagholu to share some part of their land.
Amadi said the three communities: Rumuochukwuoke, Rumuowolu, and Rumuochukwualu, as a sign of indivisible entity, decided to work together to dispose some of their ancestral land.
The CDC chairman reiterated that Nyegwa’s action amounted to contempt of court, having been served court document to stop parading himself forthwith as a paramount ruler.
He said there was a court order instituted by Eze Bekwele Atam, stopping the accused from parading himself as paramount ruler, adding that until such orders are vacated, his actions and activities in respect of the land amounted to contempt of court.
Amadi warned the general public to desist from transacting business concerning the community with Nyegwa forthwith, and pointed out that anybody who transacted with him on behalf of the community did so at his peril.
He further hinted that such businesses should be channeled to him as the constitution empowered him as the CDC chairman to oversee the affairs of the community, including land issues.
He said Rumuagholu people were peace-loving but warned that such should not be taken for granted by Nyegwa and his cohorts, especially during this annual wrestling season which holds this week.

By: Chidi Enyie

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FG Saves $300m Annually From Ban On Barite Imports

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The Federal Government has said its ban on importation of Barite, an essential mineral in oil drilling, has saved the country $300million (about N195billion) annually.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this in Abuja at the ninth edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration Scorecard 2015 to 2023 series organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The scorecard series was launched as part of the efforts of the ministry to showcase the numerous achievements of the administration.
Presenting the scorecards of his ministry, Adegbite said the ban on barite importation was part of the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure the downstream mineral policies took effect.
“When we came into office in 2019, we realised that the oil and gas industry use barite in their oil drilling and they were importing the mineral from Morocco to the tune of $300million every year.
“We also realised that the country has abundance of barite deposits but the problem was that we were not processing it.
“So, the ministry took it upon itself as a project and in 2021, we were able to produce made in Nigeria Barite with American Petroleum Institute (API) standard.
“Now, nobody is importing barite in to Nigeria anymore saving the country $300million annually that was being spent on imports of barite to the country,’’ he said.
The minister said within a year of production, Nigeria had attained excess capacity of barite and making plans to export the mineral into places like Ghana and South Africa.
“These are places that have just discovered oil and of course they need barite as well.
“We will ensure they can get it cheaper to buy from Nigeria than to go to northern part of Africa,’’ he said.
The minister also disclosed that his ministry had discovered new minerals that they did not know existed in the country.
According to him, the minerals included nickel, cobalt chromium and tracks of lithium.
He said the newly discovered minerals were called the “Future metals’’, adding “this is where the whole world is headed’’.
The minister also disclosed that they were auctioning bitumen blocks to 26 serious investors which had shown interest in its mining.
Adegbite said the process would culminate in concession of some of the blocks to the investors which would be given fairly limited time to start producing in Nigeria.
He said the process would make the country sufficient in bitumen, lower the cost of building roads and create import substitution.
According to the minister, Nigeria has sufficient quantity of bitumen deposit in Edo, OgunOndo and Lagos states.

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