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UKRAINE-RUSSIA: Poland delays evacuation of trapped Nigerians, to arrive today

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A Ukrainian negotiator yesterday said that a second round of talks with Russia is over but it didn’t deliver any results that Ukraine needed.

“The second round of negotiations is over. Unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved. There is a solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors,” senior Ukrainian official  Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky also confirmed the news of agreement of the corridors and a possible ceasefire around them, describing the talks as “substantial progress”.

Meanwhile, both have agreed to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians in a second round of talks since Moscow invaded last week, a top Ukrainian official said.

Russian president Vladmir Putin said the Russian military has offered safe corridors to civilians to allow them to leave areas of fighting in Ukraine.

Speaking in a video call with members of his Security Council, Putin alleged Ukrainian nationalist groups are preventing civilians from leaving. The Russian leader said the groups were also using civilians as shields, taking up firing positions to provoke the Russian retaliatory fire. Putin’s claim couldn’t be independently verified.

Polish authority reschedules release of trapped Nigerians to today Airline

Meanwhile, the much-publicized return of trapped Nigerians from the Russian-Ukraine was due for yesterday, will now happen today, as the evacuation could not take place because the evacuation was rescheduled by the Polish authority.

One of the Airlines sent to evacuate the Nigerians said they could not board the returnees yesterday, the Polish authority yesterday rescheduled the release of Nigerians to today.

“Yes, they (stranded Nigerians) are not coming in today (yesterday) again. Their evacuation has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Friday,” the airline said.

Also explaining the delay, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Bolaji Akinremi, disclosed that the flight was postponed to March 4, 2022, due to a delay in preparing passengers for the check-in process.

He said: “The reality is that the flight has been rescheduled to tomorrow the main reason is the delay in doing the checking because they have to gather them together from different hotel.

“By the time we will be ready after the checking in, the crew that have been waiting for us since 9a.m., have over shot the hour they should have waited because they have a duty hour which has been allocated to them and they had waited from 9a.m., till 2p.m., that means they have already waited five hours.

“They are going to have nine hours flight that is already more than the standard, so, the authority of the airport said they won’t allow us to board. This is the reality, we have to calm down but arrangement had been made that we all stay together in the same hotel and that we will leave very early tomorrow 4a.m., we will be in the bus and then we can join the flight.”

Recall that the Federal Government had on Wednesday in a statement by Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it would commence the evacuation of stranded Nigerians, who fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, following the conflict between the country and Russia.

Putin says Russian operation in Ukraine going according to plan

The Russian president has said Russia’s military operations in Ukraine were going according to plan and praised its soldiers as heroes.

“I want to say that the special military operation is going strictly according to schedule, according to plan,” Putin said, opening a meeting with his security council.

“We are at war with neo-Nazis,” the Russian leader said, adding: “I will never give up on my conviction that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine unjustifiable — ILO

The International Labour Organization, ILO, yesterday condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying “the unprovoked and unjustifiable attack by the Russian Federation against Ukraine conducted without regard to international law, and the continuing loss of life, and immense human suffering that it is inflicting on the people of Ukraine.”

ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, in a statement in Geneva, Switzerland, joined the General Assembly of the United Nations in deploring in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demanding that it immediately cease its use of force and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

According to him, “This stands among the darkest chapters in the ILO’s century long history and a brutal repudiation of our organization’s mission to promote peace through social justice. Those responsible for the aggression know full well that among its first victims will be working people and that the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years.

Ukraine believes Belarus troops receive order to cross border

The Ukrainian military has said it believes Belarusian troops have received the order to cross the Ukrainian border. Ukraine has said Russia is using Belarusian territory for missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and Minsk allowed Russian troops to enter Ukrainian territory.

Bosnians relive past war trauma of war

For those who survived the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, the war in Ukraine has brought back painful memories and renewed worries for the future.

If Ukraine falls, Baltic states ‘next’, Zelensky warns

Ukraine’s president has called on Western powers to deliver more military aid to his country, warning that Russia’s military will not stop at Ukraine’s borders if Moscow seizes full control of its neighbour.

“If you do not have the power to close the skies, then give me planes!” Zelensky said at a news conference, referring to refusals from Kyiv’s Western allies to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“If we [Ukraine] are no more then, God forbid, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia will be next,” he added.

The term “no-fly zone” refers to an area of airspace in which it has been determined that certain aircraft are not permitted to fly. In a conflict setting, the measure is primarily used to prevent aerial attacks from taking place.

Emergency service says 22 killed in Chernihiv air raids

Ukraine’s emergency service says at least 22 people have been killed in Russian air raids on Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region. The service said in a post on Twitter that rescue work was ongoing. It did not specify where the alleged attack took place.

Earlier the regional governor said at least nine people had been killed by an air raid on two schools and private houses. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify either claim.

Dozens of OSCE states back mission to probe possible war crimes

Forty-five of the 57 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) member states are triggering a system to set up a mission of experts looking into possible war crimes by Russia in Ukraine, the United Kingdom has said.

“They are invoking the so-called ‘OSCE Moscow Mechanism’ to set up a mission of independent experts to … establish the facts and circumstances of possible cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including due to deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” the UK’s mission to the OSCE said.

Russia and Ukraine are both members of the body. People are seen carrying belongings out of a residential building destroyed by shelling. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a major humanitarian crisis.

Second round of Ukraine-Russia talks under way

A second round of negotiations between delegations from Russia and Ukraine has begun.

The meeting is reportedly taking place in Brest, southwestern Belarus.

It comes after a first round of talks held at the Ukraine-Belarus border on Monday ended with no agreement except to keep talking.

Ukrainian negotiator Davyd Arakhamia said on Facebook that Kyiv plans to discuss setting up humanitarian corridors before moving on to other issues during the latest bout of discussions.

Volkswagen stops business with Russia as major firms respond to war

German car giant,  Volkswagen (VW) said it would stop its vehicle production in Russia “until further notice” and “immediately” halt exports to Russia in light of the attack on Ukraine.

VW operated its own car production sites in Kaluga, south-west of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, further east.

The company yesterday, announced that production at both sites would be stopped for the time being. No cars from among the VW Group brands, including Audi, Porsche and Skoda would be exported to Russia, it said in a statement.

On Wednesday, luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz said it was halting business with Russia. Selling to or buying from Russian companies had become far harder in the days since the Kremlin launched its invasion due to sanctions imposed by the international community.

German car makers had  been particularly hard hit and the conflict had affected for example the provision of wiring harnesses from Ukraine that relayed  information and electric power around a vehicle.

Several car manufacturers had announced temporarily halts in production at some of their German sites in the past two days.

It is not only German car makers that have been affected by the conflict.

Toyota yesterday said it would suspend production at its St Petersburg plant from Friday due to supply chain disruptions, the plant manufactures RAV4 and Camry models, mainly for the Russian market.

The car maker said it had already stopped all activities in Ukraine as of February 24.

International sanctions prompted a number of key global companies to announce that they were winding down or reducing business with Russia.

These include among many others Boeing, Apple, ExxonMobil and shipping company Maersk. Music and podcast streamer Spotify said it was closing its offices in Russia but it would continue to make its services available in Russia “to allow for the global flow of information.”

 

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LASG DISBANDS M.O.T ENFORCEMENT TEAM

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The Lagos Ministry of Transportation has placed an indefinite ban on the operations of its enforcement team tagged M.O.T Taskforce.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Sola Giwa, stated that the decision was reached after a thorough appraisal and review of the enforcement teams operating under the Ministry of Transportation.

Giwa explained that the ban is part of measures initiated to streamline transport enforcement activities in Lagos State to achieve the required effectiveness in line with global best practices, warning that the ban is not an excuse for drivers to disobey the traffic laws of the State.

The Special Adviser averred that Traffic Management and Transportation is a cardinal pillar in the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stressing that the readjustment of the enforcement strategy was to enhance service delivery to the people of the State.

He, therefore, enjoined the general public to report the activities of any unauthorised enforcement team still operating with the tag M.O.T Taskforce to the Ministry of Transportation for prosecution.

Appealing to Lagosians to cooperate with the State Government in its effort to improve the traffic situation across the metropolis, the Special Adviser gave an assurance that a lot is ongoing behind the scene to bring the much-desired change in the transport sector.

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One million compatriots died to keep Nigeria together — Buhari

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria has gone through all troubles from January 15,1966, to date which resulted in the killing of a million of the citizenry in order to keep the country together.

He also urged political leaders to stay focused and uphold the ultimate objective of promoting interest of the country, saying “we are Nigerians, God willing, we remain Nigerians, and Nigeria shall remain one.’’

Speaking when he received former state chairmen of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, at State House, Buhari noted that the passion and zeal to improve the livelihood of Nigerians, which culminated in creation of the political party, had not dwindled, calling for more steadfastness as Nigerians.

He said the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between 1967 and1970 must not be allowed to repeat itself.

While noting that the CPC was founded on the bedrock of patriotism and loyalty to the unity of Nigeria, the President said: “Our main objective is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are human beings. We have our weaknesses, but I can assure you that the patriotism in us is hard earned.

”We have gone through all the troubles from 15th of January 1966 to date. You know what I mean by this, we have killed a million of ourselves in order to keep this country together.

“I don’t think there can be any practical experience more than that. We are Nigerians, God willing we remain Nigerians and Nigeria will remain one.”

He urged all members of defunct CPC and political leaders to always be mindful of the larger picture by working towards preserving the unity, peace and integrity of the nation.

The President thanked former chairmen of the political party, which was merged to form the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, for always highlighting the achievements of the government, admitting that some areas will surely get more attention.

“I am delighted to welcome the forum of State Chairmen of the former Congress for Progressives’ Change to State House today. I accord great significance to this visit as it demonstrates a determination and commitment to identify with our administration.

“This visit recalls the solidarity with the successes that we have recorded in critical areas of our society. The visit also affords us the opportunity to discuss other issues of interest to the forum.

“I commend members of this forum and all members of the legacy party-CPC, for their continued dedication to the ideals of democratic governance that we all believed in.

“The doggedness with which we pursued our vision and goals that culminated into the success we recorded remain like bright stars in the history of our dear nation,’’ he added.

He said he was particularly grateful for the unalterable belief members of CPC and, by extension, the Nigerian electorate, had and still had in him as demonstrated in their unalloyed support for his electoral struggles which reflected in the results he consistently recorded at the polls over the years.’

Describing the President as the patriarch of the CPC’, the Chairman of Forum of State Chairmen of the defunct CPC and former chairman of the party in Niger State, Umar Shuaibu, said the party had maintained all its structures across the country, assuring President Buhari of their loyalty, especially in the forthcoming elections.

Shuaibu commended the President for providing strong leadership over the years, particularly in remaining balanced, fair and above board on electoral issues.

“Before you, the opposition was arrested and maltreated, but it is no longer so. You did not deny them what they denied you when they were in power,” he said.

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Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan Hits the Right Safety Button with LNSA

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Since the inception of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Administration in 2019, there is one thing he reiterated in his manifesto and has sworn to uphold under his THEMES agenda where he highlighted Security as one of the pillars of his administration. In a bid to ensure all Lagosians can go about their lawful activities without fear of the unknown, he saddled himself with the responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the state to ensure he puts the necessary security apparatus in place to ensure the safety of lives and properties. Without a doubt, Governor Sanwo-Olu delivered in every aspect as no stone was left unrolled. Taking the Security of lives and properties serious, he invested a heavy financial war chest in the acquisition of security gadgets for the Police, the Response Rapid Squad RRS and the Lagos State Neighborhood Agency LNSA headed by the indefatigable Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan.

 

Since the Administrative commencement of the Agency in 2017 during the Past government till this moment, Mr. Governor has ensured proper funding for the safety outfit investing Billions of Naira to equip it so it can give the necessary security support in the aspect of surveillance to the necessary agency for a swift collaboration and a positive synergy for a better Lagos. When Ifalade took over in 2021, He was like a fresh Gust of Summer wind who had a loft idea owning to his background as a seasoned technocrat having worked at the Law Enforcement Training Institute LETI and his experience working with a dredging company and also as a season legal luminary. On assumption of office, one thing he ensured was to bring a different feel to consolidate the effort of Governor Sanwo-Olu in ensuring the agency functions optimally to ensure it lives up to its expected expectation. He used his good relationship to ensure Mr. Governor increases his stake in the affairs of the agency. The transformation agenda started by re-orientating his officers on proper conduct, proper dress code and proper ethics among the citizenry. He introduced the use of Body cameras for his officers. He also ensured they often attend LETI for proper updating of knowledge in discharging their duties. In addition to that, he also ensured proper welfare packages for his staff by raising a motion for life insurance for officers who are injured in the cause of discharging their duties or eventually loss of life. This was infused as many commended his effort that to protect lives and properties, one must be fully motivated to give his all. Falade did not only stop at that with the help of Mr. Governor, He also ensured several visiting routines were taken to ensure the functionality of each Local government and a general meeting with the head of commands where they relay their concerns on pressing issues and the challenges. This gives room for positive and negative feedback which the agency acts upon to be above board at all times.

 

In his process of rebranding, he also requests the permission of Mr Governor to further recruit more hands to enable adequate manpower for the agency to function well. Currently, the Agency is recruiting over one thousand officers who will be commissioned into the agency before the end of the year. In a bid to also spread its tentacles through a public and private partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons NAPTIP, the agency launched an anti-trafficking unit last year August in collaboration with NAPTIP on child and human trafficking among other vices. In a bid to rebrand, he has gotten the approval of Mr Governor to create several units in the agency that will also be supportive of intelligence gathering. The agency will create a research and documentation unit, Forensic unit, Situation Room, Water Ways surveillance, Drone deployment, Forest Monitor team and a host of others.

 

Over the week, at the Agency’s head office in Bolade, Oshodi, Falade and ensured the distribution of tactical materials like; caution tapes, Ropes, Scanners, Tasers, Shin and elbow guide, Generators, Riot Shield, LNSA Photo book and a host of items for administrative purposes and enforcement.

 

In his quest to show effectiveness in duty through proper monitoring, the agency under Falade’s watch also commissioned 16 zonal heads. The Zonal heads will monitor zonal local Government unit. He also handed out brand new patrol cars to the officers who emerged having gone through proper scrutiny, training and exams. The Zonal head will ensure the smooth running of their domain and ensure all unit functions optimally and report to the Agency’s head office. As part of the rebranding process, The Agency next month will commence the rebranding of all its offices across Lagos with full painting with the agency’s Blue and Yellow colour with visible signage to ensure uniformity. The agency will also commence building and furnishing of new offices for some units that run under a temporary office.

 

A close source disclosed that; all these giant strides and impeccable records would not have been possible if not for the full support and the quest for the protection of lives and property of the State Government under Governor Sanwo-Olu. In a quick conversation; Prince Ifalade averred that; “Mr Governor has been supportive in all ways. Our mode of operation now is different from what it used to be. Anytime we give Mr Governor a proposal on anything regarding security, he does not joke with it. In fact, he signed it with immediate alacrity. He has also told us to ensure that each time we have any request we should not hesitate to call his attention that he is ready to support us to the fullest so we can keep functioning at a higher capacity.”

 

“The Agency is not relenting despite some challenges we face. We will continue to intensify our effort to make Lagos a safe haven for all. We are also open to public and private partnerships. Every top individual and private firm in Lagos who wants to reach out through their Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, will also ease the burden on Government. Security is the responsibility of all sundry and should not be left to some selected people only. If all hands are on deck, Lagos will be a safer place”. He further concluded.

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