The Federal Government has expressed its disapproval of the ongoing registration of Nigerian citizens volunteering to join the Ukrainian Army to resist the invasion of the country by Russia.
Over 150 Nigerians have volunteered to be recruited after the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, urged people around the world to join the fight.
But in a statement on Monday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli, said the Federal Government would not tolerate the recruitment.
She stressed that the government would engage with the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria and other relevant authorities to prevent this.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria has been drawn to an alleged ongoing registration of Nigerian volunteers into the fighting force of Ukraine at the Ukrainian Embassy in Abuja.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the embassy to verify the speculation. The Ukrainian Embassy refuted the allegation, but confirmed that a number of Nigerians had approached the embassy, indicating their willingness to fight on the side of Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
“Furthermore, the embassy clarified that the Ukrainian government is not admitting foreign volunteer fighters and, as such, dissociated itself from the claim that it was requesting $1,000 from each Nigerian volunteer for air ticket and visa.
“As a responsible member of the international community and consistent with our obligations under international law, Nigeria discourages the use of mercenaries anywhere in the world and will not tolerate the recruitment of Nigerians in Nigeria as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world.
“The Federal Government will continue to engage with the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria and other relevant authorities to prevent this possibility.”
Nigerian community in Belarus makes evacuation plans for students
Following the recent sanctions imposed on Belarus for aiding and abetting Russia in the invasion of Ukraine, the Nigerian community in Belarus is making plans for the smooth evacuation of its members after the cancellation of flights, shutdown of banks and businesses had made life difficult.
Belarus, a neighbouring country to Russia, has provided help for the super power in its invasion of Ukraine.
This has led to multiple sanctions on both Russia and Belarus. The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has provided support for the transportation of fleeing Nigerians from Ukraine.
In an interview, a member of the Transition Committee, Nigerian Community in Belarus, Dr Oyewo Oyenike, said, “The general requirement for new students has always been to buy return tickets to Belarus, which some new students that came for language courses did through the Turkish Airlines.
“The students in question completed their language courses and decided to return to Nigeria, but unfortunately because of the current crisis, Turkish Airlines flights have been cancelled and the only option is for them to fly with the Belavia (Belarusian Airlines) to Istanbul and then connect with Turkish Airlines flights to Lagos.
“This is, however, not a reason to panic as the Nigerian community in Belarus is working on resolving this.
“The Nigerian community is in contact with the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow for relevant updates, although there’s no current emergency situation for the evacuation of Nigerians here in Belarus and we hope if the need arises, relevant procedures will be taken immediately. Contacts have been made and we’re awaiting a response from the embassy.
“There have been mobilisation in some cities and we’re trying to pursue emergency evacuation plans in case they become necessary. We’ve also got the parents involved and they’re trying their best through the embassy and the foreign ministry.
“It’s been exhausting and full of anxiety because the current crisis was unexpected.
“All the sanctions placed on Belarus have affected everyone one way or another. MasterCards/Visa cards are no longer working. Some banks have been shut down and a lot of businesses are being affected.
“The main challenge is the inability to stay focused for the students due to fear, cancelled flights and others.”
The Nigerian Youth Union, on Monday, called on the Federal Government to adopt more proactive strategies to protect Nigerians abroad, especially during unforeseen emergencies.
The organisation also faulted the slow response of the Federal Government to the safety of Nigerians in Ukraine, especially students, after Russia invaded the European country last week.
The NYU, in a statement by its National President, Chinonso Obasi, lamented that Nigerians were subjected to various acts of social abuse, degradation and molestation at Ukrainian borders due to the nonchalant attitude of the government.
He expressed dismay that the Federal Government delayed in evacuating Nigerians from Ukraine despite early warning signals.
Obasi stated, “There was early intelligence that Russia would invade Ukraine in a matter of days. Governments of other countries mobilised resources and reached out to their nationals in the country, but Nigeria developed indifference.
“We have witnessed this show of nonchalance on many occasions. When the xenophobic attacks broke out in South Africa last year, the Federal Government did not deem it fit to rise for the protection of its citizens until a private citizen, Chief Allen Onyema, volunteered to evacuate them.
“We at the NYU, condemn the penchant of the Federal Government for abandoning Nigerians abroad to their fate without regards to the protection and preservation of their interests in foreign countries. This attitude does not enhance patriotism; neither does it uplift the image of the country in the comity of nations.”
The NYU, however, commended Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, for ensuring that Sokoto indigenes in Ukraine were airlifted early enough when the signs of impending hostilities emerged.
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SANWO-OLU PRESENTS SCORECARD AT RE-ELECTION RALLY
…APC Flags Off Governorship Campaign In Lagos
A mammoth crowd of Lagos State residents, on Saturday, converged on Onikan – a cultured neighbourhood in the heart of Lagos Island – for an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.
Clad in branded yellow shirts and Ankara brocade, the crowd dominated the city centre with pockets of political carnival. Thousands of ordinary citizens and party stalwarts trooped to Mobolaji Johnson Pavilion, the venue of the inaugural rally flagging off the party’s governorship campaign in Lagos.
The 10,000-capacity stadium brimmed with APC supporters. They carried banners and chanted slogans to receive the party chieftains and members of the Governorship Campaign Council.
APC standard bearer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made a grand entry into the venue, animating the crowd, which chorused: “Greater Lagos Rising” – the Governor’s re-election campaign slogan.
Reacting to the massive turnout, Sanwo-Olu said the vast attendance further confirmed the strength of APC as the only party of choice in Lagos.
The Governor mounted the rostrum to seek the mandate of Lagosians for another term in office, saying the “Greater Lagos” he promised at the inception of his government could now be visualised, given the achievements recorded during his first term.
Sanwo-Olu said the last three and half years had been challenging for his administration, pointing out that his Government traversed difficult terrains to deliver on its development objectives.
He said: “It has been an interesting and challenging journey for us in the last three and half years. Our administration has traversed difficult terrains and witnessed major disruption occasioned by global pandemic. Lagos had its fair share in the attendant socio-economic meltdown, but we provided strong leadership that protected the people and made the State come out better and stronger.
“Now, we can say ‘Greater Lagos Rising’ because our State is rising on all of our modest achievements through the THEMES agenda. In Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intracity Rail Mass Transit projects that are on the verge of completion. These projects will be handed over in the coming weeks.
“We have also scaled up infrastructure in public transportation services by improving BRT services, injecting new taxi scheme and energizing traffic management agency for efficiency. People have seen the construction and commission of Lekki Deep Seaport, and massive road construction projects in the Eti Osa and Epe corridors. We have delivered and are still constructing more new roads in Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Somolu and other areas.”
Sanwo-Olu said activities of his administration, since inception, had been about purposeful governance. He added that his Government had delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Epe, and Eti-Osa, pointing out that construction of new hospitals were currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.
In the environment, the Governor said the State was currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. He said his Government had also raised the level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies, mentioning the recently completed four fire stations, recruitment of new fire fighters and provision of fire fighting equipment.
The Governor said: “Lagosians can testify to our feats in education. Over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools and we completed over 1,097 projects in schools. We trained our teachers in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and handed over tablets to them for teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.”
Sanwo-Olu said there had been laudable progress recorded across his Government’s development blueprint, noting that the State had become a model for good governance and development.
The Governor thanked residents for standing by his administration, pledging that he would not take their support for granted.
He urged party members to take back the Government’s achievements back to their communities and engage in door-to-door campaign to ensure APC candidates are elected in the general elections.
Director General of Lagos APC Campaign Council, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, said the party would have no problem taking its campaign to the electorate, given the “exceptional” performance of the party’s governorship candidate.
Solomon said the second coming of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat would bring the State to new heights of development and prosperity.
Leader of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi, said: “The combination of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are the best a democratic society can get in delivering results of good governance. Anyone who wants the development of Lagos to continue, Sanwo-Olu must be allowed to continue the good work he started.”
Sanwo-Olu, assisted by APC chairman, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, presented flags to party candidates running for legislative seats in the House of Assembly and National Assembly.
Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits
— As Oyetola, APC Close Case
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.
This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.
When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.
Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.
TINUBU WON’T SUCCUMB TO ARISE NEWS BLACKMAIL
We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.
Director, Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Council
December 3, 2022
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