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FG Launches Enhanced Passport In The UK

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The Federal Government on Tuesday restated its commitment to improving the passport application process for Nigerians at home and in diaspora, as it launches the new enhanced passport.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, gave the assurance on Tuesday at the official Rollout of the Enhanced e-Passport at the Nigerian High Commission in London, United Kingdom.

The Minister who revealed that the Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship, noted that it is the responsibility of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide the passport without any stress, within a reasonable period.

“What we have come to do here is symbolic of the core mandate of the Ministry of Interior and indeed, the Federal Government of Nigeria – affirmation of citizenship integrity. The Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship. It is therefore our responsibility to provide the passport without any stress, within a reasonable period.

“As we are all aware, there have been huge challenges to passport administration, from a shortage of booklet to touting and an economy of corruption built around it. These challenges have persisted for too long and a lot of people have become cynical while others have taken them as normal and then roll with it. But I come from a tradition of problem-solving in public administration. I do not believe that any problem is insurmountable, so we are going to solve all the problems associated with passport administration and we are already succeeding,” the minister declared.

Revealing the features of the new enhanced Passport, Ogbeni Aregbesola stated that, it is a huge improvement from the standard Passport that was introduced back in 2007, with more sophisticated security features, making it one of the most secured passports in the world.

​“The Enhanced e-Passport is a great improvement on the Biometric Passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 as a strategic step towards curbing forgery, impersonation and other forms of frauds associated with obtaining travel document under the old Machine Readable Passport regime. We are aware that technology rules the world and we are keeping abreast of the latest development in the field.

“Over the years, the Nigeria Immigration Service had worked assiduously and in close synergy with Messrs Iris Smart Technologies Limited to develop and implement Passport reforms that are in tandem with international best practices, including extant International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Standards and Regulations,” Ogbeni Aregbesola revealed.

The minister who seized the opportunity to reel out some of the achievements of the NIS under his tenure noted that the service has issues a total of 2.7 million Nigerian passports in the past two years.

“In the past two years alone, we have issued 2.7 million passports to Nigerians. We have taken substantial measures to address the issue of shortage of passport booklets. This year, the ministry approved the deployment of over 600,000 booklets, the largest of its kind ever done. That is not all. The Nigeria Immigration Service through MIDAS is now connected to INTERPOL and can upload information to the agency on lost, stolen and invalidated passports in real time.

“The Ministry of Interior had consistently provided the enabling environment for the Nigeria Immigration Service to undertake and implement several reforms, especially with regard to Border Management and Passport Administration as well as Internal Monitoring/Control mechanisms to enhance efficient and effective service delivery to Nigerians and foreigners alike,” the minister announced.

In his own remarks, Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, DCG Isa Jere, revealed the Service’s readiness to meet the demands for passports in the United Kingdom, stating that his officers are ready to roll out the new passports, going forward, at the official rate published on the NIS website.

“We are ready to serve the public and start rolling out the new enhanced e-passport in the United Kingdom with immediate effect. Our staff are professionals and will deliver excellent service to our citizens. Those who have any complaints whatsoever are advised to use the publicly listed complaints channels to adequately resolve any issues raised,” DCG Jere stated.

At the event were the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola; Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isa Jere; senior Nigerian diplomats; members of the diplomatic corps, Nigerians in diaspora amongst others.

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Politics

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, Wins Primary for Second term

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The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has  emerged winner of the state governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress.

In the primary election conducted at the MKO International Stadium, Abeokuta, five other aspirants contested against the governor.

The aspirants include Olubiyi Otegbeye, Mrs Modele Sarafa- Yussuf, Mr Owodunni Opayemi, Remilekun Bakare and Abdukadir Akinlade.

Of the six aspirants, only Abiodun, attended the primary, while agents of all other aspirants, announced their presence and did what was expected of them.

Giving the details of the  election, that was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere,  the Chairman of the Ogun State  APC Primary Election  Committee, Chief Wale Ohu, disclosed that 1,180 delegates, from the 20 local governments, were accredited for the exercise.

Announcing the results, Ohu, said Abiodun scored 1,168 votes, while other aapirants, did not secure any vote, saying that two votes were voided.

Prior to the commencement of the process, Ohu, announced to the delegates and all the leaders of the party that attended the event, that all required agents, were present.

Ohu took time to read out names of the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other officials of the APC officials that were sent from the National Secretariat.

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Lagos Security: Ifalade Host Corp Superintendents, Harps on Preparedness

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Ifalade Ajasa with His Men

The General Manager of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency LNSA; Prince Dr. Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan has advised Corp Officers to remain focused as politics goes full swing in preparation for the 2023 general elections across the country.

Ifalade said this while speaking to Corp Superintendent from the 57 LGAs and LCDAs at a special briefing held at the Corp headquarters, Oshodi.

At the meeting, He advised Corp Superintendents to raise their level of preparedness through regular drills and security advocacy with officers of the agency.

Dr Rasak Balogun, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund paid a surprise visit to the Agency and also enjoined officers to imbibe the culture of Multitasking in the face of the expected challenges officers will confront in view of the forthcoming Elections amid other security issues.

Prince Oyekan on behalf of the Agency, thanked Dr. Rasak Balogun for his usual support while assuring the general public of the Agency’s readiness to meet the challenges expected from the high octane politics, and sundry safety and security issues.

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Zenith Bank: Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe Releases Certified True Copy (CTC) of her Judgment, Call Out Fake and Junk Journalist

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Contrary to the widely reported fake news by some faceless online news platform that Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in his recent judgement allegedly accused foremost financial management in Nigeria, Zenith Bank of fraud and bribery, the astute judge who is bitter with such report have released the original certified True Copy. 

 

In the original certified True Copy, it was confirmed that the respectable Justice never said something of such while delivering her judgement.

 

According to Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe, all what the online media platforms said she delivered, were all fake and wondered how and where they got their own reports.

 

The certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment is now in the open for anyone to see.

 

These online platforms had reported that the Justice accused Zenith Bank Plc of bribing both the judges and lawyers for 11 years to pervert justice, with several online media outlets alleging that Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe made the claim on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 while delivering judgment in a suit marked LD/ADR/186/2014 between Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited as claimant and Zenith Bank Plc and State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) as first and second defendants respectively.

 

One such publication quotes the judge as saying “My recommendation is that Zenith Bank is a fraud and people must be very careful in their dealings with the bank.”

 

Some of the other quotes read: “Zenith Bank bribed the lawyers in the matter.

 

“This they have done for 11 years. So many lawyers and judges have been bribed in this matter just perverting justice. What is more embarrassing, the current governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele was the one who came to navigate and begged for the deposit. He has not been able to do anything to Zenith Bank because he was the managing director of the bank at the time of this transaction.”

 

However, nowhere in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment that was made available to credible news platforms showed that the Judge did not make such statements.

 

While the Judge did make a scathing criticism of the bank, Justice Fadipe did not accuse Zenith bank of bribing judges and lawyers for 11 years to fraudulently alter the course of justice, as claimed by the online mediums.

 

There was also no mention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele in the CTC of the judgment.

 

The judge’s comments, as contained in the judgement, include: “The 1st defendant has been the beneficiary of the malevolent game of chess it plunged both claimant and the 2nd defendant into, holding the sum of N872,780,552.84 in its custody without paying interest thereon from 17th February 2011 until 2nd February 2016 when the Court ordered that the money be paid into an interest yielding account in the names of the claimant and the 2nd defendant pending determination of the suit, which order was curiously varied by the consent of all the parties on 20th September 2016 so that the money remained in the 1st defendant’s custody without interest.

 

“The act of the 1st defendant was unconscionable and detrimental to the goodwill of the claimant and its trade credit with its customers. It was a deliberate and malicious act against the interest of the claimant and the 1st defendant continues to enjoy the largesse in bad faith. Exhibits C4 and C5 clearly state that the funds to be transferred were to offset part of the claimant’s indebtedness for the importation of dictionaries, but the 1st defendant was impervious to this need. I therefore find and hold that the claimant is entitled to substantial damages against the 1st defendant for the injury caused to it.”

 

The judge made the comments while granting the claimants four reliefs.

 

The reliefs are that the 1st defendant (Zenith) was in breach of contract when on 7th October, 2011 it refused the claimant to draw from its account No. 1012465427 “despite the fact that the said account was in enough credit to cover the withdrawals sought to be made on the said date.”

 

The judge further restrained the bank “from disturbing or refusing the claimant from operating its account No. 1012465427 in the 1st defendant’s bank or from honouring the claimant’s transfer or payment obligations to third parties from the said account as long as same is in credit.”

 

It granted an “interest of 15% per annum on the sum of N872,780,552.84 from 7th October 2011 when the 1st defendant denied the claimant access to the funds in its account which was in credit at that date till judgment.

 

“Interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% per annum from judgment date till final liquidation thereof.

 

“Costs of this action in the sum of N2.5million.”

 

Of a truth, Zenith Bank has had a record of open and transparent operations, this earned the organization four SERAS CSR Africa Awards that include “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.

 

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

 

Zenith Bank has continued to distinguish itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service offerings, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

 

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