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U.S. Announces Priority Appointments for Student Visa Applicants

The United States of America has declared her resolution to give prioritize student visa applicants and ensure Nigerian students resuming this Fall get visa interview appointments well in advance of their program start date. 

U.S. Mission Country Consular, Coordinator Susan Tuller announced that the Embassy in Abuja and Consulate General in Lagos will make every effort to assist student visa applicants in a timely fashion while keeping personnel and customers safe. 

“As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remains a high priority for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria,” Country Consular Coordinator Tuller said. 

“We will increase the number of student visa appointments in May and June to ensure that we can offer appointments to as many students as possible.  If your U.S. studies are scheduled to begin this Fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible.” 

Tuller explained that all student visa appointments must be booked through the U.S. Travel Docs website at www.ustraveldocs.com/ng/. She warned applicants against the use of third-party services, including touts, and fixers who broker visa appointments.

According to her, agents or third parties often seek to benefit by charging a fee for their services and they may not always provide the correct information, which can harm an applicant’s chances of qualifying for the visa. 

“Both Nigeria and the United States benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions.  To prepare for your U.S. educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out EducationUSA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Calabar, or at educationUSA.state.gov,” she added.

Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States.  In academic year 2019-2020, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued graduate and undergraduate degrees in the United States. 

Over the last 21 years, the EducationUSA Advising Centers in Nigeria have directly contributed to an increase in the number of highly qualified Nigerian applicants to U.S. institutions.  In 2020, advisees of EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million.  

Additional information on U.S. travel and student visas is available at travel.state.gov or ng.usembassy.gov. 

Two Suspects with N264m Worth of Cocaine  Concealed In Palm Oil Jerrycan For Export To Libya Intercepted In Abuja

A cocaine package worth N264m tconcealed in Palm oil for exportation to Libya has been Intercepted by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at Abuja.

The suspects, Emeka Okoro, a trans-border trafficker and a drug dealer, Ibrahim Bello were arrested in Abuja by operatives of the NDLEA, with cocaine weighing 1.1kilogramme.

Okoro was intercepted with 900grammes of cocaine in a commercial bus along Abuja-Gwagwalada road on Monday 26th April, 2021 based on intelligence, while Bello was arrested with 200grammes of the illicit drug in Zuba area of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, same day through a controlled delivery operation.

According to the Commander, FCT Command of the Agency, Mohammed Malami Sokoto, Okoro was an intending traveller to Libya through Kano and Agadez in Niger Republic, with wraps of cocaine weighing 900 grammes while the other seizure of 200 grammes was equally made following intelligence on the 26th April, 2021.

“The wraps of cocaine were not to be swallowed as has always been the case, but to be concealed in Jerry cans of palm oil and transported through the border in Kano to Agadez and Libya. The suspect, Emeka Okoro revealed that this has been the trend in the past months”, the FCT Commander of NDLEA disclosed.

Similarly, the Kogi state Command of the Agency also intercepted and seized 157.5kilogrammes of skunk concealed in false panels in a Peugeot J5 bus with registration number Lagos AGL 641 XW while a 43-year-old suspect, Christian Godwin was arrested.

According to the Commander, Kogi state Command of the Agency, Adewunmi Alfred, the suspect and his consignment were intercepted at a patrol point in Lokoja, the state capital.

“The skunk was sourced from Ikire in Osun state and heading to Masaka in Nasarawa state before our men arrested the suspect, seized the illicit drug and the vehicle used to convey it on Monday 26th April, 2021”, Alfred added.

Reacting to the new arrest, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) commended officers and men of the FCT and Kogi state Commands of the Agency for their vigilance and commitment to the task of ridding the country of illicit drugs.

“These seizures and arrests in FCT and Kogi point to the fact that we’ll continue to disrupt and dismantle the drug supply networks of these unconscionable elements and deny them the benefit of their illegal trade”, Gen. Marwa added.

Judiciary Workers Strike: Lagos JUSUN Resume After 23 Days Of Court Boycott.

Judicial staff in Lagos have suspended the 23days strike action over demand for financial autonomy with resumption of court proceedings throughout the State  

The resumption followed a directive by the Administrative Department of the Lagos State Judiciary signed on Wednesday by Director, Administration and Human Resources, Kamal A. Sanusi.

In a memo titled “Notice Of Resumption” directed to “all members of staff” stated: “In view of the communique issued by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Lagos State Branch on the 27th April, 2021, I have the directive to inform all members of staff to resume at their various duty post on Thursday, 29th April, 2021.

”The memo further directed officers of the judiciary to be in office on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays of every week until further directive from the staff union”.

As it is now, all the departments of the state judiciary were opened in compliance with the directive on Thursday unlike Tuesday and Wednesday when only the cash office was opened deponents were allowed into the court complex.

The court rooms within the Ikeja, Lagos Island High Courts complex, Magistrate courts and the Roseline Omotosho Court House were all opened while the registrars were seen behind their desks arranging case files in the various court rooms but judges are yet to commence sitting.

The JUSUN strike, according to a source said that it has affected the dates already scheduled for on-going and new cases before different judges of the two court houses.

The source further said judges would start sitting as soon as new dates are scheduled for case files in the different courts.

The cash office was opened to lawyers and deponents who have started thronging the courts to file new cases and depose to affidavits respectively.

Insecurity: NAF embarks On 3-day Retreat To Strategies New Way To Combat Changing Security Environment

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has organized three-day retreat for its operational unit Commanders to evolve new strategies in view of the ever changing security environment. 

The retreat which commenced from 27 to 29 April 2021 had as its theme, ‘Harnessing NAF Airpower Capabilities for Effectiveness in Joint Operations.’ 

At the 3-day event, operational commanders and some retired personnel acting as resource persons were able to critically scrutinize current efforts by NAF as well as proffer new strategies towards improving the current security challenges in the country. 

Key areas of deliberation centred on operational, logistics as well as engineering efforts by relevant units towards enhancing operational effectiveness of the NAF. 

Earlier in his opening address, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had reiterated that the retreat was aimed at appraising NAF’s current state of effectiveness and efficiency towards contributing to the enhancement of national security as well as in dealing with current and emerging security challenges facing the Nation. 

While noting that the Service faced several militating challenges, the onus lies on the NAF to work through those challenges and evolve the best operational strategies to achieve the desired results. 

He also stated that the NAF must look for areas of synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, whilst leveraging each other’s capabilities to secure the Nation.  

Speaking further, the CAS reminded commanders of their responsibilities to the nation as a fighting force, saying that a huge burden of responsibility has been placed on the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the NAF in particular, by the Nigerian people to secure and ensure their security and safety.  

According to him, “We cannot afford to let them down. We must therefore use this period of introspection to evolve strategies to improve our operations as well as enhance our logistics support systems and maintenance practices to ensure the serviceability of our air assets for optimal employment of airpower capabilities in joint operations”. 

He also disclosed that the retreat no doubt provided an avenue for the NAF to critically analyze its activities, achievements and challenges in order to enhance the capacity of commanders and potential commanders in the NAF. 

As part of the retreat, four newly trained pilots comprising two fighter pilots and two combat helicopter pilots, who recently completed their trainings in United States of America (USA) were winged. 

The winging of the pilots as ascribed by the CAS marks a glowing testament of NAF’s commitment towards, ‘enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of our national security imperatives’. 

He also disclosed that the Service cannot effectively and efficiently employ airpower if there was lack of sufficient number of well-trained aviators and support personnel, hence the importance the Service attaches to the winging of the young pilots. 

He went further to reveal that a total of 233 officers and airmen/airwomen were undergoing training courses overseas, which cut across several specialties and trades. 

According to him, “out of this number, about 35 are student pilots undergoing various stages of training at Czech Republic, USA, United Kingdom and South Africa. All these are aimed at maintaining combat readiness at significantly higher levels to counter both domestic and foreign threats to the Nation’s security and wellbeing.” 

While congratulating the young pilots on their winging, the CAS urged them to be relentless in pursuit of excellence and professionalism as operational pilots, while working with their colleagues across other specialties in the Service. 

He further advised the pilots to remain committed to the successful execution of, ‘our constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of our dear nation.’ The CAS also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering commitment to the development and enhancement of the Armed Forces.   

In his remark, the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), Air Vice Marshal James Gwani disclosed that two of the winged pilots had completed the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at United States Air Force training facilities in Mississippi and Texas while the other two went through the Basic Military Helicopter as well as Mission and Tactics Training at United States Army Aviation Flight School, Fort Rucker and Western Army Aviation Training Site, Arizona, United States. 

He expressed optimism that the inclusion of the 4 pilots into NAF’s pilots’ corps would no doubt boost the strength of Service especially as the NAF will soon be inducting new platforms into its inventory. The winging ceremony and the retreat were attended by several serving and retired NAF personnel pooled from across the nation.

A Brave Female Student Disarms One Man Robbery Gang Who Invaded Their Hostel

A female student has overpowered a one-man robbery suspect, Taiwo Sunmonu, an ex-convict who attempted to rob students of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos.
 

The 23-year-old Taiwo Sunmonu left prison in November, 2020 and went back to crime with the gun made available to him by another criminal in prison.

His partner-in-crime allegedly described where he hid his gun to him when Taiwo Sunmonu was leaving the prison.

Parading the suspect at Police headquarters, Ikeja, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu revealed that, Taiwo Sunmonu with the gun, started unleashing terror on residents of Ijanikin with the last operation that took him to the female hostel where he was apprehended by the brave female student.

According to CP Odumosu “A female student of the Adeniran Ogunsanya, College of Education, Ijanikin Lagos reign in the robbery spree of the suspect when he single handedly besieged the female hostel of the institution and ordered the occupants of the hostel to surrender their belongings, else he would kill them.

It would be recalled that in March this year, Taiwo Sunmonu returned to crime after serving five years in prison.

In a statement by the Police Spokesperson, CSP. Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in the State command update on activities within the state on policing breakthroughs within the last few weeks gave hint on how Sunmonu went about robbing residents of Ijanikin area following his release from Kirikiri Correctional facility.

“At the peak of his release, his co-prisoner directed him to his house to pick up the gun where he hid it and was recruiting boys for robbery operations before he met his waterloo”.

“On the 12/3/2021 at about 2300hrs, the suspect, armed with a cut-to-size locally made gun, singlehandedly besieged the female hostel of Adeniran Ogunsanya, College of Education, Ijanikin Lagos and ordered the occupants of the Hostel to surrender their belongings, else he would kill them.

“His threat to kill was resisted by a female student who alone arrested him and recovered his arm”, the PPRO revealed.

.153 Robbery Suspects, Cultists Apprehends In One Month By Lagos Police

No fewer than One hundred and fifty-three robbery suspects and cultists that have been terrorizing Lagos have been arrested, with the recovery of 134 arms and ammunition by the Police within a month in some parts of the State.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu disclosed this while parading the suspects at the command headquarters, Ikeja, 

In a breakdown statistic of arrest made available to newsmen, revealed that 93 were arrested for armed robbery, 42 for traffic robbery, and 18 for cultism at different parts of the state between March and April ,2021.

In the period under review, CP Odumosu claimed that 54 armed robbery cases were foiled while 39 murder cases were recorded.

He stressed further that four suspects were arrested for murder, one for child abuse and five other for defilement, adding that 37 arms and 97 ammunition were recovered at the end of encounters between policemen and robbers.

He however noted that the command had been able to curb the activities of cultists, saying “The state has been generally calm as the Command has improved on the security network of Lagos State”.

According to him, “Most of the hoodlums, cultists, and miscreants who terrorize the state have been arrested and prosecuted while many of their leftovers are being kept at bay. This was made possible because of the Lagos State new law on Anti-Cultism which prescribes 25 years imprisonment for cultists as well as punishment for whoever serves as accessory before and after the fact to any cult member”.

“The law also prescribes 15 years imprisonment for anybody whose property be it house (landlord), event centre, recreational centre, bar or vehicle is used to aid or facilitate any cult-related activities and two years imprisonment for parents of any cult member.”

“In line with the proactive policies in addressing the security issues in the state, we rejigged security architecture and strategies during the last marathon meeting with the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and Tactical Commanders, where they have been mandated to ensure that no traffic robbery or security infractions occur in their area of responsibility.

“Similarly, special teams have been established to basically and frontally tackle incidences of traffic robbery in the state. Synergy has also been established with other security agencies to strengthen security in Lagos State. All these are the offshoots of the maiden conference held by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, with all senior officers in Abuja on April 15, 2021”.

LASG Launches Help Line For Mental Healthcare Support, Constructs Mental Health Institute with 1,500 Bed Psychiatric Hospital

Lagos State Government has launched a mental health helpline tagged ‘The Lagos Lifeline’; which is a tele-Mental Health service that provides Lagos residents with access to psychosocial support, counselling and psychotherapy services free of charge through a dedicated line – 0909000MIND or 0909 000 6463

Speaking at the formal launch of the facility, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the Lagos Lifeline is a Mental Health Crisis Management service designed to bridge the gap in the availability of mental health service. 

While stating that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has made mental health a priority, the Commissioner averred that this is evident in government’s implementation activities targeted at increasing access to mental health care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health infrastructure.

Abayomi disclosed that the State Government has conceptualized a Mental Health Institute with a capacity for 500 bed psychiatric hospital and 1000 bed rehabilitation Centre at Ketu Ejirin in furtherance of its efforts to improve access to mental health services.

Fake Wine Factory: Police Nabs Suspect In Warri, Recover One locally made Single Barrel Gun, Vehicle Of Journalist  Stolen

The Delta State Police Command has discovered an illegal wine factory where fake alcoholic beverages are manufacture, arrested suspect, recovered locally made single barrel gun and a vehicle belonging to a Journalist (stolen on 22 April) in Warri.

According to a statement issued by DSP. Bright Edafe, Ag. PPRO, Delta Police Command, “on 16/4/21  at about 8.30pm, The commander Delta Police anti cult unit, SP Christopher Igbaji after due intelligence gathering, mobilized operatives from SACU on a sting operation with the civilian anti-cult volunteer corps arrested one kenneth Ajie ‘m’ of Amadaga village and uncover an illegal factory where fake alcohol is been produced  at Ovwia  in Udu local government area of Delta State”. 

“The suspect who produces these fake wines in his house, operate without any license, confessed that he sells the wine for the sum of N300 per bottle and N3,600) per carton.

“He confessed that he bottled the wine himself, uses bottles that has already been used and disposed, which he bought at N10.00) per bottle, and he also buys the cork from open market.

“He also claimed that he washes the bottles himself, cork the wines himself, and sells to members of the public. He said that he works alone and produces about one to three cartons per day. 

“Exhibits recovered include bottles of the drinks suspected to be fake alcoholic wine. Case is still under investigation”, the PPRO added.

The Police Spokesman also revealed that on 28/04/2021 at about 0120hrs Men of ‘A’ Division Warri received a distress call from one of the police constabulary attached to ‘B’ division Warri that four suspected armed robbery gang  in a Toyota camry (pencil light)  were operating  at ubor axis in Warri,  

“The DPO A Division Warri CSP T.Y. Mahmud mobilized and led anti-crime patrol team in search of the hoodlums. They were later sighted between Ogwangwe and NPA,  the police engaged them in a hot chase  to  Iyara, the hoodlums eventually abandoned the Toyota Camry Reg no. TE845 AAA.

“The Vehicle happens to be the same vehicle that was stolen at Ekuremu Street in Warri on 22 April 2021 belonging to a renowned journalist Felix Ekwu.  

“One locally made single barrel  loaded one live cartridge was recovered, when the DPO ‘A’ Division led men for a search party, where abandoned shoes, neck chain and phone charging cord were also recovered at the escape route. 

“Iyara vigilante and indigenes of Iyara were put on red alert to be on the lookout as well. Effort is ongoing to arrest the fleeing robbers while the vehicle has been recovered”, the PPRO remarked.