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UK Confirms 3,000-pound Bond for Nigerians, Other ‘High-Risk’ Visitors

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Britain’s Home Office confirmed Monday it will demand a 3,000-pound ($4,630) refundable bond for visas for “high-risk” visitors from six former colonies in Africa and Asia — a pilot scheme that has brought warnings at home and abroad that it will damage trade.

Britain said in a statement Monday that it will go ahead with the pilot scheme despite the outrage, charges of discrimination and warnings of retaliation.

The statement sent by email did not say when the pilot programme would start. But it said it could apply the scheme in the future for all visas and any country.

“The pilot will apply to visitor visas, but if the scheme is successful we’d like to be able to apply it on an intelligence-led basis on any visa route and any country,” it said.

The Associated Press reported that for now, the targeted countries are Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Government data shows citizens of those countries applied for more than half a million visas to Britain last year.

Khaled Mahmud, owner of a Bangladeshi travel agency in Dhaka that deals with British student visas, charged the scheme was racist. “It smacks of a deep-rooted racial attitude,” he told The Associated Press on Monday.

In the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, computer businessman Syed Shahid Ali said the “painful and unbearable” new policy would have a negative impact on British tourism and business.

“How can someone who wants to visit the U.K. for a couple of days for business meetings or something else afford to set aside 3,000 pounds” said Ali, who travels there frequently. “He will simply prefer to go and do business elsewhere in Europe instead of getting into this problem of giving a bond and getting reimbursed.”

Haider Abbas Rizvi, a former Pakistani lawmaker, said the British government should review its decision because it would hurt a lot of Pakistanis who have family members living in Britain and who cannot afford the bond.

“There are just a few people who deviate from the system or break the law, so instead of bringing common travelers and law-abiding people under the possible financial burden, there should be strict surveillance on the violators of law in the U.K. or elsewhere,” Rizvi told the AP.

Nigeria’s government made a formal demand last month that Britain renounce the proposal.

Olugbenga Ashiru, foreign affairs minister called in the British high commissioner to express “the strong displeasure of the government and people of Nigeria” over the “discriminatory” policy.

Ashiru warned the move would “definitely negate” the two country’s commitment to double trade by 2014.

Figures from Nigeria’s Ministry of Trade and Commerce show trade between the two countries increased nearly five-fold from $2.35 billion in 2010 to $11.57 billion last year, with the value of Nigerian imports of British goods doubling in that time.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and a huge market with its more than 160 million people.

There was such an outcry in Nigeria when the scheme first was mooted last month that British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock put out a statement assuring that the pilot scheme would not affect most Nigerians.

“The vast majority would not be required to pay a bond,” Pocock said. He added that more than 180,000 Nigerians apply to visit Britain each year and about 70 percent — around 126,000 — get visas.

There were protests in India last month when British Prime Minister David Cameron visited, causing him to declare that a final decision had not been taken on the policy.

The Home Office said it hopes the bond system deters overstaying of visas and recovers costs of foreign nationals using public services like hospitals and schools.

Immigration was a key issue in Cameron’s election campaign for his Conservative Party. Cameron has pledged to cut net immigration from 252,000 a year in 2010 to 100,000 a year by 2015.

One move that has come under heavy criticism recently has been a government campaign targeting people who overstay their visas. Billboards were put on two vans for a week in six of London’s boroughs. Their message said: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” Leaflets with the same message will be distributed for a month.

The Home Office statement said the visa bond “is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming the brightest and the best to Britain.”


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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Facebook to Open Office in Lagos

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As part of its continued commitment and on-going investment in Africa, Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.

Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.

Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.

Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.

“All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance.

Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”

Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally.

This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID.

The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms.

“The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”


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Victor Osimhen Set Make His Debut For Napoli As Lampard Up Against Familiar Foes

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Football fans will enjoy another great weekend of football action as the new football season in Europe continues this weekend on DStv and GOtv.

The pick of Premier League matches this weekend is the meeting of Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 20 September, which will air live at 4:30pm on SS Premier League.

The Reds completed a league ‘double’ over the Blues last season, with the teams’ most recent meeting a 5-3 win for the Merseyside club in July.

Liverpool supporters have been concerned at their club’s relative lack of action in the transfer market (certainly compared to Chelsea, who have recruited heavily and brought in world-class talent such as Moroccan attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech, for example), but manager Jurgen Klopp insists he prefers working with a smaller group of players.

Lille’s Victor Osimhen in action during a UEFA Champions League soccer group stage match between Valencia CF and OSC Lille at Mestalla stadium on 05 November 2019. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Elsewhere, Manchester United will open their campaign with a clash at home to Crystal Palace in the early-evening kick-off on Saturday 19 September, on SS Premier League at 5:30pm.

It will be the first chance for new Red Devils signing Donny van de Beek to have a taste of competitive English football.

Also on Saturday, Everton will face West Bromwich Albion at 12:20pm while Leeds United will face Fulham at 3pm with the day closing off with Arsenal vs West Ham United at 8pm, all on SS Premier League.

The Premier League matches for the weekend will continue on Sunday 20 September with Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur at 12pm, Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion at 2pm and Leicester City vs Burnley at 7pm, all live on SS Premier League. On Monday 21 September, Aston Vila vs Sheffield United will air at 6pm and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City at 8:15pm both live on SS Premier League.

This weekend’s La Liga sees the return to action for champions Real Madrid, who open the defence of their title with a match away to Real Sociedad at Sam Sebastian on the evening of Sunday 20 September showing live on SS La Liga, SS GOtv La Liga and SS GOtv Football at 8:00pm.

La Liga is packed this weekend with other exciting matches airing live on SS La Liga and SS GOtv La Liga. Getafe vs Osasuna will air at 8pm on Friday 18 September, while Villarreal v Eibar at 3pm and Celta Vigo vs Valencia at 8pm will both air on Saturday 19 September.

On Sunday 29 September, Huesca will clash with Cadiz at 3pm and Granada will face Deportivo Alaves at 5:30pm. GOtv will crown the weekend matches with Real Betis vs Real Valladolid at 8pm on Monday 21 September

Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma (left) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

The headline match from Italy’s topflight this weekend sees champions Juventus open the defence of their title with a match at home to Sampdoria in the late kick-off on Sunday 20 September at 7:45pm on SS Football, SS Variety 3 and SS GOtv Select 1.

All eyes will be on new manager, Andrea Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the head of the Bianconeri in the off season.

Another key game this weekend will give Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen the chance to make his competitive debut for Napoli when they face Parma on Sunday afternoon, having joined the club for a huge fee from Lille a few weeks back. This will air at 11:30am live on SS Football, SS Variety 3, SS GOtv Select 1 and SS GOtv Football.

SuperSport remains the only platform to get English commentary from the legendary La Liga.

Don’t miss the 2020-21 football season on SuperSport on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstvafrica.com and www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade and join in on the excitement. While you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.

 


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