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FG Evaluates 3,000 Stranded Nigerians in 2 Months, says Citizens’ Welfare priority

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Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Legal and Consular, Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the Federal Government has so far evacuated 3,000 Nigerians stranded abroad in two months.

Accirding to him, the welfare of Nigerians remains government’s top priority.

Akinremi made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when the Federal Government received another batch of 418 stranded Nigerians from Saudi Arabia at the FCT Hajj Camp, a temporary shelter for returnees.

Akinremi said the 418 returnees were among the three batch of stranded Nigerians that were evacuated from Saudi Arabia in one week.

He said that aside the evacuation, the Federal Government would be giving each of the returnees above 10 years of age #20 000 each for transportation back to their states and to aid their resettlement.

“This set of returnees from Saudi Arabia came in three batches. 255 came in on Monday, 398 came in on Tuesday and today the third batch of 418 have just arrived,

“They will be staying in this facility, the FCT Hajj camp which has been provided by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for three days.

“In line with the COVID-19 protocols, the first day will be for arrival, the second day for COVID-19 testing and profiling while the third day would be to get their results and depart to their various states.

“The Federal Government beyond evacuation, has made provision for a new life for them. N20,000 will be given to adults and anyone above 10 years. This will help them for transportation and to start a little business.

“Within two months we have received 3,000 stranded Nigerians abroad and the Federal Government is doing everything possible to ensure no Nigerian outside the shores of the country is in crises”, Akinremi said.

Akinremi also explained that the evacuation process was not just focused on Saudi Arabia but across all countries where Nigerians were stranded.

He said that last week, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also facilitated the return of 120 stranded Nigerians from Libya.

Mrs Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim, Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said the Nigerian government was keen on rescuing all trafficked and stranded citizens abroad.

Suleiman-Ibrahim said the profiling of the returnees by the Federal government would allow for proper planning of their resettlement and rehabilitation process.

She explained that the returnees consist of trafficked victims, willing participants who went to seek greener pastures abroad and some who were born in Saudi Arabia.

“Form January till now, we have been able to profile 1,250 returnees from Saudi Arabia, in March from Libya we profiled 117 and right now with the recent people coming back we have been able to profile 437.

“They have all been captured and this helps the government to be able to plan toward any future interventions to ensure that these people are being able to reintegrate into society properly and they are properly rehabilitated.

“I want to assure you that the government is doing all it can to ensure that these people are back home.

“There is no government that has made the most interventions like this government and we will continue to do our best,” Iman-Suleiman said.

Responding to concerns that some of the returnees do not look Nigerian, Iman-Suleiman said a few of the returnees were citizens of West African countries.

“During our profiling in January, out of 1,250 people, only five people were non-Nigerians and the ones that are non-Nigerians are from ECOWAS countries.

“And we make the right kind of arrangement to make sure they get home as well,” Iman-Suleiman said. (NAN)

Foreign News

Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Rises to 29,195 Amid Israeli Attacks

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The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,195 with 69,170 others wounded as the Israeli attacks continue, The Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Israeli army had killed 103 Palestinians and wounded 142 others in the Strip during the past 24 hours, the ministry said in a press statement.

It was noted that some victims remained under the rubble amid heavy bombardment and a lack of civil defence and ambulance crews.

Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets said the Israeli army forces were continuing their operations in the north centre and south of the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and have killed many fighters.

The Israeli army announced the death of a 22-year-old soldier as a result of his wounds in the Gaza battles.

The death of the 22-year-old soldier raised the death toll of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground operation to 236.

In addition, the Israeli army revealed a video of Israeli detainees alive in the first days of their detention in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

The video was showing a woman and her two children wrapped in a blanket, taken by gunmen in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the family had been kidnapped by an organization calling itself the “Mujahideen Brigades.” (Xinhua/NAN)

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Namibian President’s Death a Great Loss to Citizens, Africa, the World —Envoy

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Namibia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb has eulogised the country’s late President Hage Geingob, describing his death as a great loss to the country, Africa, and the world.

Geiseb made this known during a memorial church service in honour of Geingob, held at the Catholic Church of Assumption in Abuja, on Monday.

According to him, a lot of lessons can be learned  from the life of the late president, who was a champion for a better life for disadvantaged persons in Namibia.

Geiseb said: “His death is a great loss to Namibians, Africans and the whole world; we have lost a visionary leader as president and one who was a champion of many causes.

“He championed the cause of the poor, unemployed, elderly women and made sure there was an improvement in the number of women represented in the cabinet, as well as parliament during his tenure. 

“President Geingob was an advocate of the less powerful in the society, through his labour he made sure that those who were less powerful were catered for and also mainstreamed in governance.”

He added that the late president was a good leader, noting that the quantum of condolence messages, which he received from Nigerians were a reflection of  his goodness to the people.

Amb. John Shinkaiye, who paid tribute on behalf of the Association of Retired Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) described Geingob as a Pan-Africanist.

“We pay tribute to the late president and mourn his passing with his family, Africa, the Commonwealth and other organisations in which he played outstanding roles.

“We pray his family be comforted and his departure will be honoured by the continuation of a peaceful and vibrant Namibia.”

Amb. Poscaline Vokiwuge Gerengbo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who paid tribute on behalf of the Group of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ambassadors, said Geingob lived a life worthy of emulation.

“On behalf of SADC Ambassadors in Abuja, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and people of Namibia.

“May you find comfort during this difficult time; our presence here is in admiration of a man who gave up his lifetime dedicated to his country and continent at large,” Gerengbo said.

Also speaking, Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs,  described Geingob as a brother, confidant and passionate African, who was fearless, confident and engaging.

“His sense of statesmanship was similar to leaders like Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and all those great men and women on whose shoulders we stand today.

“He was an outstanding visionary, who saw the transition of his country from an oppressive apartheid regime to embrace ethnic diversity and create room for younger people to share in the vision of Namibia.

“There are not less than 50 Namibians in Nigeria, while there are not less than 3000 Nigerians in Namibia,” Gambari said.

The event, which was officiated by Rev. Fr. Stephen Omale, members of the diplomatic community, attracted former governors and top government officials, as well as the Namibian community in Nigeria.

Reports says that the late President Geingob died on February  4 at the age of 82. (NAN)

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U.S. Senate Approves Ukraine Aid Package

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The U.S. Senate has approved a 95.3 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations.

The bill has passed 70 to 29 in the Democratic-led chamber.

However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is far from certain, as former president and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump had urged Republicans to avoid passing legislation.

Trump said that this would give President Joe Biden a chance to claim a legislative victory.

The two politicians are likely to battle for the presidency, once again in November.

The United States has considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the defence against the Russian invasion, since the start of the war in February 2022.

The Biden administration has provided or pledged military aid totalling more than 44 billion dollars for Kiev.

The aid package passed by the Senate includes around 60 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine, the majority of which is earmarked for military support.

This was roughly the amount that Biden had originally requested.

The draft also includes 14 billion dollars for Israel as well as billions in aid for Taiwan and other partners in the Indo-Pacific. (dpa/NAN)

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