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Xenophobia: Over 400 Nigerians Ready for Evacuation From S/Africa

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The Nigerian Mission in South Africa says no fewer than 400 Nigerians have indicated interest and registered to be evacuated from South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks.

Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, said this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Adama noted that Air Peace had offered to airlift those willing to return home sequel to the attacks on Nigerians and their businesses by South Africans.

According to him, the first batch of Nigerians who are willing to return home will be repatriated on Wednesday.

“We have more than enough for that aircraft.

Over 400 Nigerians have already registered; more are still coming,’’ he said.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, also said that Nigerians had responded positively in good numbers.

Bala said that the mission was equally responding to the needs of those willing to return, especially those who had issues with their documents.

“We are documenting them. Those without travel documents, we shall provide them with Emergency Travel Certificates.

“There are other governmental procedures that we must observe. Relevant agencies of government in Nigeria must be informed and must be ready to receive the returnees.

“Hard work is now going on at the High Commission and Consulate in this regard. As soon as all procedures and relevant protocols are observed, the return is assured and guaranteed.

“A little more patience will be helpful. The response of Nigerians is just amazing,’’ Bala said.

President, Nigeria Citizens Association, South Africa (NICASA),  Ben Okoli, said all efforts were geared towards evacuation of those who were ready to come back home.

Okoli said the figure of those ready to come was in hundreds as many had lost their means of livelihood and had nothing to fall back on.

“The Consulate is sorting out the issue of documents. Nigerians are being registered and issued with the necessary travel documents to enable them make the trip to Lagos.

“Some lost their passports in their homes and businesses from the fire that gutted it, while others had their documents and properties stolen by the locals,’’ he said.

The association, he said, was still pushing ahead with the demand for compensation as there was sufficient evidence available to them that the attacks were premeditated and orchestrated.

He also noted that normalcy was gradually returning, stressing that there was no longer tension, or violence against any set of people.

“The violence and hostility have ceased. Many Nigerians were, however, affected by the crisis and lots have been highly distressed with nothing to fall back on.

“So, some of those affected have decided to call it quits and go back to Nigeria.

“Presently, we are collating the data of Nigerians that are to be evacuated back to Nigeria.

“We have it on good record that the first batch will be leaving on Wednesday.’’

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort in sending a special envoy to South Africa.

Okoli said that the move was able to boost the morale of the Nigerian community to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation or attacks.

“We have actually regained some strength knowing that our government is backing and supporting us, especially at this time.

“So we are no longer afraid because we believe that so long we are doing the right thing, the lawful thing, we have nothing to fear.

“We want to thank President Buhari for the steps he has taken. The special envoy did come to us and pushed the case of Nigerians. We are very grateful and thank him for what he has done so far,’’ he said

Okoli also commended the Management of Air Peace for offering to airlift Nigerians home and urged the airline to endeavour to airlift all Nigerians who were ready to return come home. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Putin Demands Ukrainian Troop Withdrawal in Exchange for Peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was clearly aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

The affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question, Putin said.

Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls, he added.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands in order not to freeze the conflict but to resolve it once and for all.

At the same time, Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kiev.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused. (dpa/NAN) 

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Foreign News

Biden Accuses Trump of Using ‘Hitler’s Language in Newspaper Mock-up

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U.S. President Joe Biden has accused his predecessor and likely election opponent Donald Trump of using Nazi rhetoric following the publication of a video referencing a “unified Reich.’’

Trump is using “Hitler’s language’’.

That’s not America’s, Biden said in a campaign video released.

In the short clip, the Democrat held a phone in his hand and said, referencing the video, is this on his official account? Wow.

Earlier, on Monday, Trump had shared a video which was later deleted on his social media site Truth Social, showing mocks of newspaper articles that would be written if Trump won the presidential election in November.

Among the bits of text featured was a subheading referring to the creation of a unified Reich.

The term, empire in German, is often associated with the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945.

The word Reich in the video presumably refers to the founding of the German Reich in 1871, with the text being taken from a Wikipedia entry on World War I, according to U.S. media.

The video was created using a ready-made newspaper article mask.

According to the reports, it has also been used in other clips circulating online,.

Other newspaper headlines in the video published on Trump’s platform also make reference to World War I.

Trump’s team later confirmed that the clip had been removed from his account.

A spokeswoman for his campaign team said that “it was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word.’’

Biden also attacked the Republican, who is hoping to return to the White House, at a campaign event in Boston on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old said that “the threat that Trump poses is greater in the second term than it was in the first,’’ according to reporters travelling with him.

He called Trump a little unhinged and accused him of seeking revenge after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Biden and Trump were all but guaranteed to face off on Nov. 5 in a rematch of the 2020 vote.

They both achieved the required number of delegates to be nominated as candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.

Trump has been using radical rhetoric in his election campaign, including hateful and dehumanising language, as well as making racist statements and inciting hatred against minorities.

The 77-year-old also compared Biden’s government to the Gestapo, the official secret police of Nazi Germany. (dpa/NAN)

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Foreign News

France Rejects Recognising Palestinian state at Present

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France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has rejected the idea of recognising Palestine as a state at the moment.

“Our position is clear:  recognition of Palestine is not taboo for France,” the minister said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Paris.

The minister, however, said that  decision in favour of the recognition must be beneficial and would be made at the right time.

He said that such a decision should  enable decisive progress at the political level.

“It is not just a symbolic question or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic instrument in the service of a solution with two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

“France does not believe that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process,” Séjourné said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain said they would recognise Palestine as a state on May 28.

Katz’s visit to Paris followed France’s position in favour of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which chief prosecutor applied for arrest warrants on Monday against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

The Paris Foreign Ministry stated that it supported the ICC, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations.

After the meeting with Katz, Séjourné wrote on X: “I reaffirmed France’s priorities: immediate release of the hostages, ceasefire, massive humanitarian aid and two states living in peace and security.”

(dpa/NAN)

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