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UAE Mulls Lifting Work Permit Restrictions On Nigerians

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There are speculations from the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry for Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) that the restriction on work permits for Nigerian nationals may have been lifted, and Nigerians who previously were denied applications can reapply.

The MOHRE governs all work-related issues and is responsible for issuing work permits (or labour cards) and imposing labour bans “on those who are entitled to one”.

The speculation emerged on Tuesday even though Emirates direct flights between Nigeria and the UAE remain suspended indefinitely.

Some Nigerians residing in the country have confirmed the news from MOHRE to this newspaper and are optimistic that they will get their expired work permits renewed soon to guarantee their continued stay in the UAE.

However, Tasheel, a government centre in charge of work permit applications under the directive of MOHRE, said they do not have any update yet on the situation when contacted on Tuesday. Previous applications by Nigerians through Tasheel were denied as it said work permit applications were closed to Nigerians when the Government insisted the ban was non-existent.

It is, therefore, not clear whether this is yet another gimmick by the UAE government as applications for a work permit can only be filed through Tasheel, but Nigerians are already taking steps to test this new directive from MOHRE.

The UAE restricted work permits, and visa restrictions targeted only Nigerians since July. More than 300 Nigerians residing in the country lost their jobs and were left stranded and frustrated. Several efforts between both governments to resolve the situation had proved unsuccessful.

In August, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad A. Taffaq, during a meeting with the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) at his office in Abuja, denied that Nigerians were placed on restriction.

“There has been no official restriction on Nigerians from what I believe as an official position from the UAE. The UAE is a very welcoming country and does not discriminate against any nationality. Everyone is welcome to come, work, and contribute,” he said.
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NIDCOM subsequently, through a letter dated 12th November 2021, urged Nigerians in the country to continue to liaise with the Nigerian Mission at the UAE for advice and clarifications on the work permit restrictions “as we continue to monitor the development”.

A Nigerian Oluwatobi Emmanuel, who recently lost a high-pay job offer due to inability to renew his work permit, told The ICIR, “Until we see an approved work permit issuance to a Nigerian, we can’t authenticate this news”.

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BREAKING: FG Proposes Extension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal By 18 Months, Seeks To Amend PIA

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BREAKING: NNPC Increases Petrol Price, To Sell For N170/Litre

The Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.

“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.

“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.

“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.

Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.

The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.

According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.

Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.

“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.

“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

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Former Lagos SSG Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya Dies At 74

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Former Secretary to the Lagos State Government Princess Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya has died after a brief illness.

It was learnt that Adeniran-Ogunsanya, who served as SSG under former Governor Babatunde Fashola, died on Tuesday.

She was reportedly in a comma for a few days at the Lagos State University (LASUTH) before her death.

The Ikorodu-born grassroots politician and daughter of chairman of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPN) in the Second Republic Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya was apex leader of the Lagos4Lagos movement which recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Her illness prevented her from attending the group’s official defection ceremony at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Saturday, January 22.

Details later…

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Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Amends Charge Against Fani-Kayode

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode on an amended 17-count charge of money laundering.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail.

Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).

At Monday’s proceedings, the amended 17-count charge was read over to the defendants and they each pleaded not guilty.

After the plea, the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for a trial date.

The defence counsel, Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), however, asked the court to allow the defendants to continue on the existing bail conditions granted by the former trial judge.

In a short ruling, the court allowed the defendants to continue on their existing bail conditions. He adjourned the case to March 11, for trial.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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