President Buhari has said that Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic at Seme in Lagos, was partially closed to check smuggling activities. The border has been closed for nine days now amid reports that that the closure will last for 28 days. Speaking when he met Patrice Talon, his Beninois counterpart, on the sidelines of the seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development in Yokohama, Japan on Wednesday, Buhari said smuggling is threatening his administration’s agricultural policies. According to the president, the closure was to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications. He also assured that he would reconsider reopening in the “not too distant” future adding that a meeting will be held with the presidents of Benin and Niger Republic. President Buhari’s spokesmen, Femi Adesina, Talon said the closure has caused suffering for Beninoise people.
The Niger State government has complied with an order from the National Finance Intelligence Unit on direct allocation to LGAs in the state by augmenting the payments of salaries with ₦600 million monthly. The National Union of Local Government Employees in the state had complained that following the implementation of the NFIU’s order on direct allocation to LG, that 13 out of the 25 LGs in the state were incapable of paying their staff salaries.
The FG has announced a reduction in the amount payable by citizens of the United States seeking Nigerian visas. This announcement comes 24 hours after the US authorities announced a retaliatory increase in the cost of visa applications for Nigerians. The American consulate in Nigeria had said America was reciprocating the extra visa fee the Nigerian government charges its citizens and explained that the extra cost would be applicable to only those whose visa requests were granted. Mohammed Manga, spokesman of the ministry of interior, announced that the visa fee of Americans had been reduced. He said Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, had ordered that US citizens should pay $160 for visa application with effect from Thursday.
The chairman of Zinox, Leo Stan Ekeh has offered a three-year interest free loan of ₦1 billion to petty traders and small and medium businesses in Imo State. Ekeh also launched an educational support project for indigent but intelligent students of the state to enable them acquire proper university education. For this, Ekeh set up a non-interest revolving loan scheme of ₦500 million. Indigent students will benefit from the loan scheme to further and complete their education. Graduates from the scheme will also be exposed to employment opportunities. Subsequently, the graduate-beneficiaries will be expected to refund the loan once they are gainfully employed at zero interest. This will ensure the sustenance of the scheme and allow others to benefit from it. First Class graduates however, will be exempted from repayment of the loans as a reward for their performance. Conversely, students whose grades drop to third class will be ejected from the scheme.