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Police Arrest 125, Guard Embassies, MTN as Protests Spread

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Protests against xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa continued on Wednesday with the Federal Government declaring that Nigeria would boycott the World Economic Forum on Africa scheduled for the former apartheid enclave.

Though the Federal Government beefed up security at companies including the MTN and Shoprite linked to South Africa, this could not stop protesters from attacking some of these companies in cities across the nation.

The Federal Government also expressed its determination to end the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa once and for all.

The government’s latest stance came after a morning meeting summoned by President Muhammadu Buhari to review developments so far.

At the meeting were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

The meeting resolved that “enough is enough,” adding that this time round, Nigeria would ensure that attacks on its citizens in South Africa must end.

Onyeama, who spoke with State House Correspondents after the meeting, said several measures had been reached and would be unfolded in the days ahead.

He stated that talks with the South African authorities would be detailed this time round and would shape the pattern of the Nigeria-South Africa relations in the years ahead.

Onyeama confirmed that one option considered was that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, should return home.

However, he clarified that this would be after the special envoy Buhari sent to his South African counterpart, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, would have concluded the assignment and reported back to the President.

He declined to name the special envoy for “security reasons” but added that he was expected to be back from South Africa by the weekend.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered water-tight security around foreign missions, foreigners and their businesses across the country.

He has also placed zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police across the federation on red alert to ensure that no similar violence was replicated in the country.

This was as the police said they had arrested 125 suspects for allegedly attacking and looting Shoprite outlet in Lekki area of Lagos on Tuesday, under the pretext of protesting against the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

A good number of looted valuables were said to have been recovered by the force.  “The force has commenced investigations and profiling of the arrested suspects with a view to establishing their connection with the stealing, malicious damage, arson and disturbance of public peace on the day of the incident,” the force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, disclosed in a statement on Wednesday.

The IG condemned the violent attacks, noting that three police officers were seriously injured while an operational vehicle was set ablaze during the attack.

The police noted, “Miscreants and criminally-minded people who masquerade as genuine protesters are, therefore, warned to stay off the streets of Nigeria as the force will not hesitate to bring to bear the full weight of the law on any such law-breaker.”

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Court Denies Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, refused to grant bail to an executive of Binance Holdings Limited, Tigran Gambaryan.

Justice Nwite held that Gambaryan is likely to jump bail if granted to him.

The company and its executive were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering before Emeka Nwite, judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Moving an application, Counsel to the Defendant, Mark Mordi, argued that the court had the power to grant bail to the defendant and impose conditions to ensure his presence in court.

The prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, however opposed the bail application, stating that the defendant is a flight risk.

He stated that the defendant attempted to obtain a new passport, which he claimed was stolen, and this is a suspicious act given the proximity to his colleague’s escape from custody.

He added that the court cannot risk granting Gambaryan bail, especially as he is not attached to any community in Nigeria.

“The fact that the passport of the defendant is with the complainant does not guarantee that he will remain in Nigeria because the defendant is not only an American citizen but also an Armenian citizen by birth.

He urged the court to refuse the application and instead remand him in EFCC custody to ensure his safety and prevent potential flight risk.

Delivering ruling, the judge said several factors including the nature of offence and its severity must be considered when trying to decide whether or not bail should be granted to the defendant applicant.

Justice Nwite agreed with the depositions made by prosecution and was of the view that the applicant will jump bail if bail is granted to him.

He subsequently ordered that the trial be given an accelerated hearing.

After the ruling, the EFCC called its first witness, a staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Governor Adeleke Felicitates with Dele Momodu at 64

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke has felicitated with the celebrated journalist, and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Akinrogun Dele Momodu on the occasion of his 64th birthday, describing him as “a pride of the media industry.”

Governor Adeleke noted Akinrogun Momodu’s heartwarming contributions to a just and equitable society, saying he has touched the minds and hearts of countless people with insightful words, logistic support and unwavering dedication to truth and justice.

The Governor appreciates the Ovation Magazine Publisher’s sustained commitment to informing and enlightening the public as a weapon of nation building, acknowledging him as an inspirational figure, who has empowered readers to think critically, and engage meaningfully.

“I congratulate my dear friend, Akinrogun Dele Momodu, on the auspicious occasion of his birthday. The Aare Tayese of Iwoland is a unique personality, who has touched lives positively and brought smiles to countless faces,” the Governor was quoted in a congratulatory message, signed by his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed.

“On this auspicious occasion, I honour both your wonderful life and exceptional contributions to the media sector and the larger society. I note, with admiration, Akinrogun Momodu’s deep sense of commitment to a better Nigeria, which is manifest in columns and public discourse.

“On behalf of my family, I convey best wishes to Akinrogun Momodu on his birthday and it is my prayer that God grant him many celebrations in good health and happiness while also bestowing him the grace to give more to humanity.”

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

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