Seme border reopens after election postponement

By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State) Feb.16, 2019 (NNN) Commercial activities remained low at Seme on Saturday following the reopening of Nigeria-Benin Republic border after last minute postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.



Seme border reopens after election postponement

By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State) Feb.16, 2019 (NNN) Commercial activities remained low at Seme on Saturday following the reopening of Nigeria-Benin Republic border after last minute postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the Federal Government had ordered the closure of all Nigerian land borders with effect from Friday 12:00 noon Feb. 15 to 12.00 noon of Sunday, Feb. 17.

NNN reports that even though Seme border was reopened early on Saturday following the election postponement to Feb. 23, commercial activities was scanty as many traders and licensed clearing agents did not show up.

Mr Jacob Uchenna, a customs agent, told NNN that he was in Seme to find out if the border would be reopened.
“It is so unfortunate that INEC decided to postpone the election without considering the economic implications on Nigerians.
“It is only on Saturdays that business used to boom here at Seme but look at what is happening now.
“Marketers did not come, even those that are around are not selling because people didn’t show up for business,” he said.
NNN reports that human and vehicular movement across the border took place without any hindrance while customs and immigration officials thoroughly checked few vehicles passing through the area.
The situation remained the same at Badagry Market, where few traders displayed their goods patronized by a few.
Mrs Iyabode Joseph, a food vendor in the market, lamented that sales was too dull because many refused to leave their homes.

Meanwhile, some residents of the coastal city of Badagry had reacted to the postponement of the election, describing it as unfortunate.
Mr Dosu Avoseh said: “This postponement will cause a lot of hardship on citizens.
“It doesn’t say well of INEC and raised doubts on its ability and readiness to conduct free and fair elections.

“Many people have had programs planned for next weekend that will now have to be cancelled.
“Businesses will suffer, people who traveled this weekend will loose income and may end up not voting next weekend because they won’t be able to afford to travel back.
“The negative ripple effect of the postponement is frightening so much so that it’s hard to appreciate the need for the postponement in the first place.

Also speaking, Mr Victor Akinseye, said the commission had reasons for postponing the elections.

“I think INEC would not have deliberately done that if it is not worth it, however, the short notice was the problem.
“It does not portray the country a serious nation to foreigners, particularly the International Observers.
“It also portrays the nation a wasteful country,” he said. (NNN)

Edited by Wale Ojetimi


Military rescues 13 kidnapped foreigners



The Defence Headquarters says the military in its operations in the South-South zone of the country has rescued 13 foreigners who were kidnapped in Lome waters.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said this at the updates briefing on military operations in August across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Enenche explained that Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH in one of its operations in August intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made up of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.

He said that four Nigerians were also on board of the speed boat.

According to him, the troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone with tremendous successes.

“Subsidiary Operation SILENT HEAT was launched by Operation DELTA SAFE on Aug. 1 for 90 days.

“The objective of the operation was to protect critical installations, key points and vital points as well as combat all forms of illegalities and crimes in the area.

“The operation is conducted to maintain conducive environment for oil and gas industries as well as other economic activities to thrive,” he said.

He said that since the activation of Operation SILENT HEAT, several arrests and deactivation of various militant camps had been made.

“It was during the course of the operation that on Aug. 19, Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.

“The 13 kidnapped foreigners as well as four Nigerians on the speed boat have been handed over to Defence Intelligence Agency for further necessary action,” he said.

He said that in the course of other subsidiary Operations CALM WATERS II and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE on Aug.16, Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY patrol team intercepted and arrested seven men suspected to be smugglers at Agbana-West by the Nigerian-Cameroun maritime border.

“The suspects were arrested with a medium size wooden boat laden with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice and 62 empty drums suspected to have been used to smuggle Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant products to Cameroun.

“Accordingly, the suspects, bags of smuggled parboiled rice and the medium-sized wooden boat were handed over to Operation BORDER DRILL for further investigation and prosecution in line with extant regulation,” he said.

He said that within the month of August, several arrests were made by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE; large quantities of stolen crude oil as well as other petroleum products were impounded.

“Cumulatively, a total of 1,309,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and 302,000 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered in the month of August 2020 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers.

“Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone.

“From these successes, it is clear that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage,” he said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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Xinhua Headlines: Embattled United States enters 100-day countdown to presidential election amid pandemic, protests




Sunday marks the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the 2020 United States presidential election while the country is still trapped in the raging coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against racial discrimination and police brutality.

With the clock ticking toward what may be the most complicated presidential contest in American history, both Democrats and Republicans are ramping up their push to get the keys to the Oval Office.

Nevertheless, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the nation, protests over racial injustice in several United States cities turned violent over the weekend.

The Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Jan. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Jan. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)


Sitting president and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, 74, didn’t mention the milestone directly on Sunday but lashed out at polls that have showed him falling behind his Democratic opponent, former United States Vice President Joe Biden, calling them “fake.”

“The Trump Campaign has more ENTHUSIASM, according to many, than any campaign in the history of our great Country — Even more than 2016,” he tweeted before claiming that battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Texas, will not vote for Biden, a 77-year-old moderate political veteran who has recently adopted several progressive policy proposals.

Biden, whose campaign is accelerating its staffing and television spending, tweeted “100 days” on Sunday.

“Folks, we have just 100 days until Election Day. Now, more than ever, we have to do everything we can to make Donald Trump a one-term president,” he said.

In the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Biden leads Trump 50 percent to 40.9 percent as of Sunday. Meanwhile, polls conducted in some key battlegrounds, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona, also showed that Biden is ahead of Trump by at least several points.

Pedestrians walk past a social distancing notice on Times Square in New York, the United States, July 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Pedestrians walk past a social distancing notice on Times Square in New York, the United States, July 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

In an AP-NORC poll released Sunday, eight in 10 Americans said that the United States is heading in the wrong direction, the highest level during Trump’s presidency, while only about a third of Americans approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, the majority of Americans have a negative view of how Trump is handling the economy, health care and education.

“This is a very unpleasant real-time look at what the future could be for President Trump,” said Tim Malloy, a polling analyst at Quinnipiac University, after the Connecticut-based polling center released its latest survey earlier this month.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, however, urged caution in using polls to make predictions, tweeting on Sunday that “numbers are sand castles not stone monuments.”

Biden has seized the moment by sharply criticizing Trump’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic as well as his ability to steer the country out of the crisis, while Trump has repeatedly questioned Biden’s cognitive health, accused him of being a “puppet” of what he called the “Radical Left,” and highlighted their ideological differences in a highly politically and socially divisive time.

A vendor waits for customers at a kiosk on Times Square in New York, the United States, July 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

A vendor waits for customers at a kiosk on Times Square in New York, the United States, July 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)


Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, a United States website focusing on opinion poll analysis, politics and economics, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the coronavirus is “an extra complication” in this year’s presidential election.

More than 4.2 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, with some 146,000 deaths, according to a dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic continues to surge across the country, especially in some populous states, amid an economic recession.

“We found historically when there are lots of major news events and economic disruptions, an election becomes harder to predict,” Silver said.

“So while he’s clearly in trouble, I do not buy that Trump’s fate is sealed,” he said. “A lot could change in the next one hundred days. Things could get worse still for the president. But a turnaround in the COVID situation by the fall could make the election more competitive.”

The pandemic, which has plagued the United States for months, has forced the presidential and other campaigns to go virtual due to health and safety risks.

The Republican and Democratic national conventions, both scheduled for August, where Trump and Biden will formally receive each party’s presidential nomination, will take place on a smaller scale.

Trump, who has relied on campaigns to build momentum, had tried to restart in-person activities in June. But his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the first of its kind in more than three months, met with a lower-than-expected attendance and led to coronavirus infections among campaign staff and Secret Service agents. Biden has said he won’t hold rallies during the pandemic.

Apart from the pandemic, the country has also been gripped by nationwide demonstrations against racial discrimination following the death of African American George Floyd in May.

A total of 45 people were arrested and 21 police officers injured on Saturday after a protest in the western United States city of Seattle turned violent.

In the Texas capital of Austin, a protester was shot dead by a person who drove through a crowd of marchers. In Aurora, Colorado, a protester fired a weapon, striking at least one person who was taken to a hospital, police said.

People vote at a polling site in Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, June 23, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

People vote at a polling site in Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, June 23, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)


As the general election approaches, three presidential debates between Trump and Biden are scheduled to take place between September and October. A vice presidential debate between Trump’s deputy Mike Pence and whoever Biden chooses as his running mate will be held in early October.

Biden, who is considering a broad tier of candidates to be his running mate after pledging to pick a woman for the job, has said that he will announce his pick in early August.

Biden “holds a discernible — though not insurmountable — Electoral College advantage” over Trump, according to ABC News’ initial ratings for the 2020 general election which will be held on Nov. 3.

The ratings place 279 electoral votes as either solidly or leaning Democratic — slightly more than the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. Another 72 electoral votes are rated as toss-ups, while 187 are either solidly or leaning Republican.

In his race against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Trump secured 306 electoral votes, winning the presidency — in part — by taking longtime Democratic strongholds: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In addition to the Trump-Biden race, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested on Nov. 3, along with 13 state and territorial governorships, as well as numerous other state and local elections.

In congressional races, Republicans will fight to defend their majority in the Senate, while Democrats are looking at expanding their seats in the House.

(Video reporters: Hu Yousong, Tan Yixiao; Video editor: Peng Ying)■
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NBA 2020 Election: Entertainment lawyer backs Akpata’s bid to reposition association 



Ahead of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2020 election, an entertainment lawyer, Rockson Igelige has backed Olumide Akpata’s bid to reposition the association as its President.


Igelege in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, he described Akpata, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as a lawyer with a 21st century mindset


He said that a vote for Akpata as the new NBA president would mean a departure from analog to a digital NBA.


He called on all entertainment and Intellectual Property (IP) lawyers to massively vote for Akpata as the next president of NBA to take the association to the next level.


Igelige noted that Akpata had a vast range of experience and knowledge to properly reposition the NBA as the most dominant organisation in Nigeria with global standards.


He described Akpata as an experienced lawyer and Senior Partner and Head of the Corporate and Commercial Practice Group of Templars, which had been in existence for 25 years.


“Akpata has the first class technical know-how to rebrand and raise the standard of NBA to meet global standards.


“We are in an era where digitalisation has become a necessity for success, the NBA has operated in the analog for too long and this has hindered our successes as the most dominant organisations in Nigeria.


“There is no better time than now to rebrand the NBA to meet up with global standard through digitalisation.’’


Igelige urged lawyers, mostly the entertainment and IP  practitioners to take advantage of the opportunity offered to elect Akpata as the next NBA President.


“As IP lawyers, we cannot joke with the upgrade of our knowledge, which is rooted on digitalisation; the world has changed and still changing very fast.


“We need a vibrant leader with knowledge of modern day reality which is what Akpata represents,’’ he said.


He said Akpata had helped to build one of the most successful and largest chambers, Templars in Nigeria.


He said that such expertise, experience and knowledge were needed at this crucial time in the history of NBA to move the association to the “next level that we all deserve”.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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COVID-19: Another 13 Nigerian returnees from Canada, Germany, France arrive Seme Border



Another batch of 13 Nigerian returnees from Canada, Germany and France arrived in the country through Seme Border Post in Lagos State on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that the 13 returnees landed in Benin Republic by Air France on June 10 and came into Nigeria through Seme land border around 8 a.m. on Thursday.

A Port Health Services (PHS) official in Seme, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the Nigerian returnees, comprising eight males and five  females, had been screened by health officials.

“They arrived at 8:30 a.m. today from Canada, Germany and France through Cotonou Airport.

“We have collected their contacts and relevant information for follow up on their health status.

“This will be forwarded to officials of Lagos State Ministry of Health and NCDC who will be having random checks on them peeiodically.

“After all the checks, we will allow all of them to go to their different destinations since Lagos State Government no longer isolate them in Badagry again,” he said.

NAN recalls that that 53 Nigerian returnees from Ghana and Benin  Republic arrived Seme Border on Saturday, May 16.

With the latest returnees, the number of Nigerians from foreign and neighboring countries that arrived through Seme border is now 166.

Edited By: Mustapha Lamidi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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