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Minister says diaspora voting to start soon

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The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, has assured Nigerians abroad that Diaspora voting may be realised soon.

He said Nigerians abroad are part of the county and as such should be allowed to exercise their franchise.

The minister disclosed that the Independent National Electoral Commission and the National Assembly were currently working to make this materialise.

Dada spoke during the Diaspora Quarterly lecture series of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission which was monitored online by our correspondent on Saturday.

The minister expressed the hope that participating in elections by Nigerians in Diaspora would soon be a reality as done in other climes.

He said, “NIDCOM is working closely with relevant committees of the National Assembly and relevant stakeholders, particularly INEC, to allow those in the Diaspora to vote in Nigeria and I remain very optimistic that in no distance future, we should be able to allow the participation of people in the Diaspora in our national elections as obtained in other climes.

“INEC and the National Assembly are working to fashion out ways to actualise disporian voting in Nigeria.”

Stating the efforts of the Federal Government towards moblising Nigerians in the Diaspora for national development, Dada said the government had created an enabling environment for Diaspora investment through the annual diaspora investment summit.

He added that efforts are ongoing to establish an investment fund.

Read Also: BREAKING: Cops repel attack on Imo police station, kill eight hoodlums

He also said plans were ongoing to capture the data of Nigerians in Diaspora, saying that the success of the exercise depends on the level of cooperation.

Also speaking, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the COVID-19 pandemic affected the issuance of passports in the country.

He said the government had launched the electronic temporary passport to ease the burden on Nigerians.

Aregbesola said Nigeria Immigration Service was working to ensure all outstanding passport applications are issued by May 31, adding that as from June 1, passports in the country would be issued within six weeks.

He said, “The Nigerian Immigration Service also had their fair share of the pandemic which affected passport issuance.

“We have launched an electronic temporary passport to ease the burdens of Nigerians.

“By May 31, all outstanding passport applications will be cleared. We are also looking at domesticating passport printing to avoid shortage of booklets for renewal and new passport collection.

“Also from June 1, collection of passports will take six weeks and this will allow us to carry out due diligence.”

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Insecurity: Hotel Business Dying In Imo, As Banks Go After Mgts Over Loans

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Insecurity: Hotel Business Dying In Imo, As Banks Go After Mgts Over Loan

Except Imo State Government succeeds in its efforts to restore normalcy in the state, the Hotel businesses which flourishes in Imo would become a thing of the past.

Investigation carried out by Lead revealed that most of the popular Hotel owners and management have cut drastically down the number of their workers following their inabilities to pay back the loans collected from banks caused by low patronage occasioned by insecurity in Imo.

Imo State in the recent times has been on the news over attacks by unknown gunmen and the security agents in the bid to restore peace were said to have killed some innocent persons, an act which crippled night clubs and other activities.

Speaking with Weekend Lead, the owner of one of the Five Star Hotels in Imo appealed with Imo state government to come to their aide, pointing out that some of the banks in the state are after them, demanding for payment of Loans which he said was over-due for payment but following the low patronage of Hotels occasioned by insecurity, the management of Hotels are unable to pay back. 

The said Hotel owner who chose to speak on the guise of anonymity told Lead that at their Union level, the Hospitality Management in Imo had gone to the Imo State Commissioner of Police to interact with him on the best way to improve on the security to enable them revive their businesses which he said is at the comatose state adding that with the state of insecurity in Imo, Hotels hardly have customers as people have boycotted night lives and other social activities.

He decried how Imo which is known for its hospitality industry in the nation is losing grips over insecurity adding that it is also affecting the IGR as well as the working population of the state. 

Also Read; Imo Security Challenges: Akajiugo Calls For Collective Fight

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Imo Security Challenges: Akajiugo Calls For Collective Fight

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… Urges Leaders TO Sheath Sword

… Backs Government Peace Moves.

Given the Security challenges which hitherto have to a reasonable extent grounded the economy of Imo State, one of the chieftains of the All progressives Congress in the State, Prince Joseph Okwara, Akajiugo of Umuna has called on both the political leaders, heads of various religious groups, Traditional Rulers amongst others to see the situation as a serious one which must be tackled head long.

This is even as he appealed with political leaders to sheath their sword and unite against insecurity which he described as an ill wind that blows no one any good.

In a press release signed by Okwara himself and made available to weekend Lead, he expressed gratitude to the Imo State Government led by Governor Hope Uzodinma on the continued efforts to ensure that peace returns in Imo which he described as the only State we have.

Prince Okwara, a business Mogul cum politician who used the medium to condemn the call on the Governor by the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party to resign his seat charged the leaders of the party not do play politics with what he termed a ‘sensitive’ issue.

Imo State chapter of the PDP had few weeks ago, called on Uzodinma to resign his seat as Governor, accusing him of incapacity to provide the State with adequate security, a statement which had received various condemnation in Imo and beyond.

Describing a peaceful State as that which breeds development, Akajiugo called on those behind the destruction of Government Institutions in the State to desist pointing out that such would only retard the development of the State as well as deplete our population.

He further used the forum to call on the security agencies to toe the line of professionalism in the discharge of their noble duties of protection of lives and properties and not the other way round.

Also Read: Shadow Government gives reasons for stopping Uzodinma’s criticisms

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Shadow Government gives reasons for stopping Uzodinma’s criticisms

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… Calls on Imo people to exercise patience

… Describes Governor as committed leader.

Following the calls on the leadership of the Shadow Government, a pressure group that constructively critices the Governments at all levels over its sudden silence on the activities of the Imo state Government led by senator Hope Uzodinma, the body has finally given reasons for the said silence.

In a press release signed by the president of the group, Dr Anthony Iroegbu Njoku and made available to Lead Express, he revealed that shadow Government as a pressure group only speaks when the need arises particularly when the Government’s policies both at the federal and states are anti people adding that its silence after its report few months ago on Imo which attracted varying reactions from the Government and individuals is not out of fear or any other reason rather has been studying the Government’s policies and its style of governance to enable the group point succinctly the strength as well as the weakness of the government.

Iroegbu while marshalling out the reasons revealed that though Uzodinma may not have lived upto the people’s expectations one hundred percent but he is indeed committed and desirous of moving the state forward.

Dr Iroegbu who contested the 2019 Governorship seat of Imo state revealed that Uzodinma has good intentions but given the enormous challenges both man made and naturally made now slow down the required speed adding that two months to his assumption of office as the Governor of Imo state, the covid 19 virus hit the world which until now, is still ravaging the universe.

Iroegbu popularly known and addressed as Omenuko noted that while Imo and the World in general are still battling the effects of the covid-19, Uzodinma was struck with another but an unavoidable distraction from the Okorocha’s political dynasty of alleged converted Imo properties which almost resulted in open combat between the loyalists of senator Okorocha and the Appointees of the state Government.

While that was on, Unknown gunmen started causing havocs in the state which included destruction of Owerri Correctional Centre, the Imo state police command amongst others.

Iroegbu further revealed that the series of attacks both in Orlu by yet to be identified gunmen which led to loss of lives and properties, Ihitte Uboma,Oguta amongst others at the formation of the Uzodinma’s administration are capable of distracting a focused and determined Government yet Uzodinma to a reasonable extent is committed in moving the state forward, he said.

He advised him to look into the poverty in the state with a view of solving it.

He however appealed with Imo people to exercise a little patience with the Governor assuring that he is likely going to take Imo to that Promised Land.

He used the medium to call on those responsible for the said attacks to cease adding that Imo does not belong to Uzodinma but for all of us hence all we still suffer the pains of the destruction of the Government institutions in Imo.

Also Read; JUSUN continued strike: Imo Lawyers roast, resort to borrowing

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