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FG, US In Closed Door Meeting Over Visa Ban Issue

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The Federal Government and the United States are locked in a closed-door meeting over a visa ban on some categories of Nigerians.

The meeting which is ongoing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to provide the country the opportunity to brief the US government on steps taken so far to resolve the issues.

The meeting it was learnt started at 11 am.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama is the head of Nigeria’s delegation to the meeting while the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard leads the US delegation.

They are expected to brief the media immediately after the meeting.

Details later…

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Rehabilitation: FG To Shut 3rd Mainland Bridge For Another 3 Days

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Federal Government has announced plans for the total shutdown of the Third Mainland Bridge for three days to allow for ongoing rehabilitation works on the bridge.

Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola who announced this, Wednesday, explained that the closure is to allow for repairs of the delicate expansion joints replacement. According to Popoola, the closure would take effect from midnight on Friday to midnight of February 1.

“The construction works have reached the stage for casting concrete on additional three expansion joints, hence the need to stop all movements on the bridge that could cause vibrations,” he said.

Popoola added that the 72 hours closure was to ensure that the concrete sets properly during the curing process’ to make the rehabilitation works perfectly and durable.

He, therefore, urged motorists and residents to be patient, saying that, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was passionate about quality infrastructure delivery and safety of road users.

Popoola continued, “The contractor is planning to cast three number expansion joints on January 30 and Sunday 31.

”This will require total closure of Third Mainland bridge from 12:00 midnight of Friday 29th till midnight of February 1, 2021.

“We are sorry for the inconveniences this may cause Lagosians,” Popoola said. Recall that the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, which is going through series of repairs, had to be partially shut on July 24 for rehabilitation works.

The construction was initially divided into two phases of three months on each carriageway, starting with the Oworonsoki bound carriageway whose completion dragged to four months.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while carrying out an inspection of the ongoing construction work said the Federal Government was committed to the speedy completion of repair work of the bridge which is scheduled to be reopened on February 15, 2021, to traffic.

A section of the bridge at Adekunle point has also been shut down for two weeks to allow for repairs.

Fashola expressed hope that the bridge would be reopened on February 15 to enable the government to begin work on the Falomo Bridge.

He explained that work on the Falomo Bridge was being delayed to avert the gridlock that may ensue.

“On the Third Mainland Bridge most of our work is almost done, we lost two weeks during the civil protest and our completion date earlier was towards the end of January, which has slipped.

“We are hoping that by February 15, we should be done and the bridge should be opened to the public.

“That is one of the reasons why I also came to see how far and when this bridge will be opened to the public because this is delaying our work on Falomo Bridge.

“We have done some work on Falomo Bridge, we are going to have to close Falomo Bridge as soon as this is done so that we can also replace the expansion joints there.

“All the other preliminary work has been done there, but we left it in order to reduce the inconvenience to commuters in and around Lagos.

“So, the Eko Bridge that was closed is opened now, this one (Third Mainland Bridge) is going to be opened by February 15.”

The 11.8km bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland. The bridge begins from Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.

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UK Imposes Travel Ban On 30 Countries Amid Worries Of New COVID Variant, Exempt Nigeria

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Nigeria has been exempted from a list of 30 countries that have been banned from entering the United Kingdom over rising COVID-19 cases.

With over 3.7 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths, the UK is one of the top five countries with the highest number of confirmed infections.

Nigeria has recorded over 124,000 cases with more than 1,500 deaths.

In a statement on the government’s website, the UK announced that nationals from 30 countries, some of which are in South America and Southern Africa, will be banned from entering the country.

The list excludes British and Irish nationals or others who possess resident visas.

This development comes amid discoveries of new virus strains such as B.1.1.7 found in the UK, B.1.351 discovered in South Africa, and P.1 variant identified in Brazil.

“People who have been in or transited through the countries listed below in the last 10 days will not be granted access to the UK,” the statement reads.

“This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who will be able to enter the UK but are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.”

The affected countries include Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, and Eswatini.

Others are French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Addressing members of parliament on Wednesday, Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, said citizens must have valid reasons to travel outside the country before permission is granted at the airports and ports.

He said such measure is meant to curtail the spread of the virus from other countries to the UK.

“I want to make clear that under the stay home regulations, it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes,” he said.

“We will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel.”

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IGP Orders Probe Of Female Cop Sacked For Getting Pregnant

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a probe of the sacking of a female corporal, Olajide Omolola because she got pregnant out of wedlock.

Adamu disclosed this on Tuesday while commissioning a project at the SPOs quarters on Oba Aladejobi Street, in the GRA area of Ikeja, Lagos State on Wednesday.

When told that a policewoman had been dismissed on the claim that she got pregnant out of wedlock, he said, “Let us do our own investigation and find out because whatever I say must be authoritative.”

It was earlier reported that Nigerians had been expressing outrage over the circumstances surrounding Omolola’s sacking, adding that they slammed the Nigeria Police Force over what they described as a discriminatory law and called on rights groups to fight for the woman.

The police, in a wireless message with reference number CJ:4161/EKS/IY/Vol.2/236, DTO:181330/01/2021 obtained by our correspondent said Omolola was dismissed for getting pregnant while unmarried.

The signal originated from the Department of Finance and Administration in Ado Ekiti and was addressed to the Divisional Police Officer at Iye Ekiti, where Omolola was based.

The chief financial officer in Ekiti was asked to relay the information to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System to ensure that her salary was stopped.

The document read, “Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation against women police getting pregnant before marriage; W/PC (woman corporal) Olajide Omolola passed out of Police Training School on 24/04/2020 attached to yours, contravened above provisions.

“She stands dismissed from the Force. Debit her. Retrieve police documents in her possession with immediate effect. O/C CFO Ekiti only. You are to relay a signal to IPPIS Abuja for the stoppage of her salary with immediate effect.

“DECOMPOLS (Deputy Commissioners of Police)/ACPOLS (Assistant Commissioners of Police)/HODs/DPOs Ekiti State only. You are to lecture women police. Treat as very urgent.”

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