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Defence/Security

CG Immigration tests positive to COVID-19

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The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede, has tested positive to the corona virus disease, an official has disclosed.

A statement by DCI Sunday James, the Service Public Relations Officer, disclosed that the Immigration boss had been on self isolation since he returned from the United Kingdom.

He said: “As a top official of government he has adhered to the NCDC instructions to self isolate and undergo test. The result of the test came out positive, hence the need to make it public.”

James said that the Comptroller General is in stable condition and responding to treatment.

“The Comptroller General is active and directing as expected the affairs of the service online, while the Deputy Comptroller General Overseeing the administration of the service is in touch online to keep service activities running within this period.”

He said the service would continue to deliver on its mandate for the nation even in this trying times as we pray the whole world get over it, Nigeria inclusive.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

Defence/Security

Immigration boss warns against extra charges on passports

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Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has warned personnel of the service against extra charges on passport issuance.

Babandede gave the warning during a virtual meeting with passport officers nationwide on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme was anchored from the NIS Headquarters Abuja.

Babandede, in a statement issued by the Service Public Relations Officer (SPEO), Mr Sunday James, said that Nigerians were not to be surcharged.

According to him, the service will continue to serve sincerely to gain the people’s confidence.

“No extra charges are allowed apart from the approved fees that is on our website and all official publications of the Service,” he said.

Babandede noted that the meeting had great impact on redirecting the efforts of the service toward rejuvenating and reinvigorating the new order in passport processing and procedure.

He said the adoption of processes that would bring ease and restore confidence of Nigerians to the process were needed, to enhance the value of the document “The Green Passport – Our Pride”.

Babandede stated that automatic passport reminder system was being test run at the service headquarters.

According to him, payment and other process status are being communicated to the applicant in the form of feedback, saying that same should be implemented by all the passport officers.

“The meeting is to set the pace for enforcement of compliance on payment for passport online.

“All the passport officers should establish a front desk office for our teeming applicants to ensure applications are submitted directly to the institution and not to individuals.

“On the issue of loss and stolen passports, the passport officers are advised to set up tracking mechanism.

“Hence, loss and stolen passports should be treated on their merits and due diligence process should be followed to avoid culpability in passport related offences,” he said.

Babandede noted that the passport officers, as the frontline officers in the administration and issuance of passport to bonafide Nigerians, were exposed.

He, however, cautioned on the need to be safe and health conscious in handling both the passport and attending to the applicants by observing prescribed protocols by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“We live in an unusual time that demands working while keeping social and physical distancing, adhering to NCDC protocols and above all, keeping the workforce on toes.

“To avoid the spread of COVID-19 from person to person and material to person, while rendering service to the public, all officers and men should ensure they are guarded with those rules of staying safe,” he said.

NAN reports that passport officers and participants at the meeting included the NIS eight Zonal Coordinators (Zone A to H), all State Command Comptrollers as well as the Lagos State Passport Command, among others.


Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Immigration rights activists call United States routine deportations amid pandemic “outrageous”

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Immigration rights activists in Mexico have been outraged by the U.S. government’s routine deportations of undocumented migrants amid the COVID-19 pandemic without taking any health precautions.

It’s “outrageous,” said Ana Laura Lopez, founder of advocacy group “Deportees United in the Struggle.”

The group has aided deportees who complained of a general lack of adequate health and sanitary measures at U.S. detention centers, and throughout deportation proceedings, Lopez told Xinhua.

In addition, deportees found it hard to process needed documents or even buy basic necessities amid the COVID-19 lockdown, which ordered many government offices and non-essential businesses to close or curtail operations.

“We know what the posture of (United States President Donald) Trump‘s administration is: inhumane. If it was already inhumane before, it’s worse now — it is horribly evident,” said Lopez.

Migrant shelters along Mexico’s northern border with the United States, including the Catholic Church-run Nazareth Migrant Shelter in Nuevo Laredo, in the northeast state of Tamaulipas, have been wary of COVID-19 outbreaks sparked by the ongoing deportations.

In April, 15 migrants at the shelter, which borders the U.S. state of Texas, tested positive for the virus, piling more woes atop the residents’ existing concerns, recalled Father Marvin Ajic, a priest.

Six of the migrants were Honduran, four Mexican, three Cuban, and one from Guatemala and one Cameroon. Among them were minors aged 10, 13 and 16.

Being isolated “was painful for each of them,” said Ajic, adding that “it is important to take into consideration mental and psychological health.”

Since 2019, the United States‘ so-called Migrant Protection Protocols have allowed it to deport undocumented migrants seeking asylum in Mexico, where they await the outcomes of applications.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the shelter “was inevitable,” given that “a large percentage of those arriving had been in prisons” in the United States, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, warned Ajic.

Other Latin American countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica have also reported cases of deportees infected with COVID-19.

Some 986 migrants at more than 40 U.S. detention centers have tested positive for the virus, figures from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency show.

To prevent the spread of the outbreak, Mexican authorities have geared up to monitor deportees via temperature checks and other measures, as many of them return to their communities and rejoin families and friends, said Brenda Cardenas, head of the state-run Tamaulipas Migrant Institute.

(XINHUA)

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Libya, Malta sign anti-illegal immigration deal

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Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and the Maltese counterpart Robert Abela on Thursday signed a deal on fighting illegal immigration.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed during a visit by Abela to the Libyan capital Tripoli, where he held talks with Serraj on the latest developments in Libya as well as mutual cooperation, the Libyan Prime Minister‘s Information Office said in a statement.

Serraj underlined the importance of the bilateral relations, expressing his appreciation for Malta’s support to his government, as well as the aspiration to develop the bilateral cooperation.

Abela reaffirmed support for Serraj’s government, stressing that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that there is no alternative to political solution.

“The two sides agreed to speed up activation of political, economic and security cooperation agreements,” the statement said.

Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly African, wanting to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe, due to the insecurity and chaos in the country ever since the fall of the late leader Gaddafi’s regime.

The two officials also discussed the recently launched European Union‘s IRINI operation against arms smuggling to Libya.

The operation was launched recently in order to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, where Serraj’s UN-backed government and the rival eastern-based army have been fighting for control of Tripoli since April 2019.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Immigration boss tasks personnel to brace up on service delivery

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The Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammad Babandede, has urged the officers and men of the service to brace up towards meeting public expectation.

Babandede disclosed this during a visit to Gwagwalada passport office and headquarters Data processing center on Wednesday in Abuja.

In a statement signed by the Service Spokesman, Mr Sunday James, Babandede said that the visit was to ascertain level of compliance with directives given to the passport officers nationwide on service delivery.

He encouraged officers and men to be more innovative in areas such as giving women with little children priority especially nursing mothers.

“The aged and elderly members of the society among others should not be left out and same directive applies to all passport offices across the country.

Babandede directed that all payments should be through banks and or online in order to maintain social and physical distancing directives by the government.

“On this note, all applications for passport facility must be paid for online and submitted by the applicants to a desk officer at the passport offices across the country for appropriate action to be taken.

All Passport issues must be submitted by applicants themselves and directly to a dedicated desk that takes register, record and forward the processed file officially not through any third party,

“Applicants are advised to adhere strictly to the improved Service process and procedures to eliminate touting, extortion and other untoward acts in the passport offices,” he said.

NAN reports that Babandede visited the two passport processing centres alongside the Assistant Comptroller General, Overseeing the Passport and Other Travel Documents Directorate, Tamprika Oyedeji and Comptroller, FCT Command, Esekhaegbe Angela.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

Malaysia reports 187 new COVID-19 cases, most from immigration detention facilities

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Malaysia reported 187 new COVID-19 cases, with most of them identified in an immigration detention center, pushing the national total to 7,604 cases, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

This is the second daily increase of over 100 in a row after authorities identified clusters among foreign detainees in three immigration detention facilities since last week.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that of the new cases, 10 were imported with the remainder being local transmissions, among which 173 involved non-Malaysian citizens, including 155 from an immigration detention facility on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur.

A total of 383 cases were confirmed from the three immigration facilities as of Tuesday, and only one case involved a local staff while all the remaining were foreign detainees.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Malaysia’s defence minister who coordinates implementation of the restrictive measures to contain the outbreak, said earlier that the detainees tested positive were foreigners without permit.

He told a press conference on Tuesday that Malaysia would test all being held at the three immigration detention facilities and those tested negative will be repatriated.

The government has designated a quarantine facility and two hospitals to treat those detainees who tested positive.

Another 62 cases were released on Tuesday, bringing the total cured and discharged to 6,041, or 79.4 percent of all cases. Of the 1,448 active cases, eight are currently being held in intensive care and five of those are in need of assisted breathing.

No new deaths had been reported, leaving the total deaths at 115.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Malaysia reports spike in COVID-19 cases after more cases detected in immigration detention facilities

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Malaysia has reported 172 new COVID-19 cases, with 112 of them traced to three immigration detention facilities, pushing the national total to 7,417 cases, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

It marked the first daily increase of over 100 since the Malaysian government relaxed the restrictive measures on May 4.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing that of the new cases, five are imported with the remainder being local transmissions, among which 159 involved non-Malaysian citizens including 112 detainees at three immigration detention facilities.

The authorities first reported a cluster at one immigration detention facility on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur last week, before two more facilities have detected clusters.

Among samples taken from the three facilities, 227 detainees and one local staff were tested positive so far, with more results pending, which is likely to push up the confirmed cases in coming days, said Noor Hisham.

He urged the public not to worry as the facilities are isolated from the society and under control of the authorities.

The Health Ministry also reported a new cluster from a building site in Kuala Lumpur, with 44 cases confirmed so far, 43 of which are non-Malaysian citizens.

Another 34 cases had been released on Monday, bringing the total cured and discharged to 5,979, or 80.6 percent of all cases. Of the 1,323 active cases, eight are currently being held in intensive care and four of those are in need of assisted breathing.

No new deaths had been reported, leaving the total deaths at 115.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Malaysia continues to find new COVID-19 cases in immigration detention facilities, tally at 7,245

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COVID-19

Kuala Lumpur, May 24 Malaysia reported 60 new COVID-19 cases, with 33 of them traced to two immigration detention facilities, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The Semenyih detention facility, which had already seen a cluster reported another 27 new cases, while another detention facility in Sepang reported six cases as a new cluster, according to a statement by Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health Ministry.

The new cases pushed the total cases nationwide to 7,245, of which 1,185 are active cases, with nine currently being held in intensive care and four of those in need of assisted breathing.

Another 33 individuals had been released, bringing the total cured and discharged to 5,945 or 82.1 per cent of all cases.

No new deaths had been reported, leaving the total deaths at 115.

Abdullah also reminded those celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr festival to follow guidelines issued by the government, including measures against overcrowding and social distancing to prevent a spike in new cases.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Malaysia continues to find new COVID-19 cases in immigration detention facilities, tally at 7,245

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Malaysia reported 60 new COVID-19 cases, with 33 of them traced to two immigration detention facilities, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The Semenyih detention facility which had already seen a cluster reported another 27 new cases, while another detention facility in Sepang reported six cases as a new cluster, according to a statement by Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health Ministry.

The new cases pushed the total cases nationwide to 7,245, of which 1,185 are active cases, with nine currently being held in intensive care and four of those in need of assisted breathing.

Another 33 individuals had been released bringing the total cured and discharged to 5,945 or 82.1 percent of all cases.

No new deaths had been reported, leaving the total deaths at 115.

Noor Hisham also reminded those celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival to follow guidelines issued by the government including measures against overcrowding and social distancing to prevent a spike in new cases.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Malaysia reports 48 new COVID-19 cases with new cluster at immigration detention facility

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Malaysia reported 48 new COVID-19 cases, with 21 of them traced to a new cluster at another immigration center in Selangor state, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

All the 21 new cases found at the immigration center are foreign citizens, Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press briefing.

This marked a second cluster emerged from immigration facilities this week, with a previous one found at an immigration detention facility on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Noor Hisham said the authorities are investigating the source of infection, possibly by staff or other detainees.

Of those new cases reported on Saturday, 44 are local transmissions and four are imported cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 7,185.

There are still 1,158 active cases of which nine are being held in intensive care and five of those are in need of assisted breathing.

Daily recoveries outpaced new cases with another 53 cases released bringing the total cured and discharged to 5,912 or 82 percent of all cases.

No new deaths have been reported, leaving the total deaths at 115.

(XINHUA)

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