Lagos, Nov. 21, 2019 A female travel agent, Aderonke Ise-Agba, 45, who allegedly defrauded three applicants of N1.186 million on Thursday appeared in a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.
Ise-Agba, a resident of No. 10, Danshi St., Lagos, Island was charged with four-counts bothering on fraud and forgery however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecutor, Insp. Ajaga Agboko, told the court that the defendant committed the offence sometimes in July 2018 at Warder’s Barracks, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He said that the defendant collected N1.186 million from the three applicants under false pretenses of helping them get a Turkish Visa.
The prosecutor said that Ise-agba collected N507, 000 from one Mr Sule Saibu, N350, 000 from Mr Bashiru Abiola and N329, 000 from Mr Ade Adewale.
Agboko said after the defendant collected the money she disappeared and was later found and arrested.
“After an unrepentant Ise-Agba was arrested and promised to get the visa for the three complainants, she gave them forged Turkish visas,” he alleged.
He said that the offences contravened Sections 315 (1) and 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 315 (1) stipulates 15 years imprisonment while 363 prescribes three years imprisonment for forgery.
The Magistrate, Mr T.A. Anjorin-Ajose, granted the defendant N300,000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case until Dec. 12 for trial.
Edited by Dada Ahmed (NAN)
Roundup: Sweden’s COVID-19 death toll exceeds 5,000, strategy sparks debates
The COVID-19 death toll in Sweden has exceeded 5,000, according to statistics from the Swedish Public Health Agency on Wednesday.
The country reported 102 new deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the national tally to 5,041. Meanwhile, infections increased by 1,239 cases, taking the country’s total to 54,562.
There are 2,322 people who were and are treated in intensive care nationwide.
DEBATES ON STRATEGY
The high infection rate and death toll have sparked debates on Sweden’s unusual approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bjorn Olsen, a professor of infectious disease and a vocal critic of the country’s approach formulated by the Public Health Agency, told Sweden’s Channel 4 earlier this month that he believed Sweden should have imposed a lockdown at the outset.
On June 3, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who is credited as the architect of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy, told Swedish Radio that there was “room for improvement” and that too many had died prematurely in the country during the pandemic.
Tegnell’s comments were widely interpreted as signifying a U-turn, but at a press conference on the same day, Tegnell maintained that he and the Public Health Agency still believed in Sweden’s decision not to impose a lockdown but that, with the benefit of hindsight, there were aspects of the strategy that could be improved.
Both Tegnell and the government have admitted that Sweden has failed to protect the elderly. Figures from the National Board of Health and Welfare published on May 28 showed that 90 percent of COVID-19 related deaths were among those aged 70 and up.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven defended, in an interview with Swedish Television on Sunday, the country’s approach, insisting that it is too early to draw any final conclusions.
“It is incorrect to say our entire strategy was a failure,” Lofven said, adding that it is precarious to compare death rates across countries. “In a period where we are increasing the testing rate, it looks like the number of cases is going up but at the same time the number of hospital patients is also decreasing, the number of the dead is decreasing,” he said.
TRAVEL ADVISORY EXTENSION
While many European countries have now started to open up, several are banning Swedes from crossing their borders or are imposing quarantine requirements on Swedish travellers.
Neighboring Norway, for instance, announced last week that, with the exception of residents on the Baltic island of Gotland, no Swedes would be allowed to enter the country due to the high infection rate in Sweden.
“I hope other areas of Sweden will soon have an infection situation that will allow for travels,” Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoie told Swedish Television. Norwegians who choose to travel to Sweden will need to self-quarantine for 10 days upon their return to Norway.
Out of all the Nordic countries, only Iceland is prepared to welcome Swedes this summer. The country opened up for all international travelers on Monday, with the requirement that arrivals test for COVID-19 at the airport.
Sweden, on its part, has announced that it would partially amend its international travel advisory at the end of June.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs had previously advised against all non-essential international trips up until July 15, but on Wednesday it announced new directives that mean the general travel advisory will be extended until Aug. 31, with the exception of ten European countries, where Swedes will be free to travel to starting June 30.
Travel resumes across Europe amid hopes of economic recovery
France, Germany and Switzerland on Monday allowed travel to resume three months after unprecedented restrictions were imposed in a bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Passengers arriving from Britain would also be asked to self-isolate for 14 days, in line with British restrictions on individuals arriving from France.
Borders with non-EU countries remain closed to all but essential travel, except for incoming foreign students who can now head to France.
Traffic was reported on a motorway leading to the German-Danish border on Monday, just hours after Copenhagen lifted entry restrictions for German, Norwegian and Icelandic nationals.
Germany has however, lifted travel restrictions for most European countries.
A policeman said on Twitter that no traffic was reported at other border crossings in the area.
He added that a km long queue of cars was reported on the A7 leading up to the Kupfermuehle border crossing, where checks were still being conducted.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry removed a warning against travelling to 27 countries in Europe from its website at midnight, ending an unprecedented directive against all foreign travel that had been put in place to stem the virus.
Germany is also to stop carrying out border controls, although the checks have already been phased out at many crossings.
The travel relaunch is in line with a recommendation by the European Commission, which is urging EU members to reopen borders.
The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) welcomed the lifting of restrictions, saying “the opening of EU borders could act as a second stimulus package for the German economy without costing the state a single cent.’’
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Spotlight: Africa’s COVID-19 caseload nearing 160,000, while Italy partially reopens border
With the novel coronavirus still in pandemic mode, the African continent has seen a continued growth in the total tally, while Italy, an earlier epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, has begun to partially lift travel bans as its new infections are dropping.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 158,318, and the death toll surged to 4,508, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The continental disease control and prevention agency also disclosed that some 67,630 people who have been infected with the disease have recovered across the continent so far.
On Tuesday, Africa CDC said the virus has spread to 54 African countries. Figures from the agency showed that the highly affected countries include South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana and Morocco.
South Africa, the worst-hit country on the continent, on Tuesday reported a total of 35,812 confirmed COVID-19 cases. According to the latest data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, the tally now stood at 37,525.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday projected that the ongoing pandemic could push 29 million people into extreme poverty across the continent.
The UNECA further stressed that the containment measures established in African countries “have already cost the region some 69 billion U.S. dollars per month and are expected to have a negative impact on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region.”
Italy, earlier an epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe, partially reopened its border on Wednesday after closing it to all but essential travel for nearly three months.
Starting from the day, people in Italy are allowed to move freely within the country. Cross-border travel restrictions were also eased on the same day, with travelers from the European Union and Schengen countries, as well as the United Kingdom, Andorra and Monaco being allowed to visit the country without subjecting to quarantine.
“A month from May 4, when we reopened our manufacturing and construction sectors, we can say the numbers are encouraging,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a nationally televised press conference Wednesday.
“The trend of new cases is constantly decreasing in all our regions,” he said. “This shows the strategy we adopted is and has been the right one.”
He added that the government is hard at work to ensure Italy is once again “the safe and coveted destination of the tourists of Europe and the whole world.”
Health Minister Roberto Speranza, meanwhile, sounded a note of warning to Italian citizens.
“We must proceed with caution and continue to follow the rules we have learned … because they are the key in the battle against COVID-19,” Speranza said in reference to social distancing in a statement released on Wednesday. “The virus is still very dangerous.”
Dangote wins World Travel Market Award with CNN commercial
The company said in a statement on Sunday in Lagos that Dangote Industries won “Most Compelling Agency Story” award by the World Travel Market (WTM) with its ‘Farm to Table’ commercial.
The commercial, which is part of the ‘Touching Lives’ documentary aired weekly on CNN, detailed the process of food metamorphosis from the farm as raw material to final process as food on the tables at home.
According to CNN International Commercial Account Executive, Varshmi Arasalingam, the award recognises powerful storytelling capabilities.
He affirmed that the Touching Lives Farm To Table campaign holds a prominent socio-economic impact for which Dangote Industries continues to empower and improve the lives of people in Africa.
“Dangote Industries is one the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa, with multiple entities impacting the daily lives of most of the continent’s population.
“Filmed and produced by CNNIC’s award-winning branded content studio Create, the campaign promotes Nigeria and the wider continent through the stories of real people, and focuses on the connections people have with each other, be it in their work and daily lives.
“The character-driven story helps to change perceptions and encourage global audiences to visit Nigeria (and the African continent more generally) so they can experience and understand its culture and hospitality.
“It also shows that we should not look at the travel and tourism as a narrow sector, but instead view it as part of a larger socio-economic project.
“In this way, travel and tourism can empower and improve the lives of people in Africa – and all over the world – a goal Dangote is dedicated to realizing,” he said.
In his comment on the award, DIL Group Chief Branding and Corporate Communications Officer, Anthony Chiejina, said the management was delighted at the award and it only showed that the company was living up to its billing as the most diversified conglomerate in Africa.
He said the Commercial shot by the CNN which has won the award depicted the businesses of the company and gave vent to how we arrive at our mission statement of meeting the expectation of the people by providing for their basic needs.
“It simply demonstrates how it starts from the farm through which our people are engaged in every process before it gets to table at home.” he said.
Editing Wale Ojetimi