Two months after leaving power, no fewer than 12 close aides of former President Goodluck Jonathan have been stripped of their official passports.
The decision to withdraw the official passports of the former aides of Dr Jonathan was to prevent misuse and conflict with new aides and officials of President Muhammadu Buhari, who assumed duties on May 29, 2015.
It could not be established whether the affected officials were ordered by the Presidency to surrender the passports or whether they did so voluntarily.
The affected former aides have already returned the passports to the Presidential Villa preparatory to being handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
Among those whose passports have been retrieved are former Special Adviser to the President on Media Reuben Abati; former Aide-de-Camp, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe and former Chief Security Officer, Gordon Obua, who is currently hospitalised over poor health arising from his recent incarceration by security agents.
Nine other key officials of the Jonathan Presidency who were also issued with official passports have also been stripped of the travel documents.
It was gathered that the former officials had been asked by the Presidency to relinquish their official passports to the Villa within a stipulated time-frame for onward return to the NIS, which issued them.
However, another source hinted that the withdrawal of the former president’s henchmen’s travel documents was to prevent some of them who have some issues to explain to the new administration from leaving the country and being given preferential treatment at their destinations.
“Don’t forget that some of these officials may be needed here to answer some questions relating to their tenure,” the source said.
However, the Nigerian Immigration Service said last night that there was no ill-motive in withdrawing the official passports of government officials who had completed their assignments.
NIS Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joachim Obua, explained that it was normal for officials of government to surrender their official passports at the end of their tenure.
“It is important for the position to be made clear that official passports are not the property of anyone holding it. Once you complete your assignment you have to return it to the NIS,” he explained.
APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.
In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.
“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.
“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”
To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.
The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.
WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.
Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.
Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.
He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.
Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer
A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.
This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.
A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.
However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.
It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.
The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
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