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Nigerian Journalist Narrates Ordeal with SA Embassy

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Nigerian Journalist Narrates Ordeal with SA Embassy

Nigerian Journalist Narrates Ordeal with SA Embassy

A Nigerian journalist, Mrs Funke Osae-Brown, has narrated her horrible encounter with the South African High Commission in Nigeria.

According to the journalist, who publishes Luxury Reporter Magazine, she received an invitation towards the end of January 2017 to be in South Africa on March 1, 2017 to experience the new BMW 5 Series.

Mrs Osae-Brown said it was an event “I had looked forward to considering my love for fast cars and the kind of beat I cover as a journalist.”

She narrated that, “As soon as I received the itinerary and other documents needed for my journey, I applied for the South African visa on February 13.

“Conscious of the many challenges that come with getting a South African visa, I was advised to apply through one of South Africa’s accredited trade partners World ‘N’ Traveland (WONTRA).

“The WONTRA staff who assisted me with the application process was very courteous. She guided me through the application requirements.

“At a point, she advised I get a statement of account from my host BMW in South Africa or their certificate of incorporation.

“I declined to do this because I felt my statement of account and a letter of introduction from my organisation should be enough.

“She also advised I get a letter of authorisation from my husband. I told her I have that already because the last application I did I was asked for it. This is a letter my husband find ridiculous to write! He argues it is a sexist requirement from an embassy. Why would he authorise a full-grown woman to travel because she is his wife, he reasoned? Anyway, I got him to give him the letter, even though I found it ridiculous too!

“Since I was applying through WONTRA, I had to pay a premium price of N70,000 instead of the official N8,600 for visa fee and N22, 310 for VFS courier service.

“The lady at WONTRA told me the visa should be ready within the stipulated 10 to 15 working days by the High Commission.

“Based on a past experience and what others have told me, I decided to notify the few people I know handling South Africa related travel and tourism matters in Nigeria to use their connection to pull strings at the embassy so that my visa could be ready on or before my travel date. I knew I had about 13 days between my submission and travel dates to get my visa.

“After 10 working days, I didn’t receive any news from the VFS. I decided to notify my contacts on the possibility of checking out my application status at the High Commission, they all told me to wait that I will surely get my passport on or before my travel date.

“As I sat behind my laptop to type this today, March 1, 2017, I am yet to receive my passport from the South African High Commission. I am supposed to travel tonight.

“What is most painful about this experience is it seems the South Africa High Commission in Lagos smacks of arrogance and is consumed by a nonchalant attitude.

“For a country, that is promoting itself as a tourists’ destination in Nigeria, to be so rude to its visa applicants, beats me.

“In spite of all my efforts and my host’s (BMW) in South Africa effort to reach the High Commission in Lagos, there has been no response from the High Commission to emails sent and calls put through to them.

“It seems to me the High Commission is populated lazy staff who have just refused to understand the importance of their job to the growth of the economy of their country.

“How can one explain applying for visa and you are yet to receive your passport 12 days or a month after application?

“The South African High Commission can never claim to be busier that the United Kingdom or United States of America’s embassies in Nigeria.

“If you apply for UK or US visa, you can be assured to get your passport within 10 working days or less.

“There are people who have applied for the South African visa since February 3, 2017 who are yet to receive their visas today, March 1; that is almost a month after submitting their applications.

“Delaying the issuance of my visa and that of other four journalists’ I am supposed to travel with means BMW has lost a lot of money on booking business class tickets for us, paying for our accommodation, airport pick up and drop off and food for the number of days we are supposed to spend in South Africa.

“You can imagine the loss to those going on personal trips who have paid for their flights, accommodation not to have received their visas days after their travel dates have passed?

“If South Africa is truly serious about marketing itself as a tourists’ destination, its High Commission needs to drop its toga of arrogance and emulate countries like Dubai and Kenya where you get your visa within two days as is the case with Dubai or Kenya that issues visa on arrival.

“Little wonder, Dubai has the largest tourism market share in Nigeria! SOUTH AFRICA HIGH COMMISSION RELEASE MY PASSPORT!!!! #SOUTHAFRICAHIGHCOMMISSION #RELEASEMYPASSPORT.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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LASEMA Battles to Curtail Fire Outbreak at Balogun Market

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fire Balogun Market

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said it was working tirelessly with other agencies to put out the fire at 3/5 Gbajumo Street, Balogun, Lagos Island.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the organisation said it received a distress call from concerned persons in the wee hours of today over the unfortunate incident.

It was gathered that a 5-storey building at the Balogun Market was gutted by fire, destroying properties worth millions of Naira.

Giving an update on the situation, LASEMA said the joint teams, which rushed to the scene of the inferno, were having a constraint preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.

“The agency received a distress call around 12:30 am today, Thursday, January 26, 2023, regarding a fire outbreak at No 3/5 Gbagumo street Balogun market, Lagos Island, which prompted the immediate activation of the Emergency Response Team to the scene of the incident.

“Consequent upon arrival at the scene of the incident, information gathered revealed that some shops (rubber shoes and clothes are stored) on the first floor of a 5-storey building was gutted by fire. However, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.

“Fortunately, there is no loss of life or casualty involved in the incident.

“Collaborative efforts to put out the fire are ongoing by the agency’s Response Team and its fire unit, alongside Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Federal Fire Service, Police Force, CBD, LASAMBUS, LNSC and NEMA.

“However, the joint teams have a constraint which is preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.

“Efforts are still ongoing to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings. Operations are also still ongoing,” the statement said.

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Tinubu Never Blamed Buhari for Fuel Scarcity, Others—Onanuga

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Tinubu blames Buhari

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has said the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Bola Tinubu, did not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.

On Wednesday, during his campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr Tinubu accused some powerful persons were behind the current scarcity of petrol in Nigeria, as well as the scarcity of the new Naira notes.

President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and fuel scarcity has remained for months under his watch. He also approved the redesigning of the Naira when Mr Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), brought the proposal to him.

But while speaking yesterday, Mr Tinubu said, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis; even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote.

“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally.

“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring a stone and use it to break it; then the kernel will come out. It’s not easy to…

“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he added.

His comments generated mixed reactions, with some commentators saying he was indirectly indicting Mr Buhari for the crisis facing the country.

But Mr Onanuga rebuffed this, saying the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting to “create a wedge between our presidential candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari.”

According to him, the former Governor of Lagos State was only empathising “with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity.”

“For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu, during the APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.

“Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting the government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.

“The CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele, have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes.

“In recent days, many ATMs are either not working, or when working, they are dispensing the old notes, just a few days to the  January 31 deadline.

“Similarly, Asiwaju Tinubu is aware of the salutary efforts by President Buhari to end the fuel queues by chairing a 14-man panel. Yet the queues and agony continue.

“For a presidential candidate, who cares about the suffering of our people, he has a duty to warn the government that its efforts to make life better for Nigerians are being sabotaged on several fronts.

“Our presidential candidate only re-echoed what is well known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself, at different fora: That there are Fifth Columnists in and outside of government who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.

“How does an advisory genuinely made by Asiwaju Tinubu to protect and create goodwill for the government of his party become an attack? It can only be so in the jaundiced view of the PDP,” a part of the statement issued on Thursday said.

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DLM Capital Sponsors Employee’s Philanthropic Projects

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DLM Capital Employee's Philanthropic Projects

DLM Capital Group, a development investment bank, partnered with the Shile Akinjo Charity Foundation (SACF) on two of its charity initiatives: “Love Feast on the Street” and “Back-to-School Project.”

Shile Akinjo, a corporate finance associate at DLM, started SACF in 2022 to support low-income families and the less privileged to fight poverty, receive decent health care, and achieve a basic education.

The “Love Feast on the Street” was held on the 17th of December 2022 to celebrate Christmas with over 400 kids at Makoko Slum, Yaba, Lagos. The day’s highlights include face painting, a dance competition, popcorn, food, drinks, and the gifting of party packs to the kids.

The “Back-to-School Project” was held on the 20th of January 2023 at The Light School and Boanerges School at Akesan, Alimosho, local government. All the pupils in basic 1–5 were given school supplies such as school bags, socks, notebooks, pencils, biros, erasers, rulers, crayons, water bottles, and snacks.

Shile Akinjo commented on the initiative, stating, “Happiness is as essential as food if a child is to develop into normal manhood or womanhood.” Being able to put smiles on these kids’ faces is fulfilling, and we will continue to carry out initiatives that support these goals. I am grateful to Mr. Sonnie Ayere and DLM Capital Group for their full commitment to these projects. I feel lucky to work for a company that supports and encourages its employees to do good things for the community.

In a statement highlighting DLM’s sponsorship of the projects, Chinwendu Ohakpougwu, Head of Corporate Communications, said: “At DLM, we are committed to impacting human lives. The management of DLM will continue to support good causes that promote the welfare of others.”

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