The British High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria has re-opened its Visa Application Centres (VACs) across the country, whilst issuing updated information/advice on its visa application services.
According to the latest update, any individual whose 30-day visa to travel to the UK for work, study, or visitation had expired, can request for a replacement free of charge, albeit with revised validity dates. The free replacements will continue until the end of 2020.
According to the UK High Commission, this decision was taken in view of the disruptions to business activities and travels caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to an increase in the demand for 30-day visa replacements for those wanting to travel to the UK for work, study, or to join their families.
Part of the statement from the British High Commission in Abuja reads:
“As a result of the disruptions to travel caused by Covid-19, we are experiencing high demand for replacement vignettes for 30-day visas to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family.
‘’If an individual’s 30-day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, they can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. This does not apply to other types of visas. This process will be in place until the end of 2020. The replacement visa will be valid for 90 days.’’
Please read below for the latest information & advice on our visa application services in Nigeria 👇. To request a replacement visa & find your local VAC in 🇳🇬, visit: https://t.co/z27R2vaurG. For more guidance on visas, please visit: https://t.co/ICq5OEi8Do pic.twitter.com/L5Lw6UZbw6
— UK in Nigeria🇬🇧 (@UKinNigeria) August 20, 2020
The high commission admitted that it has been facing a challenging operating environment due to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, customers should be aware that there may be some delays in normal service standards as the visa application services restart.
It also expressed regrets on the inconvenience caused and thanked customers for their patience, while promising to resolve all outstanding cases as soon as possible.
AfCFTA: Nigerian Commodities Exchange prepared for agreement – MD
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Commodities Exchange has stated that the agency is fully prepared to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
The Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) is well-positioned to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), through the implementations of several measures to ensure smooth export operations of Nigerian Commodities.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Commodities Exchange, Mrs. Zaheera Baba-Ari, in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
- “The establishment of the continental trade bloc will be beneficial to African countries if properly managed.”
She added that the NCX had an established network of 20 warehouses across major production areas in the six geo-political zones of the country for efficient receipt and storage of agro-commodities to be traded on the exchange.
The warehouses, located in Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Kogi, have a combined capacity to store 50 trillion tonnes of goods. She added that warehouses in Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Jigawa, Edo, Cross River and Ondo States would be ready within the year.
The NCX boss said that AfCFTA would help Africa fight challenges that were caused by the pandemic in the continent’s economies through trade.
- “The NCX has acquired robust Trading Application System for seamless buying and selling of commodity to ensure market integrity, price transparency and the facilitation of cross border trades.
- “It has also acquired a Warehouse Management System that assures an efficient management of warehouse inventories. We have perfected Memorandum of Understanding with relevant foreign and Nigerian Commodity Associations like the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and the Export Merchants Association of Sudan to trade in selected agro-commodities.”
She added that the NCX has also launched Quality Assurance Laboratories in each of the delivery warehouses, stating that the labs would be used for testing the quality of commodities such as paddy rice, cocoa, sesame seed, soya beans, maize, sorghum and cashew nuts that would be traded on the exchange.
The NCX Chief said the labs were certified to ISO22000 certification which combines ISO 9001 with Food Safety Management and Hazard Analysis, including Critical Control Point System (HACCP).
- “The HACCP identifies specific hazards and proffers measures for the control of identified impurities in the food processing sector. The issue of tariff on agro-commodity exports from Nigeria should be addressed to increase efficiency of trade flows.
- “There is also the need for Nigeria to improve its position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking from its current 131st rung of the ladder.”
What you should know
- Nigeria was the 34th African country to fully ratify and submit its Instrument of Ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- Mr. Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited said that the African Continental Free Trade Area would create the desired impetus to stimulate the economic growth of Nigeria in 2021.
- Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 17th of January 2021, 1,444 new confirmed cases and 15 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 110,387 confirmed cases.
On the 17th of January 2021, 1,444 new confirmed cases and 15 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 110,387 cases have been confirmed, 89,317 cases have been discharged and 1,435 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.15 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.13 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 17th January 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 110,387
- Total Number Discharged – 89,317
- Total Deaths – 1,435
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,154,138
According to the NCDC, the 1,444 new cases were reported from 21 states- Lagos (901), Plateau (136), Kaduna (57), FCT (54), Ebonyi (53), Akwa Ibom (52), Nasarawa (32), Osun (29), Ogun (28), Imo (16), Oyo (16), Edo (15), Kano (14), Rivers (10), Ekiti (7), Borno (6), Abia (5), Benue (4), Yobe (4), Kebbi (3), Anambra (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 40,624, followed by Abuja (14,598), Plateau (6,753), Kaduna (6,178), Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,392), Edo (3,261), Ogun (2,859), Kano (2,591), Delta (2,102), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Enugu (1,583), Kwara (1,566), Gombe (1,489), Nasarawa (1,301), Ebonyi (1,259), Osun (1,215), Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).
Borno State has recorded 865 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (608), Niger (547), Adamawa (540), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (258), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169), Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
FG yet to purchase Covid-19 vaccines – Minister of State for Health
According to a disclosure made by the Minister of State for Health, the FG is yet to purchase any COVID-19 vaccine.
The Federal Government has said that it is yet to purchase any Covid-19 vaccines as the country is still assessing the prices of different shots, their availability and the logistics required for a nationwide roll-out.
This is coming at a time when developed economies are rolling out the vaccines in their countries and concerns have been raised about the availability of the Covid-19 doses in the African continent.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Health Adeleke Olurunnimbe Mamora, during a telephone interview with Bloomberg.
What the Minister of State for Health is saying
Mamora said that once the government determines which vaccines are accessible and affordable, authorities then have to consider storage and distribution issues as they prepare to give shots to 200 million people.
He said, “We haven’t made any purchases at this point in time.’’ He added that the government expects to have a definitive plan by the end of January.
Nigeria is working with the World Health Organization backed COVAX programme and hopes to receive its first doses in January. The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said that the country is working on what type and quantity of Covid-19 vaccines to procure and financial provision will be made in the 2021 budget for the vaccines.
COVAX is a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization which aims to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, especially to poor countries.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that Bloomberg had reported that experts and a state governor had expressed doubts about the ambitious plan by Nigeria to vaccinate as much as 40% of its population this year due to lack of resources and infrastructure.
- The Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said on Thursday the country expects to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer Inc’s shot at the end of January through the Covax initiative.
- Nigeria has officially reported 107,345 Covid-19 cases, with 1,413 casualties, but testing is not easily accessible for most people, with only about 1.1 million tests conducted so far.