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Cameroon Says Hundreds of Its Citizens Deported from Equatorial Guinea

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Cameroon says Equatorial Guinea has deported several hundred Cameroonians, some of whom say they were fleeing terrorist and rebel attacks at home. The government of Equatorial Guinea says the deportees were economic migrants and is planning to deport 7,000 Cameroonians in all by the end of the year.

Scores of Cameroonians applauded Monday while welcoming back at least 200 of their citizens who were deported. But the well-wishers are not happy with Equatorial Guinea’s actions. Civilians shouted that by deporting Cameroonians, the oil-rich country is being indifferent to people who have rendered services as mechanics, electricians, bricklayers, miners and other types of workers.

Nguenang Rigobert, one of the deported Cameroonians, says he lost his teaching job in Equatorial Guinea. Nguenang says he, like many Cameroonians in Equatorial Guinea, are victims of what he calls the Cameroon government’s lack of interest in the plight of its citizens outside the country. He says Cameroon should have negotiated for Equatorial Guinea to give Cameroonians more time to acquire resident and work permits.

Nguenang said several dozen of the deported Cameroonians fled their country in part because of its ongoing separatist crisis. Others left because of Boko Haram terrorism in the north.

Some deportees said they were tortured and their property looted in Equatorial Guinea. Others said they spent several nights in detention centers and were freed after agreeing to return to Cameroon unconditionally.

Nouhou Bello, the most senior Cameroon government official in Ocean, the administrative unit where Campo is located, says President Paul Biya asked him to receive the deported civilians and make sure they travel to their towns and villages in peace.

Bello says Cameroonians who have arrived in Campo since Friday have confirmed to government officials that they were in the neighboring state illegally. He says some of the deportees told officials their visas had expired while others acknowledged lacking travel documents when they went to Equatorial Guinea.

Bello called on Cameroonians staying in Equatorial Guinea illegally to return home or risk being locked up.

Earlier in October, the government of Equatorial Guinea said it would embark on a mass deportation of people living illegally in its territory.

Officials said insecurity has mounted due to an influx of about 30,000 economic migrants within the past three years. Equatorial Guinea accused job-seeking youths, especially from Cameroon and Nigeria, of harassment, theft and armed banditry.

Essomba Innocent is an economic analyst at the National University of Equatorial Guinea. He says in January 2020, the country signaled that it did not want illegal economic migrants in its territory and laid the foundation stone for construction of a border wall with Cameroon.

Essomba says in June 2020, Equatorial Guinea agreed to pause the construction of the controversial wall after Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic agreed to voluntarily repatriate their citizens living in Equatorial Guinea illegally. He says people who are being deported should not ask the government of Equatorial Guinea for compensation for goods they acquired when their stay was illegal.
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny central African nation of around 1.5 million people. The International Monetary Fund reports that the nation took in approximately $45 billion in oil revenues between 2000 and 2013, catapulting it from one of the world’s poorest countries to the one with the highest per capita income on the African continent.

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FG presents letter of Credence to Nigeria’s new envoy to Chad, Amb. Sauda Remawa-Ahmed

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The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama has presented Letter of Credence to Ambassador Sauda Remawa-Ahmed, Nigeria’s High Commissioner-Designate to Chad yesterday, 26th December, 2022.

Her appointment to head Nigeria Embassy in Chad is regarded as a pointer to confidence which the Federal Government of Nigeria reposed in her capacity to breathe a new life to the mission in that country and advance national interest of Nigeria.

While serving as Deputy Nigeria High Commissioner to the Republic of Cameroon, Remawa-Ahmed was an outstanding diplomat whose career trajectory, spanning 24 years, remains a reference point to teachers and students of International Relations.

Her profile speaks volumes of her elevation, especially her stint as head of the Economic/Commercial Desk at the Embassy of Nigeria in Madrid Spain (2010 – 2013).

She was also head of the Multilateral Desk at the Embassy of Nigeria in Paris, France (2017- 2020), afterwhich she was appointed ambassador and subsequently posted to Yaounde-Cameroon as the Deputy High Commissioner, a post she assumed on 27th April, 2021.

Remawa-Ahmed is one the Nigeria Ambassadors expected to grace the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora magazine set for 2023. The ND magazine has a broad-based readership which includes Nigerian Diplomatic and Consular Missions all over the world.

However, Nigeria High Commissioner to the Republic of Cameroon, Ambassador Olonisakin also commended Ambassador Remawa-Ahmed for the harmonious relationship between him and her, being his deputy.

“She is very hardworking, dedicated and reliable. I wish Her Excellency a very successful tenure of duty in Chad,” said Olonisakin.

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Diaspora Nigerians to Renew Passport on Arrival

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The Federal Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service, in continuation of the implementation of passport administration and immigration service reforms, have inaugurated a special fastrack service that would enable Nigerians in the diaspora with expired passports to return home without hindrance.

The Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Idris, had in a circular dated December 9, 2022, forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, all Heads of Foreign Missions, all Immigration Attaches, all Airport Comptrollers and all airlines, stated that the special arrangement was approved by the Federal Government.

Idris had said all airlines in Nigeria were requested to allow holders of expired Nigeria passports to board without any hindrance, while all Nigerian diplomatic missions abroad were also requested to circulate the same information to airline operators and border authorities of their host countries for compliance.

However, in a statement made available to The PUNCH on Thursday, the Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Anthony Akuneme, explained that the service, which will be available for two months, will also give the returnee Nigerians opportunity to renew their Nigerian passports during their stay in the country.

He said “Dedicated Diaspora desks had been set up at all international airports across the country to ensure Nigerians returning home from abroad have hassle-free passage.

“The ongoing dedicated diasporan service available from December 12, 2022, to January 31, 2023, allows Nigerian passport holders in the Diaspora to board their countries of residence and be admitted into Nigeria with their expired international passports.

“The Comptroller General of Immigration had also directed Passport Control Offices to accord priority to the returnees and their families bearing in mind that most of them have a specific time they must return to their countries of residence after their holiday in Nigeria.”

The Deputy Comptroller of Immigration further stated that applicants for the new enhanced Nigerian e-Passport whose biometrics had been captured at the NIS offices at the Nigerian missions in their respective countries of residence did not need to start a fresh application.

Also, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the NIS boss for launching a dedicated service to meet the needs of Nigerians returning home from abroad.

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$15.6bn Investment Interest Generated for Lagos-Abidjan Highway in 2022, Says AfDB President Adesina

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The President of the African Development Bank Group, (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said from the virtual Africa Investment Forum held in March this year, the bank secured $15.6 billion in investment interest for the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan Highway.

Adesina, who stated this on Wednesday at the ongoing Africa Investment Forum 2022, in Abidjan, Cote D’ Ivorie, stated that the highway, which carries 75 per cent of trade in the West Africa region, would help unleash greater growth, trade, and investment across the region.

He also stated that the forum was delivering amazing investments for Africa, adding that in four years since its commencement in 2018, it has helped to mobilise $110 billion in investment interests to Africa.

He further explained that the $600 million securitised finance to support the cocoa board of Ghana helped the West African country to grow its cocoa production by one million metric tons, with infrastructure for warehousing and cocoa processing.

He remarked that Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Africa declined from $47 billion in 2019, to $40 billion in 2020, because of the COVID-19, noting that Africa however recovered in 2021, as FDI rose to $83 billion, doubling the inflow in 2020.

According to him, “By 2050, Africa will account for over one quarter of the world’s population. Africa has the largest sources of renewable energy in the world. Africa has 65 per cent of the uncultivated arable land left to feed the world.

“The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa because it has the largest sources of cobalt in the world, with massive sources of lithium in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The African Continental Free Trade Area is the largest free-trade zone in the world connecting economies worth $3.3 trillion. So, Africa cannot be ignored.

“If you are not investing in Africa, think again! Africa is the investment frontier in the world – today and in the future. Invest in Africa today, benefit from its great future.

“The Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s premier investment marketplace which helps to connect investors to Africa. Four years ago, we began a journey together which the African Development Bank, the Africa Import-Export Bank, the Trade and Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the Development Bank of South Africa, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and Africa 50, when we established the Africa Investment Forum.

“The landmark $24 billion Liquified Natural Gas Project of Mozambique which was structured and closed at the Africa Investment Forum, is the largest ever foreign direct investment in Africa. It will turn Mozambique into the third-largest exporter of natural gas in the world and add $66 billion to its economy.”

Speaking further, he said: “In the next 72 hours, we will have curated several investment ready projects for you as investors. These range from renewable energy hydropower, gas infrastructure, railways, roads, and water transport.

‘They include agriculture, health, mining, fertilizer manufacturing, port infrastructure, and urban green transport. They include sports, urban housing, and private equity feeder funds.”

In his remarks, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Exchange Group, Oscar Onyema, stated that the capital market has done very well considering activities on the equity side of business, which he described as being very active, “in fact, we have had record equity trading. As you know, we have had the MTN Initial Public Offering (IPO).”

He further explained that the market has had capital raising from a number of other companies in terms of rights issues, special placements and others.

Onyema also stated that on the fixed income side, the market has seen a lot of activities in terms of issuances such as from the federal government, corporates and States.

He hinted that the capital market is a very viable and credible alternative for capital raising.

According to Onyema, “There are some challenges around requirements to be expected given that you are now in the public market, and there is a lot of retail, not just institutional, but you also have retail participation.

“The Nigeria fintech space is very active and received a lot of investments, most of them are in the private sector. Yes. And so certainly we are very keen to crowd in those types of investments into the public markets as well.

“At the exchange, I am aware that NGX is working on the technology board, which is designed to really be attracted to FinTech companies, and other high tech companies that already exist in an ecosystem.

“The Nigeria Startup bill is also good one because it gives you that legal framework under which these types of activities can be supported with the necessary institutional frameworks.”

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