Friday, 7 March 2014

New e-passport fees approved

The federal government on Thursday in Abuja announced major reforms and fees in all the categories of Nigerian e-passports.

The reforms are contained in a statement signed by the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr David Parradang.

The statement stated that the approval was conveyed to the service in a letter dated 5 February 2014, from the Ministry of Interior.

According to the statement, with the approval of the new fees and categories of e-passport, a 64-page frequent travellers passport would be obtained at N20,000.

It also said that passports for 18 to 60 year-olds would go for N15,000 while those for people below 18 years as well as 60 years and above would be procured at N8,750.

Also approved, the statement said, was the charge for change of data or a lost passport which would cost N20,000.

Similarly, change of names due to marriage, divorce and death of spouse would be effected at N8,750 while change of data on request would attract N30,000 as processing fees.

It listed advantages of the reform to include gender friendliness and care for the young and the aged.

"The reform also accommodates frequent travellers, forestalls identity theft and conforms to international best practice," it said.

The statement also said that the effective date for the new passport would be announced soon.

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All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission in writing from NAN.

Immigration arrests 251 illegal immigrants

The Benue Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service said on Thursday it arrested 251 suspected illegal aliens in Makurdi.

The controller, Mr Thomas Bagobiri, said the service was determined to fish out illegal immigrants in the state.

"We are aware of the state of insecurity in the country and the state; we would not allow foreigners to disturb the peace and unity of our citizens.

"We are going to interrogate them to establish their nationality; if they are foreigners and have resident permits."

Bagobiri said after the investigation, those found guilty would be deported to their respective countries.

He said although one is legally permitted to live in Nigeria, if his activities are against the laws of the land he would be handed over to the police for prosecution.

He said that the service would investigate the landlords and hosts of the suspects, adding that those found wanting would be punished.

Bagobiri appealed to Nigerians, especially residents of the state to go about their normal activities and to report any suspicious persons to the service for investigation.

"As Nigerians, love your country and do not harbour illegal people in your homes. Report them for the law to take its course," he said, adding that failure to do so would attract sanctions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suspects were arrested while in possession of machetes, axes, charms, live ammunition and other dangerous weapons.

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All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission in writing from NAN.

Omotola claims she is 'world's strictest parent'

A few weeks after giving the online media a tongue-lashing for calling her daughter "sexy", actress Omotola Jalade-Ekiende has revealed that her children thinks she is the strictest parent in the world.

The Nollywood star was recently at the centre of an online storm after some online publications used words like "hot" and "sexy" to describe her 14-year-old daughter's Instagram photos.

Omotola said the following in an interview with Punch Newspaper:

"My kids think I am the strictest parent on the planet. I was brought up under very strict parents but I try to balance it.

"I know the things that really matter and the things that don't.

"When you meet my kids you will know that they are well brought up.  That's what gives me the biggest joy."
Omotola has two daughters with her husband Captain Ekeinde.

Credit: msn entertainment

Balotelli linked to Chelsea

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli is reportedly not happy in Italy and is now being linked with a move back to the English Premiership.

Reports doing the rounds last week were linking him with a possible move to Tottenham Hotspur but Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has now been linked to the striker, whom he coached at Inter Milan.

"In football you never know the future," Mourinho told Yahoo.

"Balotelli is with a big club at the moment but you never know the future.

"They want to keep the best players and want to keep the best Italian players. But Mario has already been in English football before.

"I'm not going to be manager of Milan or the Italy national team, but he's a good kid and somebody I'd like to work with again."

Balotelli has made no secret of wanting to play for his former coach Mourinho again.

"Of course I would like to play under Jose again," Balotelli said.

"In my first days at Inter we had some problems, but then it turned into a mutual respect, and now we have a real friendship.

"It is never boring playing under Jose. When you are in Mourinho's team it is a family and he coaches on the principle that if all is well with the family it doesn't matter what is going on outside the team," he added.

Survivor Of Acid Attack In India Wins 'Courage' Award For Her Refusal To Hide Her Face

After an acid attack disfigured her face when she was 16, it would’ve been understandable if Laxmi had decided to retreat from society. After all, many victims of such crimes in India are shunned by their communities.

But Laxmi did the exact opposite. She has publicly bore her injuries in order to empower other survivors like her. And, for that, she was one of 10 women honored on Tuesday with the U.S. Department of State’s International Women of Courage Award.

While waiting at a bus stop in New Delhi in 2005, a friend’s brother threw acid in Laxmi’s face, causing horrific injuries all over her body. He was exacting revenge because she had denied his romantic advances, according to the State Department.

laxmi acid attack

Every year, more than 1,000 women in India are subjected to these cruel crimes that don’t just destroy their physical appearances, their muscles and internal organs are often affected as well -- as are their prospects for the future, according to Women’s eNews. These victims struggle to find work, and are often driven to suicide, according to the State Department.

But Laxmi wasn’t interested in hiding from the world. Instead, she has sought self-acceptance, the chance to work to help acid attack victims and to prevent these atrocities from happening to other women.

laxmi acid attack

"You will hear and you will be told that the face you burned is the face I love now," Laxmi said during the State Department’s awards ceremony. "You will know that I am alive, free and thriving and living my dreams."

Nine other women, including a gynecologist in Afghanistan advocating for improved maternal health, and a physician who is combating domestic violence and child abuse in Saudi Arabia, also won the award.

After the incident, Laxmi got involved with Stop Acid Attacks, an advocacy group that provides health, legal and psychological support to victims. It also works to put an end to acid attacks and other burn violence.

laxmi acid attack

She collected 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, an initiative that eventually made its way to the Indian Supreme Court, according to the State Department.

Last July, the court ordered acid buyers to provide proof of age and identity, and for store clerks to record all sales and periodically submit them to the police, Women’s eNews reported. The revised guidelines also declared that acid attacks should become a non-bailable offense.

While it was a major boon to the cause to get the government to agree to take action, advocates on the ground say there has been little follow through.

"Nothing has been done," Sushma Varma, trustee of the Campaign and Struggle Against Acid Attacks on Women, told Women’s eNews in November. "The state governments that are responsible for implementing the court's orders say they have 'yet to finalize their policies.'"

laxmi michelle obama

Despite such delays, Laxmi was heralded Tuesday for putting her face to the issue, and for tirelessly pushing for change.

"When we see these women raise their voices," Michelle Obama said at the awards event, "and move their feet and empower others to create change, we need to realize that each of us has that same power."

Credit: huffingtonpost

I Spent A Day Delivering Weed In New York City

Two drug dealers are sitting in my living room, drinking a pot of French-pressed coffee I brewed for our interview. With long hair, beards and matching black nail polish, the two could almost be members of a grunge band, except they’re exceedingly well-mannered.

“Even though what we do is illegal, we’re both morally sound people,” Abe says, rearranging his position on my grandmother’s old couch. “We try to do right by people. That’s what I always tell my mom, anyway.”

Abe, who’s in his early 30s, is from an Austin, Texas, military family. His dad, a doctor who served in Vietnam, died a few years ago when a small plane he built crashed into a mountain in New Mexico. Like his father, Abe is a risk taker. He was working on Wall Street before he started an illegal marijuana delivery company with his best friend, Brian, who is sitting cross-legged next to Abe in a pair of beat-up khakis and a dark blue Red Sox winter jersey.

The pair tell me their company, Secret Fleet, hasn’t even been around for a year, but their clientele is growing larger every week. In fact, on a recent night, their couriers made a record 55 deliveries.

Yet there are complications that come with running a black-market business like theirs.

“I tell my family I’m just a regular bike courier trying to make it as an actor,” says Brian, a soft-spoken amateur actor and former pharmaceutical researcher, who’s also from Austin and also in his early 30s. “I don’t like having to hide what I do. But my family is made up of very traditional, conservative people. And I don’t know how they’d react to it.”

Abe’s mom knows exactly what he does. “She worries that I’m breaking the law,” he says, but she supports him nonetheless.

This is why Abe and Brian are letting me write about their business: They want to start removing the negative stigma that surrounds marijuana. To that end, they’ve agreed to let me follow Mason, one of their 12 couriers, for a full day on the job. (The names of the company and those interviewed for this story have been changed to protect their identities.)

It’s a cold, sunny afternoon when Mason arrives at my apartment. At just past 1 p.m., his 10-hour shift has only just begun.

The 36-year-old Texan seems a little nervous to be talking to a reporter. I can’t blame him. I bring him a glass of water and give him a once-over: He’s wearing a windbreaker, slightly frayed blue jeans, wool socks and hiking shoes. His blue eyes, tawny hair and scruffy beard make him look a little like an out-of-work Land’s End model.

While we wait for calls to come in, I ask Mason about himself. His past is varied. Originally from northern Texas, Mason tells me he spent the past decade living in different cities across the country. He started out in Santa Fe, N.M., where he earned a master’s in liberal arts. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a photographer’s assistant, and then Austin, where he had an office job in an organic furniture store.

With just a touch of a Southern accent, Mason tells me he gave away most of his possessions and moved to Brooklyn last year after a painful divorce.

“I never would have moved to Austin if it wasn’t for my wife,” he explains. “Everything in New York is the best -- the people, the food, everything. It’s the cream of the crop.”

Before long, Mason’s phone goes “ding, ding,” and he tells me we have our first delivery. It’s in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, about a mile away. We put our jackets on and hit the streets. I ride behind Mason, passing housing projects and groups of screaming schoolkids bundled in winter jackets. Sometimes, if the breeze is right, I catch a whiff of the marijuana inside the saddlebags hanging off his bike frame.

Ten minutes later, we are buzzed in to a newly renovated ground-floor apartment and greeted by a young blond woman in a black cashmere sweater and a smiling young man with dreadlocks almost to his waist.

Mason introduces himself with a smile and tells his customers that I’m a Secret Fleet trainee who is shadowing him for the day. “I’m the intern,” I joke, and they laugh.

Mason pulls a high-tech thermoplastic case from his bag and pops it open, letting Dreadlocks peruse the inventory. There are three kinds of weed for sale -- each 3.5-gram bag is a flat $60 (no tip necessary) -- and some marijuana-infused oatmeal cookies, which cost $10 a pop.

As Mason and Dreadlocks discuss the features of each strain of weed available, Cashmere Sweater tells me she’s a freelance reporter who covers drug policy issues.

“I’d love to write an article about you guys!” she says, and I immediately become uncomfortable. Luckily, the deal is soon over, and we say goodbye.

Mason and I share an “Oh my God!” look and try to stifle our laughter as we exit the building.

When we get back to the street, Mason’s phone dings again. There are more stops to make. By now it’s 3 p.m., and even though it’s only a Thursday, there’s no shortage of people who want to score some bud. Mason’s not the only rider Secret Fleet has working today, either; there are three others working different areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

I follow Mason 4 miles to our next stop, in Brooklyn’s historic Fort Greene neighborhood. I am straining to keep up. Mason is in great shape from cycling 15-20 miles a day. He often takes his hands off his handlebars to use his phone. This seems dangerous to me, but I don’t say anything.

When we arrive, a woman in her late 20s (a graduate student, Mason later tells me) lets us into her one-bedroom apartment. She’s wearing a loose-fitting white blouse and red lipstick; her auburn hair is wild in a calculated kind of way. “Nice to meet you,” Mason says, shaking her hand. “Oh, we’ve met before,” she tells him. “I think my bong kind of kicked your ass last time.” She laughs and sits down on a white, furry couch that looks like it’s made of dog hair.

The woman buys a bag of Agent Orange from Mason. It turns out she’s from Austin, too, and she and Mason have some friends in common. They talk excitedly about the South By Southwest music festival and where the best Airbnb deals are in the city. “Oh my God, Austin is so expensive now!” she says, groaning, and Mason agrees. She begins tearing up the sticky weed and shoving it into a glass bong. “Do you guys want to smoke with me?” she asks.

Mason politely declines, and we say goodbye. Getting high with customers isn’t against Secret Fleet policy, but Mason says he prefers to keep a clear head this early in his shift.

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A 5 Bedroom Duplex with BQ located at Ikota Villa Estate, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos FOR SALE

Property Type: 5 Bedroom Duplex with BQ
Price: ₦48,000,000
Store: Yes
Units: 2
Location : Ikota Villa Estate, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos
Land Area: 450sm
Year Built: 2013
Baths: 6
Beds: 6
Toilet: 7
Parking: up to 6 saloon cars

Contact Details:
1 Kazeem Oyofo Street
Nepa Road, Ajah, Lekki-Epe Expressway,
Lagos, Nigeria

Meet The Iranian Who Has Lived In A Paris Airport Since 1988 Because He Lost His Passport (PHOTOS)

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran, is an Iranian refugee who has been living in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport since August 8, 1988. After he was later imprisoned, tortured and expelled from his country, he applied for asylum in many European countries without luck.

When he decided to go to the United Kingdom, he claimed that he was mugged, and his shoulder bag stolen while waiting at the RER platform to go to Charles de Gaulle Airport to take a flight to Heathrow. Nasseri managed to board the plane, but when he arrived at Heathrow without the necessary documentation, Heathrow officials sent him back to Charles de Gaulle. Nasseri was unable to prove his identity or his refugee status to the French officials and so he was moved to the Zone d’attente (waiting zone), a holding area for travellers without papers.

Nasseri was reportedly the inspiration behind the 2004 movie The Terminal. Unlike Tom Hanks’ character in the movie, and since at least 1994, Nasseri does not live in the duty-free transit area but simply in the departure hall, in the circular boutiques and restaurants passage on the lowest floor. He can at least theoretically leave the terminal at any moment, although, since everyone knows him, his departure might not remain unnoticed. He does not seem to speak with anyone normally. With his cart and bags, he almost looks like a traveler, so people either do not notice him or ignore him as if he were a homeless person.

During his 17-year-long stay at Terminal 1 in the Charles de Gaulle Airport, Nasseri had his luggage at his side and spent his time reading, writing in his diary, or studying economics. He received food and newspapers from employees of the airport.

Nasseri’s stay at the airport ended in July 2006 when he was hospitalized and his sitting place dismantled. Towards the end of January 2007, he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport’s branch of the French Red Cross; he was lodged for a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport. On March 6, 2007, he transferred to an Emmaus charity reception centre in Paris‘s twentieth arrondissement. As of 2008, he continues to live in a Paris shelter.

Credit: AY blog