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How the Nigerian Embassy in Austria corruptly overcharges every visa applicant

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  • Stops Nigerians from going into the embassy with cell phones
  • POS installed at the embassy as a conduit pipe of corruption

An open letter to President Buhari, National Assembly/House of Reps. Members, Foreign Affairs Minister, and the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration

According to one of the famous quotes of Martin Luther King Jr., “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” My mind and brain clashed severally on the exposure to the exploitation and criminality going on inside the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria. Nevertheless, as Prof. Wole Soyinka said, “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” My impetus and courage are driven by the fact that my convictions are bigger than my fear – because Nigeria will be great if we all do our part.

Consequently, as a true patriot, I am compelled to add my voice in solidarity to the cries of Nigerians in Austria who dearly crave the urgent attention of the Nigerian government to end the disgrace, manipulation, intimidation, fraud, and neglect they have been subjected to for a long time unchallenged at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria. According to the complaints, the conduit pipe of the evil this time is mainly orchestrated via visa and passport applications – code-named “Administration fee”.

 

When one applies for a Nigerian visa online, one goes through all the processes, pays the money as the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service stipulates, and the person is instructed to take specific required documents and proceed to the Nigerian Embassy for the visa. But when one gets to the embassy and submits the documents, surprisingly one is not given the visa as directed, rather a fraudulent transfer slip of €50 – claimed by the embassy to be an administrative fee – is given to that applicant to go to any nearby bank and pay into an account allegedly and boldly written to belong to the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna. If one does not pay this money the person will not be given the visa. It is equally the same thing with the international passport. After the payment online, one must pay an extra €30 at the embassy if the person is living in Austria, otherwise, it is €100, or else the person will not be attended to.

One of the banks accounts these monies were paid into was opened on 09.08.2021 at Bank Austria, with the account number AT64 1200 0515 7402 311. Wherever the monies were paid before then would be worth investigating. The account was later closed sometime in March 2022 and was simultaneously replaced with an installed POS inside the embassy. Currently, the POS is what people are using to pay the imposed extra €50 and €30/€100 administration fees by the embassy for visa and passport applications. Closing and reopening an account several times in the same bank in a developed country like Austria which has a working society is an indication that something is wrong.

Following are other fees that equally go into the same account (attached is a screenshot info of the “Administrative Charges” from the embassy’s website before it was removed): (1) “Temporal Work Permit cable Visa endorsement fee €100,” (2) “STR Visa endorsement fee (per document) €200”, (3) “Urgent collection subject to approval by Minister (C&I) €50”, (4) “Lost Passports €200”, (5) “Change of names due to marriage €50”, (6) “Applicants from other passport issuing countries (in addition to other regular charges) €100”, (7) “Processing of applications for renunciation of citizenship €300”, (8) “Endorsement of Business Documents €200”, and (9), “Attestation of documents €40.” Reliable information from an impeccable source is that these proceeds – between €30,000 to €44,000 – are not honestly remitted to the Federal Government.

Besides the POS payment there is also the possibility to pay other so-acclaimed administrative fees by the embassy at the bank. Attached is a bank transfer slip given to a person by the embassy for two persons’ visas to be paid into the purported embassy’s account with the number AT12 1200 0100 2182 8982 at Bank Austria.

The ambiguity and the questions here are: Is Nigerian Immigration officially aware of this very €50 (equivalent to N38,000) and €30 (around N23,400) extra visa and passport charges? If yes: do the monies paid to go into the account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or to some pockets of a few privileged individuals? If indeed, it is truly true that the money actually goes into the Nigerian Government’s account: why is it not possible that one can also pay this extra money online at the same time one is equally paying for the visa or passport fee? Why are the charges not stated like other fees on the website of the Nigeria Immigration Service as one applies? Why was it difficult and considered not important to inform people that they would be required to pay extra €50 and €30/€100 for administrative fees at the embassy like they were informed on what they needed to bring to the embassy – if the monies were appropriate and not corruptly inserted in the process? Is the Federal Government of Nigeria aware of the monies that are currently going through the installed POS at the embassy?

For how long shall many of our leaders continue to treat us like animals – torment, oppress, disgrace, and humiliate us everywhere, every time, and at every little loophole they see, both at home and abroad? Evil does not know one’s religion or tribe. We all suffer from it. So, when can we as Nigerians forget our differences and come together against oppression, corruption, repression, and injustice, etc. and say in unison that enough is enough without sentiments?

Furthermore fellow Nigerians, it is essential to also let you know that so many Nigerians who went home for the 2022 Christmas holiday were heartbroken because they were exploited, frustrated, and subjected to abuse by the embassy officials due to their inefficiencies. How? Many who had applied and had paid for visas to travel to Nigeria either lost the money they had paid for air tickets or had to pay extra for rebooking because the embassy failed to give them visas on time, with flimsy excuses of lack of “visa sticker.” Must we always be maltreated and exploited like this?

The sad one currently again is that no Nigerian is allowed to go into the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria with mobile phones. Why? At first, they started compelling visiting Nigerians to off their cellphones before being allowed into the embassy, and they have now graduated to the point of not allowing anyone to go in with a cell phone. Everyone must deposit his/her cell phone with the receptionist, or else the person is denied entry. What is all this? What is there – inside the embassy – to hide? Are we the only embassy in the world? Why are they afraid of their own shadows? The cellphones could at least help many who wait at the embassy for a long time to interact and keep them busy. But who cares how the people feel? That one cannot be reached or make calls while inside the embassy is heartbreaking and very sad. However, the reasons for this awkward and inconsiderate decision are obvious. Aptly, they want to avoid Nigerians taking photos or making videos of their embarrassing conduct, and the waiting room of the embassy they have shamelessly turned into a restaurant of Jollof rice and a pepper soup joint, and a below-standard of the dirty restroom that is an eyesore. Otherwise what else?

Nigeria is a country where ugly and despicable things could be made to look normal, especially if highly placed people are involved. My heart bleeds. Consequently, I protest on behalf of concerned Nigerians in the Diaspora and appeal to the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to please come to the aid of Nigerians in Austria via the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama whose bulk of these complaints directly fall on his desk and in conjunction with the Acting Controller General of the Nigeria Immigration, Isah Jere Idris – to please urgently and sincerely react efficiently to the moan of the aggrieved Nigerians for the benefits of all. We plead for an official investigation into the unscrupulous and indecent activities and corruption going on at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria, and demand an immediate stop to them. It is incredible. Perhaps, the case is equally not different in other Nigerian Embassies around the globe and the investigation should be comprehensively extended. We are watching.

Unbelievable things are happening under this Nigeria Embassy in Vienna, Austria that is yet to be revealed, and when they are, they will shock the entire world.

God bless Nigeria.

May God bless Nigeria.

♦ Uzoma Ahamefule, a refined African traditionalist and a patriotic citizen writes from Vienna, Austria. WhatsApp: +436607369050; Email Contact Uzoma >>>>

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Interracial Relationship: Bill Gates’ Daughter, Phoebe, Shots Back at Haters

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Bill Gates’ Daughter, Phoebe, Says ‘I’m Done Being Memed For Being In An Interracial Relationship’ In Response To Hate Comments

Phoebe Gates is shutting down racist comments about her relationship.

The daughter of billionaire tech giant Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda Gates is experiencing backlash on social media.

The 20-year-old went public with her boyfriend, Robert Ross, in May 2022. The two Stanford students appear throughout each other’s social media, and the comments get ugly. Most of the online trolls fixate on the fact that Ross is Black. They even allude to the fact that he is dating Gates for her money and status.

Gates recently sat down with The Information, and the outlet asked her about going public with her relationship as an influencer. Her response was heavier than simply dealing with her 200,000 Instagram and 64,000 TikTok followers.

“It’s 2023. I’m done being memed for being in an interracial relationship,” she said.

Their first post dates back to October 2022, with the two pictured at a friend’s wedding. The second post is a moment in front of a fireplace during New Year’s Eve.

Bill Gates and Phoebe Gates

Bill Gates and Phoebe Gates

Further within the interview, Gates says “the misconceptions and conspiracy theories about my family and my relationship with my boyfriend” is the worst part of her social media popularity.

The post Bill Gates’ Daughter, Phoebe, Says ‘I’m Done Being Memed For Being In An Interracial Relationship’ In Response To Hate Comments appeared first on Blavity.

Gates also reveled she is aware that most of the attention she is getting, whatever negative or positive, is because of her last name.

“I’m pretty realistic that people start following me because of my family name,” she said. “And people probably find it funny to see my dad being a goof and playing.”

Bill Gates' daughter Phoebe fires back at racist trolls, posts another snap  with black boyfriend | Daily Mail Online

She continued, “People have a lot of preconceptions about me, so TikTok has been a chance for me to tell my own story and also use the attention my family name might bring to spotlight issues that are important to me, like women’s health and sustainable fashion.”

The Seattle, Washington native noted she wasn’t even allowed to have a cell phone until she was 14 years old.

Gates welcomes the onlookers, no matter what made them follow her; she just hopes they stick around.

“But once they follow me, they stick around, and I think some of that is because of the issues that I post about, like women’s health. I like to bring audiences along to the events I go to, my life at college, what’s front of mind for me, that kind of stuff.”

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6 Nigerian states drop suit to void presidential vote result

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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Six states in Nigeria on Friday night withdrew a suit asking the Supreme Court to void the result of the just-concluded presidential election, the latest twist in several challenges facing the ruling party’s victory in the vote.

The states — led by governors in the main opposition party, which finished second in last weekend’s election — had accused Nigeria’s electoral commission of failing to follow its own rules and election laws in conducting the vote and announcing a winner, according to court documents.

Election results from the 176,000 polling units are required to be transmitted to the commission’s portal, which the opposition says didn’t happen.

But the states withdrew the suit from the court in a joint notice of discontinuance filed on Friday night. They did not give a reason for withdrawing the challenge.

Bola Tinubu of the ruling party received 37% of the vote to win the election, which other candidates, including second-place candidate Atiku Abubakar and third-place finisher Peter Obi, say they will challenge in court.

The states — Sokoto, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo — had said they wanted the Supreme Court to declare that the results of the presidential election “were invalid, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.”

Nigeria’s electoral law says an election can be invalidated only if it’s proven that the Independent National Electoral Commission largely didn’t follow the law and acted in ways that could have changed the result. None of Nigeria’s presidential election results has ever been overturned by the Supreme Court.

However, the latest court challenge was unique, lawyers said, citing the legal provision that voting results must be transmitted to the electoral body’s portal.

“Having not complied with that requirement, I believe the integrity of the entire process is questionable,” said Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja. No matter what the precedent shows, the court does not have other options, he added.

Separately, the Supreme Court extended the deadline until the end of the year for the government to finish switching out old currency for new bank notes. The swap has created a cash shortage because there aren’t enough redesigned notes to go around in the cash-reliant country. The crisis has stirred violence, daylong lines at banks and business closures.

A seven-member justice panel said Friday that the program’s implementation broke the law and directed the old banknotes of 200 naira (43 U.S. cents), 500 naira ($1.08) and 1,000 naira ($2.16) to stay legal tender until Dec. 31 before being replaced with the redesigned cash.

The central bank did not immediately comment on the directive from the court. In the past, it has been accused of disobeying court orders.

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Nigerian senator tells UK organ harvesting trial of scam fears

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Nigeria’s former deputy senate president on trial in London for allegedly plotting to harvest a street trader’s kidney for his sick daughter told the court on Tuesday he feared he was being “scammed”.

Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, daughter Sonia, 25, and a doctor, Obinna Obeta, 50, are accused of conspiring to exploit the man for his body part.

Lawyers for the four previously told the trial at London’s central criminal court, also known as the Old Bailey, the alleged victim was acting “altruistically”.

The kidney was allegedly intended for Sonia, who remains on dialysis with a renal condition, in return for up to £7,000 ($8,430) and the promise of a new life in Britain for the 21-year-old trader.

Giving evidence in his defence, Ike Ekweremadu was asked about an invoice for £8,000 he received via his brother Diwe from a consultant doctor.

Defence lawyer Martin Hicks asked: “Why not at this stage say we are being scammed Dr Obeta, end of, stop?”

“My daughter’s life was on the line so if we stop we will be putting my daughter’s life in danger. So we just keep moving,” Ekweremadu replied.

“Everybody was obviously taking advantage of my daughter’s ill health,” he added.

Ike Ekweremadu is a senator for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for Enugu state in southeast Nigeria. He has been held in custody in the UK since his arrest. His wife and daughter are on conditional bail.

In Britain, it is legal to donate a kidney, but not for reward. Prosecutors say regardless of whether the Lagos street trader gave his consent, a crime was committed by the wealthy Nigerians.

The accuser — who cannot be named — is said to have gone to UK police after finally refusing to consent to the procedure, following preliminary tests at a north London hospital in February 2022.

– ‘Scary’ condition –

A consultant doctor at the London hospital said the young man had “limited understanding” of why he was there and was “visibly relieved” on being told the transplant would not go ahead, prosecutor Hugh Davies said.

Ike Ekweremadu told the court on Monday Sonia was doing a masters degree at Newcastle University when she started experiencing “swollen limbs” in December 2019.

She was later diagnosed with a “kidney issue”, which caused her “distress”, and withdrew from her studies after she “collapsed” in class.

Ekweremadu said his daughter’s deteriorating condition was “scary”, adding: “Medicines she was getting (were) not essentially working, so her situation was getting worse.”

The prosecutor earlier said the young man had been coached to give false answers to doctors at the British hospital, and Sonia was “singing from the same hymn sheet” to create a fake family history linking the pair as cousins.

The Ekweremadus and the doctor are accused of conspiracy to arrange the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, under UK legislation on modern slavery.

Obeta allegedly managed the process in Nigeria, having himself undergone a kidney transplant in Britain with an organ donated by a “cousin” in 2021, the court was previously told.

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