All posts by socialdevelopmentnews

I am Funmi Falobi, Development Journalist, PR professional, Social Entrepreneur and lead contributor/Editor, Social Development News. Beyond journalism, I am also passionate about advancing social causes and empowerment, especially for children, youth and women.

U.S extends tourist visa validity for Nigerians to five years

By sdnonline

Effective March 1, 2023, the U.S. Mission will increase visitor visa validity from 24 months to 60 months for Nigerians who want to enter the United States temporarily for business and/or tourism.

The visa validity extension allows Nigerians to use the visa for 60 months to make short trips to the United States for tourism or business purposes before having to renew their visa. The visa application fee, currently USD160, will not increase as a result of the increased visa validity.

“Increasing visa validity is one of several initiatives taken by the United States to reduce visa appointment wait times in Nigeria. The U.S. Mission continues to offer No-Interview Visa Renewals to those who meet the eligibility criteria. Appointments for No-Interview Visa Renewals are readily available,” the U.S Mission said in a press statement.

No-Interview Visa Renewal

You may be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview if your application is for a B1/B2, F, M, J (academic only), H, L, or C1/D (combined only) visa, And you meet each of the following criteria:

You are physically present in Nigeria.
Your previous visa was issued in Nigeria.
Your previous visa is in the same classification as your current application.
Your previous visa was a full-validity, multiple-entry visa.
Your previous visa expired within the last 48 months or will expire in the next three months from the date of application.
You have all your passports covering the entire period since receiving the previous visa and the passport with the most recent visa.
You have never been arrested or convicted of any crime or offense in the United States, even if you later received a waiver or pardon.
You have never worked without authorization or remained beyond your permitted time in the United States.

The U.S mission informed that processing times for the programme are expected to be up to two months and you will not be able to retrieve your passport during that time.

Each applicant must individually meet the criteria; minors can apply without an interview only if they meet the eligibility criteria on their own.

Emergency Appointments

If you have a life-or-death emergency, you may request an expedited, in-person interview; however, to accommodate No-Interview Visa Renewals, appointments will be very limited.

Business travel, conferences, weddings, and graduations are not considered emergencies. If you have an emergency and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance.

Similarly, third parties unaffiliated with U.S. Embassy Abuja and Consulate General Lagos may seek to take advantage of various visa services to target visa applicants with fraudulent offers or claims.

Applicants should fill out their own forms and make their appointments themselves via the official websites.

As future opportunities for Interview Waiver appointments become available, they will be communicated via our website.

2023 elections: Enthusiasm, pitfall trail voting as Nigerians cast their votes

By our reporters

Nigerians on Saturday, February 25, 2023 performed their civic right by casting their votes for their preferred presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

When SDNONLINE moved round, there were security operatives around polling units to protect voters and officers of the electoral body. Roads that are prone to traffic were free and easy to ply due to restriction of movement of people and vehicles. Markets, shops, offices were under lock and key for people to vote their preferred candidates.

It was a mixed experience across the States as Nigerians went out to vote for their choice candidates. While some areas experienced high turn out, some were low. In some areas, INEC officials did not arrive on time and some had to start voting around 11am and 12pm.

In Lagos state, some areas recorded high turn out of voters. For example, the vote which was supposed to start at 8.30am with accreditation of voters did not start at exact time in some polling units. In some places, voting did not start until 10am while in some 11am.and 12pm respectively. However, in few places like Lekki, Polling unit 071, voters could not exercise their franchise due to absence of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers.
As expected, police were seen at the polling units to provide protection to both INEC officers and voters. There were police vans as well as military vans patrolling the environment to forestall any violence.

However, unlike before when youths would turn the roads to football pitch, there was nothing like that as most youths were seen across the polling centres to vote. In some areas, even the sick were seen being aided to the polling units to cast their votes. However, in Lekki, some voters were unable to vote as a result of absence of INEC officers to administer voting materials.

“We have done our best, we leave the rest for God to touch the heart of our leaders,” said a voter who claimed anonymous.

In Ogun state, electorate also came out to cast their votes. Some areas also witnessed late arrival of INEC officers.
At Oba T.T. Dada, Ota Market, INEC officers arrived at 10.50am while electorate were already waiting. At Open field polling unit, opposite Canaanland, voters turned out enmass to cast their votes. Generally, the voting was peaceful.

A voter said, “I just finished voting at Liberty Estate gate, magboro, very orderly and peaceful.”
Observation showed that preferences were given to elderly and pregnant people.

In Cross River, voters were seen carrying out their civic right. However, INEC officers were late in some areas and there was allegation of vote buying in some areas as well.
There was high turn out at the four polling units at Satellite Town while at Abong Aseng polling booth, voters were yet to vote as at 12.30pm. At Etta-Agbor, Batabe/Amika Odu layout and Etonko polling units, people cast their votes without any problem.

At Atu by Golden Round About, Atu Secondary School, Atu by Nelson Mandela, Lutheran Primary School, Atu, there were no problems.

However at Atu by Academy, there was slow administration of voting materials as many were yet to vote as at 12.30pm.

“I got to the polling unit at 8am and did not vote until 11am. As at 12.30pm, about 800 people are yet to vote,” said a voter.
At Palm Street, INEC officers started attending to electorate at 11am.

In Bayelsa State, some polling units also experienced late arrival of INEC officers.
While casting his vote, Former President Goodluck Jonathan expressing his views on the conduct of the election said, “INEC should improve on distribution of election materials.”

2023Elections: We strongly support peaceful, transparent process in Nigeria – Joe Biden

United States President, Joe Biden has thrown his weight to a peaceful and transparent general elections in Nigeria.

Speaking after the presidential candidates signed peace accord on Tuesday, February 22, 2023 towards peaceful election, President Biden said, “I commend yesterday’s peace accord in Nigeria, signed by the political parties and candidates running in Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25. By signing this pledge, the parties and candidates have committed to accept the results of the election, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, and to support a peaceful transition of power.

He declared that elections are a fundamental part of a functioning democracy, and all Nigerians deserve this chance to choose their future — freely and fairly. “While the United States does not support any single candidate or party, we strongly support a peaceful and transparent process that reflects the will of the people of Nigeria.

On election day, I encourage all Nigerians — no matter their religion, region, or ethnicity —to exercise this fundamental freedom and make their voices heard — including young voters, many of whom may be heading to the ballot box for the first time,,” he said.

He stated that the United States stands with the Nigerian people as they chart a path toward a more democratic, prosperous, and secure future. “I appreciate President Buhari’s firm commitment that the will of the people will be respected. And in the coming days, I encourage voters to remain peaceful and patient as their ballots are tallied, and urge the political parties and candidates to live up to their pledge.”

UNILAG Alumni Association elects new National Executive Committee

By sdnonline

The University of Lagos Alumni Association has elected new National Executive Committee that would steer the leadership of the association for the next two years. At a keenly contested election, Engr. IfeOluwa Oyedele, FNSE was elected as President (Worldwide) of the Association.

The e-voting took place on Sunday, December 18, 2022, same day with the association’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, (AGM21), which held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Presenting the results of the election, the Chairman, Electoral Committee, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole said that the electronic voting system was adopted in order to ensure that eligible voters who could not participate in a physical voting exercise were not disenfranchised.

Dr. Olawale-Cole who is also a past President of the Association expressed delight that election was free and fair, noting that the exercise was devoid of any complaint.

The newly elected National Executive Committee also include: Dr. Bala Yesufu, 1st National Vice President, Lady Azuka Azinge, 2nd National Vice President, Chief Adebisi Ogundipe, National Secretary and Mr. Otobong Matthew, Assistant National Secretary.

Others are: Mrs. Funmi Falobi, National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Francis Shonubi, National Social Secretary, Barrister Soni Oghenegare Bobi, National Legal Adviser, Mr. Rasul Taiwo, National Financial Secretary, Mr..Harris Alade, Treasurer and Mr. Owoeye Abayomi, National Internal Auditor. The Ex-Officio are: Prof. Khalid Adekoya, Mr. Lekan Ajisafe, Hon. Olumide Akinola and Dr. Abdul Gbadamosi.

In his inaugural speech President, Worldwide, Engr. Ife Oyedele, FNSE, assured that the new National Executive Committee under his leadership would build on the solid foundation laid by the predecessors and work assiduously to retain members confidence and support.

“We will remain your servant by serving with loyalty, dedication and humility to the highest level of integrity. We will defend the Constitution, Ethos and Ethics of the association. By so doing,u we will build an enduring legacy, with the help and collaboration of all critical stakeholders. In this regard, we will strive to continue with the execution of all projectsu conceived by the previous administration,” he said.

He declared that the vision of the University combines the best of undergraduate education with a strong compliment of distinguished graduate programmes aimed at meeting strategic, national and global needs. “We must assist the university authority to build on this clear and rich history to make UNILAG serve as a national and global model. This vision is not that of an isolated ivory tower, but rather of an institution that is fully engaged with innovative ideas as well as the forces and vicissitudes of a highly globalised world”, he added.

While commending the indelible contributions of the immediate past administration led by Dr. John Momoh, OON, he commended him and other past Presidents, officers and elders of the Association for the attainment of the lofty heights which the University of Lagos Alumni Association has been raised to. Oyedele said the Alumni Association must assist the University Administration by serving as the bridge builder between town and gown.

“As I receive the mantle of leadership of UNILAG Alumni worldwide, the vision of its founders challenge me to work together with my fellow alumni in strictly adherence to its motto: ‘In Deed and in Truth.”

‘On behalf of my colleagues, in whom you have reposed your collective trust, I pledge that our administration shall focus on our people and the Institution. We shall operate an open door policy with a seamless information flow aimed at ensuring robust and constant engagement with all our stakeholders. He further pledged that the new Administration shall continue in the tradition of transparency and accountability laid by its predecessors.

“While assuring that the administration will be focused on its set goals and objectives he promised to provide a conducive atmosphere for reconciliation, healing and unity so that together the aims and objectives of the Association can be achieved.

Earlier, in his valedictory speech, the immediate past President, Dr. John Momoh read out the strides attained by his administration.

While admonishing members to hold fast those values that would never go out of fashion – integrity, character, foresight, competence and dedication; Momoh charged the new national executive to lift the bar beyond wildest dreams.

L-R: Dr. John Momoh, Engr. Ifeoluwa Oyedele and Olorogun Sony Kuku
The newly elected National Executive Committee

Sexual violence: Huffped trains adolescent girls on self defense

By sdnonline

In order to reduce the spate of sexual violence against girls in the society, Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFFPED) has trained adolescent girls on ways to defend themselves from such.

The training which took place at Ikorodu area of Lagos State had in attendance, 30 adolescents. The programme was with support from Canada, Women’s Rights and Health Project, and Actionaid.

Speaking at the programme, the facilitator, Mrs. Elizabeth Samuel declared that self defense is the act of defending oneself from getting harm which include fighting back, boxing and karate. Or anything we do, say or believe that keeps one safe.

In keeping safe, she enjoined the participants to report to elderly person or authority that bothering them.

“You can say or yell leave me alone; tell a teacher or report to an elderly or authority when someone is bothering you,” she said.

She identified five person weapons that every individual possesses which include the spirit, mind, eyes, voice and body (SMEVG).

While explaining the types of assault to include verbal, intimidation and physical assault; she however informed that to defend themselves, the girls must know the stages of fighting stance.

“When you stand normally, being pushed is inevitable but to defend oneself, you must stand in the fighting stance which prevents you from falling and getting hurt,” she stressed.

While demonstrating the fighting stance, she urged the participants in the use of their voice.
“Finally, you are going to yell ‘No’ in a real life situation and when you say ‘No’ it should be firm and not squeaky from the throat,” she advised.