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Aviaition Minister Condemns Arrest Of Pilots In Rivers, Says FG Gave Them Approval To Fly

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Hadi Sirika

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has faulted the arrest of two pilots of Caverton Helicopters by the Rivers State Government.

Mr Sirika who was speaking during the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday, explained that it was wrong for the state government to have carried out the arrests, within Federal Government-owned properties without clearance from federal authorities.

“Civil Aviation is on exclusive list. So no other person but the Federal Government has authority to legislate upon. So also, the Nigeria Airforce is on exclusive list. There is no other person but the Federal government that has the legal right to legislate upon.

“So the Air force officer who jumped the Commander in Chief and ignored, who also jumped the Chief of Defence Staff and ignored, as well as ignored the Chief of Air Staff, to call a governor to come into a property of the Federal Government to make an arrest has exhibited dangerous ignorance and gross

Nyesom Wike – Ordered arrest of Caverton pilot

incompetence”.

“The police that also followed the governor to the place to make an arrest have also exhibited dangerous ignorance from our perspective in civil aviation,” Mr Sirika said.

The pilots were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly violating the executive order issued by the Rivers State Governor aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus in the state.

But the Aviation Minister maintained that their operation was indeed approved by the Federal Government as it was in line with national interest.

“Whether we gave the approval for the flight, yes we did and we did in national interest.

“All of those flights are for the purposes of improving the national revenue to which Rivers State is the greatest beneficiary.

“At a time when oil has gone below $30, and the cost of production is $30, in the wisdom of President Muhammadu Buhari, he thought that this be allowed even in this national pandemic, so that the nation will not be crippled.

“Efforts are on to get the pilots back in national interest,” added.

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Nigeria lauds improved collaboration in AFI Region, signs MoU with Sierra Leone, Rwanda

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MINISTER of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has commended International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stressing that it’s leadership stance in collaboration has led member states of the African Indian-Ocean ( AFI) region to pool resources in resolving challenges and enhance safety in the Sub-region.

Sirika made this known at the 7th AFI Aviation Week in Abuja, Nigeria holding from 16th – 20th May where the nation signed Memorandum of Understandings, (MoUs) with Sierra Leone and Rwanda for technical support to enhance safety and security of Civil Aviation in the region.

According to him, ICAO’s leadership has set the bar for Member States to collaborate in resolving challenges particularly in the area of enhancing safety in our Sub-region.

He explained that one of the outcomes of such collaboration is the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa, which metamorphosized in the West Africa region into the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), in Abuja, which is hosted and substantially funded by Nigeria stating that this organisation has continued to support the Member States in improving their safety oversight capabilities and human resource development.

On the MoUs, Sirika said they will aid to strengthen safety and efficiency of the sector as well as cooperation in the region.

The Aviation Minister stated that, aviation being an enabler and a positive factor for growth, development and robustness of the economy, informed the sector to enter into partnerships with other countries.

From left, Commisioner Banjul Accord Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Engineer Charles Irikefe Erhueh with Minister of Aviation, Nigeria, Senator Hadi Sirika and Commissioner Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, Engineer Akin Olateru at the opening ceremony of the 7th AFI Aviation Week in Abuja, Nigeria holding from 16th – 20th May

“This is the only way to continue to make these initiatives relevant and sustainable, while contributing to the strengthening of safety, security and facilitation in the region, bearing in mind that a safe, secure and efficient air transport system is a natural impetus for socio-economic development of the region and a means to support trade and tourism”.

The MoUs were signed by the Nigeria’s Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu and representatives of the two countries at the opening ceremony of the Conference in Abuja.

Explaining further, the NCAA Director General, Captain Nuhu said, the partnership with the two African countries is to assist each other where there are gaps or deficiencies in the system, adding that no civil aviation authorities globally have the capacity to do everything.

The experience of the last two years, Captain Nuhu emphasized has underscored the fact that overcoming challenges and achieving meaningful growth in the industry, can only be done through cooperation, collaboration and co-ordination amongst stakeholders.

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BREAKING: Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Arrested Over N80 Billion Fraud

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Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds estimated at N80 billion.

Those familiar with the development said Mr Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and is being flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.

Our sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.

The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.

Our sources further said after progress was made in the investigation, Mr Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.

“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”

The spokesperson for the EFCC could not be reached to comment for his story. One of his subordinates said he is travelling in the United Kingdom at this time.

However, a top EFCC official confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.

Mr Uwujaren later issued a statement saying, “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, May 16, 2022 arrested serving Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris in connection with diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80billion( Eighty Billion Naira only).

“The Commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.

Mr Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.”

President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.

The position became vacant at the time after the former Accountant General, Jonah Otunla, left office on June 12, 2015.

President Buhari reappointed Mr Idris for a second four-year term in June 2019, amid criticisms from labour groups who said the accountant-general should retire after turning 60.

Mr Idris, a native of Kano State, North-west Nigeria, was born on November 25, 1960, and was until his appointment in 2015 the Director of Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

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Abuja-Kaduna Train Services to Resume May 23rd

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The Federal Government says train services will resume along the Abuja Kaduna train rail line on Monday, the 23rd of May, 2022.

In a statement by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, Mr Mahmud Yakubu said the Federal Government gave the directive for the resumption.

According to the statement, plans are still on to ensure that those abducted on the 28th of March along the same route due to bandits’ attack are released unhurt.

It emphasises that security would be adequately provided for would-be passengers and that every potential commuter must present a valid Id card, National identity number, NIN and proof of ticket purchase at entry and exit points.

The first train would depart the Idu end of the rail line at 9.50 am.

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