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Direct Flights Between Nigeria and Pakistan Soon, as Sirika Leads Delegation to Pakistan

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Senator Sirika with the Ag. Secretary of Ministry of Aviation of Pakistan, Mr. Hassan Naofir

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Saturday in Islamabad, Pakistan met with different government officials in civil aviation, trade and commerce to foster economic and trade relations, and promote commencement of direct flights between Nigeria and Pakistan.

An online statement from Islamabad, Pakistan by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu said the trip which was facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria in collaboration with the Africa Center for Asia +B Studies made it possible for the Minister to engage with the Acting Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Aviation, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Minister of Commerce of Pakistan.

At the meeting with the Acting Secretary of Aviation of Pakistan, Mr. Hassan Nafir, the Honourable Minister and his host agreed to take concrete steps towards the commencement of direct flights between Nigeria and Pakistan, in order to promote trade and tourism .

They also agreed that the subsisting Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Pakistan be revitalized within the shortest possible time.

To actualise the plan, directive was given to officials of both countries present at the meeting to immediately meet to review the BASA and come up with a workable Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would ensure early commencement of direct flights. They both expressed the view that the volume of passengers’ traffic should quadruple from the 7300 recorded last year, as it was noted that the two countries have the advantage of population towards making it happen.

Sirika with the President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Ahsan Bakhtawari

Receiving the Minister of Aviation and his delegation, the President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Ahsan Bakhtawari, expressed delight for the Minister’s visit as it would provide the latitude to lay a solid foundation for the promotion of trade relations between Nigeria and Pakistan. He decried the volume of trade between Nigeria and Pakistan, valued at $210M, and stated that efforts should be made towards improving on it, through the promotion of business to business talks, establishment of the Nigeria-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture, and visit of trade delegations from both sides.

The President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce was of the view that trade between Nigeria and Pakistan could only be bolstered if there was a direct flight linking Pakistan and Nigeria and urged the Honourable Minister to facilitate it. Responding, the Honourable Minister stated that, no doubt, flight connectivity had a greater role in cementing bilateral and economic relations between friendly nations of the world, and promised to facilitate the process before the end of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose government had done so well to promote the development of civil aviation in Nigeria.

With the Pakistani Minister of Commerce, Mr. Syed Qamar

At the meeting with Mr. Syed Qamar, the Minister of Commerce of Pakistan, Senator Sirika and his host agreed that efforts should be made to improve on the level of trade between both countries and air link was identified as one of the major catalyst. The need for both governments to look at the issue of visa restrictions was stressed for the purposes of boosting trade, tourism and commerce.

Specifically, Senator Sirika urged the business leaders of Pakistan to leverage on the opportunities abound in all sectors of Nigeria to invest, as Nigeria was the best destination for investment in Africa.

He informed the Pakistani Minister of Commerce that there were avalanches of business opportunities in the Aviation Sector in Nigeria, emphasizing that the four international airports in Nigeria have been designated as Economic Free Trade Zones with all the advantages that goes with such designations.

Speaking at the occasion, the Director, Economic, Bilateral and Trade Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bolaji Akinremi, urged both countries to set up a Joint Committee for the purpose of reviewing the subsisting Trade Agreements between them. He equally urged Pakistan to sign the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and the Avoidance of Double Taxation (ADT) Agreement with Nigeria.

The Minister of Commerce of Pakistan noted the requests and promised to work with Nigeria in the three areas in order to enhance trade relations between the two countries.

Present at the meetings with the Honourable Minister of Aviation were the Nigerian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ambassador Mohammed Bello Abioye; the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Nuhu Musa; Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Capt. Alkali Modibo; Mr. Hassan Ejibunu, Director, Air Transport Management, Ministry of Aviation, Director, Bilateral Trade and Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akinremi and the Director-General of the African Centre for Asian Studies, Robert Achanya

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Relief for Dubai Travellers, as Emirates Resume Flights to Nigeria October 1

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After what has been like waiting for godot for travellers between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates Airlines has announced that it will resume services to Nigeria from 1 October 2024, operating a daily service between Lagos and Dubai, and offering customers more choice and connectivity from Nigeria’s largest city to, and through, Dubai.

According to Kazim, Emirates’ Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, “We are excited to resume our services to Nigeria. The Lagos-Dubai service has traditionally been popular with customers in Nigeria and we hope to reconnect leisure and business travellers to Dubai and onwards to our network of over 140 destinations.  We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this route and we look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard.”

With the resumption of operations to Nigeria, Emirates operates to 19 gateways in Africa with 157 flights per week from Dubai, with further reach to an additional 130 regional points in Africa through its codeshare and interline partnerships with South African Airways, Airlink, Royal Air Maroc, Tunis Air, among others.

As a major economic hub in Africa, Nigeria and the UAE have built strong bilateral trade relations over the years, headlined by Lagos as the nation’s commercial centre. With the resumption of daily passenger flights, the airline’s cargo arm, Emirates SkyCargo, will further bolster the trade relationship by offering more than 300 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity, in and out of Lagos every week.

“Emirates SkyCargo will support Nigerian businesses by exporting their goods via its state-of-the-art hub in Dubai, into key markets such as the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bahrain, among others with key anticipated commodities such as Kola Nuts, food and beverages, and urgent courier material. Emirates SkyCargo will also import vital goods such as pharmaceuticals and electronics as well as general cargo from key markets such as the UAE, India and Hong Kong. Keeping trade flowing seamlessly, these goods will be transported quickly, efficiently, and reliably via the airline’s multi-vertical specialized product portfolio.

“The Emirates Boeing 777-300ER serving Lagos will operate with 8 First Class suites, 42 Business Class seats, and 304 seats in Economy Class. Offering the best experience in the sky, passengers can dine on regionally inspired multi-course menus developed by a team of award-winning chefs complemented by a wide selection of premium beverages. Customers can tune in to over 6,500 channels of global entertainment, including 23 Nigerian movies, in addition to series and other content on ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system” he concluded.

Emirates, had in November 2022, suspended flight operations to Nigeria over its inability to repatriate its revenue from the country. The federal government had, in September 2023, said the airline would resume services in Nigeria after President Bola Tinubu had met with  President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, signalling a resolution of the dispute.

Even after the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that it had cleared the foreign exchange backlog inherited by the Tinubu government, the airline still dithered until the latest announcement which was conveyed in a correspondence to the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo (SAN) on Wednesday.

 

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Private Jets Operating Commercial Services to Lose Licences – NCAA DG

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The Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Najomo has warned that all private jet operators operating commercial charter services risks loosing their licenses.

He gave the warning in Lagos on Friday during the media unveiling of his vision board for year 2024 tagged NCAA Project 2024.

The Ag.DG, who expressed concern over the illicit activities of illegal private jet operators in the country, said if private jets wants to operate as commercial or charter operators, they should apply for the commercial licences.

Highlighting the regulatory provisions, Najomo noted that only holders of Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Airline Operating Permit (AOP) with a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) are authorized to conduct charter operations.

He also stated that NCAA will cease offering services to all debtors, who have refused to payment the NCAA and federal government monies owed them, noting that almost all airlines are guilty of this.
Nigerian airlines are currently indeed to NCAA in billions of naira.

He also said the NCAA is committed towards simplified certification and licensing processes as this will ensure ease of doing business.

Najomo further stated that one of his 2024 projects is to Ensure improved staff welfare, training, retraining and reorientation of staff.

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NDLEA Arraigns SAHCO Manager, 7 Staff For Aiding Drug Trafficking

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An Assistant General Manager of Skyway Handling Company (SAHCO), Olajide Ahmed Kafidipe, and seven other staff of the company, were today, arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, on charges bordering of conspiracy, unlawful importation and possession of 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol.

Olajide and others were arraigned before the court presided over by Justice Deinde Isaac Dipeolu, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The seven staff of the company arraigned alongside Olajide were; Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele; Musa Mutalib Opeyemi; Sanamo Alla Daniel; Anuge Evans Isibor; Mahmud Agboola Musa; Udeh Felix and Obinna Henry.

The prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, while arraigning the SAHCO staff, told the court that all the defendants conspired with the trio of Mubarak Sarki Salami, Abdullahi Aliyu a.k.a Aboki and Anwal Monday, who also staff of the company but now at large, to commit the offences on or about October 25, 2023.

The prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim further told the court that the Assistant General Manager of SAHCO, Olajide and other staff of the company, conspired amongst yourself to transport 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic, from SAHCO Import Shed.

The prosecutor also told the court that the SAHCO’s Assistant General Manager, Olajide, conspired with Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, and procured one Lawal Itunu Temitope, to transport the prohibited substance from SAHCO Import Shed in a Mercedes Benz Bus with Registration Number LAGOS MUS 269 YC, belonging to Platinum Pacific International Limited.

He further informed the court that another staff of SAHCO, Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, unlawfully possessed the said 1, 440. 90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic Analgesic.

The prosecutor told the court that the offences committed by the defendants, contravened sections 14 (b), 21 (2)(d) and 20 (1)(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And punishable under sections 11 (b) and 20 (2)(b) of the same Act.

All the defendants denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date and also urged the court to remand them in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, lawyers to the defendants, told the court that they have filed their clients’ bail application except that of the Assistant General Manager, Kafidipe Ahmed Olajide and Obinna Henry.

The lawyer therefore asked the court for a short date, to enable them file the bail applications for the duo.

With the development, the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, urged the court to remand all the defendants in NCoS’ custody till when the court will hear their bail applications.

But the trial judge, Justice Dipeolu, in his reasoning, order the operatives of the NDLEA to call their Airport Commander, to allow the defendants to be remanded in their custody till tomorrow, January 17, when their bail applications will be heard and determined.

Upon the complied with the court’s directive, which was granted by the Commander, the court ordered the remand of all the defendants in NDLEA till tomorrow, while adjourned to January 24, 2024, for the commencement of their trial.
Source: Ontimenews.com

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