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NASS to Enact Bill  for Single Security Administration for Nigeria’s Airports

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The House of Representatives is spearheading a major reform of the nation’s international airports in support of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, (EODB) initiative that will usher in a single security screening point for arriving and departing passengers.

This followed the outcome of the meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, House Committee on Aviation, Committee Chairman on Health that of Agric Services and other relevant Committees’ Chairmenon which also included the leaderships of all the agencies operating at the airports and the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole.

At the the end of the crucial interaction which lasted for hours, Right Honourable Gbajabiamila based on the contributions from the stakeholders on how to achieve international best practices urged the Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji and other relevant Committees’ Chairmen to work with the heads of the aviation agencies to come up within two weeks a Bill that would ensure a single security outfit similar to Transport Security Administration, ( TSA) in United d States of America that would take charge of security at the airports.

He also said that the menace of touting and extortion at the airports must be tackled squarely with a more stringent measures adding that the problems remained unabated because there were no severe consequences.

The Speaker stressed that traveling through the airports must be made as seamless as possible noting that the level of stress and discomfort travelers go through at the nation’s prime gateways must be eliminated.
“Our airports must give travelers the comfort they deserve, the facilities must work” he added noting that situation must change forthwith.

The Chairman of the Committee on Aviation Honourable Nnolim Nnaji had also noted that Federal Government’s intervention was needed urgently to help FAAN fix the aging infrastructure at the various airports especially Lagos and Abuja which are the major gateways.

Honourable Nnaji’s appeal was sequel to an earlier explanation by the FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport which is over 43 years old required total overhaul because all the facilities had been overstretched beyond their life span. He also disclosed that the airport generates 70 percent of the authority’s total annual revenue.

Also in her comments, the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole expressed appreciation to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Aviation Committee Chairman Nnolim Nnaji for the initiative adding that the situations at the nation’s prime gateways remained a huge embarrassment to the country.

She shared the views of Honourable Nnaji that the kind of image some of the officials at the airports present of the nation could not in anyway promote the philosophy behind the Ease of Doing Business stressing that such was capable of scaring foreign investors.

The Speaker had directed the Chairman, Housing of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to invite the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) Captain Rabiu Yadudu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu and the leaderships of all the agencies involved in facilitation of passengers and goods at the airports including the Special Assistant to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole to discuss the issues of touting and extortions at the airports.

Right Honourable Gbajabiamila who expressed his displeasure at what he described as viral videos circulating on social media about the ugly scenes at Nigeria’s International Airports said he had to ask Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to call for the meeting to see how such national embarrassment could be arrested forthwith.

The agencies invited for the meeting were, the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Immigration Services, (NIS), the Nigeria Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDKEA) Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control, (NCDC), the Port Health, the Plant Quarantine Services among others.

Some of the major agencies, the police, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) and the Customs Service however did not attend the meeting which was held on Wednesday at the House Conference Room 028 in the afternoon.

The speaker who was not happy with the absence of those agencies however declared that their absence would not slow down the process of changing the ugly situation at the airports.

The Aviation Committee Chairman, Honourable Nnaji on behalf of all other chairmen and members present at the meting thanked the Speaker for his patriotic zeal and timely interventiosn on any issues that have to do with the progress of the country stressing that such have remained the driving force on all the chairmen and members of the 9th Assembly.

 

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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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