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Nigeria Committed To A Private-Sector Driven Aviation …Emirates Offers To Help With National Carrier

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At the just concluded discussion on the future of global aviation at the ongoing World government Summit (WDS) In Dubai, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika emphatically stated the government’s commitment to a private-sector driven aviation industry other issues bothering on why Nigeria needs a National airline and response to Covid-19 pandemic were looked at.

L-R: Richard Quest an Anchor and Correspondent of CNN; H.E. Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of International Civil Aviation Organization; Timothy Clark,President of Emirates Airline; H.E. Luis Felipe de Oliveira,Director General of Airports Council International and Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation of Nigerian Federal Ministry of Aviation;

On Nigeria’s response to the pandemic, Sirika said: “The countries have to do it. Look at the case of Nigeria. We have 200 million people in Nigeria and most of them living close to each other in cities jam-packed with 20 million people in Lagos and 40 million people in Kano, something has to be done unless, people would die. We closed the country immediately at that time. And that is why in Niger, up till today only 3500 death recorded from Covid19, and just about 250, 000 infected and 245,000 discharged from the hospital. Richard asked the minister if he believe the statistics on pandemic and he responded that he does. Sirika said: “Yes I believe. Otherwise people would have been going to the grave unexplained. It worked very well, then, gradually things began to ease out and business began. Don’t forget before Covid-19, Nigerian aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy. The airlines are doubled, passengers numbers quadruple, numbers of airports doubled all during Buhari administration of 6 years.

Sirika responded: “Absolutely. When we came with Buhari government in 2015 which I became the minister. We were committed to a roadmap to establish a National Carrier, to concession the airports, to set-up a leasing company, to establish cargo facilities and we have been doing that”.

The minister responded to reason the country want a National Carrier. “Nigeria is situated at the centre of Africa, equidistant from all locations in Africa. 30.4 million square kilometres miles, 1.5 billion people, very green land. If Central and Eastern Africa is the belt of the continent, than Nigeria is the buckle. 200 million people and rising middle class, propensity to fly is high. Nigeria is a candidate for National Carrier.”

If the airline is going to be private? Minister answered: “Private. Yes. 5 per cent government and no government stepping right in that company, no government control, no membership of government on board. Totally private and committed.”

Quest also asked if government would be able to keep hands off it and the minister reiterated that no government interference.
“Whatever we say we will do as a government since 2015, it has happened. that is why Tim Clark’s Emirate, Qatar Airways and all of them are looking to go into Nigeria in multiple frequencies and multiple landing points because Nigeria is the right place for airline business.

Quest asked Timothy Clark, the President of Emirates airline if he would get involve in Nigeria’s feat of establishing a carrier. Clark responded: “ Is there a Business Case for the carrier? Of course there is.There is enormous Business Case to it. Nigerians are seeking to travel all over the world.Nigeria is a power house of Africa. We are over interested in flying there because it is a rich nation in terms of demand for services. It is a very rich nation. If the minister needs some assistance in how they go about practising a blueprint, we are very happy to help but I would say not to be too disingenuous to ourself, I they they got the wherewithal they clearly understand what they are doing and they are doing it and probably in the next year they will a very good carrier flying and please come to Dubai because there is so much demand.

H.E. Luis Felipe de Oliveira,Director General of Airports Council International commented in terms of airport capacity: “The potential is huge not only in Nigeria but Africa. We need to find a way that we can to reduce the restriction inside and outside of Africa to bring more passengers t continue to fly.

Quest conclusively asked the minister one change he would love to see when his time ceases as a minister.

“I want to like to see that Nigerian aviation industry continues to be is led and private sector-driven and there is more efficiency and safety in the sector and given that we have added 50 million capacity to four airports recently. We are building more runways and treating the issue of Air Navigation Services (ANS) and all of those things that will make aviation smooth, efficient and safe and most preferred option of travel. And if you look at it continentally, Africa, the only way African Union (AU) agenda 2063 can be achieved is by aviation because rail and road takes tremendous quantum of money to establish and to maintain over continent of about 54 countries in 30.4 million square kilometre.

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Aspirant Confirms Receiving Refund From Delegates After Losing Primaries 

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Adam Namadi, son of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, has confirmed receiving a refund from delegates after losing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives ticket for Kaduna North Federal Constituency.

Reports earlier emerged that drama ensued when Namadi who allegedly gave each delegate N2 million and promised to add N1.5 million if given the ticket, asked them to refund the money.

Reacting, in a statement on Wednesday, the former aspirant justified his action, saying “there was nothing dramatic about the request, and it is unfortunate the media has been purporting it as such”.

According to him, there was an agreement between the delegates and stakeholders in the constituency prior to the primary election that those not favoured by the outcome of the election should be refunded.

He said, “Delegates themselves are aware of the directives given by the major stakeholders of the PDP in the Kaduna North constituency, that any sums given to delegates by various aspirants for their support should be returned to those unsuccessful in their primary elections.

“This was done to encourage delegates to vote for the aspirants based on their qualities and not just their perceived spending power and to hold them accountable for the candidates they put forth.

“As a mark of respect for that agreement, some delegates in the Kaduna North constituency started to reach out to the unsuccessful State House of Assembly aspirants whose elections were held before ours, followed by my fellow contender, Shehu Usman ABG and I.

“Therefore, I am not acting in isolation or making any ludicrous demands.

“I take their decision in good faith and will continue to labour with the PDP and do all my best to protect its good fortunes”.

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“Absolute Agony” says Alex Ferguson, As He Presents Manager of the Year Award to Jurgen Klopp

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Sir Alex Ferguson joked that it was “absolute agony” to have to present Jurgen Klopp with the trophy named after him at the League Manager’s Association (LMA) awards last night.

Liverpool boss Klopp was named Manager of the Year after guiding the Reds to League Cup and FA Cup glory, plus second in the Premier League and this weekend’s Champions League final.

Klopp was presented with the Alex Ferguson Trophy by the man himself – who admitted, with tongue in cheek, that doing so was especially painful.

Watch: Ferguson in “agony” as he honours Klopp

Why would that have pained Ferguson?

As manager of Manchester United, Ferguson made them undisputed kings of English football, overtaking Liverpool as the club with the most national league titles – as the Scotsman once put it, knocking them off their perch.

The balance of power has shifted in recent years, however, with Ferguson retiring and Klopp being appointed at Anfield, with the German bringing consistent domestic and European success back to Liverpool.

United have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – Ferguson’s last season in charge – or any trophy at all in the last five seasons, while Liverpool won the league in 2019-20 and the Champions League the year before.

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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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