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Nigeria Air Will Fly Before Buhari Leaves Office, Sirika Insists



Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has insisted that Nigeria Air will fly before the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari ends.

He said this Wednesday while fielding questions from State House reporters after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


Sirika said all arrangements had been put in place for the take-off of the national carrier.

When asked if Nigeria Air was still feasible about one month to the end of the administration, the minister said: “Nigeria Air Limited, I did say that we will get it going before the end of this administration and I have not withdrawn my words. We have everything in place, the aircraft are in place, the offices, operational centres, the staffing and everything that we need to have in place. We’re doing the last-minute checks and waiting for the issuance of the AOC and it will fly.

“It will fly, it will be for the benefit of this country, for the size of population, the travelling public and what it does to the economy, especially to tourism, to African integration and to the AU Agenda 2063. It’s a very important project and I must say it will happen before the end of our tenure in the next four weeks and two days.”

On February 19, the president had met with Girma Wake, Ethiopian Airlines Board Chairman, during which they exchanged views on the operationalization of Nigeria Air.

Wake had at the meeting in Addis Ababa requested a resolution of the legal obstacle halting Nigeria Air, in which Ethiopian Airlines has 49 per cent stake, from commencing operations.

He had said the airline and its partners were ready to commence operations on Nigeria Air as soon as all the court matters are resolved.

The domestic airline operators had under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) challenged the equity structure of the airline which cedes 49 per cent stake to Ethiopian Airlines with federal government having only 5 per cent while the remaining 46 per cent is for Nigerian investors.

On the strike by the aviation workers, Sirika said: “Nigerian aviation workers are striking principally for three reasons. One, they said the conditions of service for the agencies. Two is minimum wage implementation and three, they’re talking about the demolition of the headquarters or the office of FAAN in Lagos.

“Condition of service is not in our hands, it’s in the Salaries and Income Wages. I personally as the Minister went there with the union three times to fast track that process. So that’s being looked at by the appropriate authority and I think they are fast tracking it. On the implementation of the minimum wage, that also Accountant General’s Office, Ministry of Finance and the agency concerned are working hard to ensure that that happens.

“Lastly on the demolition of the FAAN headquarters to erect offices, shopping malls and make it what you see when you travel abroad. That is also ongoing. If you ask me, make me an omelet, you can complain that I’m breaking your egg, that’s a quotation from one of the Managing Directors of FAAN, but that said, I think it’s been overhyped, taken out of context.

“Certainly, the FAAN building was there, even before Egbon Lai Mohammed joined the FAAN. So, it was a transit camp, the FAAN office is transit camp for the people that built the airport, it’s made out of wood and some panels as a makeshift office and this is what FAAN has been using on a very prime property and it’s not befitting for the FAAN Lagos office, it’s only waste of space, and it caught fire twice, once during our administration.

“So, we thought that that place should leave so that we can erect offices, shopping malls, cinemas, and the rest of it. Airports are no longer places where you take over land. You all go to Dubai, you all go to other places and see how they are, so certainly and definitely government would remove those wood structures, housing FAAN’s office now and erect among the aerotropolis components; offices, shopping malls, hotels, car parks and the rest of it, befitting of the nation, Nigeria and befitting of the city of Lagos.”

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The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has added another feather to its cap with its acceptance into the Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum (MAIIF).

The Forum was founded in June 1992 as an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of maritime safety and prevention of marine pollution through the exchange of ideas, experiences and information acquired in marine accident investigation,

A statement by NSIB’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Dr James Odaudu said Forum’s main goal is to promote and improve marine accident investigation, and to foster cooperation and communication between marine accident investigators around the world.

The NSIB was established by the Federal Government under the NSIB Act 2022 and is charged with the responsibility of investigating accidents and serious incident occurrences in Air, Rail, Marine and other modes of transportation in Nigeria and anywhere else Nigeria interest is affected, with the aim of enhancing safety in the transportation sector.

The fundamental objective of the Bureau is to improve transportation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of Air, Rail, Marine and other modes of transportation accidents as well as proffering safety recommended to prevent reoccurrence.

This induction into MAIIF sets NSIB on the path to even greater successes in its investigative prowess particularly in Maritime investigations and solidifies Nigeria premier spot in Africa as regards transportation accidents and serious incidents investigation.

With MAIIF having over 31 member countries cutting across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa NSIB joins Capo Verde as the second African member.

Engr Akin Olateru
Director-General, Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau

Speaking on the admission, the NSIB Director-General, Engr Akin Olateru said it would guarantee the nation’s access to international collaboration and assistance from nations involved in maritime safety investigation, similar to what it is already benefiting from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Banjul Accord Group Investigation Agency (BAGIA), African Civil Aviation Commission (AfCAC) in the aviation sector.

According to him, the membership of organisation will further improve the Nations maritime safety and follow global standards in carrying out its investigations

‘This is a step in the right direction for us as a Nation by joining forums like this where we can exchange information, knowledge and ideas’ said Olateru.

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Flight Diversion: NCAA Investigates United Nigeria Airlines ✈️



By Elizabeth Okwe

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced investigation into the circumstances surrounding United Nigeria flight NUA 0506 to Asaba and the confusion it has created in the public domain.

This is according to a statement signed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu.

The statement however affirmed that preliminary steps have been taken pending conclusions of ongoing investigation.

“The Authority wishes to reassure the traveling public that it will leave no stone unturned as it has always done in the past to ensure continued safety of the aviation industry” it concluded.

But in its defence few hours after the incident, United Nigeria Airlines claimed the flight was diverted to Asaba as a result of bad weather.

Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, the airline spokesperson, said the pilot was properly briefed about the diversion, noting that the cabin crew made “wrong announcement upon landing safely in Asaba [and] created confusion among the passengers.”

Capt. Musa Nuhu DG, CAA

However, unconfirmed reports indicate that the regulatory agency may have suspended the operations of wetleased aircraft in the stable of United Nigeria Airlines pending the conclusion of the investigations.

According to the sources, the Civil Aviation Authority is not satisfied with the explanations of the airline and is determined to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the flight misdirection.

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Omni-Blu AOC: Olateru Duely Resigned as Director of Airline, NCAA DG Affirms



Contrary to recent reports regarding the involvement of the Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr Akin Olateru in the management of Omni-Blu Aviation, a jet and helicopter charter company, it has been revealed that the NSIB Director-General actually resigned his position as a Director in the company before taking up appointment with the company.

Director general, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu who has put the controversy to rest, has also revealed that the documents provided by the management of Omni-Blu aviation show that the Director General of Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr. Akin Olateru, duly resigned from the company before taking up appointment with government.

Capt. Musa Nuhu DG, NCAA

The NCAA DG spoke yesterday at the launch of a book ‘Handbook on Public Relation Practice and Aviation Reporting’, written by Sam Adurogboye, former public relations manager of NCAA.

He said the NCAA only asked somes questions in the course of the processing of the AOC which some quarters have conined to be suspension.

“It is unfortunate that it is coined that NCAA has suspended the AOC processes of Omni-Blu Aviation. One of the directors of Omni-Blu who is DG NSIB, Engr. Akin Olateru, a very close colleague and a friend of mine is a shareholder in Ombi-Blu and this was something he had before he came to the public service. Just because you came to public service does not mean you should wipe off your previous years.

Engr Akin Olateru
Director-General /CEO, NSIB

“There was just a question from NCAA that it appears there was a conflict between this application and the Act of NSIB and NCAA. So, they were asked to respond and they responded. He has provided all the documents, he has shown proof he has resigned and he has declared his interest in those organisations. So, he has provided the appropriate documentation to show that there is no conflict of interest.

“We cannot wipe out our previous lives just because we got to work for government, but there are conditions. In an industry that you are a CEO or a staff, you cannot have an interest, but there are procedures and he has given proof for those procedures; he has showed us that he actually resigned and that letter is actually confirmed by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). He showed that he has done all the necessary declarations to show that he has resigned.

“The only thing is that he has given the necessary documents required, but we have to take it through the normal procedures, legal process so that when documentation is done that he has been cleared, somebody tomorrow will not go and challenge it. It is important to go through the process of clearing him so that the records are put there. Anybody that comes in the future, can look at the file, see that the issue was raised, but the appropriate information had been provided and individual is cleared”, he said.

Nuhu said the process would be completed during the new week.

“However, in this new week. It would have been done, but our legal adviser travelled out with me. So, we will work on it and the process will continue.”, he added.

He said the conflict of interest aspect has also be resolved.

It was reported last week that the NCAA had suspended the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) processes for Omn-Blu Aviation (OBA), which would enable it to operate as a scheduled operator.

Ombi-Blu currently operates as a chartered helicopter and jet company.

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