Travel News

Hajj Saving Scheme wiIl provide opportunity for Muslims to perform Hajj with ease-NAHCON - THE EAGLE ONLINE

SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), says the newly introduced Hajj Saving Scheme (HSS) will afford every Muslim, opportunity to perform Holy Pilgrimage without difficulties.
Speaking at a news conference on Sunday in Kano ahead of the launch of the scheme in Kano, the state coordinator, Dr Aliyu Tanko said it will also help create employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He said intending pilgrims wishing to perform holy pilgrimage through the scheme can go via tour operators or through NAHCON, because tour operators were also included in the scheme.
“You know, it is a standing order that 95 per cent of Hajj seats are allocated to NAHCON every year, tour operators get about 20 per cent out of that.
“Anyone wishing to go to Hajj using the HSS but through the tour operators can do so, the scheme is easy and effective,” he said.
“The scheme will help Muslim faithful both rich and low-income-earner to perform Hajj with ease.
“It is economically effective as it will provide job opportunities,” Tanko said.
He said that intending pilgrims can join the scheme through the internet, adding that their deposits would be saved in either Ja’iz Bank or UBA.
The coordinator assured on safety of the deposits, adding that the money will be kept using interest-free banking system.
Tanko said that NAHCON plans to open registration offices in Local Government Areas across the country to ease registration.
NAHCON had recently launched the scheme, aimed at allowing intending pilgrims to save money gradually towards performing Hajj.

Coalition seeks extension of US, UK visa ban to corrupt judges - THE NATION

SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja

A civil society organisation, Save Democracy Coalition (SDC) has called on the authorities in the United States, United Kingdom and countries in the European Union (EU) to extend their travel visa ban to Nigerian judges found to have compromised the integrity of the ballot through miscarriage of justice in election petitions they presided over.

The Coalition, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said the recent visa ban imposed by the US and UK on some politicians for their roles in electoral violence can only achieve the desired results if such sanctions are extended to errant judges who commit judicial rape in the handling of election petitions brought before them.

The statement, signed by the National Coordinator of SDC, James Ifeoluwa, observed that restricting the visa ban to perpetrators of political violence alone would not check the ugly trend, stressing that such unscrupulous political actors might still achieve their sinister ends, with the aid of compromised judges.

The group also canvased the extension of the ban to compromised electoral officials who connive with politicians or political parties to falsify election results for pecuniary gains.

The SDC said: “We welcome the recent travel visa ban imposed by the US and the UK on Nigerian politicians found complicit in the electoral violence that occurred in some states in the 2019 general elections and during the electioneering campaign in the run up to the September 19 Edo State governorship election.

“However, we are of the opinion that the visa ban can only achieve the desired effect if the same measure is extended to judicial officers who collaborate with unscrupulous politicians to compromise the integrity of the ballot through controversial judgments in election petition cases.

“Similarly, electoral officials who collude with politicians or political parties to falsify election results in favour of the highest bidders, should also be included in the visa ban wherever and whenever they are identified.

“Our position is predicated on the obvious fact that these desperate and unscrupulous politicians will shift focus to judicial officers and electoral officials in their nefarious activities if the ban is not extended to these two key stakeholders in the electoral process.

“We choose to refrain from citing specific cases of glaring miscarriage of justice in certain judgments delivered in some election petition cases arising from disputes in the 2019 elections.

“It is public knowledge that a number of perceived cases of judicial rascality were unleashed by certain judges in Election Petition Tribunals, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

“In such cases, the judges awarded victory to losers as they delivered judgments devoid of justice. Recriminations arising from such biased decisions may have fizzled out but the offensive stench therefrom still pervades the wider public space”.

As partners in progress in the democratic project, the Coalition appealed to the international community, particularly the US, the UK and the EU, to identify with the Nigerian people in their quest to ensure that their votes count at every election.

The group expressed the firm belief that the political leadership in Nigeria can only be made accountable to the people if the entire electoral process is credible and the integrity of the ballot is preserved.

“This can only be achieved if the various stakeholders in the electoral process in Nigeria are held accountable for their actions in the course of discharging their duties during elections.

“It is needless to say that irresponsible leadership on the part of elected public office holders at all levels is a direct consequence of flawed electoral process that disconnects such leaders from the voters”, the Coalition said.

The United States and the United Kingdom, had, last week, announced visa ban on certain Nigerian politicians for the alleged roles in the violence that characterised the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Also, some other politicians got slammed with the ban for their alleged role in the violence that erupted during during electioneering campaign ahead of the September 19, 2020 Edo state governorship election.

The UK, which announced its visa ban on the affected politicians, barely 24 hours after the US made its own, had threatened to seize identified assets of errant politicians in the UK and to also ensure their prosecution if need be

Jos airport renovation 95 per cent completed – Manager - VANGUARD

SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

The renovation work on the Jos Airport is 95 per cent completed, the Airport’s Manager,  Mr Ayinla Olufemi, has said. Olufemi told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos that the project when completed would give the airport a face lift and  attract more airlines  and passengers to it. 

He said that the contractors handling the work had returned to site after the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the renovation work included paintings, roofing, tiling and provision of additional facilities. The manager said that facilities such as conveyor belt , sensor taps , soap dispensers and hand dryers would be installed, adding that it was necessary to ensure a reliable system for social distancing amid the Coronavirus pandemic. 

“We have installed sensor taps ,hand dryers and sanitisers in all the toilets, already, but the conveyor belt will be installed soon, ” he said. We have also marked the floor to ensure social distancing to maintain up to two-meter space between passengers,” he said. 

Olufemi said that the recent signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Plateau Government and MaxAir for commercial flight operations between Jos and Abuja would give passengers a faster and easier connection and further open up the airport. He, therefore, advised passengers to comply with all safety measures and help to maintain the facilities made available.(NAN)

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/20...

Nigeria will leverage on tourism – Lai Mohammed - NAN

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

By Rotimi Ijikanmi

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said Nigeria will leverage on tourism in its efforts to take development to the grassroots.

He said this in a statement issued on Sunday to mark the 2020 World Tourism Day, which has the theme: ”Tourism and Rural Development” which was made available to newsmen by Mr Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

According to the minister, the theme, in the words of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), celebrates tourism’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities.

”Tourism plays an important role in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world.

“This is why we are leveraging on the sector to take development to the grassroots by ensuring that local communities own and benefit from the cultural heritage and the tourist attractions in their domain,” he said.

Lai said the plan by the Federal Government to establish community museums is part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism, thus ensuring that the sector contributes to rural development.

The minister said the occasion of the 2020 World Tourism Day presents the opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic which has hit the sector hard and also stepped down the national celebration of the day.

He said in spite of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the sector, it was a mark of its resilience that governments around the world still look to the sector to drive recovery as a leading employer and economic pillar in cities and the rural communities.

”It is globally recognised that tourism empowers rural communities and provides employment mostly for women and youths.

“It plays an important role in diversifying the rural economy and its growth, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the population and the economy of the areas.

”Tourism, therefore, helps rural communities make the transition from agrarian to diversified and sustainable economies,” he said.

The minister said rural tourism perfectly suits the trend of most modern travellers seeking authentic and unique experiences, local lifestyles and the need to experience natural and unspoiled landscapes.

” Rurality is the central and unique selling point in the rural tourism package, and apart from being located in rural areas, small in scale, traditional in character and slowly growing and controlled by the local people, rural tourism is regarded as tourism in the countryside, which embraces the rural environment.

“‘Most importantly, rural tourism aims to include and benefit rural communities, while preserving their environmental and cultural assets,” he said.

Mohammed said that Nigeria had set up a committee to look at the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industry and tourism, with a view to finding ways to catalyse the growth of the tourism sector in particular and the creative industry in general.

He said the step was in line with the comment made by the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololisashvili, that the current COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity for member states to rethink the tourism sector and its contribution to the people and planet,

The minister expressed the hope that all the relevant sectors will fully integrate and promote all the recovery recommendations and deliverables developed to support the recovery efforts.


Airline Operators Pull out of Planned Nationwide Strike - THISDAY

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

BY  Chinedu Eze

Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has dissociated its members from the planned nationwide strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress over increase in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff.

In a statement signed by the AON newly-elected President and the Chairman of Max Air, Alhaji (Dr.) Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, the association said the domestic carriers would not join the strike because they have suffered huge losses occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown and poor passenger traffic after resumption of flight operations.

“AON unequivocally and completely dissociates itself from the planned indefinite strike action called by labour over the issues of government’s recent increase of fuel price and electricity tariff in the country,” the statement said.

Alhaji Abdulmunaf noted that airlines had suffered huge losses for over three months during the Covid-19 lockdown and were forced due to no fault of theirs to even lay off staff and significantly reduce the salaries of those that were retained.

“It would be very insensitive therefore and a show of lack of understanding and compassion for Nigerian Aviation workers who have suffered greatly from the nationwide restrictions due to the pandemic to be asked to go on strike indefinitely once again.

“Aviation workers need to work to sustain their livelihoods and support their families especially at this crucial time when schools are resuming around the country and they need all the financial support they can muster to survive.

“While we totally understand the concerns of labour of the need to make government see reason with and identify with the challenges being faced currently by the masses and recently worsened by the ripple effects from the sudden increase in fuel price and electricity tariff, we call on the leaders of the various labour Unions to continue to dialogue with government to find a middle ground that will be a win-win situation for all parties.

“It is not in the interest of aviation workers to be asked to go back home indefinitely once again after barely resuming operations very recently and the airlines are still trying to recover from the lockdown and making concerted efforts to survive and secure the jobs and livelihood of its workers,” Alhaji Abdulmunaf said.

Uncertainty over flights as operators, workers disagree on strike - PUNCH

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

BY  Joseph Olaoluwa

There may be a disruption of flights as the four aviation unions and the Airline Operators of Nigeria have differed in opinions regarding the anticipated strike action scheduled by the organised labour on Monday.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria on Sunday evening took a stand saying it would not be joining the nationwide strike planned for Monday to press for the reversal of the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price.

This is according to a statement signed by the President, Dr Abdulmunaf Yunusa, who noted that the industry just opened the airspace after suffering huge losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for three months.

Yunusa who confirmed this to The PUNCH on the phone said if the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority would work then, the airlines would function.

He said, “Labour unions are on the table with the government on a negotiation. The court has declared that labour cannot go on the strike.

“They will continue sitting tomorrow and we will give them time. The aviation union can join the NLC for negotiation, but it is not yet finished with the Federal Government.”

Speaking in a telephone interview, Spokesperson for Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, backed the President of AON, noting that the airlines had suffered from the lockdown of the airspace which went on for months.

He said, “We are not going on strike and the statement was a single voice for all the airlines. We are not joining. “It is not like we are saying nobody should join but at least don’t stop people from flying.”

He confirmed flights have been scheduled for Monday but said passengers would be allowed to reschedule their flights if they encounter any disruption.

Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Francis Igwe, said the pilots would down tools and join the strike as long as it was not called off.

“Even if the AON say they are not part of the strike because they are protecting their business, when they come there and there are no tickets, baggage handlers are not there, security people are not there, how will they fly?”

General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, said the unions were committed to fulfilling the strike action.

He said, “Is the AON a trade union? The strike is declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress together with their affiliates. They were not part of the body who declared the strike.

Lagos slashes ferry fares by 40 per cent - THE GUARDIAN

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

By Gbenga Salau

Lagos State Government on Monday slashed transport fares on Lagos state-owned ferries by 40 per cent.

The Managing Director of Lagos Ferry Services, Hon. Abdoulbaq Ladi-Balogun, who disclosed this in a briefing, said the state government in appreciating the commuting public for embracing water transportation as an alternative means and decongesting the roads, has decided in celebrating Nigeria 60th Independence to reduce prices on all boat trips from all routes within the state to 60 per cent from 30th September to 2nd October.

He passengers will stand a chance to win numerous prizes and tickets to be part of the boat cruise on October 3 via raffle draws while onboard.

Ladi-Balogun said: “At LAGFERRY, all passengers on our boats are fully insured, the boats are safe with strict adherence to all COVID-19 safety protocols and other safety regulations of compulsory wearing of life jackets by all passengers before boarding, washing of hands with water/sanitizers, temperature check, maintaining social distancing and operating within regulated hours, boats are equipped with modern technology like onboard entertainment and boost of well experienced and regularly trained captains and deckhands.

“As part of efforts to celebrate Nigeria 60th Diamond Independence Anniversary and keeping in line with one of the core pillars of the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of Transportation and Traffic Management, the Lagos State Government through its agency Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) has lined up activities to celebrate the day.”

He said on October 3rd, the agency’s 180 ton MV Adimu Orisa will play host to Lagosians as a boat cruise will take off from Falomo Ikoyi, with revellers having the opportunity to savour the ambience of the Lagos coastline.

“As you are aware Lagos State has in abundance historical and Landmark places, the boat tour scheduled for October 1st will take off from these routes; Mile 2 to Badagry, prospective tourists will have the opportunity to sight First Storey Building in Nigeria, Point of No Return, Slave Baracoon etc, Falomo to Epe, prospective tourist to sight Ancient Aiyetoro Market, Chief Oluwo Fish Market, LASU Epe Campus, Epe Resort, etc,” Ladi-Balogun said.

“Other routes planned for the day are Bayeku LCDA Ikorodu to Badore Ajah, Ilaje Bariga to Victoria Island to Falomo Ikoyi to CMS/Marina and Ebute Ero, Eti Osa Local Council.”

Ladi-Balogun said Nigerians have every cause to celebrate its diversity and unity every October 1st and Lagos being the Centre of Excellence with the largest concentration of all ethnic groups in the country, has a pivotal role to play to sustain that unity.

“This is why we are specially celebrating our independence to showcase our history, culture and heritage. Let me once again reiterate the Lagos State Government’s commitment to continue to pay high priority to safety on the waterways,” Ladi-Balogun said.

Skilled Workers Seek Jobs on the Streets of South Africa - BLOOMBERG

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

 By Prinesha Naidoo


  •  Unemployment rate probably rose to record in second quarter
  •  Recession, weak economy dim prospects for job seekers

South Africa is forecast to set an unwelcome world record this week when its statistics agency is predicted to report unemployment rose to a record 34.9% in the second quarter, which would be the highest of 83 countries tracked by Bloomberg.

Ayanda Mbatha was among the unlucky ones who joined the ranks of the unemployed in the period. Dressed in a shirt and tie, the 26-year-old mechanical-engineering graduate spent four weeks at intersections in the affluent Johannesburg suburbs of Hyde Park and Sandton advertising his skills on a placard around his neck and with copies of his CV in his hand, in the hope a passing motorist could help with a job offer.

“Sometimes I’d think ‘I don’t have a job, I was retrenched, what am I going to do? There’s no salary coming in anymore’,” he said in an interview.

Mbatha is one of an estimated 3 million people who lost their jobs as restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all but essential services in Africa’s most industrialized economy. Most business were shut for five weeks from March 27 and some reduced staff or closed down permanently because of the lockdown. A study by a group of 30 academics and researchers shows 1.5 million more people were furloughed.

What Bloomberg’s Economist Says

A lot of the second-quarter job losses should be reversed once the economy opens up, but the question is by how much and how soon? We think the recovery will be protracted given the weak growth outlook. We also expect a slight uptick in the structural unemployment rate as some who were laid off during the crisis remain permanently unemployed. --Boingotlo Gasealahwe, Africa economist

South Africa faced an unemployment crisis even before the virus. The jobless rate has been above 20% for at least two decades, even though the economy expanded by 5% or more a year in the early 2000s. Analysts cite an education system that doesn’t provide adequate skills and strict labor laws that make hiring and firing onerous and apartheid-era spatial planning that make it difficult for job seekers to enter and remain in the formal workforce as part of the problem.

Stubbornly High

South Africa's jobless rate rose to a 17-year high before virus restrictions

Source: Statistics South Africa

Note: Expanded unemployment rate includes official rate, discouraged job seekers and those not searching for jobs

President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to boost economic growth to 5% by 2023 and to prioritize employment when he was campaigning to become leader of the ruling party three years ago. Since becoming president of the country, he hosted a jobs summit that aimed to create 275,000 positions annually and launched a program to create job opportunities for young people.

The results have been patchy and a lack of urgency in implementing policies to boost growth and convince businesses to invest are hindering progress.

“A lot of the mismatch that we see between government solutions and the problems that we have is because government is making policy for an economy that doesn’t exist,” said Sithembile Mbete, a senior lecturer in political studies at the University of Pretoria.

Bleeding Jobs

South Africa may lose more than 7 million jobs in a worst-case scenario

Source: National Treasury, Statistics South Africa

The crisis may get worse.

Just keeping the employment rate unchanged would require the economy -- stuck in its longest recession in 28 years -- to grow by 1.5% to 2.25% a year to match a 1.5% annual increase in the working-age population, according to Elna Moolman, an economist at Standard Bank Group Ltd. Population estimates show there are 59.6 million people in South Africa, of whom almost 30% will enter the labor market in the next decade.

“Based on scenarios for the post-2020 economic recovery, it could take three to seven years before employment returns to 2019 levels,” said Christie Viljoen, a Cape Town-based economist at PwC.

More than half of the people counted as officially unemployed did not finish high school, and this skills deficit combined with number of job seekers mean they will continue to struggle to find employment. Some of these people are disproportionately affected by shocks such as the virus because they’ve never held any formal job.

For the skilled Mbatha, pounding the pavement paid off.

A picture of him at the intersection was shared widely and made its way to a director of an automations company seeking a project engineer. He started work in September, after being jobless for four months, and is now using the network of recruiters and career coaches that reached out to help him to guide others.

— With assistance by Simbarashe Gumbo

(Updates forecast in lead and adds unemployment for those who didn’t finish school in third-last paragraph.)

Evacuate stranded Nigerian traders in Ghana – Group tells Buhari - NAN

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

By Angela Atabo

The Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN), has appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to speedily intervene in the plight of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

PAN said that as the country prepared to mark its 60th Independence Anniversary, there was need to consider the immediate evacuation of frustrated Nigerian traders in Ghana.

This is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by Mr Emmanuel Ohiomokhare, PAN National Director, Media.

Ohiomokhare said that this was because Nigerian traders in Ghana whose businesses were recently closed down as a result of a recent unfavourable policy by the host government were stranded.

“This appeal has become increasingly necessary following the rising cases of frustrations, regret impoverishment, sad feelings of grave abandonment and conflicting reports of attempted suicides by several victims.

“Some of them are being threatened by their landlords; having lost their means of livelihood.

“As we speak, several families are now begging to feed with no form of palliatives or financial assistance; and sick children are unable to access medical treatment,” he said.

He added that PAN was greatly disturbed by this development which had the potential for unlawful resorts to either self-help or recourse to unpatriotic lifestyles capable of tarnishing the good image of the country.

According to him, the appeal was equally because the Ghana Investment Promotion Act under which premise Nigerians traders were being subjected to hardship was a cover up to sack Nigerians in Ghana.

” It is no longer news that as things stand today from clear body language of the Ghanaian government that Ghana no longer want Nigerians in their country.

Also, that PAN was disappointed that all diplomatic measures taken so far with respect to this matter had not yielded the desired results.

This, he said, had been confirmed having worked closely with the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, towards finding a lasting solution to this lingering impasse.

The PAN director of Media said that while the diplomatic engagements continued, the immediate evacuation of Nigerian traders from Ghana remained the best and most appropriate nationalistic step to take at this material moment.

Ohiomokhare said that PAN solicited the President’s kind intervention and timely consideration for the evacuation of the stranded Nigerian citizens in Ghana.

He said that ahead of the celebration of NIGERIA’s 60th Independence Anniversary on October 1, PAN congratulates the President, Government and citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for attaining this historic milestone as a country.

“We have come this far despite our diversity and attained this feat with the sacrifices of heroes and heroines of Nigeria to keep our nation as one and our people unified.” Ohiomokhare said


Qatar Airways to stir competition with 4x weekly flights - GHANAWEB

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

Gulf carrier Qatar Airways will start operating four weekly flights from the Kotoka International Airport from Tuesday, September 29.

The entry of the Doha-based airline will offer passengers more travelling options and stir competition in a market where demand has been dampened by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and where airlines are gradually resuming operations with reduced frequencies.

The airline’s entry has been long in coming. It was initially expected to start operations in Ghana in 2018 but postponed its start to January this year. After opening its system for ticket sales in January, there was significant demand for tickets.

However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated widespread country border closures derailed its plans. With Ghana and Nigeria reopening their international airports for scheduled flights, the Gulf carrier is all set to commence operations.

Passengers travelling to the Middle East, Far East and South East Asian countries are expected to benefit from competitive fares – given the anticipated competition between Qatar, Emirates and Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines.

For starters, Qatar Airways will operate four weekly flights between Accra and Doha via Lagos, Nigeria. It has announced a promotional fare starting at US$895. Passengers must, however, book by October 5, 2020 for travel until March 31, 2021.

“We are proud to be the leading global airline connecting passengers with the world, operating one of the youngest and most efficient and sustainable fleets to take people safely where they need to be,” Qatar said in a statement.

Local partnership & employment

Meanwhile, Ghana-based regional and domestic carrier Africa World Airlines (AWA) has struck a deal with Qatar that will open up new destinations in the West Africa sub-region for Qatar Airways passengers.

The one-way interline agreement will allow Qatar customers to connect onto regional and domestic routes serviced by AWA such as Lagos, Abuja, Abidjan, Freetown, Monrovia, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.

Qatar, which has a local office at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in the heart of Accra, has employed Ghanaians as managers and cabin crew.


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