Travel News

Air cargo records marginal growth amid restriction withdrawal - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 08, 2022

By Wole Oyebade

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air cargo markets showing that demand increased in February despite a challenging operating backdrop.

Several factors benefitted air cargo in February compared to January. On the demand side, manufacturing activity ramped up quickly after the early February Lunar New Year holiday.

Capacity was positively influenced by the general and progressive relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions, reduced flight cancellations due to Omicron-related factors (outside of Asia), and fewer winter weather operational disruptions.

Global demand, measured in Cargo Tonne-kilometers (CTKs), was up 2.9 per cent compared to February 2021 (2.5 per cent for international operations).

Adjusting the comparison for the impact of the Lunar New Year (which can cause volatility in reporting) by averaging January’s and February’s performance, demand increased 2.7 per cent year-on-year. While cargo volumes continued to rise, the growth rate decelerated from the 8.7 per cent year-on-year expansion in December.

Capacity was 12.5 per cent above February 2021 (8.9 per cent for international operations). While this is in positive territory, compared to pre-COVID-19 levels capacity remains constrained, 5.6 per cent below February 2019 levels.

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted. General consumer price inflation for the G7 countries was at 6.3 per cent year-on-year in February 2022, the highest since late 1982. While inflation normally curtails purchasing power this is balanced against higher savings levels coming out of the pandemic.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicator tracking global new export orders fell to 48.2 in March. This was the lowest since July 2020 indicating that a majority of surveyed businesses reported a fall in new export orders.

The zero-COVID policy in mainland China and Hong Kong continues to create supply chain disruptions as a result of flight cancellations due to labour shortages, and because many manufacturers cannot operate normally.

The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a limited effect globally on February’s performance as it occurred very near the end of the month. The negative impacts of war and related sanctions (particularly higher energy costs and reduced trade) will become more visible from March.

IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said demand for air cargo continued to expand despite growing challenges in the trading environment.

“That is not likely to be the case in March as the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine take hold. Sanction-related shifts in manufacturing and economic activity, rising oil prices and geopolitical uncertainty will take their toll on air cargo’s performance,” Walsh said.

African airlines saw cargo volumes increase by 4.6 per cent in February 2022 compared to February 2021. Capacity was 8.2 per cent above February 2021 levels.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase three per cent in February 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. Available capacity in the region was up 15.5 per cent compared to February 2021, however, it remains heavily constrained compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, down 14.6 per cent compared to February 2019. The zero-COVID policy in mainland China and Hong Kong is impacting performance.

European carriers saw a 2.2 per cent increase in cargo volumes in February 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. This was slower than the previous month (6.4 per cent), partially attributable to the war in Ukraine which started at the end of the month. Seasonally adjusted demand on the Asia-Europe route, one of the most affected by the conflict, decreased by two per cent month on month. Capacity was up 10 per cent in February 2022 compared to February 2021, and down 11.1 per cent compared to pre-crisis levels (2019).

Relentless rise: London house prices up £40,000 in two years since start of the pandemic - EVENING STANDARD

APRIL 08, 2022

London property prices are now more than £40,000 higher on average than they were at the start of the pandemic, latest figures reveal today.

The market continued its relentless rise at the start of the year with prices in the capital hitting a new high of £534,977 by March, according to data from leading lender Halifax.

At the start of the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, the average London home cost £493,626 but prices have risen £41,351 — or 8.4 per cent — since then. Across the South-East, the market has been even stronger through the pandemic with prices going up £54,634 — or 16.5 per cent — from £331,156 to £385,790.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “The story behind such strong house price inflation remains unchanged: limited supply and strong demand, despite the prospect of increasing pressure on households’ finances. Although there is some recent evidence of more homes coming onto the market, the fundamental issue remains that too many buyers are chasing too few properties.

“The effect on house prices makes it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers looking to make their first step onto the ladder, but also challenges home movers who face ever bigger leaps to move up the rungs to a larger property.”

Separate data published today reveals how buyers stretched themselves to get on the housing ladder during the stamp duty holiday ordered by Rishi Sunak to bolster the property market during the Covid lockdowns.

New freedom of information data from City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority gathered by financial adviser Quilter shows that the move triggered a surge in the number of mortgages taken out with a life of 35 years or more.

In June 2021, 35,046 mortgages were sold with a term of at least 35 years, more than three times the level of June 2020.

Charlotte Nixon, mortgage expert at Quilter, said: “The lure of the stamp duty holiday was strong, particularly as it came at a time when many people had built up extra savings due to the lockdown. While many jumped at the opportunity to save on stamp duty, they may well now be stuck in long mortgages that will cost them considerably more in the long term.”

Estate agents say they have continued to see remarkably strong demand from buyers since the start of the year despite rising mortgage rates.

Guy Gittins, chief executive of agents Chestertons, said: “London’s property market has continued to see record numbers of buyers throughout January. A strong indication that the market will remain at high activity levels in the first half of this year.

“Whilst larger properties or homes with outside space remain sought-after, apartments in some of London’s more central boroughs are experiencing a steady comeback. This is particularly driven by professionals who are returning to the office and are seeking a home nearby.”

Alex Lyle, director of Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, said: “London continues its upwards trend in prices, with the family house market doing particularly well, with large numbers of viewings, multiple offers and sealed bid scenarios common. Flats can easily get stuck if pricing is too ambitious or inflated.

“This strong level of demand is likely to remain over coming months but more stock is required across all price ranges for that demand to remain committed. The rising cost of living, increases in interest rates and conflict abroad may in time dent confidence and impact sales volumes.”

Easter travel chaos: your rights if you are affected by delays or Covid - THE GUARDIAN UK

APRIL 08, 2022

Flight’s cancelled? Missed it as a result of queues? Stuck at a ferry port? We look at your entitlements

With many schools breaking up at the start of the month, the Easter getaway was supposed to be well under way by now – but instead it’s been a week of travel chaos.

Airlines have cancelled scores of flights a day, there have been delays at airports and ferry terminals and Covid cases are sweeping the country. We look at your rights if you find yourself seriously delayed or unable to travel.

I was due to travel this weekend but my flight’s been cancelled. What are my rights?

Airlines have cancelled more than 1,000 UK flights in recent days because of high levels of crew absences in part related to Covid infections, but also because they have not rehired enough staff since lockdowns eased.

If your flight was cancelled in the two weeks before its departure date and you have chosen to abandon the whole trip rather than find another way to get to your destination, you are entitled to a full refund of the fare you paid, plus compensation.

EU regulation 261/2004 compensation rules have been written into UK law, meaning you have exactly the same rights to claim flight compensation as you did before Brexit.

If your flight was short-haul – less than 1,500km – you are entitled to compensation of £220 a passenger. For middle-distance flights of 1,500 to 3,500km the figure rises to £350 and for a long-haul destination more than 3,500 km away it is £520.

Can I ask to be rerouted or for the airline to pay for an alternative flight?

If a flight is cancelled before you are due to depart, irrespective of the reason, you have the right to ask to be rerouted on an alternative flight, either with the same airline or another one. In some cases the airline will offer this – BA told us this week it had been doing so – but it may not always be the case.

If an airline cancels your flight at the last minute and you are forced to buy a new flight with a rival carrier, you can claim the cost of the replacement flight. If your original flight was more expensive, however, you’d be better off requesting a full refund.

Be aware that airlines often refuse these requests or to cover things such as onward travel by another form of transport to your original destination, but you are entitled to the money.

If you are rerouted by your original airline and the replacement flight arrives more than two hours late, you are entitled to £220 compensation a passenger for flights of up to 1,500km.

Don’t the airlines have the ‘extraordinary circumstance’ get-out?

If flights are cancelled because of extreme weather or an air traffic control strike, for example, the EU 261 compensation rules no longer apply.

This does not, however, extend to staff absences, according to Coby Benson, a flight compensation expert at the law firm Bott & Co. He says airlines have tried to argue in a number of court cases that staff illness was an extraordinary circumstance and that they should be exempt from having to pay compensation, but they have been rebuffed each time.

The overwhelming majority of affected flights this week have been cancelled by just two operators, British Airways and easyJet, suggesting this is not an industry-wide problem.

My flight was cancelled more than two weeks before travel. Will I be compensated?

No, but you are entitled to a full refund or a replacement flight.

I missed my flight because I was stuck in a long queue trying to get through the chaos at Manchester airport. Will they pay up?

It’s highly unlikely. It might seem very unfair given that the airport has been in chaos all week, but Benson says he is not aware of any possible legal basis that would allow passengers to pursue the airport operator for their losses.

Will my travel insurance pay up for a missed departure?

The better – ie. the more expensive – policies often include cover for missed departures. The exact circumstances vary, but they will generally protect you in the event you miss the departure of your international flight, ferry, cruise ship or train because of a strike or other public transport disruption. It is unclear, however, if they would cover the incidents such as this week’s airport chaos.

Policies usually provide missed departure cover if there is an accident involving the vehicle you are travelling in or it breaks down, but not general traffic delays.

What’s happening on the ferries to France?

A large number of P&O Ferries customers face having their Easter holidays ruined after fully booked DFDS announced it would no longer honour P&O tickets from Dover to France.

DFDS had been accepting P&O passengers since its rival suspended its Dover-Calais crossings on 17 March after it sacked nearly 800 members of staff so it could hire cheaper agency workers.

The mutual agreement was paused on 8 April because of a lack of capacity, leaving ticket-holders having to rebook with DFDS themselves or Eurotunnel. P&O Ferries has said it hopes to get its ships back in action next week.

P&O passengers unable to travel this weekend are entitled to a full refund, but unlike air passengers they are not entitled to compensation or rerouting.

What about the Stena route to Ireland?

Stena announced earlier this week that it was cancelling all ferry services between Fishguard in south Wales and Rosslare until 12 April. Ticket-holders have been told that they can travel on Irish Ferries services from Pembroke docks instead.

This will not present too many problems for drivers, but foot passengers and cyclists face having to make the 27-mile journey themselves. Stena staff told Guardian Money this week that no alternative transport had been laid on, but that passengers not travelling in vehicles could ask for a full refund if they didn’t wish to travel.

Am I allowed on a flight or ferry if I have Covid?

The advice from most experts is that you should not travel if you are displaying Covid symptoms. Few would argue that is morally the correct stance.

The government’s guidance for England published on 1 April states that if you have tested positive for Covid, you should “try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days”. It doesn’t say you can’t travel. Rather it says that if you leave your home during this time, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of passing it on to others, including wearing a mask.

How far you are likely to get if you try to travel with Covid will depend on where you are going and, perhaps, whether you are visibly ill.

Rory Boland, the editor of Which? Travel, says: “While the government advises that people do not have to self-isolate when they have Covid, some airlines and ferry operators will ask you not to travel with them.

“Most travellers we hear from who have symptoms of Covid take a test beforehand and, if they are positive, decide that isolating at home is the responsible thing to do.”

He also says flexible booking policies and travel insurance “will continue to be essential to ensure passengers aren’t left out of pocket if they get Covid and can’t travel”.

If you do decide to carry on with your plans, you may be able to catch a flight or ferry, but you could be turned away if you are clearly under the weather. Stena Line, for example, states: “When checking in, you will be asked to state your health condition. Passengers with any indication of suspected Covid-19 will be denied boarding.”

According to easyJet, for some journeys at some airports there may be a temperature check carried out at departure and/or arrival, depending on destination requirements.“Where there are temperature checks, if you do not pass, you will not be able to fly,” it says.

Those heading to the popular Easter destination of Morocco still have to present a valid vaccine pass and proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of boarding. It is also conducting random rapid antigen tests on arrival for selected groups of passengers.

In terms of coming back to the UK, since 18 March, anyone entering the country no longer needs to take a Covid test or fill in a passenger locator form, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Which destinations are test-free?

The government has removed the last Covid restrictions in England and a growing number of other countries are easing their rules, but many still have requirements for people arriving from overseas.

France dropped its requirement for a sworn statement that you have not had any Covid symptoms recently on 31 March. Fully vaccinated travellers only need to present proof of vaccination, though those flying into the country are required to fill in an EU passenger locator form.

Most adults travelling to Spain can enter without needing to do a test. You must, however, show valid proof of being fully vaccinated and fill in a Spanish “health control form” before you travel. The rules are different for children and teenagers. Unvaccinated youngsters aged 12 to 17 can provide a negative PCR or similar test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Spain is one of the countries that says it may do temperature checks on arrival and carry out additional tests if there are concerns.

Fully vaccinated foreign travellers entering Canada “by land, air or water” are longer required to do pre-entry tests as of April 1. You still have to submit your travel and vaccination details via the ArriveCAN website or app though, and on arrival border services staff may stop you and say you’ve been randomly selected for a mandatory Covid test.

It’s a fast-moving situation, and not every country making changes is easing its requirements. Which? recently published a guide to “16 test-free travel destinations for a no-hassle holiday,” including Mexico and Iceland.

What about cruises?

If you are going on a cruise, be aware that many operators have quite strict rules at the moment. P&O Cruises, Cunard and Saga are among those that currently require you to do a Covid test at the terminal before you board. In the case of Saga it’s two tests.

As you might expect, if you test positive, you won’t be getting on board. P&O Cruises and Cunard say that if that happens, you and any guests travelling from your household will be given a “future cruise credit” to the value of your holiday. Saga says that your cruise will be postponed until a later date.

There are other rules too. Cunard stipulates that if you or a member of your household tests positive for Covid within 14 days of your holiday, you won’t be allowed to travel. Saga says you will be denied boarding if you have returned to the UK from an overseas trip in the seven days before your cruise.

Will my travel insurance pay up if I catch Covid abroad?

It all depends on what cover you were offered when you bought the policy. Most travel insurers will cover any medical bills if you catch Covid while abroad. Some will pay for the extra accommodation and new flights required for a delayed return, but plenty will not. It really is a case of digging out your policy documents.

Staysure’s enhanced and generous Covid cancellation cover, for example, only applies to policies bought after 29 April 2021, and only as long as the customer has had their recommended vaccinations. It will cover the cost of cancelling because one or all the party goes down with the virus. Plenty of other policies won’t, particularly those bought some time ago.

Uber plans ‘superapp’, to add trains, planes, rental cars - PREMIUM TIMES

APRIL 08, 2022

The tech giant, which may take a cut on each booking, said it plans to announce various partners in the coming months.

By Oladeinde Olawoyin  

Uber on Wednesday announced its plans to drive ahead and become a travel “superapp” with the addition of trains, buses, planes and car rentals to its U.K. app this year.

The San Francisco-headquartered firm announced Wednesday the move is part of a pilot that could be expanded to other countries at a later date if it goes well.

The company said it would not provide these travel services itself, but would allow users to book them through its app following software integrations with platforms that sell tickets.

In a statement on Wednesday, Jamie Heywood, Uber’s boss in the U.K., said the company hopes to become “a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs.”

“You have been able to book rides, bikes, boat services and scooters on the Uber app for a number of years, so adding trains and coaches is a natural progression,” he said.

The tech giant, which may take a cut on each booking, said it plans to announce various partners in the coming months.

The integration will help to boost app usage among its users in the U.K, who also have the choice of using apps like Bolt and Free Now, the tech giant said.

Outside of the United States, the U.K. is one of Uber’s largest markets. The tech firm also has a presence in Nigeria and parts of the African markets.

The announcement is coming days after Uber secured a 30-month license to continue operating in London, ending a protracted battle with city regulators over whether the ride-hailing app was “fit and proper.”

Earlier in 2018, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had said that he wanted to add more transport options to the app.

Immigration Deploys New Officers At Lagos Airport - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 08, 2022

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has deployed additional officers to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos following the commissioning of the new international terminal at the airport, findings by our correspondent have revealed.

However, the terminal commissioned penultimate week by President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to be put into use, Daily Trust learnt.

The terminal is expected to boost the number of passengers by an additional 14m.

With this, the service, according to a source, felt the need to deploy more officers into the terminal to make passengers’ screening seamless.

Already, it was learnt that the officers deployed are already undergoing intensive training ahead of their resumption of duty.

The source who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the press said, “The officers are now going through intensive two-week training at the cargo unit of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos Command for reorientation and they would join their mates on the completion of the training.”

Also, it was learnt that after the two weeks of training, the officers would be sent to understudy the various units of the command in order to acquaint themselves with the rudiments.

The source said: “You need certain skills to work at such a command. So, the training is very important for them.  The attitude of our officers to the travelling public is very necessary, yet you must convey the message you need to convey to them without compromise.

“After the training, we will make them understudy the various units to be able to know what others do. Then, the officers will go back to class and ask questions based on their observations and on how they can get better results.”

Besides, our correspondent gathered that the federal government had on Tuesday carried out a simulation exercise for agencies that would function at the new international terminal, including the immigration officers.

At the simulation training, it was learnt that some of the gaps noticed in the system were itemised for correction.

Danger Looms as FG Insists on Lagos, Abuja International Terminals as Operation Hubs for New National Carrier - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 09, 2022

BY  Chinedu Eze

Except for last minute changes, the federal government has concluded plans to use the international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos as operational hub for domestic services of the planned national carrier, Nigeria Air, which is against the recent airport security recommendations.

Government also wants to use the old international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja for the airline’s operation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Informed source told THISDAY that the plans have been concluded adding that by July this year the airline would start operation with initial three aircraft, a situation, the said, would portend serious danger for aviation industry, as earlier warned by airport security operatives. 

THISDAY gathered that the terminal in Lagos, which is currently serving international operations, would become underutilised by the time the new terminal inaugurated recently by President Muhammadu Buhari becomes fully operational.

But aviation security experts said that using the two terminals in the two major cities in Nigeria would compromise the security status of the two facilities, which are used for international flight services, as the old terminals are linked to the new ones. They said it would be against the regulation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the US Transport Security Administration (TSA), which certified the two airports for international operations.

In 2007 a committee set up by the presidency, at the instance of National Security Adviser (NSA), headed by the then Senior Special Adviser to the President on Aviation, Captain Shehu Usman Iyal directed the defunct Virgin Nigeria Airways and Arik Air to move their domestic operations to the newly completed Murtala MuhammedAirport domestic terminal, known as MMA2. The reason for the relocation was that domestic passengers and international passengers should not be processed at the same facility for security reasons.

Captain Iyal confirmed to THISDAY on Wednesday that the sole reason why the two airlines moved their domestic service to MMA2 was security in line with ICAO Annex 17, which deals on security.

“The main reason Arik and Virgin Nigeria Airways were directed to move their domestic operation out of the international airport in Lagos was because of security consideration. The committee was set up, which I headed with representatives from aviation and intelligence agencies in the airport community and based on ICAO recommendation, the airlines had to move their domestic services,” he said.

A top official of Arik Air had also told THISDAY that it was because of security reasons that the airline relocated its domestic operation and continued with its international service, which include flights to New York, London, Johannesburg, the West Coast destinations, Angola and others at the terminal.

THISDAY enquiries confirmed government’s decision to locate Nigeria Air at these international terminals. 

Senior official in the Ministry of Aviation who requested for anonymity, told THISDAY that the plan was to give the new carrier a head start, but officials midwifing the airline had allayed fears that government would not give the new carrier advantage over domestic airlines, but locating it at a different terminal from other domestic airlines would be giving it an edge.

THISDAY investigations also revealed that the only worry the existing airlines have is that government would place it above other airlines; so there would be no equal playing field besides the fact that aviation agencies and other government organisations would give it priority against the others.

So domestic airlines are asking that equal and competitive environment should be created for them and the new national carrier, insisting that they would ensure that government does not give Nigeria Air any advantage over the others.

One of the officials behind the new airline told THISDAY that Nigeria Air would not stifle competition because it would follow international standards, as enshrined by ICAO, adding that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would not allow any airline to be placed at advantage against others.

Security expert and the CEO of Centurion Security and Safety Consultants, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd), told THISDAY that despite all these efforts to establish a national carrier and perhaps put it above other domestic airlines, there is no hope that the airline would survive for a long time, considering what happened to the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL) and despite the fact that government said that the new airline would be private sector driven and with 95 stake from private investors.

“My fear about national carrier is that it will go the same way as NAL. I am not in support of it. How many countries in Africa have national carrier? South Africa Airways, Kenya Airways have faced a lot of problems. It is only Ethiopian Airlines that is doing well because the airline is run transparently. But Ghana, Congo, Cameroon and others had national carrier in the past but they have all gone under.

“But if you say that it is 95 per cent private sector driven, why don’t you put out the bidding; why are you midwifing it? They way they are going, it will not work,” Ojikutu said.

He said that no matter the advantage given it against other airlines, there is no guarantee that it would survive for a long time.

THISDAY also learnt that the major reason why Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) was not allowed to operate regional services at MAA2 was because it would bring domestic and regional passengers together and this is discouraged for security and other reasons, which include drug trafficking.

BASL had approval from the federal government to operate both regional and domestic services processed at the same terminal.

Industry experts believe that as long as the old international terminals are likened to the new they are still considered international terminals so it would be against ICAO recommendation that both domestic and international passengers are processed from the same facility.

NDLEA intercepts 101 parcels of cocaine at Lagos airport - NAN

APRIL 10, 2022

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted 101 parcels of cocaine concealed in eight children duvets at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Sunday in Abuja.

Babafemi said the illicit drug was brought into the country from Brazil by a 52-year-old Akudirinwa Uchenna, who hailed from Oru East Local Government area of Imo.

He said the suspect was arrested on April 9 at the D-Arrival Hall of the Lagos airport upon his return from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Doha aboard Qatar Airline flight.

He added that the 101 parcels of the class A drug with a gross weight of 13.2 kilogram were recovered from the suspect’s bag.

“During preliminary interview, Uchenna who claimed to be a carpenter confessed that he was to be paid N5 million for trafficking the drug after successfully delivering the consignment in Lagos,” he said.

In a related development, big pellets of skunk concealed in detergent containers have been intercepted at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

Babafemi said 37-year-old Ezekwesili Afamefune, brought in the consignment weighing 730grams from South Africa aboard Ethiopian Airline flight.

He said Ezekwesili hailed from Awka south local government area of Anambra.

The NDLEA spokesperson said a 24-year-old drug dealer, Christian John, was arrested by NDLEA operatives in Egbeta, Ovia North East LGA in Edo, for selling assorted illicit drugs.

This, he said, included sachets of drugged Milo beverage, cannabis sativa, swinol and tramadol tablets.

He added that one Chibuzor Uba, 30, was arrested on April 8 with 1,955 ampules of pentazocine at Kaura Namoda area of Zamfara.

He also said a cross-border drug trafficker, Stanley Chibuzor, 21, was on April 8 arrested by officers of the Marine Unit of NDLEA stationed at Oron beach, Oron, Akwa Ibom.

“The suspect who hails from Ihiala, Anambra, was nabbed with 11,190 tablets of Tramadol during the outward clearance of passengers traveling to Cameroon.

“In Ondo State, a drug dealer who produces and sells skuchies, Oluwaseun Agboola, 25, was arrested on April 7, at his Igoba, Second Gate, Akure residence where 73 bottles of skuchies weighing 77kg stocked in his kitchen were recovered.

“Skuchies are usually a mixture of Tramadol, Cannabis sativa, Codeine, Black Currant (popularly called Zobo) and water.

“In Lagos, an early morning raid in the notorious Akala, Mushin area of the state on April 9, led to the seizure of 746.25 kilograms of cannabis,” he said.

Babafemi quoted the Chairman, NDLEA retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, as commending officers of the Agency for the arrests and seizures.

Marwa charged them and their colleagues across the country to remain focussed and abstain from acts capable of compromising or jeopardising the collective goal of ridding Nigeria of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Lagos furthers efforts at being preferred tourism destination in Africa - BUSINESSDAY

APRIL 10, 2022

…tours five state divisions to unravel potential

BY  Emelike Obinna

If Lagos is to be a human, it would probably be suffocating under the heavyweight it is carrying and that is still increasing every day.

From across the country, from within the West African neighbours, other Africans and the entire world, people visit to have their own piece of the ‘city that never sleeps’.

Better known as Eko by the indigenes, Lagos, the commercial hub and former capital city of Nigeria, is home for all. It also parades world-class entertainment offerings and some of the best tourism attractions, especially its unique aquatic splendor by the reason of being at the mouth of the Atlantic Oceans, amid Lagos, peninsula and other natural offerings.

These are potential the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture think should be harnessed properly, hence its sustained marketing campaign over the years to position Lagos as a preferred destination in Africa.

On March 30, 2022, the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture kicked off another campaign, which it tagged “bestoflagosfamtour22”. The three-day best of Lagos familiarization, which took the team to the five divisions of the state, is aimed at further positioning the city as a preferred destination for business and for pleasure in Africa.

The tour took off from the Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Ikeja, with the New Afrika Shrine as the first port of call, where the tour team led by Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, was received by Sunday Essien, the manager.

The shrine is an open-air entertainment centre, which serves as the host location of the annual Felabration music festival.

Leaving the shrine, the team made brief stops at the Bus Terminals in Ikeja and Oshodi, an ultramodern transportation facility developed in line with the megacity in mind and easy movement for the residents.

The visit to Freedom Park was enthralling. The park serves as a leisure spot today but was raised from the ruins of Her Majesty’s Broad Street Prisons.

On the second day, the team headed to Badagry, with the Slave Museum in Vlekete as the first port of call. Earlier, they ferried to the border town, which was once notorious for slave trading, by jetty from the Five Cowries Jetty, Falomo.

While in Badagry they also visited the Badagry Heritage Museum, and Lagos Theater.

Back at the Five Cowries Jetty in Falomo, the team visited Nike Arts Gallery in Lekki, one of the biggest art galleries in West Africa. Nike Davies-Okundaye, the founder, was on hand to receive them.

The final day of the tour started with a visit to the palace of HRH Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, the Oloja of Epe land, where the group was received by Tourism 100 Club member and chairman, Epe LGA, Princess Surah Olayemi Animashaun.

From the palace, the team visited the Epe fish market and the Lagos Theatre Epe.

After the Epe tour, the team visited Oshodi Art Gallery, which houses over 17000 artworks.

The tour continued to the palace of HRM Oba Engr. Kabir Adewale Shotobi (Ayangburen of Ikorodu). Among the things mentioned during the visit was creating a beach for Ikorodu, as the town is surrounded by water.

There were some calls to soften some of the festivals to allow tourists’ participation. The excited Oba Kabir noted that the tour was the first the Ministry of Tourism would be visiting Lagos divisions and praised the efforts of the Ministry.

He also offered 14 hectares of land close to the lagoon, to be used to build resorts and other water-related activities.

At the end the commissioner was the most delighted at potential of the blue economy in the state, as well as other members of her team including; Solomon Bonu, special adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tourism, Arts and Culture; Ikechi Uko, CEO, Akwaaba African Travel Market; Oyinade Nathan-Marsh, newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture; Hon. Fatai Oluwa, chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture; renowned artiste Kenny Saint Brown; members, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Tourism, Hon. Desmond Elliot; Hon. Ege Sulaimon, young tour operators, travel journalists, Federation of Tourism Associations officials, and other tourism stakeholders.

Four scams to watch out for when visiting Lagos computer village - PREMIUM TIMES

APRIL 10, 2022

Computer Village is widely known as the headquarters for scam artists, including shop owners, who eagerly search for their next prey.

By Shola-Adido Oladotun

Are you familiar with the unpopular saying, “Lagos is not for the weak.”? To survive in Lagos, you have to be bold, ambitious, and most importantly, street-smart. Only when you possess these characteristics can you survive in a city where random strangers yell at you for no reason, and everyone walks as though they are being pursued.

While being street-smart can be applicable in every part of the world, making good use of it in Lagos would save you the chance of shedding tears, especially when you go to a famous market called Computer Village.

Computer Village is a market located in Ikeja where people buy and sell assorted phones, laptops, computers, and accessories. Many people also visit the market, including those living outside Lagos, to repair gadgets and appliances.

Computer village has a solution for every individual’s tech need.

However, besides being the go-to place for gadgets, Computer Village is widely known as the headquarters of scam artists, who eagerly search for their next prey.

Over the years, we have seen and heard stories of people who went to the market with high hopes of getting a product, only to get scammed.

Nobody, especially you, deserves to be blindsided. In this article, we list five schemes to be aware of when visiting the Computer Village.

Switch and Bait

This is an old technique. The con artist gives a phone to a potential customer to check out. If the customer likes it, they pay for the product. Then the seller asks them to return the phone for “proper packaging.” The seller then swaps the phone for a fake.

Fake Naira notes

Never buy a gadget from someone who does not own a shop. Many of those who offer to sell you a gadget at a ridiculous price do not have good intentions.

Narrating his story, a social media user recalled how he was sold an iPhone for a very cheap amount by a man in the Computer Village. Then the man changed his mind and asked for the phone, offering to pay him back his money. The guy collected it, and it wasn’t until he decided to count it that he realised that instead of wads of cash, he was given papers wrapped around a thousand-naira note.

Stolen phones

With the rate at which phones are stolen, always ask for receipt when you buy a phone.

Lately, we have seen people getting arrested for possessing stolen phones. When interrogated, they argue that they did not steal it but bought it from a shop in the Computer Village.

No matter how sleek or cheap a phone might be, if it doesn’t have a receipt, don’t buy it, especially if it’s a used phone.

The pickpockets

The Computer Village is a busy place, with different people. So when navigating through the crowd, keep a close eye on your valuables. And if you stop by a store to ask for a product, don’t get too distracted.

The trick is that once they notice you are distracted, either your purse or wallet gets snatched.


FG commences 2044.1km Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project - DAILY POST

APRIL 10, 2022

The Federal Government has mobilised the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to the site to commence construction of the 2044.1km Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge railway project.

The project, which is expected to gulp $3 billion, will link states in the southern part of Nigeria down to the north through the eastern states.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who inspected the commencement of work on Sunday, said the expectation is that the laying of rail tracks may get to the Enugu State capital by September 2022.

The Minister, who recently declared intentions to contest the 2023 Presidency, was accompanied on the inspection by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani; Engr. Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director; Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) among others.

All these come despite recent attacks on the railway facility linking Abuja-Kaduna where bandits abducted some passengers and killed at least eight others.

Amaechi said, “When it was inugurated, enough fund was not given to them. Now they have some level of funding, I hope we can secure the fund before they exhaust what they have”.

He hinted that some of the stations where passengers will join the train or disembark are yet to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The Minister equally noted that whenever standard gauges are to be constructed on the line, it should be built in such a way that both the narrow gauge and standard gauge could share the same infrastructure.

He also insisted that more security is required to forestall any form of delay that may arise as a result of agitations from locals.

Amaechi said he expected CCECC to have cleared the track up to Imo River,

Recall that the Federal Government on the 10th of March, 2021 kick-started the $3 billion rehabilitation and reconstruction of the 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) Eastern Railway Line that starts from the southeastern oil hub of Port Harcourt and terminates at the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

It is expected to link Nigeria’s industrial and agriculture hubs, facilitating the easy movement of people, goods and services.

When fully functional, it will connect Rivers, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno states respectively.


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