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Don’t Grant ‘Nigeria Air’ Operating Licence, Ex-Workers Tell NCAA - LEADERSHIP

APRIL 10, 2022

Written By Yusuf Babalola


Former workers of the liquidated Nigeria Airways and the children of deceased workers, have petitioned the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to stop the process of granting an operating license to the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, until their outstanding entitlements were paid.

The group, which spoke to journalists at the weekend, said they were relying on a notice put up by the airline announcing its application to the NCAA for a licence to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services.

The notice stated that any person or organisation with objection should make it known before 28 days from the day of application.

The notice reads in part, “This is to inform the general public that Messrs Nigeria Air Limited has applied to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the grant of an Air Transport License (ATL) to operate scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo services within and outside Nigeria.

“Any person or organisation that has an objection or representation with regards to this application should do so within 28 days from the date of this application.

“Such objection or representation should be forwarded to the Director-General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Domestic Wing, Abuja.”

The leader of group, who simply gave his name as Adeyemi to avoid victimisation, said they have lost interest in the leadership of the ex-workers’ unions to protect their interests and to mount pressure on the Federal Government to pay them the last tranche of severance benefits.

They equally demanded that some of the ex-workers who are still alive be included in the contributory pension scheme.

According to them, “There is a notice published in the media that anyone who has a complaint on why the proposed Nigeria Air should not be issued a licence should come forward with their complaints within 28 days. We are not against the setting up of Nigeria Air. What we are asking is that they should pay us what is left of what we are owed before a new national carrier comes on board.

“What concerns us is for government to pay the remaining balance of what they owe us. We would have left this to our unions to do but they do not give updates on what is happening,” Adeyemi said.

The group disclosed that the Federal Government paid N45billion to former workers of the carrier remaining a balance of N33 billion which had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

They further alleged that their union leaders under the Aviation Unions Ground Alliance (AUGA) were no longer motivated to pursue their cause.

“We are suffering in silence. We heard that Nigeria Air is coming and we got a published notice that anybody who has an objection to why the carrier should not be granted a licence should bring it forward. We have written a letter. We should be sending the letter to NCAA any moment from now,” he added.

The ex-workers recalled that the total severance package for workers of the airline was supposed to be N78 billion but the Federal Government said there were able to pay N45 billion, stressing that the balance of N33 billion was yet to be paid.

“We are demanding that workers of the liquidated airline that are still alive should be put under a pension scheme. The liquidation of Nigeria Airways was at the instance of the government. We believe that the leadership of our unions has been compromised. There are things that we see that show compromise.

“People in Diaspora have resigned to fate. More than 80% of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways have had brokenf marriages. Many have been left to their fate with many life-threatening ailments,” he lamented.

The struggles for the payment of the defunct Nigeria Airways’ workers commenced after its liquidation during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

While the former workers of the defunct national carrier in Europe and America were almost immediately paid off by the Obasanjo government for fear of running afoul of the labour laws of the foreign countries, the former workers in Nigeria and Africa particularly had received their money in piecemeal.

Since the struggle started, over 2,000 of the former workers had suffered to death with many others left in a miserable situation.

Respite, however, came their way when President Buhari through the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, finalised payment for the workers.

President Buhari towards the end of 2017 ordered the release of the N45billion for their entitlement, remaining a balance of N33 billion.

Hajj 2022: Nigeria awaits quota as Saudi approves participation of 1 million pilgrims - TVC

APRIL 10, 2022

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved the participation of one million pilgrims, including foreigners and Saudi residents, in the 2022 Hajj exercise, after two years of restrictions.

The Kingdom restricted participation in the Hajj to Saudi nationals and residents in 2020 and 2021, partly to avoid the entry of the deadly COVID-19 virus into the kingdom.

According to a statement released by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Kingdom is committed to ensuring that the greatest number of Muslims possible conduct Hajj and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in a safe and spiritual environment, with a one million allocation.

Regardless of the allotment, the Saudi Ministry of Health has set a maximum age limit of 65 years old, as well as necessary COVID-19 immunizations for those who are interested.

According to the statement, pilgrims traveling from outside the Kingdom for the 2022 hajj must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of departure from the Kingdom.

Among other restrictions, the Saudi authorities recommended strict adherence to stated instructions from the Kingdom’s ministry of health, particularly preventative steps to maintain their health and safety while completing the Hajj ceremonies.

Nigeria and other hajj-participating countries throughout the world are waiting for the global allocation to be distributed. Though there is concern that Nigeria will lose more than half of its prior allocations, there are also concerns that the maximum age limit may naturally dissuade hundreds of would-be pilgrims.

Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has threatened to penalise state pilgrim welfare boards that fail to deposit rollover deposits for 2020/2021 into a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The commission condemned the affected states’ attitude in a statement issued by NAHCON’s spokesperson, Fatima Usara, over the weekend, saying it was in violation of the laws and principles governing hajj operations in Nigeria.

How African Cities Rate Among Best Sunrises, Sunsets In The World! - ALL AFRICA

APRIL 11, 2022


Cape Town — Many people say that African sunrises and sunsets are the best in the world, and I certainly agree with them!  There's something very special about the warmth of those first or last rays of light.

Premier Inn , a holiday booking agency in the UK  compiled the best sunrises  based on 250 of the most populated cities with the most populated sunrise hashtags on Instagram, to reveal the places that are being photographed the most when we wake up in the morning, as reported by capetownetc .

They checked and counted the hashtag, #goodmorning{city}  and compared it with cities in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia to determine the popularity of a city by amount of morning "snaps".

"Instagrammers are rising early and getting their cameras ready to catch a glimpse of Africa's most beautiful cities to see the sunrise in," the report states. According to the ranking, Nigeria's capital city and financial hub Lagos is Africa's most beautiful city to see the sunrise with over 3,890 Instagram mentions, followed by Cape Town with over 2,200 tags and Cairo in Egypt with 768.

Cape Town was a big hit among early morning Instagrammers capturing sunrises from some of Cape Town's famous hiking routes such as Lion's Head mountain, showing that the city is even more beautiful from a great height, reports IOL.

South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria are the only countries to feature twice on Africa's top 10 list, with South Africa's Durban and Nigeria's Kano State also making the cut, reports CapeTalk.

Kenya's Nairobi, Morocco's Casablanca, Ghana's Accra, Egypt's Alexandria, and Uganda's Kampala also made the top 10 list.

Victor Attah Int’l Airport: New Terminal Building, MRO, Taxiway Ready Before December 2020 – Gov Emmanuel - INDEPENDENT

APRIL 11, 2022

The New Terminal Building, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility (MRO) and Taxi Way, undergoing construction at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo would all be inaugurated this year.

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel disclosed this on Friday while inspecting the projects at the Airport.

The governor, who expressed satisfaction with the level of work executed by the contractors stated that the MRO, which is at 84% completion has the capacity of carrying two 747 aircraft series, eight A-220 300 series and all the CRJs, adding that the MRO, when fully operational, will enhance the economic growth of the State.

“Honestly from what I have seen here, the contractors have exceeded my expectation, they are quite ahead of schedule. You can say it is at 84 percent completion and the materials on ground can guarantee the expected delivery date.

“The MRO can take two 747 aircraft series, eight of our A-220 300 series and all the CRJs for now, all installations are near completion and you can imagine we are the newest bride for all the aircraft maintenance companies across the globe and we have received offers from aircraft maintenance companies, you can imagine the foreign exchange this will bring to the state..’ He stated.

  

At the Terminal Building project, Governor Emmanuel said that the structural part of the project is near completion and the terminal will be the smartest in Africa, adding that Ibom Air will commence its regional flight at the completion of the project.

He pointed out that the project, which is a total approach to aviation development, will attract other foreign airlines and assured that there will be ease of business transactions in the state.

Governor Emmanuel hinted that as part of the government’s efforts in aviation development, 100 youths will be trained in aeronautical engineering and other specialized fields, beginning with the first batch of 40 youths. According to him, the training will be handled by experts from Airbus Company.

“I want to assure Akwa Ibom people, this is what we call a total approach to aviation development and we want to take all at the same time, Airline, Airport Terminal Building, MRO, Runway and other aviation facilities.

“I hope you are aware that Airbus experts are on ground, to train youths in Piloting and Aeronautical Engineering, they are on the first phase here in Nigeria, while the second and the third phase will be done at the Airbus facility in France.

We will train more, once we finish the first batch of 40. My target is to train 100 youths before I leave office,” he hinted.

The Governor, who expressed satisfaction with the 3.6 km Taxiway, appreciated the quality and standard of the project executed by GITTO Construzioni Generali Nigeria.

The Project Director of Camosa Nigeria Limited handling the MRO project, while conducting the Governor round the project, said that the project has been on for 13 months and was currently at 84% completion.

At the International Terminal Building, the Project Manager, VKS Construction Limited Mr Ziya Sungur mentioned that the major structural works had been completed, adding that what was left was furnishing, with the required fittings for smart operations.

Similarly, the Project Manager of Gitto, Chief Ghanem Rasbeih, said that the 1.5 out of 3.6Km of the new Taxiway was 100% completed, while the remaining was at 80% completion.

Heathrow Has Busiest Month Since Pandemic Began: The London Rush - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 11, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Here’s the key business news from London-listed companies this morning:

Heathrow: London’s busiest airport reported passenger levels in March that were the highest since the start of the pandemic. 

  • Demand is being driven by weekend breaks and school vacations, fueled by vouchers from canceled trips

U.K. GDP: The U.K. economy grew less than expected in February after industrial production and construction shrank.

Ascential Plc: The media and consultancy company said it is in the early stages of evaluating the benefits of separating some parts of the group.

  • The statement appeared to confirm a Sky News report over the weekend that said the company is considering separating its digital operations and listing them in the U.S.

Treatt Plc: The flavor and fragrance manufacturer said its “healthier living” categories will help deliver materially stronger margins in the second half of the year.

Outside The City

Rishi Sunak asked for a formal review into whether he properly declared his financial interests, which he hopes will help draw a line under the issue. It comes after his wife, Akshata Murthy, said she would pay U.K. taxes on foreign income, following criticism of her non-domicile status, and after it emerged Sunak held a U.S. green card while chancellor.

Meanwhile, Britons bound for sunnier climes are bracing for renewed travel chaos. Last weekend saw scenes of near meltdown at the Port of Dover and Manchester airport, as the first weekend of the Easter vacation period brought a massive increase in passenger traffic to facilities unable to cope due to worker and equipment shortages. 

In Case You Missed It 

London & Country Mortgages Ltd. is in talks with Habito about a possible combination to create one of the U.K.’s largest mortgage brokers, according to people familiar with the matter. The firms are keen to combine London & Country’s army of over-the-phone advisers with Habito’s online technology platforms, the people said. 

Looking Ahead

Deliveroo Plc and EasyJet Plc are both reporting results tomorrow. Both companies were heavily affected by the pandemic, and the impact of high prices will also be in focus.

Unemployment figures are also expected at 7 a.m. tomorrow, as the U.K. suffers coronavirus and Brexit-related staffing challenges, particularly in the hospitality sector.

Dozens of UK flights axed as airlines struggle with staff shortages - P.A.MEDIA

APRIL 11, 2022

Dozens of UK flights were cancelled on Monday as airlines continue to struggle with staff shortages.

British Airways axed at least 64 domestic or European flights to or from Heathrow.

Affected UK routes were between the west London airport and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

Among the international routes affected were services to and from Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, Paris and Stockholm.

British Airways said passengers were given advanced warning of the cancellations.

The airline decided last month it would reduce its schedule until the end of May to limit the need to cancel flights at short notice due to staff shortages.

It has focused on routes with multiple daily flights, meaning passengers can be offered alternative departures on the same day they booked.

EasyJet cancelled at least 25 flights to or from Gatwick, affecting routes between the West Sussex airport and Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Milan.

The low-cost carrier said cancellations are being made “in advance to give customers the ability to rebook on to alternative flights”.

There has been a surge in demand for flights as many families have travelled abroad for the school Easter holidays, which are the first since the UK’s coronavirus restrictions for international travellers were dropped.

Airlines have been keen to attract as many bookings as possible after suffering huge losses due to the virus crisis but are struggling to cope with staff shortages.

The issue is partly caused by difficulties finding new recruits and getting their security checks processed after thousands of jobs were cut during the pandemic.

There are also high levels of coronavirus-related staff absences.

Travellers using Birmingham, Heathrow and Manchester airports have reported long queues.

Gunmen attack kills at least 50 in Nigeria's Plateau state - REUTERS

APRIL 12, 2022

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, April 11 (Reuters) - At least 50 people were killed and dozens abducted by gunmen in Nigeria's Plateau state, residents and a community leader said on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks by armed gangs in northern parts of Africa's most populous nation.

Such attacks are not common in Plateau, in central Nigeria. But the state shares a border with Kaduna state, where suspected bandits - a loose term for gangs of outlaws carrying out robberies and kidnappings - blew up train tracks, killed eight people and kidnapped dozens last month.

Fifteen soldiers were last week killed by gunmen who attacked a Kaduna army base. read more

"This is again very sad and we strongly condemn it. The security (forces) should ensure the immediate rescue of all abducted persons," said Jonathan Ishaku, spokesman for Plateau Elders Forum.

He said at least 50 were dead and 70 people, including women and children, were kidnapped from nine villages late on Sunday afternoon.

A spokesman for Plateau Governor Simon Lalong said "many people were killed with houses and properties destroyed". He did not give a death toll.

Telephone service is patchy in most of Nigeria's rural areas, making it difficult for villagers to seek immediate help from security forces, who are stretched fighting an Islamist insurgency in the northeast.

Isahya Solomon from Kukawa, one of the village that was attacked, said when he heard shooting he fled with his family in a car and returned at night after the gunmen had left.

His house and several others had been torched while shops were looted and villagers were retrieving bodies of relatives, he told Reuters by phone on Monday from Jos, Plateau state's capital city.

"In our community ... 38 persons were killed. Many of our houses were burnt to ashes, many shops were looted," said Solomon.

Reporting by Maiduguri newsroom, writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, editing by Alex Richardson

FG to introduce online tracking system for passport application - PUNCH

APRIL 13, 2022

BY  Eniola Akinkuotu


THE Federal Government will in May introduce a system online for the tracking and monitoring of passport applications.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said this at the opening of a two-day workshop for Passport Control Officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service in Abuja on Tuesday.

Aregbesola revealed that the Federal Government had concluded plans to launch a system that would lead to minimal interaction between passport applicants and immigration officers.

The minister said apart from the National Identity Number verification and linking, there should be no other major reason for the delay in issuing passports.

“Not later than a month from today, applicants will be able to track their application online to know precisely what stage is your application. You will not have the hassle of people coming. Just go online with your reference number to check and it will state whether you are having a NIN problem.

“It will tell you the status of your application. It will tell you whether your passport is ready and you can pick it. This will be a month from now by the Grace of God,” he added.

He said the waiting time for fresh passports should not be more than six weeks while for passport renewal, it should not exceed three weeks.

The minister added, “We have adopted a maximum processing period of six weeks. It can be less but it should not be more. If it is more, let it be rare, let it be caused by an external factor, not you. To obtain fresh passports, it should be a maximum of three weeks. It can be less for the renewal.”

Aregbesola warned immigration officers against sharp practices even as he advised them to treat passport applicants as customers.

He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had approved the full deployment of technology and before the end of the year, drastic changes would be made.

“Very soon, you will not see any passport applicants. Very soon there will be no files. Technology has provided so much succour for whoever wants to be efficient. That will be before the end of this year. Passport processing will be absolutely digitised. As it is impossible to see the air, it will be impossible for anybody to even know which passport is going where. It will just be in the system.

“We will get to a stage where no passport applicant will meet any immigration officer in the process of processing passports and there will be no manual documentation of that process,” the minister added.

Speaking on the theme ‘Effective and Efficient Service Delivery: An Imperative for Maximising the Gains of Passport Reforms Towards a Seamless Passport Issuance’, the Assistant-Comptroller-General in Charge of Passports and Other Travels Directorates, NIS, Modupe Anyalechi, said the primary purpose of the function was to bring passport officers to speed on the ongoing passport reforms.

She said the aim was to make the process of passport issuance seamless without compromising the integrity of the travel document.

UK house prices rise at fastest pace since September - ONS - REUTERS

APRIL 13, 2022

LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - British house prices in February were 10.9% higher than a year earlier, up from a 10.2% increase in January and one of the biggest annual increases in more than 15 years, official figures showed on Wednesday.

Annual house price inflation in Britain hit a record 13.5% in June 2021 and 11.5% in September, due to expiring deadlines for a temporary reduction in purchase taxes.

Reporting by David Milliken Editing by William Schomberg

Rwanda Airlines To Make Air Transport Easy, Affordable For Nigerians - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 13, 2022

By Aishah Saleeman

The Country Manager of Rwanda Airlines, Muhamud Wayiga made this known while a courtesy call to the corporate headquarters of Media Trust in Abuja to seek a partnership with the media conglomerate in widening their customer drive.

Wayiga was joined on the visit by the other top executives of the airline; Habba Hadija, Head of marketing and communication, Alex Balinda, Advertising alongside 2 sales executives. 

The Head of Marketing and communication, Rwanda Airline Habba Hadijah, said the company want to leverage Media Trust’s platforms in gaining visibility in Nigeria.

She emphasized that the essence of this partnership is to expand their brand prominence in Nigeria and also increase their sales.

Daily Trust’s Head Sales and Circulation, Yusuf Jiddah assured the airline of the readiness of the company in ensuring visibility across the country.

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