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Emirates cuts flights to Nigeria over unremitted funds - CH-AVIATION

AUGUST 03, 2022

Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) is cutting flights to Lagos from August 15 to mitigate continued losses resulting from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) withholding at least USD85 million of the airline’s funds, according to a letter by Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Majid Al-Mualla to Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.

In the July 22 letter leaked to Nigerian newspapers, Al-Mualla appealed to Sirika to intervene to help the Emirati carrier repatriate its funds, failing which it would be forced to reduce its frequencies from 11 to seven weekly. Such a decision, it said, was not taken lightly: “We have no choice but to take this action”.

“As of July 2022, Emirates has USD85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than USD10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and five to Abuja continue to accumulate,” Al-Mualla wrote.

“These funds are urgently needed to meet our operational costs and maintain the commercial viability of our services to Nigeria. We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting losses, especially in the challenging post-Covid-19 climate.”

Emirates said it had tried to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in local currency, which would have partly offset its ongoing costs, however, this request was denied by the supplier. That meant that not only were Emirates’ revenues accumulating in Nigeria, out of reach and not earning interest, but the carrier also had to send hard currency into Nigeria to sustain its operations.

The airline said it had made every effort to solve the situation with the CBN, but no positive response was received. Meetings were also held with Emirates' own bank in Nigeria and in collaboration with IATA to discuss improving forex allocation, but with limited success, Al-Mualla wrote.

In a statement shared with ch-aviation, Emirates said: “Emirates continues to encounter issues in repatriating funds out of Nigeria, which has begun to impact the commercial viability of our operations. We have been making every effort to find a solution to this issue through constructive and substantive dialogue with limited success, and welcome any support from the Nigerian government so we can move towards a positive outcome to avoid a reduction in our operations. We currently serve Lagos with 11 weekly services and hope to continue our full operating schedule to and from Nigeria and provide much-needed connectivity for our customers.”

Nigeria's Ministry of Aviation did not respond to a request for comment.

BA extends ban on short-haul bookings as travel chaos continues - THE TELEGRAPH

AUGUST 03, 2022

British Airways has stopped short-haul bookings from Heathrow for another week, amid warnings they may be halted for the rest of the summer.

The carrier warned on Monday that it would stop taking new bookings for domestic and western European flights until August 8. On Tuesday this was extended, blocking new bookings on flights before August 16.

Long-haul routes could be disrupted next, insiders warned, as Heathrow Airport's cap on passenger numbers to 100,000 a day forces airlines to withhold tickets and fly planes with thousands of empty seats.

BA said the block on new short-haul bookings would allow it to comply with Heathrow’s passenger cap that had been “imposed” on airlines.

It is understood that the airline is keeping passenger numbers under review on an ongoing basis and long-haul routes could also be subject to a reduction in tickets.

A source said the airline also needed to keep seats free on some flights to have capacity to deal with other cancellations and unexpected disruption.

The halt on ticket sales prompted a jump in ticket prices over the next fortnight as the supply of short-haul fares fell.

Holidaymakers looking for a last-minute getaway faced surges in fares, with the average price from Heathrow to Europe on some routes having already jumped, according to data from Google Flights.

Passengers looking to pay less were urged to depart from a different airport to avoid soaring fares.

Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said: “With further ticket sale suspensions possible, people should consider booking as early as possible to avoid last-minute disappointment and inflated fares. They should also consider alternative airports and airlines where possible.

“Airports and airlines need to be held to account for the unacceptable disruption travellers are currently experiencing, and the government must act to ensure the Civil Aviation Authority has the power to hit operators with substantial fines in instances where they flout the rules.”

There are fears the disruption will last for the rest of the summer, hitting those hoping for a last-minute cheap getaway over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Rob Burgess, editor of frequent flyer website headforpoint.com, said: “Since the Heathrow capacity cap will exist until at least 11th September - and we believe it will be pushed out further - it seems likely that BA will have to keep capacity caps in place until the end of the school holidays, given the upcoming Bank Holiday at the end of August. “I therefore expect the block on sales to keep rolling over, until at least Bank Holiday Monday 29th August as BA is already over its daily passenger cap on many dates based on existing ticket sales.”

Mr Burgess said the changes would not impact those who had already booked tickets, aside from those who may be looking to arrange a last-minute connecting flight. He added: “The real losers are people expecting to get a cheap last minute August Bank Holiday break - it’s not happening - or those who may need to fly at short notice for personal reasons.”

John Strickland, an airlines analyst, however said the impact on fares would only be “marginal”.

Analysts suggested that the decision would cost British Airways some of its share in the short-haul market because rivals such as Jet2 and Ryanair, which largely operate out of other airports, would not have to cancel flights.

However, according to Alexander Paterson, an analyst at Peel Hunt, the financial hit to BA will be limited as increased fares will "largely mitigate" the fall in capacity. Short-haul is the least profitable kind of flight, he said.

“All the same, it is quite something when BA has to suspend sales and cancel flights because Heathrow is not resourced to be able to handle even 104,000 passengers per day in peak summer,” he added.

Heathrow said earlier this summer that it would cap passenger numbers at 100,000 per day until September 11, forcing airlines to cancel 1,000 flights. The airport said a lack of ground crew and overbooking by airlines was leading to huge delays and last minute cancellations.

Airlines reacted with fury. Gulf carrier Emirates accused Heathrow of chosing “not to plan, not to invest” in capacity, while Ryanair also attacked planning at the airport. Airport workers union Unite, meanwhile, accused Heathrow on Tuesday of having “cut staffing to the bone”. Heathrow, however, has hit back at what it called “bizarre” criticism, arguing airlines are responsible for providing ground staff.

John Grant, an airlines analyst at OAG, said British Airways would fly around 20,000 empty seats per day as a result of the decision to halt sales.

Mr Grant said: “Take a low-ball average fare for this time of year of £100 each way and it's a £12.5m hit to revenues at least, probably more since there will be passengers who would have booked long haul flights off the back of a connecting short-haul service and they have now gone as well.”

A British Airways spokesman said: “We took pre-emptive action to reduce our schedule this summer to give customers certainty about their travel plans and to build more resilience into our operation given the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry.

“When Heathrow introduced its passenger cap, we took a small number of additional flights from our schedule and to continue to comply with the cap, we've been taking responsible action by limiting sales or all the available fares on some of our Heathrow services to ensure more seats are available to rebook customers.

"We'll continue to manage bookings to be within the Heathrow imposed cap so we can get our customers away as planned this summer.”

A Heathrow spokesman said: “Acting in the best interests of passengers, we introduced a cap on departing numbers at Heathrow in order to provide better, more reliable journeys this summer. We are pleased to see action from British Airways, acting responsibly and also putting the passenger first.”

Spiraling London Room Rents Exacerbate Cost of Living Squeeze - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 04, 2022

The cost of renting a room in London is surging, the latest blow to the city’s poorest residents.

It costs 15% more to rent a room in the capital than it did last year, according to data compiled by SpareRoom, a website that matches people seeking roommates. And the burden is not being evenly distributed across postcodes.

Prices have risen almost 20% from pre-pandemic levels in suburban districts like Lower Edmonton and in areas in and around Eltham. By comparison, they’re up just 1% in the same period in the affluent postcode that includes Belgravia in central London.

UK home prices are more unaffordable than ever for potential buyers, contributing to soaring rents in the capital. Energy costs have also sent inflation to a 40-year high, crimping the amount people can pay and leaving many able to afford only a room.

“Whenever we go through some sort of financial squeeze, like we did just over a decade ago, a lot of people end up in the room rental markets, partly because it’s the most affordable way to live,” Rupert Hunt, Chief Executive Officer at SpareRoom, said by email.

Soaring Demand

While the capital has areas of great wealth, it is also home to some of the most deprived parts of the UK, meaning people are more vulnerable to the rising costs of everything from food to fuel. 

A quarter of Londoners wouldn’t be able to afford an unexpected expense of £500, according to a poll by Centre for London and Savanta ComRes in the spring. That’s four percentage points higher than nine months earlier. 

One attraction of renting a room is that landlords are more likely to include bills in the price, said Jeremy Leaf, a real estate broker who leases properties in north London. That fixed cost is an attraction with energy prices spiraling.

Home Working

There’s also more demand in the suburbs because renters are seeking more space so they can have a desk in their room, said Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at broker Hamptons International. That gives them the option of working from home a few days a week, she said.

Tommy Power, a 35-year-old working for fintech Monzo Bank Ltd., said competition for rooms means he is getting fewer and fewer responses when he asks to see a place. 

Renting a room is more attractive than leasing an apartment because it’s significantly cheaper and offers more flexibility around moving out, he said. 

People are being pushed “into renting, into sofa surfing, into going back to their parents,” said Paul Cheshire, emeritus professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics. That means they’re moving to cheap parts of London and “pushing up demand there relative to supply.”

Lufthansa Gives Upbeat Outlook as Fare Surge Survives Disruption - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 04, 2022

Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Lufthansa AG forecast profit will keep rising in coming months amid a boom in demand, even as staffing shortages prompt airports to limit capacity.

Europe’s biggest airline group said it expects a “significant increase” in earnings in the third quarter compared to the second. That’s after high ticket prices and bumper profits at the company’s cargo division more than offset increases in fuel costs in the second quarter. 

Lufthansa also provided a clearer outlook for full-year profit, predicting adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of more than 500 million euros ($508.2 million). The airline previously said only that it expected an improvement in 2022 compared with last year.

While travelers across Europe are grappling with disrupted flights amid the staffing crunch and a wave of strikes, the region’s airlines are making money again as travel rebounds from the Covid crisis. Capacity caps introduced to avoid late cancellations may have crimped passenger tallies, but they’ve also lifted fares in a business where demand was already close to matching supply.

Having reduced its workforce during the pandemic, Lufthansa said it will hire some 10,000 new employees over the next 18 months, a move aimed at smoothing disruptions to travel.

“Together, we have steered our company through the pandemic and thus through the most severe financial crisis in our history,” Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr said in a statement Thursday. “Now we must continue to stabilize our flight operations.” 

Lufthansa posted adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 393 million euros for the second quarter, after saying last month that the figure would total between 350 million euros and 400 million euros.

Rivals Air France-KLM and British Airways parent IAG SA last week posted positive earnings for the first time since global travel was roiled by the pandemic. The former plans to hike capacity close to pre-coronavirus levels in the final three months of 2022, while IAG predicts higher earnings this quarter and a positive full-year result.

Abuja may experience fresh fuel scarcity soon – Marketers - PUNCH

AUGUST 05, 2022

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory may soon experience a fresh round of fuel scarcity, as The PUNCH reliably gathered that tanker drivers have declined to take products to the FCT due to bad road network and high diesel prices.

Sources with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria disclosed this to our correspondent on Tuesday.

They stated that though there were enough products as promised by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, members of the National Association of Road Transport Operators were not ready to take products to the capital city.

It was also gathered that members of NARTO had lost nothing less than seven tankers, including products as a result of the bad road network to Abuja.

“As of Tuesday, marketers were ready to pay as much as N1.2m to take products to Abuja, but no driver was ready to put their lives and tankers on the line. There is enough product but drivers are unwilling to go there,” a source with DAPPMAN told The PUNCH.

The marketers also decried the rising costs of freight rates.

“When price of petrol was increased last month, the dollar was between N600 to N620, but it is now N700. Cost of hiring a vessel is now $50,000 per day, including NNPC trucks. It costs more than $50,000 per day to take products to states like Calabar, and we still pay for vessels in dollars”, the DAPPMAN source added.

A source with IPMAN corroborated what the DAPMAN member said, stressing that tanker drivers were unwilling to take products from Warri to Abuja due to bad roads.

The Executive Secretary, National Association of Road Transport Operators, Aloga Ignatius, declined commenting on the development when contacted.

“I’m in a meeting. Can’t talk,” he said, directing our correspondent to send text which was not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

A professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Akpan Ekpo, called on the Federal Government to use trains instead of tankers as new means of transporting petroleum products across the country.

He said, “If the drivers’ refusal to take products to Abuja persists, it will cause hoarding and then scarcity, which will lead to high prices. This news is definitely not good for the economy because it will affect our GDP, and increase inflation.

“Nigeria should adopt the method of moving petrol through trains. Moving products through tankers is old fashioned. And again, the roads should be repaired as soon as possible,” he said.

The development comes on the heels of recent scarcity in the FCT which stretched from February up until July.

Nigeria asks Google to block banned groups from YouTube - REUTERS

AUGUST 05, 2022

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria asked Google to block the use of YouTube channels and livestreams by banned groups and terrorist organizations in the country, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Thursday.

Nigeria has been exploring ways to regulate social media usage in the country, Africa's most populous. The country is home to millions of internet users and platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tiktok are popular.

YouTube "channels and emails containing names of banned groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms," Mohammed said he told Google executives in Abuja, the country's capital.

Charles Murito, Google's sub-Saharan African director for government affairs and public policy, in a statement said the company already has measures to address the Nigerian government's concerns.

Those measures include a system for trained users to flag troublesome content, he added. "We share the same goals and objectives," Murito said. "We do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes."

The minister said the government was particularly concerned with online activities by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The government has labeled IPOB, a group campaigning for the secession of a southeastern region of Nigeria, a "terrorist organization."

The YouTube concerns are part of an effort by the government, the minister said, to protect Nigerian internet users from harmful effects of social media, especially ahead of a presidential election next year.

Nigeria suspended Twitter in June 2021 and blocked access to users after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.

The government lifted the Twitter ban six months later.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha. Edited by Paulo Prada.)

Airlines cancel, reroute flights during Chinese military drills near Taiwan - CNBC

AUGUST 05, 2022

KEY POINTS

  • Airlines have canceled flights to Taipei and rerouted others to avoid airspace nearby that has been closed to civilian traffic during Chinese military exercises sparked by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
  • China deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles near Taiwan on Thursday in its biggest-ever drills in the Taiwan Strait, set to run until noon local time (0400 GMT) on Sunday.
  • The airspace involved, however, is minor in its impact on the global aviation industry compared to the decision by most airlines to bypass overflight of other places like Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq and Syria.

A screen showing canceled flights at Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. China's military fired missiles into the sea as it kicked off three days of live-fire military exercises around the island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit, even as Taipei played down the impact on flights and shipping.
A screen showing canceled flights at Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. China’s military fired missiles into the sea as it kicked off three days of live-fire military exercises around the island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, even as Taipei played down the impact on flights and shipping.
Lam Yik Fei | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Airlines have canceled flights to Taipei and rerouted others to avoid airspace nearby that has been closed to civilian traffic during Chinese military exercises sparked by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

China deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles near Taiwan on Thursday in its biggest-ever drills in the Taiwan Strait, set to run until noon local time (0400 GMT) on Sunday in six zones encircling much of the island.

The airspace involved is comparatively small, but the disruption from the largest military exercises by China in the area since it fired missiles off the coast in 1996 is hampering travel between Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia.

Temporary airspace closures and route changes during major military exercises occur regularly around the world.

This situation is unusual in that China’s exercises bisect Taiwan’s claimed 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of territorial waters — something Taiwanese officials say challenges the international order and amount to a blockade of its sea and airspace.

Korean Air Lines and Singapore Airlines said they had canceled flights to and from Taipei on Friday due to the exercises, with the Korean carrier also cancelling its Saturday flights and delaying Sunday flights.

Japan’s ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines are still operating flights to Taipei as normal, spokespeople for the airlines said, but are avoiding the affected airspace on those flights, as well as on routes to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.


Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways and Philippines Airlines said their flights were avoiding designated airspace zones around Taiwan, in a move that could lead to more flying time for some flights, while Vietnam’s aviation regulator warned its airlines to avoid the area.

Flight tracking service FlightRadar24 showed Taiwanese carriers China Airlines and EVA Airways were still flying to and from the island as of Friday morning, as were cargo carriers FedEx and United Parcel Service, though avoiding the areas affected by the military drills.

Emirates, United Airlines Holdings and Turkish Airlines had flights en route to Taipei on Friday morning local time, Flightradar24 showed.

Taiwan, along with mainland China and Hong Kong, is one of the few places in the world that still requires quarantine for arrivals because of Covid-19, triggering reduced demand for travel to the island that means there are far fewer flights than before the pandemic.

OPSGROUP, an aviation industry cooperative that shares information on flight risks, said the exercises would affect major routes between Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, leading to re-routings that could take longer and burn extra fuel.

The airspace involved, however, is minor in its impact on the global aviation industry compared to the decision by most airlines to bypass overflight of other places like Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq and Syria.

The avoidance of Russian airspace, for example, has led to a near four-hour increase in flight times between Finland and Japan.

Taiwan said on Wednesday it was negotiating with neighboring Japan and the Philippines to find alternative aviation routes, the official Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Airport Labor Crisis Goes Beyond Pay, Ground-Handling Giant Says - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 05, 2022

BY Christopher Jasper and Manus CrannyBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for our Middle East newsletter and follow us @middleeast for news on the region.

Airports need to address their unpopularity as a workplace if they’re to resolve a labor crunch that’s spawned a summer of travel chaos, the world’s biggest ground-handling firm said.

While pay hikes may narrow the staffing gap, they won’t resolve deep-seated issues in attracting new recruits, Tarek Sultan, vice chairman of Agility Public Warehousing Co., said Friday after the Gulf firm completed the purchase of John Menzies Plc, which provides handling at hubs including London Heathrow.

“It’s really hard to hire people in this day and age after Covid and we’re really trying to figure out why,” Sultan said on Bloomberg Television. “Nobody has a 100% clear answer. We have to be competitive with our wages, but we also have to look at other ways to improve retention and make this industry a more attractive place to work.”

Heathrow last week blamed airlines and their ground handlers for the turmoil that’s been afflicting European travel for months as demand rebounds from the pandemic. Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye said they’ve been too slow to recruit and that handlers including Menzies are in some cases not paying enough to compete with firms like Amazon.com Inc. as they seek staff.

Sultan said that while Kuwait-based Agility understands that it must invest to beef up the workforce, costs would need to be passed on and the airline industry right now is “not the ideal place to be looking to increase prices to customers.” Expenses would have to be offset “in a very measured way.”

He said the travel situation should improve over the next couple of quarters, and that in future the aviation industry as a whole needs to do better in anticipating demand and coordinating step changes in operations.

Read more: U.K. Airport Handler Menzies Accepts $750 Million Kuwaiti Bid

Edinburgh-based Menzies said Friday that its London Stock Exchange listing was canceled as of 7 a.m. after Agility completed the 571 million-pound ($694 million) takeover.

Agility’s National Aviation Services will take on the name and identity of the Scottish firm, which traces its origins back almost 190 years and provides ground handling, aircraft fueling and cargo services at more than 200 locations in about 40 countries.

NAS operates at about 55 airports across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Dabiri-Erewa: Visa to Dubai Now Impossible to Access for Male Nigerians Under 30 - THISDAY

AUGUST 05, 2022

Insists Italian who killed Nigerian must be prosecuted

BY  Nume Ekeghe in Lagos, Kingsley Nwezeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Chairperson, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has noted that the recent incidents of various cult clashes and crimes committed by Nigerians in Dubai have caused stringent visa accessibility, making it impossible for males below 30 to be granted visas.

She also said that the unfortunate incident where a Nigerian, Mr. Alika Ogorchukwu was beaten to death in Italy is a priority for the Nigerian Embassy in Italy, stating that the accused must be tried and prosecuted accordingly.

She said this yesterday when she featured on ‘The Morning Show’ on Arise News Channel, a THISDAY broadcast station.

On visa accessibility by Nigerians, she said: “I think a few Nigerians have taken bad behaviour too far and we have to admit and accept that. It is not about profiling or generalisation, it has gone too far. So, what the Dubai authorities have done is they’ve made their visa processes more stringent. So if you are a male below 30, no visa for you. It is very difficult, they have made it so stringent that you’re not likely to fulfill it. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

“Secondly, if you’re looking to Dubai now, you have to provide a six-month bank account, you have to have your return ticket and you must show proof of accommodation and if you lie, they are going to know and turn you back.”

“So, let’s learn to obey laws of other countries and just do the right things because there are too many good Nigerians in Dubai.”

Also giving an update on Ogorchukwu’s case, she noted that the Italian government has been very cooperative and that the Nigerian consulate would not allow it to be brushed under the carpet.

She added: “In the case of Alika, the autopsy is out and he died of suffocation. A meeting is actually ongoing, just like yesterday with the Nigerian ambassador, and officials of the Italian authorities on the next steps forward. The person is with the police and now the next step is to charge him to court.”

“And as of yesterday, 15,000 euros were actually donated to Alex’s wife. It was a contribution by the Italians, the Nigerian community and everybody rallied around to support this particular course that was really a case of evil wickedness.”

“And the Nigeria Ambassador to Italy is of course demanding that this case must be tried to the logical conclusion. No excuses whatsoever. And the Italian authorities are very cooperative. In fact, they’ve been very, very cooperative, because they all admitted that this really is one death that didn’t need to happen. So, the Nigerian ambassador is on top of the situation.”

“The Nigerian embassy will definitely ensure that this case is not swept under the carpet,” she said.

Nigeria Now In Worse Situation Than In 2015 – Sanusi - NAN

AUGUST 05, 2022

Muhammadu Sanusi II, former Emir of Kano, has expressed great concerns about the current state of the country. He said Nigeria is now in...


Muhammadu Sanusi II, former Emir of Kano, has expressed great concerns about the current state of the country.

He said Nigeria is now in a worse situation compared to what obtained in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over from former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sanusi spoke on Thursday in Lagos at the Akinjide Adeosun Foundation (AAF), leadership colloquium and awards.

“This is the only oil-producing country that is grieving at the moment when oil prices have gone up as a result of the Russia/Ukraine war. Our total revenue is not able to service our debt. And if anybody does not understand that we are in a complete mess, we are.

“We were in a deep hole in 2015. And between 2015 and now, we have been digging ourselves into a deeper hole.

“We thought we had a big problem in 2015. 2015 is nothing compared to what will happen in 2023. We have terrorism, we have banditry, we have inflation, we have an unstable exchange rate, and the worst thing is that those in leadership actually think we are going to thank them when they leave office, that we are going to appreciate them. There is no change.

“There is no sense of urgency. If you are running a company and your sales revenue cannot pay interest, you know you’re bankrupt.

“When the total revenue of the Federal Government cannot service debt we are smiling. These are the kinds of questions we need to ask. And the reality is that there are so many Nigerians, who, given the opportunity will do well but they simply cannot contest in that space,” he said.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, hinged the challenge on the lack of vision of some of the country’s leaders.

He added, “What is our vision for Nigeria? Do we have a vision of one country? Do we have a vision of one united country, that lives peacefully with itself — diverse, multicultural, multi-religious but one?

“Leaders after leaders, most of those who have ruled did not have a vision for a united Nigeria. How would you like to be remembered after eight years as a President, after eight years as a governor, eight years as a minister, eight years as Governor of CBN? How will you like history to remember you? They have not thought about it.

“The vast majority of those in office have a vision that is limited to the next election. It is to win. And when you’ve won, you’ve reached a destination, not a journey.”

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