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Nigeria’s hyena men put maligned animals centre stage - REUTERS

AUGUST 19, 2021

By Nneka Chile and Seun Sanni

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) – A hyena may not be your average house pet, but in northern Nigeria some men keep the creatures in their homes, display them at festivals and even use their dung or saliva to make remedies.

Abdullahi Jahun comes from a line of hyena men, as they are called. He learnt how to tame and handle a hyena from his father, and now makes a living from touring around northern Nigeria to entertain crowds with his own animal.

“This was my job from when I started walking as a child,” said Jahun during an appearance in the city of Kano. “I used to see my elders do it and became enthusiastic about it.”

Jahun says he captured his hyena two years ago and has taken it to events such as festivals, coronations of traditional rulers, and durbars, a type of parade where horsemen in colourful costumes show off their skills to honour a local emir.

Jahun and his hyena usually appear alongside other street performers such as snake charmers, drummers and dancers.

He allows children to sit on its back, and sometimes he carries a child on his own shoulders and the hyena around his hips at the same time.

Depending on the size of the crowd, he makes between 8,000 and 20,000 naira ($20-$50) per appearance.

Hyenas are often viewed as repulsive and sinister, partly due to their scavenging habits in the wild, but traditional leader Nasiru Wada says hyena men have been part of popular culture in northern Nigeria for many generations.

‘DYING ART’

“It used to be really prolific but not anymore,” he said, adding that hyenas are harder to come by than in the past due to shrinking habitats. “What we have seen now is a dying art.”

Wada acknowledged that the ways of the hyena men may not chime with modern ideas about the treatment of animals, and conservationists have raised questions about how they are captured and kept.

But Yaya Kawu, a farmer, hunter and traditional healer, who lives with a hyena and several snakes in a rural town in Kano State, says his animals are considered part of normal life in his community.

His mud brick compound regularly attracts gaggles of children eager to look at the animals, and neighbours who have just slaughtered a goat sometimes offer him a gift of meat for his hyena.

Kawu sells remedies made from hyena dung, saliva or hair, which he says can help with a range of ailments — even bad behaviour by teenagers.

“Some young people, they get into drugs, alcohol. The parents come to me and I give them a remedy so that everything will be all right,” he said.

($1 = 411.0000 naira)

(Additional reporting by Afolabi Sotunde and Ahmad Abdullahi, writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Nigerian High Commissioner Forwards Result Of COVID-19 Test To UK Govt - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

AUGUST 19, 2021

By Kunle Oderemi

Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, has communicated to the UK government his testing negative to Covid-19, following the recent shutting down of the Nigerian mission in the UK after two officials tested positive to the pandemic.

Ambassador Ishafa gave the update on the incident in a message entitled Compliance with the new NHS regulations on Covid19 made available to Nigerian Tribune.

He said the result of a PCR test he took on Saturday, August 14, 2021, he received on Sunday, August, 15, was negative.

“A copy of my negative test result and evidence of my two jabs (full vaccination) has been forwarded to the Head of Chancery for the records and accreditation into the Mission on Wednesday 18th August 2021, in line with the new regulations of the host Government,” he stated.

The high commission was shut on for 10 days by the mission, “in order to observe the mandatory isolation of those who were in contact with the affected officials.”

In the update released by Ambassador Ishola, he stated: “The Head of Chancery brought to our knowledge the new regulations by the NHS regarding close contact with Covid19 positively tested person in the UK, with effect from 16th August 2021.

“Responsible, transparent and accountable leadership demands the compliance of the High Commissioner with immediate effect.

“Consequently, I took a PCR test on Saturday -14th August and received a negative test result on Sunday, 15th August 2021.

“A copy of my negative test result and evidence of my two jabs (full vaccination) has been forwarded to the Head of Chancery for the records and accreditation into the Mission on Wednesday 18th August 2021, in line with the new regulations of the host Government.

“As law-abiding citizens, I enjoined you to ensure strict compliance with the regulations.”

A statement titled, Closure of Nigerian High Commission, London, issued in the wake of the incident had read: “This afternoon, the Head of Immigration Section and two other officials went for a meeting at the Home Office.

“At the entrance, COVID-19 test was administered on them and one of them tested positive to COVID-19. The affected officer was immediately isolated while the other officials, who tested negative will also isolate for the next 10 days.

“In response to this challenge, the Mission embarked on testing all officials of the Mission, after which another official of the Mission tested positive.”
https://tribuneonlineng.com/ni...


It’s Good That Nigerians Are Barred From Dubai, Other Countries – Nigeria’s Tourism Boss Says - SAHARA REPORTERS

AUGUST 19, 2021

According to him, Nigerians now look for alternative places within the country to relax and spend their holidays or weekends.

he Nigerian government through the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has said the restriction of Nigerians from travelling abroad is a blessing to the nation’s economy and domestic tourism.

Folarin Coker, NTDC’s boss, made the assertion in Abuja on Wednesday.

“If Dubai Emirate Airline is not coming to Nigeria, Nigerians will not pack their naira, change it into dollars to go and buy tickets,” Mr Coker said.

The governments of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates have been engaged in a diplomatic spat going by the latter’s set of stringent measures to deny Nigerians free access to their country, citing COVID-19 concerns.

Though the Nigerian government insists Nigerians have the rights to travel to the Arabian gulf under extant international laws, its top tourism official calls UAE’s bluff, saying it will save Nigeria the much needed forex to boost local economy.

“We pay a foreign airline to go to a foreign country and stay in a foreign hotel. The naira is N510 to one dollar; let Nigerians stay at home and learn to appreciate the country,’’ he argued.

Coker spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on the level of the corporation’s preparation toward the South-South Stakeholders Interactive Forum.

Themed “The Use of Digital Technology to Revamp the Tourism and Hospitality Industry amid COVID-19 and Security Challenges in Nigeria,” the forum is scheduled to be held between August 26 and August 27 in Calabar.

Speaking further, the director-general said that the restriction of people from travelling abroad due to COVID-19 had boosted domestic tourism as most Nigerians no longer traveled out of the country.

According to him, Nigerians now look for alternative places within the country to relax and spend their holidays or weekends.

“There are no foreign holidays now, we are all going to enjoy our local music, film, food, fashion, theatre and dance. I think COVID-19 has done the Nigerian tourism industry good,” he said.

Coker said the NTDC would take the message of domestic tourism through the use of technology to the upcoming South-South Stakeholders interactive forum in Calabar.

According to him, the idea is to encourage the stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure their businesses are driven by technology.

“We are trying to encourage the stakeholders in the entire value chain of the tourism ecosystem that there is a new way and is driven by technology.

“So, we are encouraging them to take advantage of technology to promote domestic tourism.

“There is the need for them to show Nigerians what is good in the country to stand a chance with our own tourism assets rather than something abroad,” Coker said. 

Foreign airlines kick over inability to repatriate $143.8 million - THE GUARDIAN

AUGUST 20, 2021

Foreign airlines operating in and out of Nigeria have complained over difficulties in repatriating accumulated funds, now in excess of $143.8 million.

The airlines, under the aegis of International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the stuck funds have further made recovery difficult for struggling carriers.

Though not peculiar to Nigeria, the funds were from tickets sold locally but could not be repatriated due to forex liquidity crisis.

IATA noted that approximately $963 million in airline funds were being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries.

Four countries: Bangladesh ($146.1 million), Lebanon ($175.5 million), Nigeria ($143.8 million), and Zimbabwe ($142.7 million), account for over 60 per cent of this total, although there has been positive progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe of late.

IATA, the global clearing house for 290 international airlines, urged Nigeria and other governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate close to nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.

IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said governments were preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated. “This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets, as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritise ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk,” Walsh said.

IATA encourages governments to work with the industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energise economies as they recover from COVID-19.

Similar situation in 2016 had over $600 million (N120 billion) stuck in Nigeria, forcing some airlines like United Airlines to quit operations.

Travel expert, Bankole Bernard, who is also the Chairman of the Airline Passenger Joint Committee of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), explained that the stuck funds, like everything else in aviation, including aircraft, spare parts, crew training and fares, are quoted in dollars and a function of forex availability.

Bernard said: “As of 2019, the dollar was N360. Today, it is over N500. You can forget the CBN’s exchange rate of N410/$1 because you can never get it. So, airlines are not selling at that rate because they are not buying at the official rate. Interbank rate may be selling at N460 to N470/$1. So, airlines will increase the fares a little to be able to accommodate the Rate of Exchange (RoE). It is really because of the weak Naira that fares have gone up, not because ticket rates increased. Yet, forex is not available for the airlines to repatriate.”

He said it was unfortunate that the government was yet to understand how the downstream of the aviation industry works, to warrant the right intervention and priority of air travel as one of the mainstays of the economy.

Dozens of migrants lost at sea off Mauritanian coast - REUTERS

AUGUST 20, 2021

NOUAKCHOTT, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Up to 47 people including three minors are missing and suspected to have died after their boat encountered engine trouble on the passage from Western Sahara to Spain's Canary Islands, the United Nations migration agency said on Tuesday.

A boat carrying 54 people left Laayoune in Western Sahara around Aug. 3 before the engine failed, according to the testimony of seven survivors who were picked up by the Mauritanian coastguard.

"We are working with the Mauritanian authorities to search for the bodies of those migrants who died en route to the Canary Islands," said Boubacar Seybou, an IOM spokesman.

Fuerteventura, the closest of the Canary Islands to the African coast, lies around 100 km (60 miles) away from Laayoune.

From Jan. 1 to July 31, at least 7,531 people reached Spain's Canary Islands from Western Africa, according to Spanish government figures, a 136% rise compared with the same period in 2020.

Reporting by Kissima Diagana; Writing by Hereward Holland Editing by Jonathan Oatis

Government cashes in on Covid deaths with record inheritance tax haul - THE TELEGRAPH UK

AUGUST 20, 2021

BY Harry Brennan



The human cost of the pandemic has contributed to the biggest monthly inheritance tax haul on record.

Receipts from the divisive 40pc death duty hit £571m in July, with the state’s take since the start of the new tax year in April climbing to £2.1bn. This was up £500m compared to the same period last year – a jump of almost a third.

Financial experts said the record haul was the result of mounting coronavirus deaths and a freeze in tax breaks.

Sarah Coles of investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown said the jump in the tax take was down to “the horrible rise in deaths of people with coronavirus” earlier in the year. “What we’re seeing now is a result of the tragically high death rate in early 2021.” She said the latest jump followed a similar spike in death taxes – which must be paid six months after someone has died – in October 2020, six months after the first wave.

Ketan Patel of Kingswood wealth managers said the “sobering figures” would continue to rise, as more grieving families were forced to pay and more were dragged into the tax net designed for the wealthiest in society, due to booming house prices and a five-year freeze in tax protections at the March Budget, which he dubbed a “stealth tax”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said freezing the £325,000 tax-free allowance against the duty would “strengthen the public finances” in the wake of the crisis. The allowance has not risen since 2009, despite years of inflation and rampant house price growth.

The move will make the state more money than ever before from IHT next year, with annual receipts forecast to reach £6bn for the first time, up from £5.4bn this year, growing to £6.6bn by 2026.

The number of people forced to pay will rise by around two-fifths over the same time, according to official predictions.

James Ventress of advisers Quilter said the Chancellor's freeze on tax breaks was “having the effect desired”. “It is dragging more and more people into paying IHT, particularly now asset prices have swelled in the past 12 months or so,” he added.

House prices were up more than 13pc for the year to June, with the cost of an average home reaching a record £266,000. The stamp duty holiday announced last year helped fuel the fastest growing property prices since 2004.

The home buying frenzy contributed to the biggest monthly stamp duty intake ever recorded, with receipts for July surpassing £1.3bn.

Airports concession will fail, legal tussle imminent – Labour - PUNCH

AUGUST 20, 2021

BY Okechukwu Nnodim


Aviation unions have said the Federal Government would not succeed in its plan to concession Nigeria’s four major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.

However, it was also learnt that the move to concession the facilities had created a division among airport workers, as those in private aviation companies were in support of concession, while their counterparts in the public service opposed the plan.

On Tuesday, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government had officially commenced the search for concessionaires to manage Nigeria’s four major airports.

It made this public through the Federal Ministry of Aviation in its requests for prequalification for the concession of four international airport terminals and related services.

Reacting to this, the Secretary-General, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Ocheme Abba, said the move would not succeed as there were so much legal tussle and other baggage around the operations of the four airports.

He told our correspondent that prospective bidders were not aware of these concerns, stressing that the union and its partner associations in the sector would make this public soon.

Abba said, “The concession exercise is carrying too much baggage and they (government) cannot succeed. It will not work because of the too much baggage. However, our views will be documented and unveiled by next week Tuesday.

“There are a lot of liabilities and labour issues that have not been addressed at all. There are economic issues surrounding the airports themselves, including many concessions that are already on and are legally binding.

“There are many legal unresolved issues. So the baggage is too much and I think this information has not been communicated to interested bidders. So, we intend to issue a caveat emptor shortly.”

When asked to speak on some of the labour and economic issues that should be resolved before the concession would succeed, Abba noted that the valuation of workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was not captured in the business case for the concession of the airports.

He said, “There is a N120bn actuarial valuation for the over 12,000 workers of FAAN that has not been captured by the Outline Business Case. This is not in the public domain and bidders are not aware of it.

“On economic issues, most businesses of FAAN are currently under multiple concessions that are already ongoing and are legally binding at these very airports.

“There are over 50 legal cases on various aspects of operations of the airports that are currently in court. So these are just a few reasons why the plan to concession the airports won’t work.”

But the National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Illitrus Ahmadu, told our correspondent that the development had divided public and private aviation sector workers.

He said, “I’m not supposed to speak to you on this issue because in my union, we are divided over the issue. My union has affiliation with workers in the private and the public sectors.

“So while my members in the private sector such as airlines are pro-concession because they want better services and quick turnaround time at airports, the employees in FAAN say they don’t want it.”

Ahmadu, however, noted that the fact of the matter was that the issue had to do with the policy of the Federal Government.

He said, “It is the policy of government. Recall that in this country, under the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) administration, they adopted PPP (public private partnership), whatever model.

“In some of the models, the government sold or privatised public assets. But I think there is a different approach to it this time round because this government said they were not going to sell.

“They said they would adopt concession so that after a period of time, the asset could come back to the government.

“However, I must say that wherever the pendulum swings, whatever government says they want to do, the most important thing for us at labour is to discuss the welfare of our members.”

He said it would be tough for workers to change the policy of government on this, stressing that the way forward was for the unions to engage government on the welfare of their various members.

Ahmadu said, “You can’t change the policy; it’s been there since 2001. We have learnt from situations in the past when unions kicked against policies but government went ahead and concluded.”

He said that workers’ interest must be paramount as it would be futile to refuse to cooperate with government while it goes ahead to conclude and take decision that were injurious to the workers.

Battered Airlines Owed Billions as Governments Withhold Cash - BLOOMBERG

AUGUST 20, 2021

BY  Siddharth PhilipBloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Airlines are owed almost $1 billion across 20 countries as governments seek to hang on to hard currency, depriving the industry of vital cash at a time when travel has been devastated by the coronavirus crisis.

Figures published by the International Air Transport Association show that Venezuela is withholding a further $4 billion that’s been outstanding for years and may be permanently lost to carriers.

Lebanon, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are the worst offenders among other states, accounting for 60% of the $963 million deficit, according to IATA. While the total is down on previous years, it is higher as a proportion of overall sales after the pandemic limited flying.

“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a statement. “Now is not the time to score an own goal by putting vital air connectivity at risk.”

While blocked remittances have dogged aviation for years, they emerged as a major issue in 2013 when Venezuela tightened currency controls, leading several carriers to terminate or reduce flights there. Angola owed almost $500 million in 2018 amid a persistent shortage of foreign-currency reserves, before IATA negotiated a release of funds.

The current issues in Lebanon, which owes $176 million, emerged with an economic crisis that began in 2019 and has been compounded by the Covid-19 outbreak and a deadly explosion that ripped through Beirut last summer. 

IATA says there has been progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, which each owe airlines around $145 million. That’s about the same as the amount outstanding in Nigeria, a country that cleared a previous deficit in 2018 before the shortfall built up again last year due to the virus and an associated oil-price crash.

The airline trade group said it no longer includes the Venezuela shortfall in its tracking.

(Updates with Nigeria situation in seventh paragraph)

Of Manual Passenger Facilitation and Security Threat - THISDAY

AUGUST 21, 2021

More than two months after SITA withdrew from providing advanced passenger processing, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), still conducts manual check-in for travellers. Chinedu Eze writes that besides causing delays and possible security threats, manual check-in damages Nigeria’s image at a time the world has embraced advanced method of passenger facilitation

Since May 31, 2021 that the SociétéInternationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (International Aeronautical Telecommunications Society), known as SITA, withdrew its service from Nigeria due to disagreement with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the agency has failed to secure an alternative service provider despite the assurances that RESA, the Airport Data System, would take over in two weeks.

Before its exit, SITA was providing Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) to airlines that airlift international passengers from Nigeria. CUTE is an IT solution that enables multiple airlines to use existing airport facility to check-in passengers.

Investigations by THISDAY revealed that RESA engineers landed in Nigeria on August 15 to begin the installation of their equipment, which would take a minimum of 30 days.

Meanwhile, passengers and airlines are complaining seriously about the hiccups in passenger facilitation as boarding passes are written manually. This, airline operators said, causes delays, exposes the system to infiltration, which is a major security breach and also hampers accurate recording.

Prolonged Flight Delays

The station manager of a major international carrier at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, told THISDAY that airlines that operate international flights from Nigeria were told by FAAN that RESA officials would start installation of their equipment on August 16, noting that installation and migration to the new system would take 30 days. This means that air travellers would suffer the predicament of manual check-in for another one month at least.

“Airlines are not finding it easy. This is a complete mess that passengers are departing this country with manual boarding pass. There is security risk to it because the boarding pass can be pirated.

“It delays passenger facilitation because extra time is spent on check-in. according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) standard, each passenger should be processed in three minutes but with manual check in, it takes more than six minutes to attend to each passenger. Every airline has its schedule time it would arrive an airport and the time it would depart. It calculates each function, like check-in, security checks for each passenger and boarding. But now this does not happen as airline schedule them because of the manual processing of passengers. You have to write everything manually. Imagine writing boarding pass for 300 passengers.

“Also, the Nigerian Immigration Service personnel are not helping matters because they seem to purposely delay passengers while profiling them. So at the end every airline leaves later that it plans. That is why there is so much delay in departures these days,” the official told THISDAY.

Harrowing Passenger Experience

Passengers have complained that the delay caused by manual check-in was frustrating, forcing them to arrive their destinations later than planned. They complained that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in particular lacks passenger comfort because there are no seats and no resting bays. That means that when passengers arrive at the departure hall, they have no choice than to stand until they are checked in.

“Since the manual check-in started, passengers wait for four to five hours standing for big airlines that airlift over 200 passengers,” disclosed an official of a private security firm that provides facilitation support to airlines.

The Managing Director of Finchglow Travels and former President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard, who just returned to the country last week, told THISDAY that it was a bad experience travelling out of the country because of the delay caused by manual check-in.

He said that although he checked in online, but so many passengers who flew with him complained bitterly about the delays, noting that it was not a good image for Nigeria as a country.

“Why did we cancel the deal with SITA when we were not ready with the alternative on ground? Many passengers complained bitterly about the delay. This has made life very difficult for passengers. And this is a country that is talking about airport concession. The right thing should be put in place. You must measure up to accepted international standards to be respected and recongised,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, travel expert and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ambassador Ikechi Ukoh, told THISDAY that he did not understand why “there was no plan B before plan A was removed. I cannot apportion blames because I do not have the details of what happened but what we are seeing is shambolic. We don’t know what happened in the contract but passengers have borne the brunt of that decision for over 60 days.”

RESA’s Arrival

A source at FAAN told THISDAY that top officials from the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN, led by the Managing Director of the agency, Captain Hamisu Yadudu, travelled to France to meet RESA and its Nigerian representative, Arlington, to discuss how to hasten the take over of passenger facilitation at the international airports.

The source said the officials left a bit too late after more than two months that passenger processing was done manually.

“Manual processing has security implication. You cannot be sure of your record availability and it can easily be tampered with. That was not a good thing for Nigeria’s reputation. It slows down facilitation but let’s hope that they will install and migrate the system in time to provide service to airlines,” the source said.

Rejection of SITA

THISDAY learnt that FAAN rejected SITA after providing the agency services for over 10 years and chose RESA, represented by Arlington in Nigeria, but as at the time SITA withdrew its services, as was agreed with FAAN, Arlington was not ready to provide unobstructed succession, thus forcing airlines to revert to manual check-in that is fraught with delays. SITA is a major provider of the CUTE system for passenger processing. Its withdrawal from Nigeria has global ramifications.

“You know that when you are travelling from country A to country B, the destination country should get information of the passenger ahead so that countries like the United State’s Transport Security Administration (TSA) will profile the passenger. If he is a security risk you will not get his boarding pass. Manual check-in is cumbersome and will not allow this to happen in time,” an airline official told THISDAY.

SITA Reneged On Agreement However, the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, told THISDAY recently that SITA was supposed to have continued to provide services till the end of August but the company abruptly shut down its system to paralyse passenger facilitation.

Yadudu acknowledged that the sudden withdrawal of services by SITA led to long queues and delays as airlines resorted to manual check-in but noted that SITA, which reneged on earlier agreement it reached with FAAN, betrayed the agency, which led to the disruption of facilitation.

He explained why FAAN decided to terminate its services with SITA. “I think the passengers are having the challenge right now because FAAN planned to upgrade and remove the exiting system, which was provided by SITA. It has been in operation for over 10 years. The agreement was due for renewal and SITA did not participate creditably in line with the Nigeria procuring process and they are fully aware. We informed them much earlier of this. However, RESA of France participated and emerged as the only winner of that procurement process. It was all done transparently.

“Towards the end of the contract, SITA requested for six months extension, which will make it easier for SITA to continue to operate. In addition to SITA operating, these self-service kiosks are also available to make sure things are going on as planned. We provided two systems that can be working to make sure things are going on as planned.

“So, by two months into the six months agreement, SITA said they would only do three months. In the last month, they now put a lot of tough conditions, which were not part of the initial agreement. We knew something was amiss,” Captain Yadudu said.

He further explained that SITA was meant to operate till a new organisation took over and even three months after that take over. “In addition to SITA, we provided a company with self-service kiosks to complement SITA. SITA was supposed to provide self-service kiosk, baggage reconciliation system, CUTE, Traffic Surveillance System (TSS) in Abuja and Lagos. Abuja didn’t have that for the whole tenure of SITA. These were in the contract, but they were never provided by SITA. So, we decided that SITA should be there. FAAN ensured that SITA was still there for the facilitation of passengers and others. FAAN never wanted the ICTS to be the primary service provider if SITA would continue to provide services. We just wanted it to complement SITA, but when SITA pulled out, we decided to use ICTS as stop gap,” he said.

RESA Has Global Pedigree Captain Yadudu also said that RESA is a world-class company known for the provision of IT and communication solutions, just like SITA. “Whether you take my word or not, RESA and SITA are the most popular in the world. They do 95 per cent of the service worldwide. There is no question about whether RESA is good or not. As far as we are concerned, we did our due diligence and we were open.

“What is more, we had a contract that cuts across only two airports with SITA; Lagos and Abuja, while FAAN went for a much more comprehensive agreement. We went for five international airports with RESA. To us, it is a much more improvement and we added some services like the baggage reconciliation system and others for 10 years,” he disclosed.

The FAAN boss said the only time the agency owed SITA was during the Coronavirus pandemic, which everyone knew devastated the global economy, especially the air transport sector, adding that passengers comfort and easy facilitation are FAAN’s primary objectives.

“Our primary objective is to ensure that our passengers are safe and protected. Our safety cannot be compromised because of one singular act, but the delay is very unfortunate and we regret it. We can only appeal to our partners to please bear with us,” he said.

However, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed to THISDAY that RESA has brought its equipment and has been cleared for the Lagos and Abuja airports.

“The RESA Company the federal government engaged has brought in its equipment. The equipment has been cleared for both MMIA and NAIA. The technical team has started installation,” she said. But while the installation will take few weeks to complete, passengers and airlines will continue to suffer delays as manual facilitation continues.

Turkey ‘to come off the red list’ next week after drop in cases - EVENING STANDARD

AUGUST 21, 2021

Holidaymakers have fresh hope as Turkey could be struck off the UK’s red travel list.

It has been suggested the holiday hotspot will be moved to the amber list which would allow double-jabbed Britons and all under 18s to enjoy quarantine-free travel to the country.

Turkey remains a favourite holiday place in many Britons’ hearts as on average 2.3million UK travellers jetted off to the sunny country each year before the coronavirus pandemic.

- ADVERTISEMENT -

Pressure has been mounting for the country to be axed from the list ahead of the government’s update to the traffic light system next week, according to The Times.

NHS Test and Trace figures revealed 1.7 per cent of people who touched down in the UK after flying in from Turkey tested positive for coronavirus in the latest three-week period, according to the newspaper.

Now Travel industry experts suggested holidays to Turkey could be back on.

Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency travel consultancy, told The Times: “Turkey very much deserves to be on the amber list as it has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.

“Many agree it feels safer there than it does in the UK.”

Government sources told the newspaper no decision had been made on the traffic light system.

While Turkey remains on the red list, travellers must pick up the bill of £2,285 per person for a ten-day stay in quarantine hotel on their return to the UK.

The country was moved to the red list in May.

It comes after claims the UK’s favourite holiday destination Spain remains safe from the red list.

SEE HOW MUCH YOU GET IF YOU SELL

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