Travel News

Russian Crisis: FG Waives Pre-Departure COVID-19 Protocols For Ukrainian Returnees - DAILY TRUST

MARCH 03, 2022

The Federal Government has granted waiver from pre-departure Covid-19 protocols for Nigerian returnees from Ukraine....

The Federal Government has granted waiver from pre-departure Covid-19 protocols for Nigerian returnees from Ukraine.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the approval was granted by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19.

Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, who disclosed this in an All Operators’ Letter (DG/04/22) directed to all airlines operating to Nigeria said, “In view of the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID19 has directed that Airlines board passengers travelling to Nigeria with proof of having left Ukraine.

Approved was a waiver from the 48- hour Pre-departure COVID19 PCR test requirement and waiver from the requirement to pre-departure filling of the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP), payment for repeat test in Nigeria and generation of Permit to Fly/QR code.

The letter added that passengers will however be required to fill the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP) upon their arrival in Nigeria with the assistance of the Port Health Services.

“Upon arriving in Nigeria passengers will be directed by the Port Health Services to designated Government Laboratories for COVID19 PCR test. The COVID19 PCR test which must be done within Twenty Fours (24) hours of arrival will be at no cost to the passenger,” the letter said.

Daily Trust reports that Nigeria’s carriers, Max Air and Air Peace, have been contracted to evacuate Nigerians who fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The two flights to Romania and Poland by Max Air and Air Peace respectively would leave Nigeria on Wednesday night.

Nigerians Who Join Ukraine’s War Against Russia Won’t Need Visa - DAILY TRUST

MARCH 03, 2022

Ukraine has offered to waive visa requirements for foreigners who assist in its fight against Russian troops....

Ukraine has offered to waive visa requirements for foreigners who assist in its fight against Russian troops.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has already authorised a decree that would allow foreigners to help his country in the ongoing war.

The decree brings in a “temporary visa-free regime” for foreigners who want to help Ukraine in its defence.

At present, the country requires citizens from the European Union and the US to have visas of more than 90 days within a six-month period for visiting.

The visa-free regime will be effective immediately from 1 March and will remain in effect as long as the martial law is in force in the country.

It does not, however, extend to Russian nationals, referred to as “citizens of the aggressor state,” reported Business Insider.

Guardian had reported that over 100 young Nigerians have offered to join Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

In a report, the newspaper said the men, who besieged the Ukraine Embassy in Abuja, put down their names in a register provided by the embassy.

The Second Secretary, Ukraine Embassy, Bohdan Soltys, reportedly confirmed the development, adding that no step had yet been taken to that effect.

In a few hours, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be a week. President Valdimir Putin had ordered his troops into Ukraine last week, daring global leaders who had threatened him with sanctions.

Qatar Airways Debut In Kano - INDEPENDENT

MARCH 03, 2022

KANO – Qatar airways Boeing 787 inaugural flight to the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria touched down at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) on Wednesday.

The historic debut kickstarts four new weekly services to Kano from Doha -the capital of Qatar, through Abuja, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Airways’ state-of-the-art aircraft Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down at the new terminal of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to a water-cannon salute at 11:16 am Nigerian time. The aircraft has 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in Economy, it was learnt.

The inaugural flight was piloted by the Qatari Captain, Mohammed Abdulla, and Nigerian first officer, Mrs Adeola Olamide Ogunmola, from Gwagwalada, as a symbol of the close ties between the two countries.

Qatar Airways Vice President for Africa, Hendrik Du Preez, said the new route will connect to over 140 destinations across its network, apart from Kano to Doha.

Preez said: “Kano has been a trade and travel hub for hundreds of years. Now by linking it to the world’s best airport, Hamid International Airport in Doha, we hope to grow traffic between these two important hubs.

“We anticipate particular demand to and from India and other markets. We also expect strong cargo demand. This new service, not only underpins our commitment to Nigeria, but it is also a clear indicator of recovery and expected growth.

“Qatar Airways has stayed steadfast in its commitment to Africa throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since increased frequencies and grown its network, considerably improving connectivity to and from the continent and providing passengers with more choice and convenience,” he said.

Preez disclosed that in Nigeria, the airline offered three weeKly fights to Abuja via Lagos in November 2020 which grew to four direct flights to Abuja in December 2021.

“In addition to the four weekly flights to Kano via Abuja, we will also start operating three weekly flights to Port Harcourt from Thursday, March 3, 2022. This will bring the number of services it operates between Africa and Doha to 188 weekly flights, serving 28 destinations across the continent.

Speaking on the incentives, Preez said Qatar Airways will apply a “flexible booking policy” that offers unlimited changes to travel dates and destinations as well as fee-free refunds for all tickets issued for travel completed by May 31.

“Passengers flying to and from Kano will also benefit from Qatar Airways new baggage allowances, which provide for up to 46kg in Economy class split over two pieces, and 64kg, split over two pieces, in Business Class,” he said, promising safety, security, standard and customer satisfaction.

Speaking through a representative, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, said the new fights provide important travel and trade links between Nigeria and the world.

“As the largest economy in Africa, this enhanced global connectivity, through the new Qatar Airways service, will provide a vital network to move goods and people, as we recover from challenges of the pandemic and prioritise growth. Kano and Port Harcourt are both important to this recovery.

“This new service also reinforces the close ties between Nigeria and Qatar, and it paves the way to explore new untapped opportunities,” the minister said.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Qatar, Amb. Yakubu Abdullahi Ahmed said he was happy that Qatar heeded to his request by expanding it airways to Kano, which is the most populous state and commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria. “This will give me more opportunities for interaction and in carrying out my diplomatic assignment in Qatar,” he added.

Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero said the launching of the Kano-Doha air services was a trace to history, as he recalled that the first aircraft into Nigeria landed in the Kano airport which was built in 1922, became operational in 1936 and was commissioned in 1942.

The emir said Qatar Airways will connect the country, through Kano, to the outside world and boost economic investment.

Nigeria Air To Fly Before June 2023 – ICRC - DAILY TRUST

MARCH 03, 2022

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) says Air Nigeria will begin to convey Nigerians before the end of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration.

Acting Director-General (I-G) of the commission, Mr Michael Ohiani told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the ICRC was now working round the clock to get it operational.

Ohiani said that ICRC was working closely with the Ministry of Aviation, adding that a new presidential approval had just been given that would advance the process.

The ICRC boss who did not give details of the approvals, assured that the process would be moving to the next stage by the end of February.

“We will get the concessionaire, once we have gotten the concessionaire which is a major step, the issue of operation will now follow.

“I can assure you that before the end of this administration, Air Nigeria will start flying,” he said.

NAN reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Nov. 2021, gave an approval for the commencement of processes to inaugurate the nation’s air carrier, Air Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who at that time briefed newsmen, announced April 2022 as the effective date for the take-off.

Sirika had also said that 49 per cent of the Nigeria Air project would be owned by strategic equity partners, 46 per cent by Nigerians while the Federal Government wound five per cent of the shares.

Ohiani said ICRC has been able to issue 116 Outline Business Case (OBC) certificates and 47 Full Business Case (FBC) certificates approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He, however, said one of the challenges experienced over the years was the challenge of getting financing for long term projects.

“Our banks are used to short term financing facilities; however, Debt Management Office (DMO) has recently come into the fray by providing infrastructure bonds for most of these long term projects.

“So, if you do not have a long term fund to finance the project, before you even start, you are already going into default.

“In the sense that if you take a short term loan to finance a long term project, you will not be able to recoup the investment and start paying, and there is a tendency for default.

Air Peace Re-commences Dubai Route - DAILY TRUST

MARCH 03, 2022

LAGOS – Air Peace on Tuesday staged a return to Dubai weeks after the diplomatic tussle between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was resolved.

The airline recommenced the direct flight with its Boeing 777 aircraft with the register number: 5N-BUU. Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of the airline had on Monday told Daily Independent newspaper that Air Peace would recommence direct flight between Lagos and Dubai on Tuesday. A statement by Mr. Stanley Olisa, the Spokesman of Air Peace stated that UAE is not a new terrain for the airline, as it commenced scheduled operations into the country via Sharjah Airport in July, 2019.

Olisa adding that the airline is glad that it can now operate three weekly direct flights into the city of Dubai.

Air Peace noted that UAE and Nigeria have a long-standing relationship and is delighted to be serving as one of the veritable means of oiling this amity, especially solidifying the economic ties between the two countries through air travel.

“Our commitment to excellence and determination to reduce the air travel burden of Africans, will continue to drive our route expansion and fleet modernisation. It is this same excellence that we’re replicating in this service. Air Peace has recorded a lot of landmark strides in just seven years of operation. We now service twenty domestic routes, 6 regional routes, and two international destinations, including Johannesburg, which we launched in December 2020.

“We also have other international routes in the works, such as Houston-USA, Mumbai-India, Guangzhou-China and London. We’re constantly reviewing our route network in line with needs of the flying public”, the airline said.

Air Peace lauded the Dubai authorities and the Nigerian Government for making this possible and pledged to work harmoniously with all the relevant aviation stakeholders to ensure optimal operation into the Dubai International Airport.

FG orders domestic airlines to reverse 60% airfare hike - PUNCH

MARCH 03, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim

The Federal Government on Wednesday ordered domestic airlines to reverse the recent over 60 per cent hike in airfares on domestic routes.

It gave the order after investigations by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission showed that the airlines might have unanimously agreed on airfares hike during meetings by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, their umbrella body.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said in a statement issued in Abuja that it was wrong for competitors to come together and agree to fix price, but stressed that investigations were still going on.

He said, “Although the investigation is at early stages, there is sufficient probable cause to proceed and also provide interim measures to restore a free and undistorted domestic aviation market.

“In the circumstances,  the commission is in addition to engaging the relevant stakeholders entering and dispatching interim orders under Sections 17(a),(e),(l),(s),18(3)(a), 157 and 158 of the FCCPA prohibiting the performance or continuation of any agreement or arrangement associated with, or resulting from discussions, deliberations, debates, argument or resolutions of/at any meeting of the AON or its members regarding any increase in air fares and or any conduct not necessarily directly in compliance, but in response to changes in the market on account of  a compliance by others.”

The FCCPC enjoined “scheduled domestic airline operators to ensure strict and prompt compliance with the interim order pending outcome of the commission’s investigation.”

The commission explained that on Sunday, February 20, 2022, it became aware that domestic airlines purportedly under the aegis of AON, after a series of meetings over a period of three weeks, including the ones on February 17, 2022 and February 19, 2022, discussed multiple industry-wide issues, particularly challenges experienced by AON members.

It said findings showed that some subjects of the discussions included foreign exchange, cost of ground handling services, rising cost of jet fuel and airfares.

“The commission’s preliminary investigation discloses the meeting dates of AON to have been on or about February 8, February 17 and February 23, 2022,” Irukera said.

He added, “The investigation also confirms that one of the items of discussion during at least one of those meetings was to set base or minimum airfares.

“The commission’s understanding from intelligence so far gathered is that there was significant controversy and or an initial lack of consensus with respect to coordinated conduct resulting in setting airfares.

“The commission also has credible information that while attendees at the meeting may not have arrived at a consensus, the meeting ended in a resolution that encouraged, permitted or consented to the coordinated conduct.”

The FCCPC boss said the commission’s understanding from the deliberations at the meeting was that the attendees engaged in mutual discussions and exchange of their respective revenue management models or other commercially sensitive information.

“In furtherance of the discussions and or resolution at the meeting, certain champions of the coordinated conduct of imposing a base fare or a Minimum Re-Sale Price for their services in a coordinated and contemporaneous manner proceeded to increase their fares to a minimum of N50,000 across all sectors,” he said.

Irukera added, “Specifically, Air Peace, Azman Air and United Nigeria Airlines immediately proceeded with the increase. Arik followed.

“However, on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 6:31 p.m. Aero Contractors informed its trade partners (travel agents) and its commercial executive team by email that ticket fares were reviewed effective February 18, 2022 with the least fare being N50,000 across all routes.

“Aero Contractors noted in this communication that all other airlines have effected same increase.”

The FCCPC stated that within days, Max Air also increased fares to the same minimum N50,000, adding that Ibom Air and Dana approximately 48 hours after what appears to be the initial coordinated conduct, also increased fares although not to the purported N50,000 minimum.

It said Green Africa Airlines maintained its existing fares between N33,000 and N38,650 but had progressively increased its fares rising to approximately N47,000 on its Lagos-Abuja route on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.

“The FCCPA prohibits conduct or any coordination between competitors including on the platform of trade associations,” the commission stated.

It added, “Specifically, Section 107 (1)(a) forbids competitors from fixing prices, and Section 108 prohibits any conspiracy, combination, agreement or arrangement between competitors in any manner that unduly restrains or injures competition. Coordination in increasing prices (otherwise known as cartel) is an unambiguous infringement of the FCCPA.

“Further, the current and prevailing Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Air Transport Economic Regulations) in Regulation 18.15.2 (i) and (iii) expressly prohibits airlines from engaging in any contract, arrangement, understanding, conspiracy or combination in restraint of competition which includes directly or indirectly fixing a charge, fee, rate, fare or tariff and any collusive action.”

The commission stated that the FCCPA, Civil Aviation Act and implementing regulations of both legislations respect the right and prerogative of airlines (as other businesses) to set their fares independently subject to, and in accordance with prevailing law and applicable processes.

“However, prevailing law expressly prohibits coordination, agreement or cooperation between competitors in setting fares,” it stated.

The FCCPC added, “As such, the commission with the collaboration of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has commenced an investigation with respect to this subject.”

FG shifts concession of four international airports to Q2 - PUNCH

MARCH 03, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim

• To issue Requests-for-Proposal on national carrier establishment Monday

The Federal Government has moved the target date for the concession of Nigeria’s four major international airports from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter.

It also announced that the government would issue Requests-for-Prosposal for the establishment of the long-awaited national carrier, Nigeria Air, by next week Monday.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this during a chat with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, stated that transaction advisers for the concession of the airports were currently analysing the proposals of bidders.

He explained that successful bidders would be announced soon, adding that the entire process should be completed in second quarter of this year.

Sirika said, “The transaction advisers for the concession have finished the Outline Business Case and had got the Request-for-Qualification. We’ve pre-qualified the people and they’ve been issued Request-for-Proposal.

“They’ve turned the proposals in and we are analysing them to announce the successful bidders and this will be soon. Our timetable is for the first quarter of this year.

“Well, I can see that it is still happening, let’s be very ambitious, but certainly it will end in second quarter and all the (identified) airports will be concessioned.”

In October 2021, the Federal Government announced that it would send requests for proposals to qualified bidders for the concession of the four airports after assessing the requests for qualification.

It had also stated the preceding stage – request for qualifications phase of the Nigeria Airport Concessions Programme – came to a close at 3:00pm on October 25, 2021.

The October 25, 2021 deadline was announced by the Federal Ministry of Aviation on September 13, 2021, after deliberations with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the transaction advisers, as the committee allowed for a four-week extension, in response to requests from would-be bidders.

The government has been making efforts towards the concession of the four major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, and has been holding meetings with labour unions on the matter.

Meanwhile, Sirika stated that about 12 new airports were created in Nigeria since 2015 when the current administration took over.

He said, “There are more airports today than when we came in 2015. There’s Anambra and Lafia airports; there is Ekiti airport, going on; Makurdi airport, going on; Yobe airport, Ebonyi airport and many other airports.

“We have about 12 new airports added since we came and this is growth. And we have the same in other aspects of the sectors, as more runways are being added, more capacities for the airports are being delivered.

The minister noted that the government was diligently implementing the key components of the aviation sector roadmap, adding that “we are very sure that before the end of the term of Mr. President, these things will be achieved and realised.”

On the national carrier, the minister said the government would begin the issuing of requests for proposal to intending investors for the establishment of the airline on March 8, 2022.

He said, “The transaction adviser is going to request for proposal next week Monday. Government will own five per cent, Nigerians will own 46 per cent and the international partners airlines will take 49 per cent shares.

“We will give them some weeks to respond to the request, then we will announce the winning bidder.

“However, in the interim, because government intends to own only five per cent of the airline shares, we are going to go ahead with the AOC (Air Operator Certificate) which has commenced since.”

Sirika added, “I believe that by April, we should be able to have our AOC ready, which means, we are ready to start. And once the AOC is in our hands, the offices are secured, the interim board is being constituted, and when they finish signing the contract, we will announce who they are.

“Currently, they are called interim because they will hold the airline on an interim bases up to the time the investors will come and take over.”

Sirika said the interim board members “are noble people, some are Nigerians, some are not. I think they are about nine of them to run the airline and they will begin operations between now and July.”

He said that within the period, Nigeria Air would run Lagos and Abuja, “and as the situation demands, they may extend to Port Harcourt and other parts of the country.”

Airlines are adding hours of extra flight time and taking on higher fuel and labor costs to avoid closed airspace -

MARCH 04, 2022

  • Russian and EU airspace closures have forced airlines to take alternate routes, adding extra time and operating costs.

  • British Airways added one hour of flight time from India to London, while Aeroflot added three hours from Serbia to Moscow.

  • Analysts say the creative routings could increase passenger airfare and cargo rates.

Airspace closures over Russia and the European Union have forced airlines to come up with alternate routes to avoid restrictions, and it's adding hours of flight time and thousands in extra operating costs.

On Sunday, the EU closed its airspace to "any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person" as part of sweeping sanctions to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia responded with its own restrictions shortly after.

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot was one of the first airlines to feel the impact of airspace closures. On Sunday, the airline took off on a flight from Belgrade, Serbia, to Moscow that typically flies north across Eastern Europe to its destination in Russia.

However, due to the EU's newly imposed airspace restrictions, the plane had to fly around Bulgaria and across Turkey to get to Russian airspace, according to data from FlightRadar24. The detour put the flight time at five hours and 45 minutes — three hours longer than the usual two and a half hour flight.

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Meanwhile, Sydney-based Qantas has changed its flight path from Australia to London by flying over the Middle East and Southern Europe instead of Russia. Furthermore, British Airways has adjusted its route from New Delhi to London, adding one hour to the flight time.

While US carriers do not fly to airports in Russia or Ukraine, they have had to adjust some of their routings in the region. United Airlines told employees on Tuesday that it will stop using Russian airspace on flights to and from India, reported The Points Guy.

According to analysts, the detours are ramping up the cost of fuel, labor, and maintenance, which could lead to an increase in passenger fares and cargo rates. New York-based aviation consultant Robert Mann told ABC News that rerouted passenger planes could cost airlines $4,000 to $12,000 extra per hour.

For example, German carrier Lufthansa's cargo division said it has to carry up to 20% less freight due to the longer flight time, The Wall Street Journal reported. Currently, the carrier is avoiding Russian airspace by flying south of the country.

"Some routings will simply become uneconomic or impractical," Mann explained.

Instead of rerouting, some carriers have opted to suspend flights instead. London-based Virgin Atlantic Airways temporarily axed cargo service between London and Shanghai, Finnair stopped flights to airports in Japan, China, and South Korea, and Singapore Airlines ended service to Moscow, according to WSJ.

Airspace closures could also impact aircraft lessors that need to repossess aircraft stranded in Russia. On Sunday, the EU required aircraft leasing companies to cancel their contracts with Russian airlines by March 28, meaning those planes will need to be returned to their foreign owners.

However, Russian carriers and the nation's government could impose obstacles to make the task a logistical nightmare.

"It's possible the government could choose to challenge the lessors' abilities to repossess these planes, claiming Aeroflot is not doing any harm by operating the aircraft domestically," Henry Harteveldt, analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider.

"Who is going to fly these airplanes from Russia? How do the airlines get their Russian pilots back home again?" he continued. "All the logistics have to be figured out."

FEC approves N3.5b for aviation equipment in Lagos, Abuja, Kano - THE NATION

MARCH 04, 2022

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved  N3,523,592,079 for projects under the Ministry of Aviation.

This was made known to State House Correspondents after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the contracts  are for Abuja, Lagos and Kano international airports.

He said: “There was also the memo presented by the Minister for Aviation, which got approval for the supply and installation of two sets of complete high-capacity passenger security screening systems for the Murtala Mohammed International Airports, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at N1,193,630,980.

“There was also approval gotten by the Aviation Minister for the supply and installation of airfield ground lightning materials for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and also the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano  N2,329,961,099.60.”

Also, the FEC approved two memoranda for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, both of which are targeted at victims of the crime of human trafficking.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, who disclosed to journalists during the briefing, explained that both memoranda, will be targeting specific agenda, including provision of assistance to victims, as well as rehabilitation and resettlement.

“One is for Council to approve the National Policy for the Protection and Assistance of Trafficked Persons in Nigeria and the second memo is the memo on the Protocol for Identification, Safe Return and Rehabilitation of Traffic Persons in Nigeria.

“These memos are very essential to what the NAPTIP does, that is the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and they will help to guide our work and action as regards to the protection and assistance of trafficked persons. The two memos were viciously approved by Council and we’re very grateful to Council for that”, she said.

Nigerian lawmakers reject bill to regulate foreign education for public officers’ children - PREMIUM TIMES

MARCH 04, 2022

The bill seeks to make it mandatory for public officers to secure the approval of the Minister of Education before sending their children or wards to foreign schools.


The House of Representatives has again rejected a bill to prohibit public officials from sending their children and wards to schools abroad without approval of Minister of Education.

Sergius Ogun (PDP, Ogun), the sponsor of the bill , had introduced a similar bill in the 8th Assembly, but the lawmakers rejected the bill.

He also sponsored a bill to make it mandatory for public officials to get medical care in Nigerian hospitals. This bill was equally rejected by the lawmakers at the time, citing breach of fundamental rights.

The bill by Mr Ogun proposed that a public officer can only send his/her children or wards to foreign schools after approval of the Minister of Education. It also requires that the officers must provide proof of ability to pay the school fees of his/her wards.

This bill is coming on the heels of yet another shutdown of federal universities occasioned by strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the 2009 agreements.

Highlights of the bill

Section 4 of the rejected bill provides that “a public officer shall not send his ward or children oversea for studies without declaration of interest subject to approval.”

Section 6 of the bill provides the steps for getting approval. It said, “A public officer declaring interest in sending his ward or child abroad for further studies shall submit the following documents for consideration:

(a) A complete form stating the name and address of the public officer, the name and age of the child or ward, his level of education, name of intended school abroad, duration of study, and number of children studying abroad;

(b) Letter of appointment

(c) Bank statement of account

(d) Salary pay slip

(e) Declaration of assets form; and

(f) Sworn affidavit stating that he is financially capable of sponsoring his education.

Section 7 says (1) The minister shall conduct investigation to verify the authenticity of the documents submitted for approval

Section 9 of the bill provides a fine of N1 million or three years imprisonment for breach of the law.

The debate

Leading the debate on the bill, Mr Ogun drew a nexus between the dilapidating facilities in public schools and thirst for foreign schools.

He argued that the bill has the capacity to address the resources allocation to the public schools.

“The trouble with this is that most of those who patronize private owned educational institutions or those that travel abroad to study are children and wards of Nigerian public officers. These are the officers who should take responsibility for building our public institutions,” the lawmaker said.

He raised the concern on the outflow of scare foreign resources to finance these expenditures. The lawmaker noted that over N1 billion goes into the economy of Ghana from Nigeria.

Chiyere Igwe (PDP, Rivers), while opposing the bill, said the content of the bill offends the spirit of the 1999 constitution which grants every Nigerian the right to move anywhere.

He stated that the Code of Conduct Act is sufficient to determine if a public officer has the means to send his/her wards to schools abroad.

“As far as I am concerned, this bill offends the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, which guarantee freedom of movements. The constitution gives you absolute rights to move about. So, by this bill, you are offending the constitution, hence, it is null and void.

“The public officers that send their wards to schools, not all of them are in control of public funds. I stand as Chiyere Igwe, and I can say that I do not control public. If I send my children to school abroad, have I done any wrong?

He added that “By the Code of Conduct Act, you are only allowed to farm, with this bill, you are infringing on the constitution.”

Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi) also spoke against the bill on the basis of the 1999 constitution. He argued that many have had their wards in such schools before being elected.

“He should step down this bill. It is against my right. Most of us, before getting here, we have our children schooling abroad. So it is not because we are public officers, we should not send our children abroad. If you say because I am now a member of the House of Representatives, I should go and withdraw my children, from where they are schooling, when we all agree that the schools are not in order.

Other who spoke against the bill were Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) and the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu).

While exercising his right of reply, Mr Ogun, who was visibly displeased with his fellow lawmakers, urged them to read the bill properly to understand the content of the bill. He noted that regulation is needed to address the challenges facing public education in Nigeria.

He was, however, cautioned by the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), who asked him to watch his language on the floor of the House.

When the bill was put to vote, members overwhelmingly rejected it.


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