95 Libya returnees arrive Nigeria - VANGUARD
By Bose Adelaja, LAGOS
Another batch of 95 Nigerians, who were stranded in Libya, have arrived Nigeria under the Assisted Voluntary Programme.
The returnees arrived the country with the assistance of International organisation for Migration, IOM.
They arrived Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, at about 08:18p.m. on Tuesday, November 16 on an Al Buraq Airline with number UZ189/16/5A- DMG-MJI AD15:50.
After profiling, the data indicates that 60 male adults, 29 females adults, three male and one female teenagers with a male and female infants were returned.
The profiling also revealed that two of them were with medical cases.
The Libya returnees were received by National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which profiled them.
On arrival, NEMA Director General implored the returnees to turn a new leaf by looking inward within the country that has been blessed with abundance of resources.
He assured the returnees that the Federal Government and IOM along with other international partners will not disappoint them, and Nigerians, by providing enabling environment for all to achieve their potentials.
He further reminded them that the pseudo-greener pastures that many thought abound in foreign are not true.
“With your experiences, your are in better position to enlighten anyone still contemplating of travelling out of the country,” he added.
The Director General, who was represented by the Acting Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, Lagos Territorial Office, Ibrahim Farinloye, praised the efforts and assistance of IOM and assured the organisation of the contnous cooperation and partnership.
‘Absence of onboard security, super cargo fueling drug trafficking at ports' - THE GUARDIAN
By Adaku Onyenucheya
MWUN chides NPA, NIMASA on insecurity at ports
The termination of services of onboard security men and tally clerk on vessels as well as the absence of super cargo is described as being responsible for movement of hard drugs and narcotic substances into Nigerian ports.
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) made the disclosure following the continuous incarceration of 12 dockworkers by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) out of the 17 arrested onboard MV Cha Yaree Naree and MV Karteria both at Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) for the importation of 32.9 kilograms of cocaine worth over N9.5 billion in street value, since October 13, 2021.
Recall that the services of onboard security and tally clerks were terminated in 2015 by the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as directed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, even though the affected workers were later paid off in 2019.
President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who spoke to The Guardian, said onboard security men were critical in checking insecurity and illegal trade facilitation at the ports.
According to him, onboard security men perform duties that include, control of people and equipment to and from the vessel; searching of personnel and/or baggage; reporting of security incidents or breaches and assisting with the control of emergency situations.
He, however, lamented that it was unfortunate that the onboard security men and tally clerk, which are recognised by the International Labour Organisations (ILO) Law on Maritime, were disengaged in Nigeria, thereby fuelling importation of illegal hard drugs into the country.
“We have not experienced this kind of thing in the past, it is a surprise to us that it is becoming the order of the day where vessels coming into the ports are caught with cocaine and other narcotic substances. If there are security men onboard the vessels, there would not be transportation of hard drugs and narcotics at the ports of loading into Nigeria,” he said.
Adeyanju also argued that criminal elements have taken advantage of the defunct super cargo operations in Nigeria to perpetrate their crimes in the nation’s seaports.
According to him, super cargo identifies all the cargoes meant for Nigeria, Togo and other countries, as well as operations onboard the vessels.
He, however, called for the reintroduction of the super cargo and the reintegration of onboard security men on vessels to help checkmate the flow of hard drugs into the country, noting that cartels have used Nigeria to trade hard drugs.
Speaking on the detained dockworkers, Adeyanju said the union would no longer accept the injustice meted on the dockworkers, as the importer, shipping companies and those involved in the crime should be hunted and arrested.
He said keeping innocent dockworkers incarcerated was against the law, while urging the NDLEA to carry out proper investigation to fish out the culprit and release the illegally detained dockworkers.
He, however, said the union would partner with the NDLEA and other port stakeholders to raise awareness and sensitise dockworkers and other port users, noting that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should ensure the registration of credible dockworkers to avert illegalities in the port system.
Dubai Airshow 2021: Nigeria's Ibom Air orders 10 Airbus aircraft - KHALEEJ TIMES
'The A220 will allow us to increase the number of annual passengers, bringing more first-time visitors, business travellers to the region'
by Waheed Abbas
Nigeria’s Ibom Air has placed an order for 10 Airbus A220s at the Dubai Airshow 2021.
The signing was done by Mfon Udom, the chief executive officer of Ibom Air, and Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International.
“It gives me great pleasure to be here to announce Ibom Air’s order for 10 Airbus A220s”, said
Mfon Udom, CEO of Ibom Air, said the airline has achieved growth, chiefly driven by the massive embrace of its product and brand by the Nigerian domestic flying public.
“The addition of the A220 to our fleet will support our growth strategy and boost operational efficiency,” he said.
“The A220 will allow us to increase the number of annual passengers through Akwa Ibom Airport, in Uyo, thus bringing more first-time visitors and business travellers to the region. These efforts reflect our commitment to supporting local commerce and making a positive contribution to socio-economic growth in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria.” said the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel.
The purchase of the new A220s will enable the airline to continue on its growth path, offering new routes across not just Nigeria, but to the West African region and to Africa at large.
The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market.
By the end of October 2021, the A220 had accumulated 643 firm orders.
‘Excessive’ travel rules have suppressed demand, air industry boss tells MPs - INDEPEPNDENT UK
The UK’s international travel rules have “suppressed demand” and caused “great confusion”, according to the former boss of British Airways’ parent company.
Giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee he said the rules “continue to discourage people, principally because of the cost of testing”.
Even fully vaccinated travellers must pay for a lateral flow test after they arrive.
Mr Walsh, director-general of airline trade body the International Air Transport Association, said: “There’s no justification for the continued use of these tests based on the data.
“The recovery is definitely being hampered by the bureaucracy associated with UK travel, where a lot of other countries have simplified their procedures.
“Where we see restrictions relaxed or removed, there’s an immediate response in terms of passenger demand, and that’s been witnessed right across the world.”
Asked by committee chairman Huw Merriman if the UK’s regulations are solely responsible for its aviation sector lagging behind European competitors, Mr Walsh replied: “I think it’s a fair comment. It’s definitely suppressed demand. It’s caused great confusion for customers.”
Mr Walsh said the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has been slower than countries such as Germany, France, Spain and Turkey.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, told the committee that the UK is “clearly lagging behind”.
He said: “We had that lost summer with heavy restrictions when Europe was surging ahead and unlocking quicker than the UK.”
Karen Dee, boss of the Airport Operators Association, said the UK’s system is “still much more restrictive than it is in Europe”.
She went on: “We still have a testing requirement, a PLF (passenger locator form) requirement, that is more stringent and more onerous on passengers.
“That is certainly impacting on travel.
“I think we are optimistic for the rest of winter, but let’s not forget that winter is normally a loss-making system.
“So in contrast, over the summer when European airports were perhaps back up to 60-70%, sometimes higher, most UK airports struggled to get above the low double digit percentages.”
Amazon Will Stop Accepting Visa Credit Cards Issued in the U.K. - BLOOMBERG
BY Bloomberg News,
Amazon.com Inc. will stop accepting payments made using Visa credit cards issued in the U.K. starting next year.
Some customers were told of the changes this week. After making purchases they received a notification from Amazon saying that “starting 19 January 2022, we will no longer accept Visa credit cards issued in the U.K.” due to the high fees charged by Visa to process transactions.
Amazon customers can still use Visa debit cards, as well as MasterCard and Amex credit cards, as well as Visa credit cards issued outside of the U.K., according to the information it shared with customers.
“We are very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future. When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins,” a Visa spokesman said in an email. “We have a long-standing relationship with Amazon, and we continue to work toward a resolution.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nigeria Records Growth in Cargo, Air Passenger Movement - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
In the first six months of 2021, Nigeria recorded a total of 126, 541, 949 kg of air cargo made up of 112, 949, 463. 51 kg of imports and 13, 592, 486.12 kg of exports.
That was an improvement compared with a total cargo volume of 67, 279, 833 kg, made up of 60,651, 659 imports and 6, 628, 174 exports recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, according to statistics from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on passenger, cargo and aircraft movement.
In addition, a total of 6, 420, 820 passenger traffic was recorded in the first six months of this year. In the eight months of scheduled flight operations in 2020, Nigeria recorded passenger traffic of 9, 426, 297.
According to the report, from January to June 2021, Nigeria’s busiest airports, Lagos and Abuja recorded domestic passenger of 1, 073, 223; international passenger traffic of 67, 450 and 1, 111, 705 and 247, 422 respectively.
However, the 2021 figures were still lower than that of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, when the first six months recorded 8,023, 450 passenger movement and 79,762,921 kg of cargo.
The President of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agency (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, told THISDAY that the improvement in passenger and cargo traffic was expected, as COVID-19 began to ease, adding that COVID-19 protocols would continue to inhibit air travel according to strategies adopted by various nations.
“The improvement was expected; so for me I am not surprised because I know once restrictions starts to ease down there will be increase in travel both passengers and cargo.
“COVID-19 definitely will inhibit air travel if restrictions are still in place but the more the restrictions are being lifted, the more the travel industry continues to bounce back bigger and stronger,” she said.
Travel expert and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Ukoh, disclosed to THISDAY that international carriers were adapting their passenger airplanes to freighters because there was high demand for goods than passenger movement.
According to him, cargo freighting may be the future of aviation, so airlines are beginning to adapt and have started the conversion of their aircraft.
“What is happening is that the world is moving more goods than passengers. Almost every major airline is into freighter now. Emirates Airlines has moved some of its big passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380 to IAL Company in Israel for conversion into freighter.
“That was what Ethiopian Airlines did last year. They are converting their passenger aircraft to freighter because there are more goods to be moved than passengers.
“Passenger movement is yet to rise to that level currently but in Nigeria there is increase in passenger movement but on international air travel, airlines are still using smaller aircraft. I terms of cargo export from Nigeria, no significant milestones yet, but we are still importing goods. The differential between import and export is very high.”
Also, air transport specialist and former Managing Director of FAAN, Richard Aisuebeogun said: “Clearly one thing I need you to appreciate more is the way the global industry regulator, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have looked at the outlook for the revival of the industry in 2020, in 2021 and beyond.
“A number of speculative outlooks were provided in the past; that the industry would recover. Globally, in 2019 there was industry peak, which was rubbished by COVID-19.
“By the end of 2020 there were several forecasts, but IATA looked at the potential financial performance on the industry being revamped globally, knowing that air transport is a bridging gap but unfortunately we have had a resurgence on COVID-19.
“It is even said there are three variants of the Delta. When a virus begins to multiply and becomes more lethal, it will certainly draw back the economy,” he said.
On domestic travel, the General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said due to security fears more people would continue to travel by air even though it was becoming more expensive in Nigeria.
“More people will continue to travel by air because road transport is bedeviled by security threats. Although it is becoming more expensive to travel by air but more Nigerians will prefer to travel by air. Thank God there has been improved air safety and we have to give kudos to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). In the last nine years there has not been any major accident involving airliner in Nigeria,” she said.
The Director General of IATA, Willie Walsh said COVID-19 leaves air transport industry with $201 billon loss.
“In 2020, airlines globally lost $138 billion. Losses will reduce to $52 billion this year. And we expect a further reduction to a $12 billion loss in 2022. Add that up, and the toll that COVID-19 will take on industry finances tops $201 billion.
“For the airlines based in this region we are estimating a cumulative loss of $6.8 billion for this year, with an improvement to $4.6 billion in losses for next year. We are, however, past the worst point. And we can see a path towards normality,” he said.
Nigeria, eight others top African countries with high airport charges – Report - PUNCH
BY Dayo Adenubi
Nigeria and eight others have been ranked as African countries with high airport taxes, a new report has revealed.
Niger, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Bangui, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, and Nigeria topped the list of African countries with high airport taxes, the Airport Charges Report showed.
It indicated that airport taxes in the nine countries were as high as those in some European countries which had faced stiff resistance from the International Air Transport Association.
Niamey, Niger Republic which topped the list, charges passengers $162 on regional departure to African countries. This was followed by Monrovia, Liberia with $145; Guinea Bissau, $137; Dakar, Senegal $116; Douala, Cameroon $115; Bangui $111; Freetown, Sierra Leone $109; and Nigeria, $100.
International travelers at Bamako, Mali; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Cotonou, Benin Republic; Kinshasa, Zaire pay $99; $91, $88, $77 respectively.
In Accra, Ghana it costs $77; N’djamena $68; Djibouti $67; Cairo 67; Lome, Togo $62; and Entebbe, Uganda is $57. Charges by other African nations oscillate between $50 and $3.
Maseru, Lesotho had the lowest airport tax at $3, followed by Tripoli, Libya $4; Lubombo, Eswatini $7; Khartoum, Sudan $8; Gaborone, Botswana $11; and Tunis, Tunisia $11.
In Central and West Africa, 10 out of 23 airports (almost half) charge more than $100. As such, the two regions represented only 20 per cent of the global traffic into and out of Africa. Most of the northern African airports, which represent 35 per cent of the traffic, charge less than $50.
The Central and West African airports had the highest passenger taxes and fees, which varied from $164.9 in Niamey to $171 in Ilha Do Sal.
The five most expensive airports in West Africa charge over $100. Passengers in North African airports enjoy the lower amounts. Cairo charges $67 as passenger taxes and fees, while Khartoum charges only $8.2.
Emirates Could Return To Nigeria Under New Testing Agreement - SIMPLE FLYING
The end of a travel ban between The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria could happen if both countries are willing to accept a new COVID-19 testing agreement. In March, Dubai-based carrier Emirates suspended flights between the Gulf state and Nigeria over COVID-19 testing procedures.
When speaking about the suspended flights at a media briefing attended by The Cable, national incident manager of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19, Mukhtar Muhammad said both countries had agreed to review the guidelines and conditions imposed by the UAE.
Both sides are close to an agreement
On Monday, when speaking to the press, Mr. Muhammad explained that Nigeria has succumbed to the UAE testing requirements to maintain harmony between the two nations. He said there had been lengthy talks regarding the direct flights, and both sides were now close to agreeing on the terms. The urgency in resolving the dispute now is that thousands of Nigerian living and working in Dubai could lose their work permits if the disagreement continues much longer.
“They have met some of our requirements, and we are just waiting for one confirmation.” Mr. Muhammad said.
While also commenting on what was happening, the director-general of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, said direct Emirates flights would resume soon. In February 2021, Emirates mandated that people traveling to Dubai from Lagos and Abuja airports needed to have a COVID-19 test before departure.
The UAE was worried about Nigerian passengers being infected
When imposing the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) be done at the airports in Lagos and Abuja earlier in the year, Emirates was worried about people from Nigeria bringing COVID-19 into the UAE. Also, while not saying anything in public, health officials in Dubai were worried that some Nigerians were traveling using false PCR test results.
In February, Emirates directed Nigerian travelers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure, which led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria. The ban was soon lifted after Emirates agreed to drop the additional testing requirements. Then in a new twist, the Nigerian government reintroduced the ban in March, saying that Emirates still required people to have a rapid test before the flight. Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, described the tests as the “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travelers.
Emirates Nigeria flights could resume in December
Emirates also appears to be taking a softer stance issuing a statement on its website today stating that direct flights between the UAE and Nigeria will remain suspended until November 30, 2021. This could imply that both countries are close to reaching an agreement and that Emirates hopes to resume flights in December.
Until further news is available, Emirates reminds passengers that anyone who has been in or passed through Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be admitted into the UAE.
If you have a ticket for an Emirates flight that has been affected by the suspension, the airline says you do not need to call and rebook. Simply hold on to your ticket and contact Emirates when flights between the UAE and Nigeria resume.
United Nigeria diverts flight over technical issues - BUSINESSDAY
BY Ifeoma Okeke
A United Nigeria Airline flight U50505 to Lagos from Abuja, did an air return after the pilots noticed a technical issue.
The aircraft is safely on ground at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, BusinessDay’s findings show.
Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, head, Corporate Communications United Nigeria Airlines in a statement said all passengers were safely disembarked.
“The technical issue is now being fixed to enable aircraft return to service,” Uchegbu said.
Nigerians enrollment in US universities hits 3-year low - BUSINESSDAY
BY Bunmi Bailey
For the first time in three years, the number of Nigerian students seeking admission into universities in the United States of America (USA) dipped by 6.5 percent in 2020/2021, a BusinessDay analysis of a new admission data shows.
According to the Open Doors Report, published by the Washington-based Institute of International Education (IIE), the enrollment rate from Nigeria declined to 12,860 in the 2020/21 academic year from 13,762; 13,423 and 12,693 in 2019/20, 2018/19 and 2017/18 academic year respectively.
Analysts attributed the decline to (FX) scarcity and difficulty in sourcing foreign exchange, thus making tuition fees expensive.
“It is not surprising because the difficulty in sourcing for foreign exchange, volatility in the exchange rate, and uncertainty that persists in the exchange rate environment has made it too difficult to pay school fees,” Moses Ojo, a Lagos-based economic analyst said.
Ojo further said that over the past three years, there have been quite a few parents who have withdrawn their children who are studying in the US and other countries, thereby putting them into private universities.
Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa’s biggest economy which depends on oil proceeds has been riddled with weak foreign inflows, resulting in a liquidity challenge in the country’s FX market.
Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria devalued the Naira twice from N306/$ to N361/$, and N379/$, weakening the value of the Naira against the dollar.
More recently, the apex bank officially adopted the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) rate which weakened the Naira by 8.2 percent to N410.25/$.
With the rising cost of dollars, it has become expensive to study in the US. International students pay around $32,000-$60,000 per year depending on the university and the course, according to International Education Financial Aid.
“When the FX rate is going up, it means that the ability of people to afford it reduces. So, school fees are now becoming more expensive for people to afford,” Ayodele Akinwunmi, senior relationship manager – corporate banking group, FSDH Merchant Bank said.
The report also said that globally, Nigeria moved up by one place, ranking 10th position from its previous ranking of 11th among the countries with the highest number of students in America, while China, India, South Korea, Canada and Saudi Arabia are the top five countries.
Before the drop, the number of Nigerian students studying in the US has increased steadily since the 2011/2012 academic year from 7,028 to 13,762 in 2019/20.
Education experts say this steady increase in the outflow of Nigerian students seeking post-secondary education abroad is due to the failure of the public university system to adequately address multiple problems such as access, quality, funding, strikes, cultism, and stability of the academic calendar.
“The simple answer that I have is that people will go for value no matter the cost because they can afford it. Nigeria has many rich people who can afford American education for their children. If we fail to provide value at home, people will go out for it,” Akin Benjamin, a Lagos-based education consultant said in a phone interview.
He adds, “If you can send your child to a private university in Nigeria, chances are that you can afford education abroad as well.”
Over the past few years, budgetary allocation to education has not been more than seven percent of its total budget. It is no wonder that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the country has 13million children out of school, the highest in the world.
Also, Nigeria’s performance in human capital development has not been impressive. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the country dropped three positions, ranking 161 in 2019 from 158 in 2018 among 189 countries in Human Development.
“The education sector is facing the problem of incompetent teachers and unserious students. It is also facing the problem of dilapidated infrastructure,” Peter Okebukola, former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission said.
International student mobility data is crucial to the world’s largest economy’s higher education professionals looking to make informed decisions as they work to internationalize their campuses.
They enrich the U.S. universities and communities with unique perspectives and experiences that expand the horizons of American students and make U.S. institutions more competitive in the global economy.