Save Aviation Industry Before Another Plane Crash – Murray-Bruce

Save Aviation Industry Before Another Plane Crash – Murray-BruceThe Senator representing Bayelsa East senatorial district, Ben Murray-Bruce has predicted there will be a plane crash if the Senate does not take immediate action concerning urgent issues in the aviation industry.

The Senator said this at plenary, while speaking on the alleged deteriorating state of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

He moved a motion in favour of lesser taxes, regulations and reduced government interference in airline operations in the country.

He said: “The airport is nothing but a mall and can be self-financed by private sectors better. The Government does not need money to borrow to maintain or build airports.

“Airlines can be profitable if government will stop interfering in the way they are run.

“We are taxing the airlines to death, taxes should not be more than 5 or 10 percentage like in other countries but we charge about 40%.

“Tax Agencies in Nigeria are concerned about generating revenue which this is counterproductive to the airline.

“You cannot regulate the prices of tickets. This way you guarantee they don’t make profits, therefore their services will be reduced.

“No airline will delay you for eight hours unless they do not have finances to buy fuel, pay pilots and other services.”

He then urged the Senate to take the motion seriously, as hindrance to take action will lead to an accident which will lead to loss of so many lives.

“This motion is serious because an accident is about to happen, a plane will crash (and) people will die. I urge my colleagues to take this motion seriously.

“Find a way to work with the airlines not to kill them and find a way to make this motion productive and make it possible for them to be successful so we can live.”


Private Operators To Manage Lagos Airport, Three Others

Lagos AirportThe federal government has announced plans to concession four major airports as part of efforts to develop and secure the aviation sector and diversify the nation’s economy.

Addressing aviation industry players ‎in Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, announced that the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt will be managed by private sector operators.

He also announced plans by the federal government to establish aviation development bank and an aviation university to provide funding and quality technical manpower for the industry.

It was the first aviation stakeholders’ forum since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board.

The Minister reiterated the commitment of the federal government to fast track the development of the sector through public private partnership.

He used the occasion to announce the streamlining of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the creation of employment opportunities for Nigerian pilots.

Although the presentation of the Minister received an applause from the stakeholders, some of them expressed concerns about the activities of some agencies under the ministry.

Others appealed to the federal government to urgently address the challenges being faced in the industry.

The one day forum which attracted airline operators, pilots and captains of the aviation industry is aimed at strengthening the sector towards efficient service delivery.

Committee Recommends Launch Of National Aviation Security Programme

Aviation Security-AviationThe Ministerial Committee on Aviation Security has recommended the establishment of a National Civil Aviation Security Board to coordinate all security rules and regulations of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the Committee, Air Commodore Hambali Tukur, made the observation on Friday.

He said the recommendation was to meet up with the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard.

This was part of recommendations made by the committee in its report on the assessment of security at the Nigerian airports, which was submitted to the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

Senator Sirika also received a report on the review and amendment of the Civil Aviation Acts 2016 from the Chairman of the Aviation Act Review Committee, Ibrahim Idris.

He vowed that the report would be speedily considered and that the recommendations would be implemented as soon as possible towards a rapid reform of the aviation sector.

The minister expressed concern over the obsolete state of aviation acts which were hastily reviewed for the first time in 2006, after the initial enactment in 1964.

In his response, Mr Idris expressed optimism that their findings and recommendations were exhaustive, saying they would cause visible changes in the aviation industry if well implemented.

The committees were constituted in February for the review and amendment of the Civil Aviation Acts 2016 and the assessment of security at Nigerian airports.

CPC Cautions Service Providers Against Consumer Rights Violation

CPC-ConsumersThe Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has read the riot act to service providers in the telecommunications and aviation industry in Nigeria.

Addressing members of the Mentorship and Business Development Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja, the Director General of CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki, warned against the violation of the rights of consumers.

Speaking on Thursday, Mrss Atoki noted that the Council had been overwhelmed with complaints by consumers, who receive unsolicited messages from telecommunication service providers in addition to making consumers pay for poor quality of service.

She also decried the actions of airline operators offering shabby treatment to their customers in terms of delayed flights and outright cancellation of flights without compensation to their customers.

The CPC boss cautioned persons trampling on the rights of consumers to brace up and improve the quality of their services or be prepared to face legal sanctions.

TransAsia Ge235: Black Boxes Reveal Attempts To Regain Thrust

transasiaThe TransAsia plane that crashed into a river in Taipei, killing 35 people, failed to produce enough thrust after take-off, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council officials confirmed on Friday, adding that one engine was turned off and restarted.

Flight GE235 was carrying 58 passengers and crew, at least 35 of whom died when it lurched nose-up between buildings, clipped an overpass and a taxi with one of its wings and then crashed upside down into a river.

The black-box data and voice recorders of the two-engined aircraft showed that the plane warned five times of stalling before the crash, also that the flight crew tried to restart one of the failed engines to no avail. Council officials said.

“The right engine entered a state called ‘auto-feather’, in which it reduced thrust to the propeller.

“The flight crew then reduced acceleration to the left engine and then attempted to restart it, but it did not gain
enough thrust,” Managing Director of the council, Thomas Wang, stated without giving a reason for the restart.

He said the pilot had announced a “flame-out”, which could happen when fuel supply to an engine is interrupted or when there is faulty combustion, but there had not been one.

“The first engine experienced a problem 37 seconds after take-off at 1,200 feet.

“The flight crew stepped on the accelerator of engine 2 … The engine was still operating, but neither engine produced power,” Thomas said.

He said that the aircraft could fly with one engine, that the plane was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines. Pratt & Whitney which is part of United Technologies.

The pilot, hailed as a hero for his actions in the final moments, was still holding the joystick in the cockpit when his body was found.

The pilot, Liao Chien-tsung, was praised by Taipei’s Mayor for steering the plane between apartment blocks and commercial buildings before ditching the stalled aircraft in a river.

The bodies of Liao and his co-pilot were retrieved from the almost-new turboprop ATR 72-600’s cockpit still clutching the joystick, with their legs badly broken, investigators said.

Eight people are still missing. Aviation officials said they have not given up hope of finding them. Fifteen people survived.

The plane took off from Taipei’s downtown Songshan airport and was bound for the Taiwan island of Kinmen. Among those on board were 31 tourists from China, mainly from the southwestern city of Xiamen.

Taiwan’s Aviation Regulator has ordered TransAsia and Uni Air, a subsidiary of EVA Airways Corp, to conduct engine and fuel system checks on the remaining 22 ATR aircraft they still operate.

National Conference: Real Issues Are Corruption And Ethnic Differences – Ezeala

A Legal Practitioner, Chukwuma Ezeala, has recommended that the National Conference must have real representation of Nigeria’s 6 geo-political zones, for it to truly address the issues confronting the country.

While speaking on Channels Televison flagship breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, he noted that since the year 1964, the main issues confronting Nigeria had bothered on corruption and ethnic differences.

While admitting that leadership was also an issue, he argued that one of the reasons Nigeria has not had good leadership was because of the ethnic problems, explaining that the ethnic problems affect the way the leaders emerge.

He explained how ethnic groups determine who should be the Nigerian President and also influence who would be Ministers to work with him. He claimed that it has also been ethnicity that had shielded corruption over the years.

Mr Ezeala, however, suggested that this situation does not require that the National Conference be tagged ethnic. He said that what Nigerians must ensure is that issues of ethnicity are discussed. He said: “If we already have accepted to 6 geo-political zones, why don’t we make sure that there is real representation of those 6 geo-political zones, which represents the ethnic issues and which has fairly equal representation?”

On the issues of a “no go area”, the lawyer said: “If we must discuss how we are going to live, first thing will be to affirm that we want to live as one country. I think that 90% of Nigerians want us to be together, so why are you avoiding it?

“Let it be that for the first time, Nigerians have said they want to live together.

“Now, the next question is yes we want to live together but how do we live together? Is it possible for an Ondo man to come to Lagos and become the Governor of Lagos State? I think it should be possible if he is the most qualified…but we need to agree because my own view should not be the view of Nigerians.

“We should come in, discuss, decide this and we now give it a print of authority to say this is what Nigerians have done, and any president and any leader can now enforce it and not say that it was Decree 24 that brought us together and decreed how we should live.”

In a show of cautious optimism, Mr Ezeala expressed confidence that the constitution of the National Conference has the ingredients to address the Nigerian issues once and for all, provided that at the end of the conference there is a written agreement which would make it easy for political leaders to enforce the people’s resolution.

He also suggested that the National Assembly should pass a law that would enable the outcomes of the National Conference to go through a referendum, and if they are not ready to do so, the Conference could recommend or decide that what they had done should go through a referendum.

He also spoke about the structure of the representation at the conference as it affects the body of lawyers in Nigeria.

FAAN Has Done ‘Miraculously Well’ – Uriesi

The managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, George Uriesi, has commended the level of improvement the agency has witnessed under his leadership.

While speaking on Sunrise on Saturday, Mr Ureisi, explained that the reasons why visitors to Nigerian airports experience certain challenges including inadequate seats; improper air conditioning, is as a result of the out dated equipment.

According to him, airports are living organisms. You continue to construct and develop them but Nigeria has been sleeping for over 30 years after opening the last airport in 1982.

“In any country where you go to sleep with something as critical to the country’s economic development as airports, what we have now, what we inherited two years ago is what you find.”

The aviation system which he described as a ‘derelict and decrepit’ is what has made Nigeria’s flagship airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, a “national embarrassment and shame.”

“You sweat because the air conditioning came with the building in 1979. The generators came with the building in 1979, as well as the lifts and escalators.”

“What do you expect?” he asked.

However, he assured that the agency is “now changing everything” despite the limitation placed on them by available resources which necessitates a system of prioritization which determines what issues will be fixed first.

He added that the agency has done ‘miraculously well’ in the two years, since its revival.

Corruption In Aviation

The Director General of NIMET, Anthony Anuforom, hinted that huge corruption in the sector led to the broken-down state of the aviation sector.

While referring to the report by a committee, headed by air marshall Paul Dike, which recommended about N40 billion intervention fund to address airport infrastructure and safety infrastructure, he said that “if the funds were utilized at that time, perhaps the rot (my colleague referred to) probably wouldn’t persist up until 2011 when the present management of the ministry came on board.”

He disclosed that there is also another N6.5 billion sector project which was investigated by the Senate and is currently in court.

Anuforom was a director in one of the aviation parastatals in 2005-2006, in the Obasanjo regime.

Timeline of Plane Crashes In Nigeria

Nigeria has recorded several air mishaps involving passenger planes since it came into existence as a nation, most especially in the last decade. The Kano crash of BOAC Argonaut in 1956 may have been the beginning of this tale of woes.

Below is a timeline of air mishaps in Nigeria.

On June 4 1956 a British Overseas Airways Corperation (BOAC) four-engined Canadair C-4 Argonaut airliner register G-ALHE crashed into a a tree on departure from Kano Airport, three of the seven crew members and 29 of the 38 passengers were killed, and two crew and two passengers sustained serious injuries.

On November 20, 1969 Nigeria Airways BAC VC10 crashed on landing, killing 87 people on board.

January 22, 1973, Royal Jordanian Airlines flight 707 carrying 171 Nigerian Muslims returning from Mecca and five crewmen crashed in Kano, killing all on board.

• March 1, 1978, Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashed in Kano, killing 16 people.

• November 28, 1983, Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashed near Enugu, killing 53 on board.

December 1988, Skypower Brandeironte aircraft overshot Ilorin Airport’s runway, killing all passengers onboard.

• February 24, 1990, a British Helicopter crashed in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, killing all nine people on board.

• May 21, 1991, A Cessna Citation 550 of Ashaka Cement, Hombe, crashed, killing all onboard.

• June 26, 1991, An Okada Air Bac-11 crashed in Sokoto, killing three persons.

8 September 26, 1992, Nigerian Air Force AC-130 plane crashed minutes after take-off from Lagos. All 200 onboard perished.

•  June 24, 1995, Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashed on landing in Lagos, killing 16.

•November 13, 1995, Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crashed on landing in Kaduna, killing nine.

• January 17, 1996, Ibrahim Abacha, son of Sani Abacha, was killed in a plane crash. The group “United Front for Nigeria’s Liberation” (UFNL) claimed responsibility for the crash.

• November 7, 1996, a Nigerian Aviation Development Corporation (ADC) Airline Boeing 727-231 flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos with 142 passengers and 9 crew members crashed on landing, plunging into the lagoon with all onboard killed.

• January 31, 1997, Sky Power Express Airways Embraer 110PIA crashed on landing in Yola, killing five.

• September 12, 1997, NAF Dornier 228-212 in Nguru, Borno State ran into a ditch during take-off, none of the 10 occupants died.

• January 5, 2000, SkyPower Express Airways Bandeirante 110P1A crashed on landing in Abuja, killing 17.

• October 26, 2000: Dornier Aircraft plunged into a thick bush near the Niger Delta, six occupants injured.a

• March 14, 2002, a helicopter belonging to the Joint Task Force (JTF) crashed in Kabong, Jos, killing all  on-board including four senior police officers.

• May 4, 2002, EAS Airlines’ BAC 1-11-500 with 105 people on board crashed  in a densely populated suburb of Kano, killing 76 on board and 72 on the ground bringing total casualties to 148.

•November 30, 2003, a Cargo aircraft of Hydro Cargo, Brussels, Belgium, crash-landed.

• March 6, 2004, an Aenail spray aircraft with registration number 5NBEF belonging to Berfieex Nigeria Ltd, crashed at the Bauchi Airport.

• July 26, 2004, Pan African Airlines’ helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in Eacraros, Delta State, killing four persons onboard.

• December 29, 2004, a Boeing 727 of Chanchangi Airlines belly-landed at the MMA.

•December 29, 2004, a Kenya Airlines aircraft crashed- landed at the MMA due to gear fault.

• January 28, 2005, a Nigeria Air Force fighter plane crashed into a farmland in Yar Kanya, Kano State.

• February 25, 2005, ADC’s B73 aircraft had its tyre burnt while landing at Yola Airport.

• March 27, 2005, a Boeing 737 belonging to Bellview had one of its engines caught fire.

• June 11/12, 2005, a Boeing 727-200 aircraft belonging to the domestic Chachangi Airlines overshot the runway at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos while yet another overshot the runway at the airport in Jos in central Nigeria a day earlier.

• June 24, 2005, a Russian aircraft belonging to Harka Air crash- landed at the MMA, all the people on board died

• July 6, 2005, an Air France A330 plane crashed into a herd of cattle at Port Harcourt airport, sustaining serious damage and killing many of the cows.

•  July 23, 2005, a Lufthansa aircraft crash-landed at Lagos airport and was badly damaged, but no life was lost.

• October 22, 2005, a twin Engine Boeing 737, belonging to Bellview Airline crashed in Lisa Village, Ogun State and killed all the 117 passengers on board.

December 10, 2005, a Port Harcourt bound Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 crash-landed in Port Harcourt Airport, killing 109 passengers including 60 students of Jesuit Loyola College Abuja.

•  September 17, 2006, an 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crewmembers crashed in Benue State, leaving only three survivors.

• October 29, 2006, Aviation Development Corporation Airline Boeing 737 with 104 on board crashed minutes after take-off from Abuja’s airport. All but 6 perished in the disaster.

• November 10, 2006, a six-seater helicopter belonging to Odengene Air Shuttle (OAS) crashed in Delta State, killing two people.

•August 2, 2007, Bristow-owned helicopter crashed inside ExxonMobil facility in Port Harcourt.

• March 15, 2008, Beechcraft 1900D plane marked 5N-JAH, belonging to Wing Aviation crashed in Cross River State. The wreckage was not found until six months after. All four crewmembers died.

• March 8, 2011: HS-125 chartered aircraft crashed in Bauchi. No casualty.

•March 14, 2012, a helicopter conveying the newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John, with three other senior police officers crashed in Jos. The Police helicopter was to convey the officers from Jos to Abuja, and took off from the Jos prison field.

• Sunday, June 3, 2012, the nation was thrown into mourning again as a Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992 carrying 153 passengers on board crashed into Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated residential area of Lagos, killing all passengers on board,

•A Nigerian cargo plane, a day before, had attempted to take off from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, but crashed on Saturday night, killing 10 people and injuring an unspecified number of others.

•Four months after, precisely October 25, governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai and five of his aides narrowly escaped death when a Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ and piloted by Suntai, lost contact with the Yola Control Tower 38 miles to landing, after leaving Jalingo, the Taraba State capital and crashed into a hill in Adamawa.

• December 15, 2012, the nation was again thrown into mourning with the news of four persons dead, including Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and former National Security Adviser to the president, General Owoeye Azazi. They were reportedly burnt in a helicopter crash that occurred in the forest of Okoroba community in Nembe local government of Bayelsa State.

And yesterday, October 3rd 2013, an aircraft belonging to the Associated Airlines conveyig the corpse of former Ondo State governor crashed, minutes after take off at the local wing of the Lagos Airport. The plane had 20 people onboard.




Benin Airport: Psychiatric Patient Apprehended While Attempting To Stowaway

Security operatives at the Benin Airport in Edo State have apprehended a 25-year-old man who allegedly stowed in to the airport runway with intent of illegally boarding an Abuja-bound Arik flight.

The development is coming less than two weeks after a 13 year old boy, Daniel Okhena successfully stowed in an Arik wheel compartment, from Benin to Lagos.

25 year old Leroy Ugaga, who wanted to gain access to the airside of the Benin Airport was arrested today by a joint patrol team of FAAN’s Aviation Security Services and the Nigerian Air Force.

Ugaga told journalists in an interview that he was a psychiatric patient and was tired of life; hence he wanted to travel to Abuja.

The General Manager Corporate Communications of FAAN, Yakubu Dati who confirmed the incident said all airports across the country now have a joint security patrol comprising staff of FAAN and the Nigerian Air force since the last stowaway incident at the Benin Airport.

FAAN appealed to all members of the public especially youths to avoid authorised entry into restricted areas of airports across the country, as doing so is now extremely dangerous.


NLNG Accuses NIMASA Of Scuttling Out of Court Settlement

The Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of frustrating its move to amicably resolve the protracted dispute between them.

NLNG and NIMASA have been locked in a fierce battle over the issue of non-payment of certain statutory levies and charges which NIMASA claims are due to it from NLNG.

On Thursday, Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos had granted a short adjournment for the parties to conclude their out of court settlement talks, a development that prompted the court to fix Friday for the report of settlement.

When the case however came up, Counsel to NLNG, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN) told the court that settlement talks had failed.

In an interview with Channels TV, Mr. Akoni alleged that NIMASA actually frustrated NLNG’s settlement efforts.

“It appears to us that NIMASA is bent on stifling our business. NLNG has paid dividends to the Federal Government in billions.

“We even offered to continue to pay but they rejected our offer,” Akoni explained.

Justice Idris, it would be recalled, had on June 18, 2013 in Suit FHC/L/CS/847/2013 between NLNG and Attorney General of the Federation and Global West Vessels Specialists, granted an ex-parte order restraining the defendants from charging, imposing, demanding or collecting the 3% of gross freight earnings or any other sums further to section 15(a) of NIMASA Act 2007 on all of NLNG’s international inbound or outbound cargo ships owned, contracted or subcontracted by it.

After Mr. Akoni’s submission, lawyer representing the Federal Government, Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) moved his application seeking to discharge the ex-parte order on the grounds that the order was essentially made against NIMASA, which was not joined as party to the suit.

NIMASA has also filed an application seeking to be joined as a party to the suit.

According to Mr. Ajogwu’ application, the government contended that NIMASA is a body corporate with statutory powers to sue and be sued in its own name and that its non-inclusion as a party was a violation of the principles of fair hearing.

Ajogwu added that the fact that the other side was not heard before the order was made was fatal to the case of NLNG.

He further contended that an order cannot be made against a person who is not a party to the suit as it is necessary that such party must be given the opportunity to present its case.

Besides, Mr Ajogwu added that the dispute that gave rise to the suit was essentially between NLNG and NIMASA, and that the non-inclusion was a deliberate move by NLNG to circumvent the provision of Section 53(2) the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act of 2007, which makes it mandatory for an intending plaintiff to give the statutory body a 30-day pre-action notice.

According to Ajogwu: “The reliefs granted the Plaintiffs ex-parte are indeed, in form and substance essentially the reliefs being sought in the substantive suit;” and that the Court would not have granted the exparte order if not for the misrepresentation, concealment and non-disclosure of material facts by NLNG.

Justice Idris has fixed July 8, 2013 for ruling.