Boeing 737 Max Banned In Nigeria, Says Aviation Minister

Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika

 

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 is banned in Nigeria.

He said that no operator would be allowed to fly the aircraft into or out of the country.

The aviation minister stated this on Wednesday to journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

His statement comes after Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on Sunday morning en route from Addis to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board.

READ ALSONo Boeing 737 Max Operating In Nigeria, Says Aviation Minister

The Federal Government had on Monday reiterated its stands that air travellers in the country have no reason to worry about the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as none is operational in Nigeria.

According to the aviation minister, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has issued the necessary advisory as it relates to the country.

He also urged Nigerian air travellers not to entertain any fear, while assuring them of “the unalloyed commitment of the Buhari Administration to the creation of an environment that guarantees their safety and security in air transportation”.

No Boeing 737 Max Operating In Nigeria, Says Aviation Minister

Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika

 

The Federal Government says air travellers in the country have no reason to worry about the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as none is operational in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation Senator, Hadi Sirika, gave the assurance in a statement on Tuesday, against the backdrop of the unfortunate crash of the Ethiopian Airline on Sunday, which killed the 157 people on board (149 passengers and eight crew members).

“As we continue to mourn the ET crash in Addis, and pray for the victims, we wish to reassure Nigerians that we do not have any Boeing 737 Max on Nigeria’s register to worry about,” he said.

While acknowledging that any accident anywhere is a tragedy to the global aviation industry, the minister said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has issued the necessary advisory as it relates to the country.

READ ALSOElections: There’s Real Need For Serious Reforms In Nigeria – EU Observers

He also urged Nigerian air travellers not to entertain any fear, while assuring them of “the unalloyed commitment of the Buhari Administration to the creation of an environment that guarantees their safety and security in air transportation”.

Among the 149 passengers on board the plane, were two Nigerians – an academic and popular columnist, Pius Adesanmi, and a retired ambassador on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Abiodun Bashua.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed about six minutes after take-off from the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, en route the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

At least nationals of about 35 countries were involved in the disaster.

Senate Summons Aviation Minister Over Flight Mishaps

The Senate has summoned the Minister of State Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to appear before lawmakers at Plenary and explain the reason for the recent air mishaps and near fatalities in the country.

A federal lawmaker, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, in a notion observed that there were two air mishaps in February 2018.

One of them he says involved a plane belonging to Dana airline which overshot the runway upon landing at the Port Harcourt airport.

The plane had flown to Port Harcourt from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the nation’s capital Abuja.

But the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, explained the incident saying, “The incident was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.

“No casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.

But the lawmaker, Senator Ashafa, has expressed concerned that these recent occurrences might be a sign of a sequence of human errors caused by the failure of officials and staff of agencies, to carry out due diligence before issuing clearance for aircraft to operate within the Nigerian airspace.

Aviation Minister Names Airport Concession As Next Big Thing

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has identified the concession of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and three others, as the next big project, after the successful rehabilitation work on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Senator Sirika, disclosed this to Channels Television’s correspondent in Benue state, during the induction of mi-35m gunships by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Ministry of Aviation partners the Nigerian Airforce on airport security, research and training programmes.

The minister urged Nigerians to trust the Federal Government in protecting their interest, as was the case with the Abuja Airport runway project. He also stressed that four airports;  that of Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano, are not up for sale but concession.

READ: Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja Airport

He said this days after domestic flights resumed operations at the Abuja Airport, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.

Passengers aboard a domestic flight expressed delight at being able to fly directly into the capital city, and applauded the timely rehabilitation of the facility.

Rehabilitation Of Kaduna Airport Begins

kaduna-airportWork has resumed at the new terminal building of the Kaduna Airport, that would serve as an alternative for both local and international passengers.

This is ahead of the closure of the Abuja international airport for six weeks, starting from March 8, 2017.

Repairs are also being effected to the road linking the Kaduna airport to the city.

On Thursday, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

Sirika, explained that it would be unsafe to continue to operate in the Abuja Airport, as there have been daily incidents on the runway.

The runway in the airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which has since been exceeded.

FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For Repairs

FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For RepairsThe Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja will be officially closed for six weeks to enable repair works on the runway which is said to be dysfunctional.

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the council meeting.

He said that the federal government will also be spending over one billion Naira to complete the Kaduna airport terminal building, a project that had been abandoned for some time.

Also the Federal Executive Council approved over 4 billion Naira for the purchase of firefighting equipment to enable firemen in the country to perform their functions well.

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau disclosed this to state house  correspondents after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Boko Haram: Chadian Troops Reclaim Nigerian Town From Terrorist

bokoChad’s army has dispelled the Boko Haram terrorists out of Malumfatori town in north-eastern Nigeria, a senior security source from Niger said.

The reported recapture followed a two day fighting, the source disclosed.

Both air and ground forces are reported to be in the assault. The ground forces are said to have moved in after crossing Lake Chad.

The Nigerian authorities said they were doing all they could to tackle the militants, but neighboring countries, including Niger and Cameroon sent troops to help it counter the incursion.

However, the Nigerian military confirmed that the town had been captured but said the action was performed by soldiers from Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Though Cameroon was supposed to be a part of the countries contributing troops, they are yet to participate in the activities of the force.

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, was quoted as saying that Nigeria “has to redefine its fault lines in fighting the Boko Haram”. He also added that tackling the group required not just military action, but also “improving the capacity of the Nigerian State in areas such as the judiciary, prison system and law enforcement agency”.

He expressed optimism that a lot would be done about Boko Haram beyond fighting them in the Northern part of the oil rich nation.

Ghanian President, John Mahama had said that the leaders of Nigeria must produce a “specific plan of action to deal permanently with the Boko Haram”.

The terrorist group has carried out series of terror attacks on communities in Nigeria’s north-east, as they sought the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to western education in the region.

Osun Election Was Good And Credible – Fani-Kayode

Fani KayodeA former Aviation Minister and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, has said that the Osun governorship election held on Saturday was a good and credible one.

He said that there may be irregularities, which the PDP had made claims to, but admitted that in any election there must be a winner and a loser.

“I am glad I was not the only one that congratulated them, the president also did and that’s the right way to go,” he said.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Fani-Kayode, noted that the PDP had the right to go to court and contest issues that were identified during the election.

He gave reasons for the huge military presence during the Osun election, stating that “it is important for the government to provide security for people going to cast their votes without the fear of being killed or harassed on their way to the polling units “.

He added that the deployment was done in other elections that had been carried out in the country. “It was done in Ekiti, Edo and Anambra, where PDP lost,” he said.

Mr Fani-Kayode stressed that if there were arrests made by security operatives, they were done to prevent thuggery. He insisted that it was for the good of the people to ensure that there was an atmosphere created for a free and fair election.

The former Aviation Minister also alleged that during the elections most people from outside Osun state participated. ” Many of us in the PDP were intimated because there was clear evidence that people were coming into the state in large numbers, many lorries were turned back and many people were intercepted.

“The government had to intervene so that the integrity of the process could be insured. Also, there were allegations that many people outside were given voters card to vote and the security operatives had to work against it,” he explained

Mr Fani-Kayode further said that although the PDP lost the election, the atmosphere that was created was a free, fair and credible one.

Money Laundering: Fani-Kayode’s Trial Commences

Femi Fani-KayodeTrial commenced afresh on Monday in the money laundering charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.

Mr. Fani-Kayode is facing a 40-count charge of laundering about 100 million naira.

The offence was allegedly committed while he served first as Minister for Culture and Tourism and then as Aviation Minister.

The trial began with the prosecution’s first witness, Mr. Okechukwu Okeke, testifying before the court.

Mr. Okeke, a Relationship Officer with First City Monument Bank, FCMB, said that Mr. Fani-Kayode’s account at the bank had become dormant.

He explained that the account was with First Atlantic Bank before it was acquired by Finbank, which was also acquired by FCMB.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Festus Keyamo, tendered Mr. Fani-Kayode’s bank statement of account between August 2008 and September 2012, but the inability to provide the bank statements between 2004 and 2008, the period during which Mr. Fani-Kayode served as minister ended the trial abruptly.

Efforts by the defence lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, to secure a long adjournment date for continuation of the trial was rebuffed by the judge who insisted that the trial had dragged on for too long.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was first arraigned in 2008 and since then, three judges have at different times handled his case.

Presiding Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, has fixed March 18 and 19 for continuation of the trial.

Network Africa: A Medley Of Lost Jobs, Human Lives And Animal Extinction

Reports from Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory says the Minister for Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, the Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of State for Finance, Dr.Yerima Ngama and the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah have been sacked.

The sacking of the ministers came on a day when the Senate screened 12 ministerial nominees sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and Mohammed Wakil both made their presentations and were asked to take their leave without question; while   Ambassador Bashiru Ali was not allowed to leave until he answered questions about his job as Nigeria’s Ambassador to China.

In Central African Republic, it appears the international peacekeepers are having a hard time in preventing the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the country. Militia attacks have resulted in a series of Muslim exodus and aid groups have warned of a potential food crisis. This is because many of the shops and wholesalers are run by Muslims.

As a result, the UN’s World Food Programme has started a month-long aid airlift. The first flight which was carrying 82 tonnes of rice arrived on Wednesday, February 12; while a further 1,800 tonnes of cereal are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

We spoke with Nadia Bandi of the International Committee of the Red Cross for an update on the humanitarian situation.

In Congo, the former Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, appeared before the International Criminal Court from February 10 and the judges are trying to decide if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. The prosecution believes that he played a significant role in planning assaults against the civilian population.

One man who Bosco Ntaganda would certainly be praying to be like is the Rwandan ex-paramilitary Police chief who was initially found guilty of genocide by a UN-backed war crimes tribunal; but now, he’s been acquitted on appeal.

He was one of the most senior figures to be sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The General has been living in an ICTR safe house in the Tanzanian town since his release nearly three years ago, after he was sentenced. He is unable to return to Rwanda and no other country will accept him.

In other news, fresh talks to resolve the crisis in South Sudan have opened in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, more than two weeks after a ceasefire was signed. Rebels agreed to continue the dialogue despite the government’s refusal to release four high-profile detainees.

South African Police Clash With ANC Supporters

Things got a tad ugly in  South Africa, When  Police clashed with stone throwing supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) who tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance Party as they marched in central Johannesburg on Wednesday (February 12).

Algeria In Mourning

Algeria is mourning for 3 days after 77 people were killed in a military passenger plane crash in the North-East of the country. Just one person survived when the Hercules C-130 crashed into a mountain in Oum Al-Bou-A-Ghi province, en route to Constantine.

Most of the 78 passengers were military personnel and their family members. The lone survivor, a soldier, is reportedly being treated for head injuries at a military hospital in Constantine.

Our hearts go out to the families of the dead.

We also featured Wang, which is the very last polar bear in the whole of South Africa. It was brought to Africa 30 years ago, but based on the fact that the African environment is far from conducive, it will die soon and there will no longer be any polar bears in the whole continent.

2013 In Review: Journalist Approves Performance Of Social Media

The Former Director, Voice of Nigeria, Gabriel Omohinmi, on Friday gave kudos to the social media for breaking the major news stories which dominated the media in the year 2013 but faulted the traditional news media for not performing up to expectation.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Omohinmi expressed disappointment in the performance of the traditional news media (print, television and radio) despite the enabling atmosphere  Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has created for practitioners. “We’ve actually not had problems with this present administration,” he said and added that “they have been very fair. They have allowed the Press to express themselves.”

According to the seasoned journalist, “the Nigerian media has not done well. We are not doing well. The traditional media is not performing the duties (that is) expected of them” because major stories in 2013 including the controversial letter exchange between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and President Jonathan, were broken by online based media.

This new trend is an indication that “people no longer trust media-men,” he said, adding that, “credibility is the basis of journalism practice.”

In the case of the call for Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah’s sack, Omohinmi said that journalists attached to the Presidency and the House of Representatives have not done their jobs as they should have obtained and published copies of the committees investigating the matter.

He also faulted the Minister for asking a journalist, Simon Ateba, to go back to school, after questioning her about House of Representatives’ call for her sack or resignation.

“Was it the duty of the minister for aviation to do that? Where are the reporters at the National Assembly? Why is it that they’ve not been able to get a copy of the report?”

He further mentioned that cases of journalists having romantic relationships with public officers in the beat they cover,  must stop as it is unprofessional.

“We must demand more from our reporters. They are not doing what is expected.”

Editorial policies of news organisations should be the guiding principle for journalists who are posted on assignments but “majority of them are out to see how much money they can make.” “Every media organisation is expected to have its own code of ethics that guides its own employees,” he said.

Omohinmi stated that the government owned media can perform much better than what they are doing now but the problem lies within the journalists and appointed officials who carry out “self-censorship” in favour of top government officers.

“I was in Voice of Nigeria, there was no time any minister will come and say this is what you take in our news.

“I remember during the MKO Abiola saga and Uche Chukwumerije was busy issuing out statements and I told them I was the news editor, I said No, I can’t carry this and I stood by it.

“My director of news came and said I was suspended and I said all well and good, I’m ready to go… I was suspended for one week but finally they brought me back and said what I did was quite professional.”

He advised that media organisations should establish their credibility in order to avoid external interference in their operations. “Do what is expected of you. Be credible and let the audience know that, is your only source,” he said.

The BEAM: Nigerians React To Aviation Scandal

On this edition of the programme, Nigerians in different parts of the world joined a Google Hangout to share their opinion on the scandal involving the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.

Social Media Ehtusiast, Ayobami Oyalowo, analysed the saga and came to the conclusion that ‘something is fishy’ and alleged that the individuals involved in the scandal have introduced a game of semantics to “confuse the unsuspecting Nigerian public.”