Dubai To Screen All Passengers From China Amid Virus Outbreak

A section of passengers at the Dubai International Airport. Credit: Reuters


Dubai Airport, one of the world’s biggest aviation hubs, said on Thursday it would carry out thermal screening of all passengers arriving from China amid an outbreak of a deadly virus.

“Dubai Airports confirms… that all passengers arriving on direct flights from the People’s Republic of China must receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival,” a statement said.

China has locked down two major cities to fight the spread of the coronavirus that has already claimed 17 lives and spread to a number of other countries.

Dubai’s government said on Thursday that some 989,000 Chinese tourists visited the glitzy emirate last year and that the number was expected to cross the one-million mark in 2020. Some 3.6 million Chinese transited through the airport in 2019.

“The screening will be conducted on secured, closed gates at the airport by Dubai Health Authority and its Airport Medical Centre team,” the statement said.

Dubai International Airport in 2018 served 89.15 million passengers, retaining its world-number-one spot of welcoming the largest number of foreign passengers for the fifth year in a row.

There was no announcement as yet from authorities in the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi which also has a large airport.

The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract.


Dubai Bus Crash Kills 17


Twelve Indians were among 17 people who were killed in Dubai when their bus crashed into a road sign after entering a restricted lane, police and the Indian consulate said.

The bus, registered in Oman, was making its way into Dubai from Muscat with 31 passengers of different nationalities on board when the accident occurred on Thursday night, Dubai police said in a tweet.

It blamed the Omani driver, who was moderately injured, for the crash saying “at times a small mistake or negligence can lead to adverse consequences”.

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The Indian consulate in Dubai said 12 nationals were killed in the crash. The identities of the other four victims was not immediately known.

Emarat Al-Youm newspaper, citing Dubai police officials, said the accident occurred when the driver entered a lane not designated for buses.

The bus crashed into a height restriction sign, it said.

The bus company Mwasalat said five people were also injured in the accident.

It apologised for the crash and said it was suspending all trips between Muscat and Dubai until further notice.

Mwasalat said it was working closely with Dubai authorities to investigate the accident.

Three British Crew, South African Killed In Dubai Plane Crash


Three British and a South African were killed Thursday in a plane crash close to Dubai airport, the United Arab Emirates’ state news agency reported.

The UK-registered Diamond Aircraft went down five kilometres (three miles) south of the international hub, WAM said, citing civil aviation authorities.

“The four-seat plane crashed while on a mission to calibrate terrestrial navigation systems at the airport, with all crew members, three British, and one South African, killed,” the news agency said.

An earlier report by the emirate’s government media office said the pilot and co-pilot of a small plane had been killed.

The aircraft, owned by US tech giant Honeywell, crashed due to a technical malfunction, it said.

It added that all operations at the airport were running smoothly after “a slight delay and diversion of some flights as a precautionary measure”.

Dubai’s international airport is one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs.

Zimbabwe Sells Elephants Worth $2.7million To China, Dubai


Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of $2.7 million over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said on Wednesday, citing overpopulation.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman, Tinashe Farawo, told AFP Zimbabwe’s elephants were overcrowding national parks, encroaching into human settlements, destroying crops and posing a risk to human life.

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“We have 84,000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 50,000,” he said, justifying the sales. “We believe in the sustainable use of resources, so we sell a few elephants to take care of the rest.

Farawo said 200 people have died in “human-and-animal conflict” in the past five years, “and at least 7,000 hectares of crop have been destroyed by elephants”.

The animals’ natural habitat has been depleted by climate change, he added, while recurrent droughts have added to strain on the overburdened national parks, forcing the pachyderms to seek food and water further afield.

Farawo said money from the legal sales was allocated to anti-poaching projects, conservation work, research and welfare.

According to the Zimbabwe Chronicle newspaper, 93 elephants were safely airlifted to parks in China and four to Dubai between 2012 and 2018, They were sold in a price range of between $13,500 and $41,500 each.

Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have called for a global ban on elephant ivory trade to be relaxed due to the growing number of elephants in some regions.

But over the past decade, the population of elephants across Africa has fallen by about 111,000 to 415,000, largely due to poaching for ivory, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Tanzanian Media Mogul Dies In Dubai

Tanzanian business tycoon and philanthropist Reginald Mengi, who headed one of Africa’s largest media groups, has died aged 75 in Dubai, his news outlets reported Thursday.

“We are sorry to announce the death of the executive chairman of IPP Group of Companies, Dr Reginald Mengi,” in Dubai on Wednesday evening, Tanzania’s Guardian website reported.

Mengi was born in 1944 to a poor family in the Kilimanjaro region, later setting up the IPP media empire which served Tanzania and parts of East Africa, owning 11 newspapers, radio, and television stations, according to Forbes magazine.

He also had companies producing soap, the largest brand of bottled water in the country, and was involved in mining gold, uranium, copper, chrome and coal.

In 2014 he was listed among Africa’s 50th richest people by Forbes, although he later dropped off the list, and his fortune is estimated at $560 million (500 million euros).

“I am saddened by news of Mengi’s death, I will always remember his contribution to the development of our country and his vision laid down in his book, ‘I can, I will, I must’,” wrote President John Magufuli on Twitter.

Mengi was also a renowned philanthropist who sent hundreds of Tanzanian children with heart ailments to be treated in India.


President Buhari Woos Potential Investors In Dubai



President Muhammadu Buhari Monday met with six different groups of investors at the sidelines of the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

According to a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, the president had a message for all those he met.

“Come to Nigeria and prosper. Come and have handsome returns on your investments, within the shortest possible time,” the President told the groups.

In a brief review of those who the President met, Femi Adesina said: “Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum is a member of the Dubai ruling family. He is also a private investor and member of several boards of companies, both state-owned and private. He is interested in establishing a power plant in Lagos, and studies have already been completed.

“Lulu Group operates a chain of supermarkets in the Middle East and Asia. Mr. Yusuff Alli, Chairman of the group, told President Buhari that the outfit, with headquarters in Abu Dhabi, has over 164 supermarkets and shopping malls. It employs over 50,000 people.”

Adesina noted that the interest of the group is to work with Nigerian farmers, using local produce to ensure food security. Quality, affordability, and hygiene are the watchwords of the company.

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HE President Muhammadu Buhari held a series of meetings with some of the top-tier businessmen in the UAE from the Energy, Infrastructure, Property Development, Hotels, Hospitality, Food Processing, and Retail sectors.

HH Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE with HE Muhammadu Buhari President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HE Evo Morales President of Bolivia and HE Rustam Minnikhanov President of the Republic of Tatarstan at the #AIM2019

“Also in the bilateral meeting with President Buhari was Sheikh Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of Amea Power. The company develops, owns, and operates thermal and renewable energy projects in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Its wide range of power solutions include conventional – gas, coal, oil, and renewable – solar, wind and hydro.

Apart from power, the company, which owns Rotana Hotel chain, is also interested in the hospitality sector in Nigeria.

Also on cue was Sheikh Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman, Nakheel Properties and Limitless Group.

One of the world’s leading developers and a major contributor to Dubai’s real estate transformation, the company’s current and future retail project portfolio covers nearly 17 million square feet of leasable space. They are keen to expand their investments in Nigeria.

Sheikh Khalid Bin Kalban is the CEO of Dubai Investments. His meeting with the Nigerian president centred around real estate, processing industries, mergers and acquisitions, health care, education, and financial investments.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has supported over 66 projects in 29 African countries. They include rural solar power and water projects, and that was the focus of the discussion, as Sheikh Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, the CEO, met with President Buhari.

The bilateral sessions were not concluded, till the Nigerian president had met with Mr Jitender Sachdeva, CEO Skipperseil Group. An integrated energy company with operations in the manufacturing of substation equipment, discussions were on engineering processing, construction of transmission lines and substations for utilities, institutions, and industries.

The company’s CEO expressed delight at meeting with President Buhari, and looked forward to doing good business in Nigeria,” Adesina’s statement further read in parts.

President Buhari Arrives Dubai Ahead Of Annual Investment Meeting


President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Dubai, United Arabs Emirates, ahead of the Annual Investment Meeting. 

The President arrived on Sunday evening aboard the NAF 001.

Buhari is visiting Dubai on the invitation of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The President, as Guest of Honour, will deliver the keynote address under the theme, “Mapping the Future of Foreign Direct Investment: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalisation.”

According to the organizers, the meeting is “the largest gathering of corporate leaders, policymakers, businessmen, regional and international investors, entrepreneurs, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information, strategies, and knowledge on attracting FDI.”

The meeting seeks to explore investment opportunities in more than 140 countries, connect businesses and countries willing to engage in sustainable partnerships with investors.

Below are some photos from the President’s arrival in Dubai.

Buhari Travels For Economic Forum In Jordan

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A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.


President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja today for Amman to honour an invitation by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

The President is to participate in the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa holding at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

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He will deliver an address at the opening of the plenary alongside King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, as well as join world economic leaders in an informal gathering at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre.

President Buhari is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with some world leaders on the sidelines of the forum.

He will subsequently depart Amman on Sunday for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to participate in the ninth edition of the Annual Investment Meeting scheduled for April 8-10, 2019.

Invited by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rachid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the President, as Guest of Honour, will deliver the keynote address under the theme, “Mapping the Future of Foreign Direct Investment: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalisation.”

According to the organisers, the meeting is “the largest gathering of corporate leaders, policymakers, businessmen, regional and international investors, entrepreneurs, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information, strategies and knowledge on attracting FDI.”

The meeting seeks to explore investment opportunities in more than 140 countries, connect businesses and countries willing to engage in sustainable partnerships with investors.

President Buhari will be accompanied on both trips by Governors Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), and Yahaya Bello Kogi State.

Others on the entourage include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and other top government officials.

Team Nigeria depart for Special Olympics World Summer Games


Nigeria’s contingent to the Special Olympics World Summer Games has departed Lagos for the multi-sport event which is scheduled to start on March 14 in Abu Dhabi and end on March 21.

The team which is made up of 60 athletes and 18 coaches will compete in 8 Olympic-type sports; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Table-tennis, Volleyball, Swimming and Cycling. They will also be accompanied by caregivers and medical personnel.

Abu Dhabi 2019 will be Nigeria’s 5th appearance at the world summer games after featuring at the Ireland, China, Greece and USA events.

More than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will compete in 24 summer sports, along with 2,500 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

This will be the first Special Olympics World Games to be hosted the Middle East/North Africa region.

The 2019 World Games will kick off with a star-studded Opening Ceremony in the iconic Zayed Sports City Stadium in the heart of Abu Dhabi which the largest sports venue in the Persian Gulf.

In addition to sports, the 2019 World Games will also feature non-sports activities and programs, including Unified Sports experiences, free Healthy Athletes screenings, Global Youth Leadership Summit, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Dubai Airport Retains Top Global Spot For Fifth Year

A section of passengers at the Dubai International Airport. Credit: Reuters


Dubai International Airport said it retained its top global spot in 2018 after serving the largest number of passengers for the fifth year in a row despite falling short of its target.

Traffic at the major transit hub rose slightly to 89.15 million passengers, up just over 1.0 percent on the number who used the airport in 2017, it said in a statement.

Although the figure is a new record high, it missed on the 90.3 million passengers Dubai airport had projected for 2018.

Indians retained the top position with 12.28 million passengers last year and Saudis came in second with 6.47 million travellers, overtaking Britons.

Passengers from east Europe made the largest growth with 16.7 percent followed by the Commonwealth of the Independent States and Africa, the statement said.

In 2017, traffic at the world’s busiest airport grew by 4.6 million passengers or 5.5 percent.

Dubai’s non-oil based economy has faced a slowdown in the key real estate and tourism sectors.

Dubai International, the base for Dubai-owned carrier Emirates and its budget airline FlyDubai, overtook London’s Heathrow airport in terms of international passengers in 2014 and has maintained its lead since.


APC Calls For Investigation Into Atiku, PDP Dubai Meeting


The Deputy National Publicity Secretary, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Yekini Nabena, has called for an investigation into the meeting which was held in Dubai by some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Mr Nabena in a series of tweet said that “the purpose of the said meeting is both comical and ridiculous as they have held several meetings for the same purpose in Nigeria. Clearly, the meetings held in Nigeria did not yield their desired results, hence, a follow-up meeting in Dubai.

“Our intelligence, anti-graft and security agencies must be awake to its responsibility of investigating the Dubai meeting. Cash and carry politicians must be prevented from moving illicit cash around to induce voters and sponsor election violence and rigging”.

According to the APC spokesman, the meeting is reported to “plot strategies to oust President Muhammadu Buhari” in next year’s election.

“There is more to the meeting that meets the eye. Nigeria has enough meeting/conference rooms, many of which meet international standards.

“It is therefore clear that the Dubai meeting is for other sinister political purposes ahead of the 2019 elections.

“Again, relevant agencies must check suspicious movement of cash both locally and internationally by politically exposed persons under the guise of a “Dubai meeting” or any clandestine meeting”.

Mr Nabena criticised Atiku’s assurance to reduce fuel price from N145 per litre to N90/ per litre.


“The fact as we speak is that at a petrol cost under-recovery fluctuating between N60-N70 per litre propelled by vaunting crude oil price of around $81 per barrel”.