Arik Airline Resumes Flight Operations

Arik Air Operations Grounded Over Union Protest Arik airline has resumed services after flight operations were disrupted on Thursday, following the protests by aviation unions in Lagos.

This followed the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which said that both parties have agreed to sheathe their sword.

The union workers had accused the current management of the airline of unwillingness to open talks with them over different issues, including the sacking of its members.

In February, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria had announced the takeover of Arik as a result of the airline’s alleged bad debt.

Some staff of the airline on the other hand, staged a counter protest, denouncing the action of the aviation workers unions, saying that the company was being negatively affected by their action.

FEC Approves Procurement Of Insurance Cover For Aviation College

FECThe Federal Executive Council has approved the contract for the procurement of insurance cover for assets of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The insurance cover is required annually for the maintenance of the college’s Approved Training Organisation ( ATO) certificate issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), which precludes the operation of any aircraft without valid insurance cover.

Approval was also given for the construction of Berth 21 at the Terminal E, Lagos Port Complex, and the Inland River Port at Makurdi, Benue State,

The FEC also approved the award of contract for the rehabilitation of the outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway at the cost of N24.24 billion.

Briefing State House Correspondents after the council meeting, the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onoleimemen, who joined the  Supervising Minister of Information, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed,  told journalists that the project upon completion will enhance transportation,  improve the socio-economic activities and standard of living of the citizens.

Also approved is contract for the rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Birni Yauri-Kontagora-Makera Road in Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States and Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch in Benue and Cross River State at the cost of N30.4 billion.

The Minister of Industries Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, also got approval for policy measures to reposition the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment Sector.

The FEC congratulated the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dezianni Alison Madueke, who was recently elevated to the position of president of all Gas Exporting Countries,just a few weeks after being elected as OPEC President.

Court Dismisses FOI Request On Stella Oduah’s BMW Cars

Stella OduahA Federal High Court sitting Lagos has struck out the Freedom of Information suit filed by the incorporated trustees of the Media Right Agenda (MRA), demanding information about the controversial armoured BMW cars purchased for former minister, Stella Oduah, when she was in office.

MRA had filed the action seeking to compel the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Attorney-General of the Federation to disclose information on the procurement of the controversial BMW cars bought for former Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah.

MRA had sought a relief to the effect that the failure and or refusal of NCAA to disclose or make available to the applicants the information requested in their letter dated October 21, 2013 amounts to violation of applicants’ right to access to information established and guaranteed by section 1(1) and section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

The letter had requested for NCAA’s annual budget, the public procurement plans, procurement record for the purchase of two BMW 760 LI vehicles, evidence of advertisements to that effect, a list of bids tendered, copies of bid evaluation meetings, pro forma invoice of those documents as well as documents showing delivery of procured vehicles among other things.

They insisted that the information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.

The NCAA, in its objections, said that the applicants did not meet up with certain condition precedent before instituting an action against the respondents. He also argued that the FOI applications failed to issue the 30 days notice required by section 24(2) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 among other objections. He then urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

Justice Ibrahim Buba, in his decision, ruled that the information requested went outside the contemplation of the Freedom of Information Act.

He also held that the requested information is a published material that falls under the exception stated in section 26(a) of the Freedom of Information Act and that the budgetary allocation for the referred procurement process was contained in the 2013 budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Jonathan Approves New Board For Aviation Parastatals

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the composition and appointments of the Chairmen and members of the Governing Boards of Federal Government Parastatals and Agencies in the aviation sector.

The Parastatals and Agencies are the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NMA).

The approval was contained in a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.

Mr Olusola Oke, according to the statement will be the Chairman of the board of NAMA, while Captain Kuti, C.J Udeh, Okwudili Uzoka, Amb Jerry Ugokwe, H.Z Abubakar, Lucky Umoru, Captain Megason, John Yekorogha and A Chukwuma are members.

The board of FAAN will be chaired by Dr Dan Kure, while Onuora Chinwe Leticia, Halima Hassan Tukur, Ngozi Lavender, Farouk Gumel, Amobi Nwokafor, Clement Dosunmu, Iboro Edabalge, Muneer Bankole, Henry Unaeze, Dr Al Amin, Patricia Ntofon and Niyi Agbola will serve as members.

The statement added that the board of NCAA will be chaired by Abdullahi Waziri Tambuwal, while Tony Igbanoi, Sabo Sambo, Frank Edonkumor, Captain Alkali, Alhaji Buba, Emeka Akabueze, Edward Bayo, Sokie Amakree, Ruma Mohammed and Bola Odugbasan will serve as members of the board.

Lastly, the board of NMA, according to the statement will be chaired by Yomi Akintola, with Tunde Taiwo, Jim Ogbolu, Toju Ogisi, Peter Momodu, Mrs Omikunle, Ralph Ogar, Aletche Bimbo, C.C Nwuba and Tony Odita as members.

The statement added that “the dates for the formal inauguration of the above appointed to the above Boards of Directors will be announced in due course by the Honourable Minister of Aviation.”

House Urges Jonathan To Sack Oduah Over N643m Armoured Cars

The House of Representatives has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to review the continued engagement of the Minister Of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah for contravening the Appropriation Act 2013.

According to the report, the minister also contravened the Appropriation Act by exceeding the ministry’s approval limit of N100 million by the purchase of 54 vehicles at N643 million.

This was a major part of the resolutions adopted by the lawmakers after considering the report of the House Committee on Aviation, on the purchase of two armoured cars for N643 million.

The report said that the two BMW armoured cars procured in the process were neither provided for in the Act of 2013, nor was there due process followed in their procurement.

The House has also directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to terminate all transactions and loan agreements into on the matter.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are to also investigate the discrepancies in the chassis number DW68032 of one of the vehicles inspected by the committee.

Minister Expresses Disappointment Over Report

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah has expressed disappointment at the report of the House.

“We are shocked and disappointed that in spite of the deluge of representations and evidences provided by the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah and all invited stakeholders on the matter, the House would reach conclusions that have only confirmed that there was a hidden agenda in the entire exercise from the beginning,” a statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister, Mr Joe Obi said.

Mr Obi also condemned the position of the committee that the vehicles were not included in the budget despite the clear evidence he claimed exists in the Appropriation Act.

“Evidence also shows that the cars in question were included as a line item under the “Safety and Security Vehicles” sub-head in the Appropriation Act. The position of the committee that this was not included the budget is spurious as clear evidence exists in the Appropriation Act as stated above.”

He further stated that the action of the Committee and the House were “pre-meditated with the sole aim of casting aspersions on the person and office of the aviation minister”.

Ms. Oduah reiterated her earlier claim of innocence and said that all decisions she took on the procurement followed due process.

“We stand by our earlier submissions to the committee that Due Process was followed in the procurement of the vehicles by the NCAA. The Minister told the Public Hearing; and her evidence was corroborated by the NCAA that the cars were neither purchased for her nor in her name,” he said.

Air Crash Averted In Kwara

International Aviation College, Ilorin. Inset: A replica of the Diamond DA40

What could have been a fatal air crash has been averted at Kwara International Aviation College Ilorin, as three of the trainee pilots were involved in a minor accident.

The incident involving one of the aircrafts, Diamond DA40 single engine, with registration number 5N-BRD occurred around 11.30 on Monday morning.

The trainee pilots whose names were withheld were undergoing their normal morning training within the vicinity of the school at that time but the situation was quickly brought under control as the occupants left unscathed.

Briefing journalists on the unfortunate incident in his office, the Acting Rector of the College, Captain Abdulkareem Nuhu, confirmed that the incident occurred around 11.30am with three student pilots on board.

Although he refused to provide the names of the students involved, he noted that they walked out of the plane without any injury, adding that the college has contacted the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to conduct thorough checks and brief the media later.

The Kwara State International Aviation College was established by Former State Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki and the edifice was commissioned for use by the current Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed.

Oduah Supporters Storm Enugu Airport In Counter Protest

Activities at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu were temporarily grounded for few hours when a youth group under the aegis of Igbo Progressive Union stormed the airport on Saturday morning to protest against calls for the removal of Nigeria’s aviation minister, Stella Oduah.

While addressing newsmen during the protest, the leader of the group Emeka Agbo, said youths especially in the South East are prepared to do everything possible to protect Mrs Oduah.

The group argued that the aviation minister is innocent of the scandal against her as the purchase of the two armoured BMW vehicles the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) allegedly bought for her is in the best interest of the Aviation Sector.

According to the protesters, “some highly placed individuals especially her political detractors are the master minders of this evil seed as they are all out to tarnish the image and pedigree of the Minister.”

The protesters including young men and women carried placards with different inscriptions accusing some unnamed politicians of being behind the calls for the removal of the minister insisting that the intention of the cabal was to stop the minister from going ahead with her transformation agenda in the aviation sector.

There has been a public outcry against the purchase of the two vehicles which cost a total of N225 million. Hence, several groups and individuals have called for the Minister’s dismissal.

They argued that she has done so much in the Aviation Sector under the transformation agenda of President Goodluck and that she has affected so many lives during her tenure as the Aviation minister.

Also, the kinsmen of the embattled minister who were joined in the protest led by a George Nwabueze, traditional ruler from Ogbaru community, threw their weight behind the Aviation minister. They argued that the whole scenario is a political witch hunt by some people who are against the re-election of the President in 2015.

Meanwhile, a group under aegis of South East Progressive Assembly (SEPA) condemned the action of the protesters. And insisted that the aviation minister must resign honourably to avoid the wrath of tax payers of whom she used their money in purchasing the armoured bullet proof cars.

While addressing newsmen in Owerri the Imo state capital, the president of the South east progressive assembly Ebere Uzoukwa said the actions by the aviation minister showed that she’s not capable of running the affairs of the ministry and as such, she should resign and allow President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint capable hands from any other part of the country.

Although there has been calls from different quarters for the removal of the Aviation minister Stella Odua over the controversies trailing the purchase of two bullet proof cars for her by the Aviation Authority, NCAA, has insisted that purchase of the vehicle followed due process and the cars were part of the operational vehicles provided in the NCAA 2013 budget which is in line with NCAA condition of service.

Analyst Explains Costing Method Of Armoured Vehicles

Following the public outcry against two armoured BMW cars allegedly purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, at the price of N255 million, the Chairman, Automobile and Allied Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Osesme Oigiagbe, has said there are no fixed prices for such vehicles.

Although, Oigiagbe chose not to express personal opinion on the allegedly inflated price of the cars which is the source of the Aviation’s industry latest controversy, he explained the methods by which such vehicles are priced.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, via a telephone interview, Oigiagbe said that there are levels of protection for cars ranging from level B1 to B7. The protection levels are incorporated depending on the kind of attack one anticipates from an intruder, hence it is possible for all parts of the vehicle to be armoured, including the car batteries.

“Protection level will determine the cost,” Oigiagbe added.

Furthermore, Oigiagbe who said that the location of the armour retrofitting factory may also determine the cost, went ahead to explain the various factors to be considered in determining the final price of a car that has been re-worked for the purposes of protection.

The cost of the actual car must be considered as a vehicle of choice has to be purchased before it is taken to the armour plant where body parts are taken off and then refitted. This leads to added cost of armouring.

The cost of protection is included which is determined by the level of protection the client desires.

Communication equipment which would be fixed in the vehicle also affects the pricing of the vehicle.

Talking about a general price range for the minimum protection armoured car, Oigiagbe said the price is between N40 million  to over N100 million but the high end vehicles are more expensive in countries like Germany where they have high quality and finishing costs.

“You can have the retrofitting portion of that armour running from over £150,000 (N32,690,328.44) in addition to the cost of the vehicle.”

On the mode of importation of such vehicles, Oigiagbe disclosed that such cannot be done in Nigeria without the approval of National Security Adviser.

Application for such approvals must contain the vehicle’s vitals numbers and codes as well as a statement on the purpose for which the vehicle will be used.

Cargo Shift May Have Caused Associated Airline Crash – Analyst

Following the several events which trailed the Associated Airline plane crash weeks ago, there are now speculations that the cargo craft may have crashed a few minutes after take-off because the coffin it was carrying shifted.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) after its investigation had reported that the aircraft crashed after it stalled at take-off. Being a cargo aircraft, the sudden movement of its cargo displaced the “aircraft C of G”. The report also indicated that the coffin carrying the remains of former Governor Olusegun Agagu was not strapped.

A source who chose to remain anonymous told Channels Television that the circumstances leading to the crash of a cargo aircraft in Afghanistan, right after take-off, is similar to the case of the Associated Airline plane crash which occurred on 3rd October.

The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Dele Sasegbon, on Wednesday said that an argument which reportedly ensued between the pilot of the ill-fated flight and the co-pilot indicated that there may have been a load shift.

While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Sasegbon stated that the speculations are not confirmed yet.

Air safety has been ascertained in the past one year, he added.

We have attained a lot of goals that were expected as far as air safety is concerned as the AIB is yet to submit a comprehensive report on its investigations.

However, he attempted to allay the fears of travelers in Nigeria’s airspace, adding that “we have attained total airspace coverage” which means that all activities in the country’s airspace can be monitored.

“As far as I am concerned, progress is being made although it may be slow, he said.

Mr Sasegbon, who said that people have to consider several aspects before adjudging the airspace safe or not, stated that, the first criteria to consider, is that “the aircrafts, flying in our airspace, are safe and we can see them wherever they are.”

“That has been achieved,” he said.

Speaking about the aviation authority’s plans to improve the sector, he disclosed that in the past month and half, the NCAA, has been discussing with other stakeholders about aircraft safety.

We have actually formed the team between the industry and the aviation authority. The team which will begin its work with helicopters has the oil companies in it and is headed by the same.

The team is expected to come out with advisory circulars after the exercise.

However, the said team is not fully established, yet.

Our Pilots Are Recognised Internationally – Aviation Union Leader

In reaction to Thursday’s plane crash, the National President, Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Balami David, has discouraged stakeholders from guessing the cause of the accident and has absolved the pilot and engineer of any fault.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he said the pilot, identified as Yakubu, was a senior experienced captain. “I don’t think any of our members would go ahead to fly an aircraft that they know will crash”. He added that “our pilots are well trained. They are certified by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and also recognised by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation).

He also defended the engineer, believed to be Saroh Elaiye, who had certified the plane worthy to fly, saying that no person would go ahead to board a flight which he knows is in bad shape.

Speaking about what may have cause the plane to crash barely two minutes after takeoff, he said that the cause of accident cannot be ascertained or guessed yet.

“As a professional in the aviation sector, I don’t think this is time to be assuming or be guessing.”

There are so many factors that can lead to this but nobody can tell for now, he said, adding that the group has no choice but to trust the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

The group leader disclosed that they are in touch with AIB as they are also concerned citizens.

“Our job is nothing but to fly and to maintain the aircraft” whether there are passengers, cargo on board or not.

He spoke about the group’s confidence in the AIB’s investigation saying “we are very confident in the current AIB and we are very sure that something good will come up very soon,” he said.

Mr David addressed fears about Nigeria’s airspace during the interview and said “naturally, people ought to be worried” adding that members of the group are also worried.

He affirmed that the emergency response to the crash was good and called for sober reflection for both the group and the nation.

He called on AIB and relevant authorities to ensure that the needful is done

Absence Of NCAA Boss Is A Global Embarrassment

An Aviation Analyst, Chris Aligbe has called on the Senate to quickly confirm the appointment of the next Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), warning that the absence of a substantive head for the agency has turned Nigeria into a laughing stock in the aviation industry.

President Goodluck Jonathan approved the removal of former director general of NCAA, Mr Harold Demuren, in March, for mishandling the Dana Air crash investigation.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr. Aligbe described NCAA as the “police man” of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and that the Acting Director General, Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam, would not be able to exert as much authority as a substantive head will.

“We are becoming a laughing stock globally, that a country like Nigeria… does not have a substantive head of the regulatory agency”

Disclosing that President Goodluck Jonathan has already submitted a name to the Senate, he urged the Senate to either consider the candidate or request that someone else be nominated.

“If the Senate doesn’t consider that person appropriate, the Senate should….have said: we don’t consider him, give us another name” he said.

The Senate is currently on recess.

 

NCAA Is Doing A Good Job In Ensuring Safe Air Travel- Director

Director, Air Transport Regulation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Justus Wariya, today rated the agencies fight against poor service delivery by airline operators to passengers high.

Wariya, who observed a minute silence for victims of the Dana Air plane crash, said the NCAA is doing “a good Job”.

Wariya who spoke as a guest on Channels Television’s morning flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, said the agency had constituted separate groups to ensure that air safety measures were put in place “daily”.

“We have separate groups in the flight safety group we call the FSG, comprising of the air worthiness; land system group, the training group that is currently monitoring the ramp inspection”.

He also confirmed that “I also do more inspection now on the air line more closely”.

Wariya also said they have spot inspectors who monitor operations of airlines and other service providers to ensure continuous compliance with the regulations guiding their operations “daily”.

He blamed the continuous delay in flights to sometimes the weather of destination of the air line operator and depending on the report they get.

He further said that pilots and/or air line operators should always apologise to the passengers when flights are cancelled, while maintaining that major causes of air travel are weather and reports gotten from the other airports, a problem he said is being faced “the world over”.

Wariya speaking further, also said that the NCAA frowns at the delay of flights in the nation’s aviation sector but said “currently there is no law in place to fine erring airline operators