Adeyemi Replaces Melaye As Senate Committee Chairman On Aviation

Kogi West: Smart Adeyemi Is 'My Political Wife' – Melaye
Dino Melaye                                                                                                                           Smart Adeyemi



The lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Smart Adeyemi, has been named as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation.

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, announced this on Friday during the last plenary session for 2019.

Senator Adeyemi replaces Senator Dino Melaye who held the position until he left the Senate.

The Red Chamber of the National Assembly, thereafter, adjourned plenary until January 28, 2020.

READ ALSO: Adeyemi Unseats Melaye, Wins Kogi West Senatorial District Election


A Quest To Reclaim Mandate

Senator Adeyemi unseated Senator Melaye on November 30 to return to the Senate for a third term, after a Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed an appeal filed by Melaye challenging the nullification of his victory in the general elections.

In line with the order of the court, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted a fresh election on November 16.

INEC was, however, forced to conduct a supplementary poll after the rerun election failed to produce a winner as it was said to have been marred by violence and other electoral malpractices.

Although the results of the poll favoured Senator Adeyemi who polled 80,118 votes as against Senator Melaye’s 59,548 votes, the returning officer had said that he was constrained by law to declare a winner.

At the end of the supplementary exercise, the electoral umpire returned Senator Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.

He lawmaker polled a total of 88,373 votes to beat Senator Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 62,133 votes.

Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came third in the poll with 659 votes and was trailed by John Olabode and Adeyemi Taiwo of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP) who polled 262 and 119 votes respectively.

Senate To Probe Airport Renovations In Nigeria

Senate, AirportsThe Nigerian Senate ‎has announced plans to investigate the renovation work in airports across the country.

The slow pace of work at the terminal building of some airports prompted the decision of the Senate Committee on Aviation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made the announcement on Wednesday after inspecting the level of work at the airports in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and Kaduna State.

He said that the officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the project consultants and contractors have been summoned to appear before the Senate Committee, to explain the reasons for the slow pace of work.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja where the oversight visits began, Sen. Uzodinma, who noticed that some buildings were begging for renovation at the premises of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), however, expressed satisfaction with the general level of work.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on his part reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to establish a national carrier.

The Committee also inspected a number of ongoing and completed projects at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Kaduna State.

Sen. Uzodinma told the Rector of the College, Captain Samuel Caulcrick, that the Senate would provide an effective oversight function on the aviation sector, to ensure that all facilities were in place for the smooth running of the sector.

With the discoveries made during the tour of Abuja and Kaduna airports, the Senate Committee on Aviation reaffirmed its commitment to visit other airports in the country, to ensure that Nigerian airports are well maintained for effective service delivery.

Senate Inspects Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Facilities

Senate Inspects Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport FacilitiesThe Senate Committee on Aviation has visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, to inspect the maintenance of its infrastructure and equipment.

Members of the committee went on inspection of the former domestic wing of the airport to access the state of infrastructure and the quality of work being done on the new terminal.

Speaking after the inspection on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Musa Kwankwaso, expressed dissatisfaction with the maintenance of the airport facilities.

He said that the committee would make a report of its findings and make recommendations to the Senate.

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, who led the Senators on the inspection, said that the agency was working to ensure the safety of travellers.

Senate Postpones Meeting With Oduah To December 10

The Senate Committee on Aviation has shifted the public hearing with the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah and agencies under her ministry to Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Addressing a press conference, the chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, explained that the postponement became necessary after the minister led other aviation agencies to clear the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The runway was blocked by a Saudi Arabian Cargo Plane, which developed fault as it landed on the runway; thus preventing planes from leaving or landing at the airport.

It would be recalled that the senate had summoned the aviation minister and heads of federal aviation agencies to explain the rate of crashes in the country after the crash of the Associated Airline carrying the body of late Ondo state governor, Olusegun Agagu which claimed 16 lives.

The senate also decided that the minister would address the federal lawmakers in plenary but that decision was rescinded and referred to the committee on aviation.

Aviation Scandal: More Revelations As Senate, House of Reps Investigate

The Senate Committee on Aviation has revealed that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, purchased 202 vehicles.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who had a meeting with the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi, said that the committee is investigating the purchases, which include 4 armoured cars.

He said the FAAN management confirmed to the committee that the vehicles were for operational use.

Meanwhile, as the House of Representatives continues to probe the controversial procurement of 2 armoured cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) the Nigerian Customs Service has stated that no duty was paid on the vehicles, as a duty waiver was obtained for the importation.

In his presentation to the House of Reps Committee on Aviation, Deputy Comptroller-General of the Customs Service, Manasseh Jatau, said the 1 year waiver was from the Ministry of Finance for the 2012 Eko Games, which had Lagos State Government as beneficiary.

The President of Coscharis Motors, Cosmos Maduka, also led a team to the hearing. They spoke on the procedure followed on the purchase of the cars and other issues raised by the committee and explained that every requirement by law was duly followed.

The committee has however given the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who was absent at the hearing, an ultimatum to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday.


NCAA DG Nominee Condemns Use Of Private Jets For Commercial Purposes

The nominee for the Director General; Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu has condemned the use of private airplanes for commercial purposes.

Captain Akinkuotu who was speaking while being screened by members of the Senate Committee on Aviation said the use of private airplanes for commercial purposes is fraudulent and advocated that operators be penalized.

Speaking on air safety, Captain Akinkuotu said 60 percent of air accidents are due to human error therefore what is critical for air safety is that relevant government agencies must insist on qualified technical personnel, surveillance, compliance and enforcement.

President Goodluck Jonathan had last month sent a letter to the Senate, requesting it to confirm the nomination of Captain Fola Akinkuotu as the new head of the agency.

Senate Orders Aero Contractors To Recall 650 Sacked Workers

The Senate has asked the management of Aero Contractors to withdraw the dismissal letters issued to members of staff of the airline.

The Senate Committee on Aviation gave the directive at a meeting with the management of Aero and the unions in the aviation sector to intervene in the on-going industrial dispute in the airline.

The management of Aero Contractors on March the 13th dismissed 650 workers, a move that prompted an industrial action by the workers.

The industrial action has since crippled the services of the private airline.

At the meeting, the managing director of Aero Contractors, Mr. Obaru Ibru explained that the airline had recalled three hundred of the dismissed staff, but the chairman of the committee on aviation maintained that the workers should not have been dismissed in the first place.

Senate Urge FG To Recognise Ilorin’s Cargo Terminal

The Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has called on the Federal Government to recognise and consider the nearly completed Ilorin Cargo Terminal in its effort to encourage agricultural sector in the country.

Senator Uzodinma made the call on Thursday, a day after inspecting the on-going cargo terminal project with other members of the committee.

He expressed satisfaction with the foresight of the Kwara state government in embarking on the project adding that although the Federal Government had already earmarked six locations in the country where cargo terminals would be located.

He also expressed his delight with the quality of work done and urged the contractors to meet the set deadline of February next year.

The committee members were accompanied in the inspection of the project by the Kwara state governor, Mr Abdulfattah Ahmed and some government officials.

Earlier at the government house during a courtesy call by the committee, the governor noted that over N1.4billion has been expended on the project adding that being a gateway between the north and the south, Ilorin is strategically located for the cargo to serve the entire country especially on agricultural produce.

The governor added that the project was conceived to complement Federal Government’s effort in developing the agricultural sector and he expressed the determination of his government to continue in that regard.

Senate considers barring public officials from foreign airlines

The Senate Committee on Aviation has ordered the British Airways and the Virgin Atlantic Airways to pay a fine of $135 million and $100 million respectively for conspiring to fix prices at the expense of Nigeria, operating a duopoly to the detriment of other airlines and engaging in the passenger fuel surcharge scam.

The committee, in its report on the violation of aviation laws and practice by foreign airlines and lapses in the operations of regulatory agencies, on Tuesday ordered the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to work with the Ministry of Justice and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to compel both airlines to pay the fines in line with the Civil Aviation Act 2006.

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Hope Uzodinma said both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways were found guilty of the offences.

It also recommended that government officials travelling abroad should mandatorily use Nigerian flag carriers and charged the Aviation Ministry to work with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to enlighten the public on the imperative of flying national flag carriers.

The committee also recommended that the Aviation Ministry be engaged on its plan to float an indigenous national carrier, saying “Arik Airline with over 26 new aircrafts in their fleet and any other local airline with similar capacity which must have operated in Nigeria for a minimum of five years should be granted national flag carrier status”.

The proposal to grant Arik airline the national flag carrier status did not go down well with some lawmakers who argued that the Federal government should rather build its own airline.

The Senate President, David Mark queried the regulatory agencies for failing to protect Nigerians from the exploitation of foreign airlines.

“We need to do our homework before blaming the airlines. Nigerians expect us to protect them. Let nobody exploit Nigerians. The British Airways and the Virgin Atlantic Airways have exploited Nigerians. The regulatory agencies are the problems. They’ve failed in what they’re supposed to do. As weak as the laws are, they are not being implemented. We’ve problems with implementing the laws we put in place,” he said.

Some lawmakers argue that the committee’s report does not address the mandate given to the committee.

The senate resolved to consider the recommendations on another legislative day.

Senate directs PHCN to set up service stations at airports

The Senate Committee on Aviation has directed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to immediately set up service stations at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The committee also directed that similar action be carried out in other airports across  the country. The committee gave the directive following explanations from officials of PHCN and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on the cause of the blackout at the airport on Saturday which had some aircrafts hovering in the air for hours.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said the blackout at the airport was a huge embarrassment to the country.
He, however, assured the people that “every necessary step” must be taken to forestall any such occurrences in the future.

He also directed the Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, to ensure a dedicated power line is provided at the airport, noting that the current arrangement was deficient.

Abdulganiyu Umar, the Chief Executive Officer of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, had told the committee that the power outage was caused by the ongoing electrical work by FAAN contractors at the airport.

The Head, Electrical Department of FAAN, Mr Sam Dahua, also told the committee that after the power went off, the generators were immediately switched on but they equally failed after a while.

Senator Uzodinma appealed to the government agencies concerned to work together to ensure smooth operations to address the occurrence of such blackouts.
He noted that if FAAN had worked in collaboration with PHCN, the blackout would have been averted.

He also stressed on the need for officials of the distribution company at the airport to be present at their duty posts at all times.

Mr Dahua said all the parties, namely the committee, PHCN, FAAN and the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after consultations.

In the MOU the agencies agreed to collaborate to construct a new 33kv line from Apo transmission substation to the airport.

They also agreed that all the street lights and other electricity consumers would be connected to the line to free the double circuit 33kv feeders dedicated exclusively for the Airport.

The agreement also states that the airport authority shall always inform PHCN whenever it needs to carry out maintenance work on its electrical installations to enable PHCN to provide technical support.

The agreement also states that PHCN shall set up a full-fledged service centre at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, while FAAN will provide office accommodation for the PHCN technical crew.

The parties agreed that PHCN and FAAN would carry out joint due diligence on all the electrical facilities at the airport to re-affirm their state and adequacy for smooth operations.

The MoU was signed by officials of the three agencies and the chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation.

The power outage at the airport occurred at 4 a.m. and forced passengers on a British Airways flight to wait in the aircraft for more than an hour for the restoration of light before embarking.