Aviation: Nigerian Passengers Will Soon Have Rights – Lawmaker

A Federal Lawmaker and Chairman House Committee on Treaties and Agreements, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu, has explained the importance of the proposed Passenger Rights Bill in protecting Nigerians who commune by flight.

He was a guest of Rubbin’ Minds on Channels Television, where he spoke on efforts in the National Assembly to review goings on in the aviation industry. Mr Bush reiterated the view that Nigeria is not doing it right as far as the sector is concerned and this led to the development of the Passengers’ Rights Bill.

Sharing few of his personal experiences, Mr Bush-Alebioshu said that there are too many cases of passengers being taken advantage of by airlines and airport authorities, and this “nonsense” needs to stop.

Bush, who claimed to have been delayed at the airport close to 6 hours, also cited situations whereby people pay for upper class tickets are they “bumped” into the economy class.

He explained that the Passengers’ Rights Bill is borne out of Nigeria being a signatory to the Montreal Convention. The Convention stated among other things, the rights that passengers would have, and luckily the treaty was domesticated in the 2006 Aviation Act.

However, the treaty is a guideline which has not been explicit enough to treat certain practical issues, and this led to the House coming up with the idea of developing clear laws to regulate the industry on issues like delayed flights, damaged luggage, emergency situations and many more.

He said that the bill was practically embraced by almost every member of the House of Representatives during its presentation. Having scaled through its first and second reading, it has been committed to the Committee on Aviation to conduct the public hearing which is expected to hold during the first quarter of 2014.

 

We Have Not Done Well

Speaking about the general state of the aviation industry and its controversial moments in 2013, Bush who noted that he was not out to witch-hunt anyone, said that the industry has not done well.

Although he acknowledged that there are indeed laudable renovations and constructions being done at the airports, he insisted that quality services are more important in developing the aviation sector.

For example, he complained that at the Muritala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos, it still takes very long for arriving passengers to get their luggage after landing, with some spending as long as 2 hours waiting.

He went further by asking what the essence of renovating airports are, when on arrival in a Nigerian airport, the first thing travellers see are tankers branded in different company names parked all over the place.

 

Bilateral Air Service Agreement – BASA

The Chairman House Committee on Treaties and Agreements, also criticized the imbalance in the country’s treaties and BASA with other countries like the United Kingdom.

He berated current arrangements whereby the British Airways has the access to operate its international flights from about 3 or 4 Nigerian airports, with about 14 flights in and out of Lagos weekly, while the Nigerian carrier does not have such privileges in the UK.

Bush believes that this arrangement is killing the local aviation industry. He added that Nigeria’s Arik Airline which operates the Lagos to London route has been restricted by the British authorities to only land at the Heathrow Airport. The implication of this is that their own local airlines would make revenue off passengers whose final destinations within UK is not London.

He noted that before picking up any agreement, there should be a policy, and those policies must ensure three keys things. They must ensure that there is no infringement on Human Rights, they do not impact negatively on the environment and that sustainable development is guaranteed.

He berated the way Nigeria gets into agreements with countries with financial obligations being imposed on Nigerians yet the country is not taking them serious, adding that some of the BASA do not even have reciprocity.

He explained that the average Nigerian does not know the treaties that Nigeria is bound by. Meanwhile the laws guiding countries signing such treaties say that their citizens should know about them, with the office of the Attorney-General saddled with the responsibility of making the details available.

He asked: “Can you count how many Nigerian businesses that have gone to South Africa to succeed despite the successes they (South Africa) have enjoyed here?” It is so because Nigerians don’t even know their rights in order to take advantage of them.”

Mr Bush-Alebiosu, added that his committee has demanded a BASA audit on the floor of the House, and it was also supported by the entire House. The essence of this audit is to review all the BASA that Nigeria has signed, in a bid to review and demand that they become more beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians.

Insecurity: President Jonathan Commissions NAF Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

As part of the Federal Government’s effort to tackle insecurity in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday unveiled a Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), produced locally by the Nigerian Air Force.

The vehicle named GULMA, is the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to be produced in the country according to the authorities, and will be used to fight terrorism and other sophisticated crimes through enhanced air surveillance.

At the commissioning ceremony held at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna, President Jonathan commended the nation’s armed forces for their breakthrough in science and technology innovation, and assured of the federal government’s willingness to support the security agencies in their research projects.

He urged the private sector to key into the  breakthrough made  by the Air Force in order to achieve through mass production, the highest and best commercial use of this prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Earlier in an address, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh said that the main objective of producing the surveillance vehicle was to instil self-sufficiency in the fields of aviation and military technology and also to discourage the military’s over dependence on developed nations for supply of security equipment.

He further disclosed that the unmanned aerial vehicle has been designed to meet vast expectations and needs, and could be used by the nation’s armed forces and other security agencies for both internal and security operations.

He added that the Nigerian Air Force spent between $2million to $3million to train the eleven pilots that will operate the UAVs, and therefore called for more funding.

Supervisory Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, said that the development of the unmanned surveillance aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force at the time the country is battling with terrorism is an indication of the present government’s resolve to provide security for the citizens. He urged other security agencies to incorporate it into their operations to fully harness their potentials.

The 40 kilogramme unmanned aerial vehicle is designed to pick objects 10,000 feet above sea level. Its history commenced in 2007 when the Nigerian Air Force introduced a 5-year manpower development programme in Aerospace engineering in collaboration with Cranfield University based in the United Kingdom.

The vision was to develop in-house capacity for advanced research and development in the country’s aerospace fields. The collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force and the University heralded the design and production of several small unmanned aerial vehicles, which were code named ‘Amebo’.

The vehicle, basically made of aluminium alloy structure and operated by radio control only, was designed and tested by the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 2009.

Besides its diverse military application, the unmanned aircraft provides other benefits; in disaster management, power line surveys, law enforcement, telecommunications, weather monitoring, and aerial imaging and mapping. It is also rapidly, becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental monitoring, and oil and gas exploration.

From a humble beginning in 2007, the Nigerian Air Force has grown capacity and capability in unmanned aerial vehicle production and operations. The authorities therefore believe that with adequate funding, this wealth of research could be harnessed to produce various categories of the vehicle to support internal security operations, and also provide civil agencies with aerial surveillance requirements.

Nigeria Army To Hold Joint Military Training With U.S, UK

Nigeria will today participate in a three-week joint military training with Special Forces from The Netherlands, U.S., UK, Spain and Italy.

The exercise, which would take place at the general area of the South-West and South-South coastal areas, was made known in a statement released by the Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade in Abuja yesterday.

Olukolade said the exercise, spearheaded by the Nigerian Navy, will be code named AFRICAN WINDS

Olukolade said: “It will be facilitated by a combined Mobile Training Teams (MTT), of Marines and Special Forces drawn from The Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy under the auspices of African Partnership Station (APS).

“The Netherlands Navy Amphibious Support Ship, HMNLS ROTTERDAM, which is scheduled to arrive in Lagos and later proceed to Calabar, will feature as a major platform in the exercise.”

He said it was designed to improve the capacity of Nigeria’s Armed Forces to plan and execute joint operations in the maritime environment.

The statement further added that the exercise would also focus on training activities in Joint Maritime Security Training Centre (JMSTC) and the Nigerian Army Amphibious Training School (ATS).

Olukolade said the Army, Navy and Air Force were expected to participate “in this important training event with the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, monitoring and superintending the exercise”

 

MUSIC: Dap – Young Kings (Feat. Teezeedrb, S.Chubbz)

Upcoming act, DAP, whose real name is Dolapo Akinkugbe, has released a new track titled Young Kings, featuring Teezeedrb and S.Chubbz.

Listen:

About DAP

DAP (Dolapo Akinkugbe) is a classically trained pianist and producer/rapper. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and coming from an entirely musical family, he started playing the piano aged 4 and passed his ABRSM Grade 8 Piano with distinction aged 13, and went on to attain a DipABRSM Performance Diploma on the Piano aged 17. 

He also played the viola and flute to high grades through prep school and high school in the UK. On December 29th 2011 he released his first mixtape, self-produced and self-written titled Unconscious. 

After high school in London, UK, where he made and continues to make music with his Stay Fly group members Shane Chubbz and Aife, he attended the Berklee College of Music for two semesters, along with his sister Kaline, as part of a gap year with the intention of majoring in Contemporary Writing & Production or Music Production & Engineering, and on his departure after the summer released another mixtape titled GoodBye For Now.

He now attends Brown University in Providence Rhode Island where he released a joint mixtape with his fellow Stay Fly group member Aife titled Green White Green, and is hoping to major in Classics & Music there. He has performed with the likes of Bez Idakula and is now in the process of putting together his third mixtape, Unconscious II: Esse Quam Videre.

 

Constitution Amendment: Nigerians Must Watch Out For Legislative Dictatorship

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ahamba has asked Nigerians to be mindful of the on-going National Assembly’s Constitution amendment.

The lawyer warned of  a ‘legislative dictatorship’ tendency by the lawmakers in a bid to control the President.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he supported President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to sign the State of the Nation address bill which was passed by the body of lawmakers.

“I can see a bid by the National Assembly to empower itself beyond what the constitution allows them do,” Mr Ahamba warned.

He described as ‘improper’ the National Assembly’s move, adding that “any legislation that makes the President subservient to the National Assembly except on matters that are brought constitutionally before that body is not proper”.

The executive must be allowed to rule this country in accordance with the laws made by the National Assembly.

According to him, the bill proposed by the National Assembly is a device to “dictate to the President how to implement the laws of the country.”

He said amendment can obliterate laws that are already made.

“The constitution is not an act” that can be changed anytime and if care isn’t taken, “we would all pay for it in the future”.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria advised the Presidency to seek a ruling from the court on whether the Parliament has the right to enact such laws if the National Assembly vetoes the bill President Jonathan has refused to sign into law.

£3000 Visa Bond: Nigerian’s Selfish Attitude Led To Unfair Policy

A legal practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ahamba, has blamed Nigerians’ belief in ‘individual development’ and not ‘societal development’ for the recent United Kingdom immigration policy which proposes a £3, 0000 visa bond deposit for Nigerian visitors.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ahamba said the British government is doing what they think they should do but added that the policy is “not proper and is most unfair.”

“If they don’t want Nigerians in Britain, they should say so openly,” he said.

He explained Nigeria has been exposed to such treatment because “we don’t believe in ourselves, we don’t believe in what we have and we don’t want to improve on ourselves,” which is why many citizens travel to the UK.

Mr Ahamba said Nigerians have messed up our country and that is why we want to go to other people’s country. “That’s why they are treating us like rags”.

He noted that “in the 70’s and 80’s, they were begging us to come there”, as he advised Nigerians and the government to stand against the policy.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also warned the federal government not to do nothing to escalate the situation as the policy is only just a proposal.

“What will make them stop is to make our country better, for us to stay in it” he said.

UK Military Says Warplanes In Nigeria Is For Mali operation

Authority in the British military on Sunday said its warplanes recently spotted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja were there to move soldiers to aid the French intervention in Mali, not to rescue foreign hostages kidnapped by an Islamic group.

The extremist group called Ansaru partially blamed the presence of those planes as an excuse for killing seven foreign hostages, including British, Greek, Italian and Lebanese citizens.

The Islamic radicals claimed on Saturday that they had killed the seven hostages. While Nigerian authorities have yet to comment publicly about Ansaru’s claim.

Ansaru said it killed the hostages in part due to media on the arrival of British military aircraft to Bauchi, where the abductions occurred. However, the online statement from Ansaru said the airplanes were spotted at the international airport in Abuja.

The British Ministry of Defence said the planes it flew to Abuja ferried Nigerian troops and equipment to Bamako, Mali. Nigerian soldiers have been sent to Mali to help French forces and Malian troops battle Islamic extremists there. The British military said it also transported Ghanaian soldiers to Mali the same way.

The British ministry declined to offer any other comment regarding Nigerian extremist group’s claims that it killed the seven hostage killings. Ansaru had said it believed the planes were part of a Nigerian and British rescue mission for the abducted hostages.

In its statement Saturday, Ansaru also blamed the killings on a pledge by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to do “everything possible” to free the hostages.

Ansaru previously issued a short statement saying its fighters kidnapped the foreigners Feb. 16 from a construction company’s camp at Jama’are, a town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. In the attack gunmen first assaulted a local prison and burned police trucks, authorities said. Then the attackers blew up a back fence at the construction company’s compound and took over, killing a guard in the process, witnesses and police said.

In January 2013, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram.

UK Probes Killing Of Briton In Nigeria

The foreign office of Britain says that it is urgently investigating reports that a British national has died in Nigeria following earlier reports that a group of hostages has been killed.

The foreign office is also appealing against speculations on the matter which it considers to be very sensitive.

Nigerian Born UK Designer Stabbed To Death in London

A Nigerian born UK designer, Shaun Akanbi, was recently stabbed to death in his London apartment.

The police found the 26 year old, dead in his apartment in Cedar Lodge, Exeter Road, Kilburn, on Saturday December 22nd, around 4.45pm following concerns about his welfare.

According to a postmortem, the cause of his death was as a result of multiple stab wounds.

Meanwhile, two young men have been arrested by the Police for allegedly carrying out the murder.

One of them, Achraf Jandara, 19, was charged for murder on the 5th of January while the other suspect, 20 was released on bail.

 

Until his death, Shaun was the founder of Billy Boyce Clothing Line.

Shot Pakistani schoolgirl goes to UK for treatment

Malala Yusufzai, the 14 year-old Pakistani girl that was shot by Taliban gunmen for pushing girls to be educated has been flown to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

In a statement by the military spokesman says, Malala will require a prolonged care to fully recover physically and psychologically.
He added that, an air ambulance transporting Malala, provided by the United Arab Emirates, had departed from Islamabad and was heading for the United Kingdom.

“The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK center which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury,” said the spokesman in a statement.

Malala has become a potent symbol of resistance against the Pakistani Taliban’s efforts to deprive girls of an education.

Pakistanis have held some protests and candlelight vigils but government officials have refrained from publicly criticizing the Taliban by name over the attack, in what critics say is a lack of resolve against extremism.
Opponents of Pakistan’s government and military say the shooting is another reminder of the state’s failure to tackle militancy.

REUTERS

Gay Nigerian in UK fights deportation

Olamilekan Ayelokun

Nearly 2000 people have signed an online petition to support a gay Nigerian asylum seeker, who fears he might be killed if deported.
Olamiekan Ayelokun claimed he fled Nigeria eight-years -ago to escape persecution because of his sexual orientation.

However, a judge at Bradford’s Immigration Court has stated that he is not convinced Mr Ayelokun is gay and ordered for his deportation last week.

The 28-year-old was supposed to have been deported to Nigeria on October 3. However, that decision has been delayed until further notice.

A friend of Mr Ayelokun’s, Jason Feather, who started the petition to prevent him from being deported, said “I have been told that the Nigerian authorities do monitor international news. If he was to be taken to Nigeria now the authorities would know he is a gay man. In the south, he would get up to 14 years in prison and in the north where Sharia law is practised he might be killed.”

More than 1700 people have so far signed the petition asking immigration officials to change their minds.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said Mr Ayelokun a nursing student who now resides in Bradford had lived in the UK illegally, having overstayed a visitors’ visa that expired in 2003.

He put in an application to stay in the country in 2011; at that point he was then required to sign every week.

Mr Ayelokun was detained on September 25th after a routine appointment at the UK Border Agency’s Waterside Court offices in Leeds.

A UKBA spokesman said “Mr Ayelokun lived in the UK illegally for eight years, having overstayed a visit visa that expired in 2003.

“He did not claim asylum until 2011, after he was arrested by UK Border Agency officers for using false documents to gain employment.

“At no point has he been able to provide sufficient evidence of his sexuality, and our decision not to grant him asylum has been upheld by an independent immigration judge.

“Where people do not have the right to be in the UK we will take steps to remove them.”

However, Mr Ayelokun’s friends and supporters, whose petition is on change.org, have rejected the UKBA’s claims.

They said UK immigration officials are breaching the European Convention on Human Rights by “sending someone to a situation where he or she has a ‘real risk’ of being subjected to ‘torture or an inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’”.

Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also supporting Ayelokun. He said “Regardless of his past mistakes, Ola should be given asylum on the grounds that if he is returned to Nigeria he will be at serious risk of homophobic persecution. It is outrageous for any judge to suggest that a person who has a number of gay relationships is not gay.

“This case is further evidence of the way Britain asylum system abuses refugees. The system is rigged to fail as many asylum seekers as possible regardless of their individual merit.”

He said: “The coalition government is not living up to its pledge to provide a safe haven for gay Africans who face victimisation. It is a betrayal of (Prime Minister) David Cameron’s pledge.”

UK mobile operators in talks over 4G networks

For most of the mobile networks, the 4G Networks were meant to have been running in the United Kingdom but owing to Ofcom’s action termed as being ‘Sluggish’ towards the introduction and it is seen as frustrating. But prior to the meeting, O2 was optimistic about the chances of a summer 2013 launch.

EE has so far withheld any firm dates of the public release of its 4G service, but today’s discussions could pave the way for an October launch.

The other networks, particularly Vodafone and O2 were enraged by EE’s 4G head start; however, if they decide to set up a legal challenge they would risk further reducing the speed of their own progress.

However, Three might take over a portion of EE’s 4G spectrum next September with the stand of things right now.

O2 and Vodafone will be able to offer 4G services only after gaining control of the other parts of the radio spectrum when they are eventually freed up and sold off and Ofcom could speed things up by bringing the auction, which is expected to happen in January.

This would mean that 4G networks could be launched by May or June, rather than the latter part of next year. This would also confine EE’s period of exclusivity to around half a year.