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Cancellation of Lagos-Enugu flight due to flooded runway, says Air Peace

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Nigerian carrier Air Peace says the cancellation of its flight from Lagos to Enugu on Sunday was due to flooding of the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

The Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, confirmed the development to newsmen on Monday in Lagos.

Olajide, while apologising to the airline’s guests for the cancellation, said Air Peace would continue to prioritise their safety.

Mrs Cecilia Oguama, Airport Manager, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, also confirmed the development to the Nigeria News Agency .

Oguama said Air Peace, however, operated its flight from the airport to Lagos late on Sunday after the flood on the runway abated.

She said the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had begun plans to rehabilitate the runway to ensure that it was safe for flight operations.

NAN reports that the immediate-past Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had after his ministerial screening by the Senate told newsmen that the airport should be shut down for major repairs.

He said: “If you ask me, I will close Enugu airport tomorrow, actually today, because the runway has failed. They are maintaining it regularly to ensure safe operations.

“I am not comfortable because there are also other problems with the runway. It is short, it needs to be extended. We recognise the efforts by the Federal Government by closing down the market beside the airport.

“Also, people have built within the premises of the airport, on the safety area of the airport, and that ought not to be on the land belonging to FAAN.

“Whoever is the next minister will contend with that because this is safety. Enugu will be dear to the next minister,” he said.

NAN reports that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport is the only international airport in the South-East region of Nigeria.

According to FAAN, no fewer than 30,000 passengers pass through the airport on the domestic route, while another 10,000 international passengers went through the airport in 2018.

General news

Hajj 2020: Kwara pilgrims board allays fear of cancellation

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The Kwara Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board  has allayed fears of prospective pilgrims on cancellation for this year’s Hajj (pilgrimage) to Saudi Arabia.

The board is reacting to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has paralysed socioeconomic and religious activities worldwide.

Alhaji Mohammed Jimoh, the Executive Secretary of the board, gave this indication during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria NAN in llorin on Wednesday.

According to him, the Saudi Arabia Authority nor the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria are yet to make any pronouncement on the cancellation of 2020 Hajj exercise.

The Saudi Arabian Government and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria have not make any official pronouncements on the cancellation of the 2020 hajj exercise,” he said.

The executive secretary therefore expressed optimism on the possibility of conducting the 2020 Hajj.

Jimoh therefore urged all intending pilgrims from the state for 2020 exercise not to lose hope of performing their spiritual retreat.

He gave assured that the board would not relent at giving current, timely and accurate information regarding the 2020 pilgrimage to give the intending pilgrims first hand information.

The executive scribe also advised the intending pilgrims and entire Muslims to intensify prayers to Almighty Allah to bail Nigeria and the whole world out of the of COVID-19 protracted crisis.

BEKl/MST

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Economy

Expert advises FG against cancellation of power sector agreements

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An expert in the energy sector, Mr Osayu Ogboghodo, has advised the Federal Government against cancelling agreements with the  current investors in the nation’s power sector.

 

Ogboghodo, a Consultant with Nextier Power, said that the move would contribute toward weakening investors’ trust and increase Nigeria’s investment risk profile.

 

He added that it would put additional financial burden on the government.

 

He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday.

 

He was reacting to the call by the Senate for an immediate review of the privatisation exercise of the power sector done by the previous administrations.

 

NAN reports that the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, had bemoaned what he described as the “inefficiency of Power Generating and Distribution Companies” in the country.

 

He had called for a review or an eventual reversal of the terms of the privatisation.

 

Ogboghodo, however, said: “With regards to the recommended cancellation (of the privatisation process) the Federal Government will need to consider the potential risks in disregarding legally binding agreements.

 

“It can contribute to weakening investors’ trust and increasing Nigeria’s investments risk profile.

 

“This is not to mention the added financial burden on the government to pay off the investors and repossess the assets, given that the government will be the party that defaults in the agreement.

 

“It will not be a wise decision at this time,” he said.

 

He said that the government should continue to take coordinated policy, regulatory and operational actions to reset the electricity supply industry on a pathway to financial sustainability.

 

“Lack of liquidity is a major problem in the market. The government is currently doing so with the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).

 

“So, we want to see more of these actions, including proposing credible, realistic and complete; affordable and sustainable, and pro-poor financing and tariff adjustment plan to bridge the structural viability gap in the market.

 

“Remember the key goal is to make the market appealing to investors through proposed regulatory and business models.

 

” So, adopting flexible business models such as interconnected mini-grids, sub-concessions, sub-franchising, public-private partnership, build-maintain-operate,  that leverage on enabling regulations to improve the quality and reliability of distributed electricity can  be the way to go,” he said.

 

According him, the privatisation process should be reviewed from time to time, strictly to monitor and evaluate the outcome of the reform process.

 

“Such review should answer questions, such as, what stage are we in the privatised electricity market? Is this the stage that was envisioned during the reform process?

 

“What are the current challenges that are hindering the privatised market to get to its final stage (a competitive, financially viable and customer-centric electricity market)?

 

“What actions do we need to take to get to the final stage? ,” he queried.

 

Ogboghodo noted that while Nigeria’s previous reform process can’t be changed, there was an opportunity for a post-reform process to address the current market challenges concerning liquidity, quality of service, discipline and transparency.

 

“Ultimately, the reform process should be continuous and this continuous process shall serve the highest public good, while also delivering real progress, change and impact,” he said.

 

 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19 disruption ‘ll lead to cancellation of 28m surgeries worldwide- Researchers

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A research network, CovidSurg Collaborative, says 28.4 million elective surgeries worldwide will be cancelled or postponed in 2020 as a result of disruption to hospital services occasioned by to COVID-19 pandemic.

A Consultant Paediatric Surgeon,
Prof. Adesoji Ademuyiwa, in a statement in Lagos on Friday, said the network made the projection based on a 12-week period of peak disruption to hospital services due to COVID-19.

CovidSurg Collaborative is focussed on the impact of COVID-19 on surgical care, with over 5,000 surgeons from across 120 countries participated in the programme.

Ademuyiwa, who is also a Director, National Institute of Health Research Global Surgery Unit, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, led the global research in Nigeria.

According to him, the modelling study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, indicates that each additional week of disruption to hospital services will be associated with a further 2.4 million cancellations.

He said: “The researchers collected detailed information from surgeons across 359 hospitals and 71 countries on plans for cancellation of elective surgeries.

“This data was then statistically modelled to estimate totals for cancelled surgery across 190 countries.

“The researchers project that worldwide, 72.3 per cent of planned surgeries would be cancelled through the peak period of COVID-19 related disruption.

“Most cancelled surgeries will be for non-cancer conditions. Orthopaedic procedures will be cancelled most frequently, with 6.3 million orthopaedic surgeries cancelled worldwide over a 12-week period.

“It is also projected that globally 2.3 million cancer surgeries will be cancelled or postponed.”

In Nigeria, Ademuyiwa said that most hospitals had issued out policies to cancel most elective surgeries indefinitely, until reviewed based on containment of the community transmission of the SARS Cov-2 virus.

“Across the nation, it is estimated that this will result in 114, 514 cancelled surgeries, including 12, 217cancer procedures.

“These cancellations will create a backlog that will need to be cleared after the COVID-19 disruption ends.

“If, after the disruption ends, the Ministry of Health increases the number of surgeries performed each week by 20 per cent compared to pre-pandemic activity.

“It will take 11 months to clear the backlog.

“However, each additional week of disruption will lead to the cancellation of an extra 8, 705 surgeries, significantly extending the period it will take to clear the backlog,” the consultant paediatric surgeon said.

According to Ademuyiwa, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a huge backlog of cancelled elective surgeries across Nigeria.

He said it was estimated that each additional week of cancelled surgery would result in a backlog of over 8,000 surgeries.

“There is a need for all stakeholders to explore ways in which elective surgeries can resume in a safe way, both for patients and healthcare workers.

“This is to reduce the backlog of surgical burden expected after the pandemic resolves,” he said.

Also, in the statement Mr Aneel Bhangu, a Consultant Surgeon and Senior Lecturer at the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery, University of Birmingham, said that cancellation of elective surgeries was to reduce risk of exposing patients to the virus.

Bhangu said: “During the COVID-19 pandemics, elective surgeries have been cancelled.

“This is to reduce the risk of patients being exposed to COVID-19 in hospital, and to support the wider hospital response, for example by converting operating theatres in to intensive care units.

“Although essential, cancellations place a heavy burden on patients and society.

“Patients’ conditions may deteriorate, worsening their quality of life as they wait for rescheduled surgery.

“In some cases, for example cancer, delayed surgeries may lead to a number of unnecessary deaths.”

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Entertainment

AGN mulls cancellation of movie productions over COVID 19

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The Actor Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has said it was considering cancellation of movie productions in some locations across the country sequel to COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Emeka Rollas, the President of AGN,  told Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

He said that though AGN was not responsible for movie production and it was the exclusive preserved of Executive Producer, but the guild was making effort to liase with them if they could cancel production for three weeks.

Rollas said that AGN was already engaging producers in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the directive by the Lagos State Government that people should not gather anywhere more than 50.

“We are talking to producers to see how they can hold on in term of movie production for three weeks,” Rollas said.

He said that the Federal Government had also closed down some places; hence, the AGN must also take some measures to forestall the spread of COVID-19.

Rollas said on his part, he had ordered its member to stop gathering in large number, stressing that they must always move with their hand sanitiser.

Also, Agility Onwurah, the former Abuja AGN chapter urged the Federal Government to partner with the industry in order to redouble its efforts in the areas of sensitisation.

He said that Nollywood industry had a lot to offer in the area of sensitisation, adding that awareness creation by actors would help to reduce fear and tension over COVID-19 in the country

He however urged some producers to cancel production because of the effect of COVID-19, adding that they could not afford to put the health of their crew in jeopardy.

Onwurah said that the AGN would not watch its member being unnecessarily exposed to danger of COVID-19 pandemic in the guess of making movies.

He said that though the cancellation would have a huge economic implication on the industry, but added that the safety of its members was utmost.

According to him, the economic implication of COVID-19 is that it has a huge weight on the industry because if you cannot produce, you have to rely on income made from the last production.

Edited By: Ekemini Ladejobi
(NAN)

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Sport

Qualify first worry later: Marathoners say no time to fear Olympic cancellation

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Aspiring Olympians at the U.S. marathon trials said on Thursday that they were concerned first with securing one of the coveted few tickets to Tokyo 2020 – and less at least for now, about whether there would even be an Olympics this year.

Numerous international sports events have been hit by the outbreak of a new coronavirus with about 80,000 people infected, the vast majority in China, raising concern over the upcoming Games in Japan.

“I don’t have coronavirus at the moment and I hope it stays that way,” Scott Fauble told reporters.

Fauble is one of the most promising competitors in the men’s field. His Olympic dreams proved tantalisingly out of grasp in 2016, when he came in fourth in the 10,000-metres at the Olympic Track and Field trials.

“I’m not like an infectious disease expert and I try to be educated, I try to listen to podcasts, read articles about it,” said Fauble.

“But me worrying about what the coronavirus does in six months doesn’t really help me on Saturday.”

On Thursday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told members of the Japanese media that the IOC was “fully committed” to holding the Games on schedule.

Team USA said in a written statement this week that it was “100% focused on maintaining our high standards of Games preparedness.

But they acknowledged the recent uptick in “precautionary positions taken in both Japan and Korea over the past three days – along with confirmations of additional outbreaks in Italy and Iran.”

“We don’t yet know the full impact of the new developments on Team USA athletes and staff,” the team said.

In Atlanta, runners said they were spending the precious few moments of downtime before Saturday’s competition focused on strategy and rest, and not on the headlines.

“People are certainly being more cautious in how they are tending to having their hands washed and staying away from germs and just trying to make sure they’re not getting sick,” said Kellyn Taylor.

Taylor is in contention for one of the U.S. team’s three spots with the fourth-fastest qualifying team headed into the weekend.

“There is a significant barrier to be covered in order to just make the team,” said Jake Riley, who clocked the fastest time by an American at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

“It’s there in the back of my mind but I’m trying not to think about it too much.”

Organisers for the Tokyo Marathon, which is also scheduled to take place this weekend, have decided to bar all but the race’s elite field from participation, citing health concerns.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha

 

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Sport

Storm forces cancellation of ski World Cup race in Austria

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A men’s alpine ski World Cup combined event in Hinterstoder has been called off as a result of storm Bianca by Austrian government on Friday, organisers said.

It was not immediately clear if the event, the third combined of the season, would be rescheduled.

A men’s super-g is scheduled at the venue on Saturday followed by a giant slalom on Sunday.

The women’s World Cup continues on Saturday with a super-g in La Thuile in north-west Italy.

Organisers say the weekend’s World Cup races at the venue are going ahead despite the outbreak of the coronavirus in northern regions of the country.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Foreign

Japan’s Abe asks big-event organisers to mull cancellations amid coronavirus outbreak

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked organisers of big sport and cultural events to consider cancelling or postponing them in the next two weeks.

Abe said it was done in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

The premier made the request at a task force meeting on the disease, adding that the next two weeks is seen as a critical time for Japan to contain the spread of the epidemic.

“In view of large-scale transmission risks, we have decided to request the organisers to cancel, postpone or hold sport and cultural events nationwide on a smaller scale than planned for the next two weeks nationwide,” he said.

Abe’s remarks came a day after the government adopted a basic policy to help combat the domestic spread of the novel coronavirus, with some of the measures aimed at ensuring enough medical facilities are available to deal with cases of newly infected people.

A government panel comprising medical experts said that the coming week or two would be “critical’’ in assessing the extent the virus has and could spread in Japan.

They added that if a further spread of infections could be curbed or slowed down, then medical experts would have more time to better prepare to treat infected patients.

As of Wednesday, Japan has confirmed over 860 infections, with most of them coming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim

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Metro

Airlines apologise to passengers on flight delays, cancellations

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Some airlines at Nnambdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, have apologised to passengers over flight delays and cancellations in the last one week.

They all attributed the flight delays and cancellations to bad weather conditions during separate interviews with Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Abuja.

Mr Kehinde Ogunyele, MAX Air Airport Station Manager, Abuja, who expressed his regret on some flight delays and cancellations for almost fortnight, pointing out that flight, could only be possible when weather improved.

“We have issues of bad weather, terrible bad weather for that matter in the northern states and even places like Port-Harcourt, Benin, Owerri and Warri.

“ We have to delay several flights for weather to improve. Our responsibility is to keep the passengers informed about the delay through announcement and which routes were affected.

“In cases where the trend of the bad weather does not subdue, we have to cancel the flight. Just like on Friday when we cancelled flight that was supposed to go to Lagos due to bad weather,’’ he said.

According to him, the weather is relatively a bit better now (Saturday).

AZMAN Airport Station Manager, Mr Ysman Nagodo, who also appealed to air passengers, noted that the airline had experienced two cancellations to Gombe and Kebbi due to bad weather and several delays recently.

He said that the Gombe flight was cancelled on Monday, while that of Kebbi was cancelled on Wednesday.

“Due to bad weather on some areas, we have experienced several delays recently.

“We cannot go to Kano in the morning and afternoon but only in the evening. We have been experiencing bad weather in Kano.

“Weather in Kano gets clear from 5p.m to 7p.m.; that is why our flights to Kano are rescheduled between 6.54p.m, 8p.m and 9p.m, so as not to cancel the flight and to achieve the trips.

“All I think the passengers need is timely information. They agree when they are properly informed about effect of bad weather on airlift,’’ he said.

Nagodo urged the media to help in complementing airlines` efforts by educating travellers to know that flight under bad weather was mostly impossible.

In a similar development, Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, expressed concern over experiences of air travellers to and from Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, regarding flight diversions and cancellations following weather conditions.

A statement signed by Mr James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, quoted Sirika as saying authorities in the airport were in process of replacing old category two Instrument Landing System (ISL) with category three.

According to him, newly produced category three system allows for the lowest visibility landing.

“Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain component, couple with unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult.

“The procurement of category three ILS is in pursuance of the desire of the Federal Government to ensure safety of air passengers by ensuring that airplanes can land with almost zero visibility.

“On the diversion of incoming international flight to neighbouring countries, we wish to reiterate that the decisions are purely those of the airlines, which we have no control over.

“However, it should be noted that those flights could, and should have been rerouted to the NAIA, Abuja, which is shorter or equidistant from Lagos to the foreign airports to which of the flights have been diverted,’’ he said.

According to the minister, Qatar airlines have applied to divert its flights to the NAIA, Abuja, to which has been granted immediate approval.

Sirika maintained that comfort, safety and security of the flying populace remained the central focus of the present administration.

He added that no effort would be spared to achieving it.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Felix Ajide

 

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Metro

NCAA blames flights delay, cancellation on bad weather

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has blamed the prevailing flight delays and cancellations experienced by air travelers across airports in the country on adverse weather situation.

The NCAA, General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Samuel Adurogboye, however, appeal in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday to travelers to understand the situation.

Adurogboye explained that the inclement weather was a global experience at the moment which had warranted cancellation of in-bound international flights alike; therefore, not peculiar to Nigeria alone.

He said the authority had earlier urged pilots, operators and other stakeholders to exercise restraints over harmattan dust haze and safety approach to adopt.

“NCAA has issued an Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated Nov. 12, 2019 alerting pilots of the hazards associated with dust haze.

“It is a dry and dusty wind that blows South from the Sahara across Nigeria which is expected to persist till March 2020.

“As issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, the cessation of the rainy season was predicted from mid-October in the Northern part to early Dec. 2019 in the Southern part,’’ he explained.

Adurogboye said with the issuance of that circular, that the Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA – AEROMET 27 dated March 26, 2019 was accordingly cancelled.

He said pilots and operators had been directed to note the following hazards and operational problems forthwith in the interest of safety, adding that the Air-to-ground visibility might be considerably reduced due to dust haze.

“Aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed operating minima and in severe conditions.

“Dust haze can blot out runways, markers and airfield lightings over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.

“Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima,’’ he said.

Adurogboye said on the other hand, enumerated below were series of responsibilities for pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

He said pilots should exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition was observed or forecast by Nimet.

The general manager said flight crews, operators and ATC should ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima.

Adurogboye said all pilots should obtain adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteorological office prior to flight operations.

He added that operators should ensure that necessary measures were put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.

Adurogboye said passengers ought to be informed of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time by the Airlines.

He said the regulatory authority would expect strict compliance from all stakeholders regarding the circular, as violation would be seriously viewed.

Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Adeleye Ajayi

 

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