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Education

Stakeholders advocate full implementation of free education law in Kebbi

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Stakeholders in education in Kebbi, on Monday, called on the state government to commence full implementation of the free education law in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the stakeholders made the call at a review meeting on the legislation organised by Active Support for Rural People Initiative (ASURPI) in collaboration with Action Aid, Nigeria (AAN).

Mr Ocheme-williams Obande, a consultant to ASURPI, said that education needed to be full-fledged and  free as specified by the Kebbi State Universal Basic Education Law of 2005.

“Education, based on my findings, is only relatively free as parents pay levy, uniforms, text books, and no means of transportation to schools which contradict the UBE education law of 2005 in the state,” he said.

Obande lamented the lack of available data from appropriate authorities on the percentage of children living with disabilities in schools in the state.

“There should be provision of special infrastructure to children with disabilities as stated in the law,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of ASURPI in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Ngaski, told the participants that the aim of the review meeting was to engage stakeholders in pushing for provision of qualitative education in the state.

“The workshop  also aims to engage citizens in improving the quality of education in the state,” he said.

Ngaski said children have rights to free and compulsory education as declared and adopted  by  the 1959 resolution of the United Nations General Assembly.

”These rights defined children’s rights to protection, education, health care, shelter and good nutrition.

”Our major concern now is on education, as we want you as stakeholders to advocate rights to non-discrimination of any form, right to adequate infrastructure in schools, right to quality trained teachers and right to a safe and non-violent environment, among others,” he said.

Ngaski urged the stakeholders to evolve an action plan for Civil Society groups to press the state government to ensure that the rights of children were provided in schools.

reports that stakeholders at the meeting included representatives of Nigerian Union of Teachers, State Universal Basic Education Board, Civil Society groups and media.

IBI/SSA/MZA

Edited by Shuaib Sadiq/Maharazu Ahmed

Metro

Aviation stakeholders seek review, sustainability measures as airports reopen June 21

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Some aviation stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to ensure an effective review of the sector and its sustainability before reopening airports on June 21.

 

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

 

They appealed to the government to ensure that the resumption of flights would be in compliance with approved protocols for safe operations by the airlines.

 

NAN reports that the Federal Government has approved June 21 for resumption of domestic flights, after shutting  down airports for three months, to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The President of ASRTI, Dr Gbenga Olowo, said that  the sector required more initiatives than just reopening the airports.

 

“Three weeks is good enough to do the needful by all stakeholders, because we never stopped strategising and talking all through the lockdown.  It’s time to walk the talk.

 

“It is expected that all states should open up their economies  and indeed all countries should open simultaneously their activities because aviation connects economies.

 

“So, while we continue to battle with the virus, our economic life line must not be destroyed. The two are directly related. Just as disease can kill, hunger can also kill and even kill faster.

 

“Hunger destroys the immune system and makes citizens susceptible to Covid and non Covid attack,” he said.

 

Olowo said that airlines had been advancing in technology prior to COVID-19 on social distancing through self service for online ticketing and payments, self service check in, self service security and passport controls,among others.

 

Olowo  said: “Face masks, handwashing and sanitisation will be a necessary and sufficient condition for travel.

 

“Health certificates valid for at least 14 days, scannable on phones just like boarding pass, should be a necessary condition for travel to avoid isolation at the destination.

 

“This is a challenge for port health.

 

“As we continue to advance in technology, the ease of doing business without or limited human contact will progress the industry further and challenge the skill set of employees,” he said.

 

Olowo said that on board, social distancing would be quite challenging except aircraft would be configured to all first class seating arrangements for economic operations.

 

According  to him,no airline can ever break even with less than 40 per cent load factor at the extremely low fares prevalent in the market, where pasengers pay less than 100 dollars per hour on jet engines.

 

“This was the level 30 years ago, precisely 1990.  Lagos to Abuja was N2, 200. Exchange rate was N22 per dollar.

 

“The dichotomy is, can the passengers afford higher levels of tariff ?

 

“This is where government’s intervention in airline economics is needed in Nigeria by deliberate application of subsidies on fuel, taxes, airport charges,VAT, five per cent  or lower interest rate on loans,  and quick foreign exchange (FX) availability in order to lower airlines’ cost of operations,” he said.

 

Also, the Secretary General, ASRTI, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said that government’s non-fiscal monetary bailouts for aviation operators should only be given to airlines not indebted to the government’s service providers.

 

Ojikutu said that the industry was going through a hard time under the pandemic, adding that  the stakeholders needed to  make sacrificial efforts instead of insisting on financial bailouts from government.

 

He said: “We may come out worst of the present situation than we are now.

 

“Government on the other hand should give the operators  palliatives but it must not be monetary because previous financial interventions running to hundreds of billions of Maura giving  to the domestic airlines are yet to be recovered fully after almost 10 years.

 

“Government should make  airport landing and parking free,  free air navigational charges for not more than  three months  for domestic airlines only after  easing of lockdown on operations.

 

” Fifty  per cent Passengers Service Charge (PSC) discount for three months on all domestic passengers only should be considered.

 

“Gradual charges reversal and the incremental of all the service charges to 50 per cent of the normal  charges in the next three months  on all services provided by the government’s service providers should be considered .

 

“The next three months  will attract 75 per cent changes of the normal charges. The next three  months after  the first one will  attract 100 per cent revert to the full charges.

 

The Passenger Service Charge will also revert to 100 per cent  after the first three  months of  concession”.

 

Also,  Mr Olumide Ohunayo, a member of the association, said that the resumption of airlines was normal which should be subjected to  the directives and the guidelines  of the airports’ authority  for effective safety procedures.

 

Ohunayo said that social distancing and nose masks’ wearing should be enforced before boarding and while on board.

 

He added that serving of food should be stopped on board, while sanitisers should be given to passengers.

 

“The cabin crew should also put in place measures to ensure effective safety procedures within the three weeks’ window before reopening.

 

“Training and retraining of operational staff should be in compliance with government’s regulations,” he said.

 


Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Peter Dada (NAN)

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Why illicit drug trade persists in Nigeria– Stakeholders

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Some stakeholders in  criminal justice administration have identified dearth of personnel in prosecuting agencies, unemployment, obsolete laws and compromise among security agents as factors responsible for the thriving illicit drug business.

The respondents told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Ibadan that cases of illicit drug trade had continued to surface in courts in spite of frequent arrests, prosecutions and convictions by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Mr Ayokunle Morakinyo, an NDLEA counsel, who had served as a prosecutor in many states of the federation, said that the agency lacks adequate human and material resources to execute its work properly.

He said that government had so many responsibilities that it was contending with, adding that this had made it difficult to meet all the needs of the NDLEA.

“Sometimes, we don’t have enough support to do a thorough job.

“When I was in Niger State as an NDLEA prosecutor, many people who were convicted and sentenced to years in prison soon went back into drug dealing after completing their jail terms.

“It is the same story when I got to Kebbi State, and the situation was the same when I was in Oyo State.

“In fact, some defendants who were granted bail also went back into drug trafficking and were arrested and arraigned for fresh offences when they had not been discharged from previous crimes.

“Unfortunately, state governments don’t seem to be interested in drug-related matters because they believe that the NDLEA, which is a Federal Government Agency, is there to handle it.

“There is also a psychological angle to the issue of drug dealing in Nigeria because some of the criminals feel that unless they buy and sell cannabis and the likes, they cannot survive.

“Socially, there is wide-spread unemployment where idle hands engage themselves in dealing in the  illicit trade,” he said.

The NDLEA counsel expressed worry that the situation might worsen if something urgent was not done to curtail the rising cases.

Mrs Oyinkansola Odebunmi, a counsellor and Founder of Oyin Counsel Concept in Ibadan, said drug trafficking was on the rise because the punishment attached to the commission of the crime remained light among other factors.

“This problem has also remained because some influential persons are out there encouraging the criminals.

“Another reason why drug dealing has persisted is that it is the only means of livelihood for some people and there must be a strong alternative before the dealers can stop peddling it,” Odebunmi said.

Also speaking, an Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr Stephen Raji, contended that some security operatives involved in investigating drug dealers sometimes compromise.

“I challenge you to watch court trials involving drug traffickers, you can hardly find big guys like barons being tried.

“The people you will find being made to face prosecution are ordinary smokers and sellers because the real dealers would have bribed their way through,” Raji said.

The legal practitioner called for a department to be established to supervise the day-to-day operation of NDLEA officers so as to forestall any compromise during arrest and investigation of suspects.

He also advocated regular training and retraining of the officers to boost human capacity development and productivity.

(
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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Oil & Gas

Stakeholders mourn ex-NNPC GMD, Baru

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Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, including Mr Ndu Ughamadu, on Saturday mourned the passing of a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru.

Ughamadu, a former Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, described Baru death as a great loss to the oil and gas sector.

Baru died on May 29 and the development was confirmed by the current spokesman of the NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru.

Ughamadu described Baru as his good boss and a pillar in the industry.

Dr Maikanti Baru was a nice and hardworking boss that discharged his official responsibilities with professionalism laced with fear of God.

“He achieved a lot for the oil industry and Nigeria at large and was one of the best GMDs of NNPC and one of the best bosses l worked with.

“A good man is gone! An intellectual library is gone beyond. May God rest his soul,” Ughamadu said

Also, the Gombe State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Muhammad Magaji, said on his twitter handle that the late Baru would be remembered for his commitment to nation building.

“We truly have lost a pillar and a devout Muslim. He served Nigeria meritoriously and did so much for his community.

“We pray that Allah grants him the highest level in Jannah, aameen.”

In his tribute, Prof. Wunmi Iledare, former President of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economists, said that Baru would be missed deeply in the energy sector.

“This world is a stage and everybody is a player. He has played his part to the best of his ability.

“May the good Lord comfort his family,” Iledare.

Baru was born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi State.

He died at the age of 60 years, after serving at the highest echelon of the NNPC from July 4, 2016 to July 7, 2019.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos, and graduated in 1978.

Baru obtained his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1982.

He obtained a doctorate degree in computer-aided engineering from the University of Sussex in England.

Edited /Silas Nwoha

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Politics

Stakeholders urge Enugu Assembly to review state urban, regional plan law

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Planning

Enugu, May 28 Some stakeholders in Enugu State have urged the state House of Assembly to do everything possible to restore the original master plan of the state capital.

They made the call in Enugu on Thursday during a public hearing on a bill for a law to make provision for Urban and Regional Planning in the state.

In his submission, the state Commissioner  for Lands and Urban Development, Mr. Victor Nnam, commended the Assembly for the bold step of repealing the old Urban and Regional law guiding the state.

Nnam however, faulted the composition of the proposed Urban and Regional Planning Board without any representative from the ministry.

The commissioner further observed that some functions of the Board were conflicting with functions of other agencies and asked the lawmakers to address it to avoid unnecessary litigation in future.

Also, the representative of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Mr. Chinedu Akilo, drew the attention of the lawmakers to the law establishing the agency in 2009.

Akilo said the law empowered the authority to solely approve any structure within the metropolis.

He expressed fear that the bill might not be effectively implemented, if the 2009 was not repealed.

The Traditional Ruler of Etiti Obeleagu Umana and former Director, Town Planning in Enugu state, HRH Igwe Charles Ude, stressed the need for the state to have a new and updated Urban and Regional Planning law.

According to him, Enugu state is still operating with the urban and regional planning law of 1946. This is unacceptable for Enugu state that was the former capital of the Eastern region,” he said.

Declaring the hearing open, the Speaker of the assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi expressed its determination to assist the state government in the Urban and Regional Planning of the state.

The Speaker said the public hearing had afforded the stakeholders an opportunity to contribute their quota in shaping the pace of legislation aimed at organising the state’s urban centres.

Ubosi noted that the public hearing was in line with the process “of passing critical bill into law”, stressing that the bill on would benefit every residents of the state.

He assured the stakeholders that the seventh Assembly would not hesitate to engage the public on matters that required their contributions.

The chairman of the Joint Committee on Urban and Regional Planning, Mr. Ibenaku Onoh, reiterated that the bill when passed, would go a long way in restoring the original master plan of the Enugu Metropolis.

Onoh representing Enugu North Constituency added that more urban centres would be created through the implementation of the bill, thereby opening the state for more local and foreign investment.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

 

 

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Science & Technology

NITDA presents national outsourcing strategy to stakeholders

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday presented its draft on National Outsourcing Strategy for Nigeria (NOSN) to stakeholders in an online engagement workshop for a better service delivery.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said at the workshop in Abuja that the aim was to ensure the effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the strategy is a follow up to the Nigerian National Outsourcing Policy, which was launched in 2007.

Inuwa said that in 2019, Grand View Research had valued the global business process outsourcing market size at 221.5 billion USD and at a compound annual growth rate of eight per cent from 2020 to 2027.

He said that outsourcing market due to COVID-19 had forced organisations to cut cost by leveraging on the benefits of outsourcing for some business processes and focus on core competencies.

“Business process outsourcing offers services such as administration, supply chain management, sales, paralegal, marketing and customer care services.

“Players in the business compete by providing reliable and cost-effective services across industries and sectors such as government, healthcare, manufacturing, IT and telecommunications.

NITDA embarks on this journey to accelerate digital economy and transformation targeted at creating over a million jobs in Nigeria by 2025,” he said.

The director-general added that the strategy was in line with government initiative and priority projects such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and digitisation of government services.

According to him, the strategy will lift Nigerians out of poverty and transform the country to a knowledge-based economy in the wake of the current global pandemic.

He stated that the strategy implementation processes focused on seven pillars, which included development of infrastructure, skill and human capital, branding and promotion, digital finance and incentives.

He said others were innovation and entrepreneurship, trust, privacy and security, as well as multi-stakeholder governance engagement.

Inuwa called on the stakeholders to synergise with the agency to make Nigeria a better place and a force to reckon with in the global business outsourcing market.

“We have our competitive edge in the market, but to create and capture value in the global market we need to own this strategy and make it easier to implement by all,” he said.

Mr Ben Ewah, the Deputy Director, e-Government Development and Regulations Department of the agency, while elaborating on the expectations of the strategy, said it was designed as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Ewah said the strategy would target the onshore and offshore outsourcing markets and promote local, foreign direct investments in digital outsourcing infrastructure development.

“The outsourcing strategy will develop an export-oriented digital product and service industry with improved funding of Research and Development.

“It will develop a globally competitive Information Technology Enabled Services sector in Nigeria toward making the country a digital outsourcing hub globally,” Ewah said.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Environment

Menstrual Hygiene Day: Stakeholders want misconceptions, myths removed

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Stakeholders on Thursday called for collective actions toward ending the misconceptions about menstruation by women in the country.

The stakeholders spoken an Nigeria joins the world to  commemorate the 2020 World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Dr Ebele Okeke, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Ambassador, in a statement said there should be joint effort at ensuring women had access to menstrual hygiene facilities even during the COVID-19.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that May 28 was set aside to help break the silence and create awareness on good menstrual hygiene management in enabling women reached their full potential.

This year’s theme: “It’s Time for Action” highlights the urgency for the collective work needed to change the negative social norms surrounding menstruation.

It is also to speed up progress toward empowering women and girls to unlock their educational and economic opportunities.

Over 800 million women and girls menstruate every day, yet across the globe they face barriers to properly managing their periods.

“The social stigma and taboos surrounding menstruation often prevent women and girls from attending work and school, especially in the case of current COVID-19 pandemic, access to menstrual collection materials.

In Nigeria, about 47.3 per cent of the physically challenged and marginalised women and adolescent girls consider sanitary pads expensive for them to buy,” she said.

According to Okeke, this has led to the adoption of improvised materials like old wrappers and toilet rolls to manage menstruation.

Okeke said that menstruation was a human rights issue which needed increased public awareness and education at the grassroots level.

He said increased awareness would also improve the knowledge of individuals on myths and norms that segregate women during their menstrual periods.

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) should also be prioritised to ensure women and adolescent girls manage their menstruation periods effectively for improved productivity,” he said.

The ambassador however called on private sector to partner to make sanitary pads more affordable and accessible to menstruating women, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

On her part, Dr Elizabeth Jeiyol, the National Coordinator, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) said her organisation considered girls’ ability to manage their monthly menstruation important.

She said it should be done with dignity and safety as an integral part of their human rights.

She said such rights included rights to safe and adequate water, sanitation, health, education, decent conditions of work, shelter and wellbeing.

Jeiyol said that the organisation’s approach to Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) combines policy changed at national and sub-national levels with trainings to create a cadre of skilled practitioners.

She said that such facilities adapted for MHHM innovations on management and disposal and action research to fill evidence gaped and influenced more holistic and sensitive global action.

The national coordinator said the partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs was toward the institutionalisation and development of the MHHM National Action Plan in Nigeria.

“Finally, let us take action to change negative social norms and practices to catalyze progress on Menstrual Hygiene Education; and to ensure every woman and girl has access to menstrual hygiene products.

“We need more action from governments, funders, UN agencies and the private sector because together we can end period stigma.

“Together we can make sure all girls are educated about menstruation. Together we can ensure all women and girls have access to hygiene products.’’

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

 

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Metro

Building infrastructure, key to aviation industry survival – stakeholders

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Stakeholders in the aviation industry, on Thursday, identified building of infrastructure as key to the sector’s survival in the postCOVID-19 pandemic era.

The stakeholders held this view at the just concluded second edition of the aviation webinar, organised by AELEX partners in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the discussion was “Flying into Turbulent Skies, Safely Navigating COVID-19 Headwinds – Survival Strategies for Nigerian Aviation”.

The conversation centred on economic policy, state support and finance issues affecting airlines, airports and other stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Bismarck Rewane, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Derivatives, said the aviation industry had been the worst hit since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rewane, therefore, recommended that friendly policies should be put in place, to kick-start the operations of the airlines.

According to him, the government’s focus should be on building aviation infrastructure to attract investments, rather than pursuing a national carrier.

Corroborating Rewane’s submission, Capt. Dapo Olumide, CEO, Ropeways Transport Ltd., described the development of infrastructure in the industry as the way forward.

Olumide, however, pointed out that the government “is not in the best position to make that provision’’, hence the need for privatisation.

He suggested privatisation or concession of the airport, as a long term solution to the survival of airports because of the profit-oriented nature of private businesses.

Mr Chris Aligbe, the CEO of Belujane Konsult, said there was the need for government intervention.

He said that the government should stimulate the entire industry to restore it back to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aligbe also proposed the provision of the long term soft loan facilities to stabilise the industry.

He said the loan should be spread between eight and 10 years, at a low-interest rate of three to four per cent with a two-year moratorium, for all players in the industry.

Aligbe kicked against the idea of the government owning an airline, except in a public-private partnership.

Mr Aminu Ismail, Executive Director Operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), said the focus should be on reviving the Nigerian aviation.

Ismail noted that AMCON, over the years, had played a significant role in strengthening the industry by providing intervention funds of over N50 billion since 2012.

Ismail, just like other panellists, was of the opinion that the government should not own or run airlines.

He noted that the government should rather limit itself to policy formulation for the development of aviation.

According to him, there is a need for the industry to re-calibrate and implement solutions to be able to come out stronger after COVID-19.

Ismail suggested the government’s support for the industry through tax relief, suspension of payment of air passenger duty, access to forex, expansion of the aviation academy and provision of training and development facilities.

Ismail also called on airlines to refocus their network, resize, restructure and place a priority on cash management.

Mr Olumide Bolumole, Head of Listing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), identified high cost of operations, the dominance of foreign operators and uncompetitive regulatory framework as factors militating against the survival of the aviation industry.

Bolumole highlighted lack of cheap and long term funding, inadequate infrastructure and safety issues as challenges facing the Nigerian aviation.

He called for proper business regulations and concessionaire of airports and other related infrastructure.

According to him, the capital market offers opportunities for operations in the aviation space to raise capital, required for its smooth operations and growth.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Webinar panel of discussion was moderated by Mr Fubara Anga, the Head of Transportation and Finance Practice Groups, AELEX.  

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Stakeholders decry multiple check points on Lagos-Badagry Expressway

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Some stakeholders in Badagry  on Thursday decried the multiple Police check points along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, alleging that the security personnel were using the avenue to extort motorists.

 

They said this during the Joint Weekly Peace and Security Meeting organised by the three Local Government Areas held at the Badagry Local Government secretariat in Ajara, Badagry.

 

They decried the hardships most  commuters and motorists were passing through as well as the high rate of extortion by the security personnel along the road.

 

Hon. Setonji David, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Badagry Constituency 2, said that no business could strive in Badagry with the number of police check points on the road.

 

“While roadblocks are necessary, we will not ignore Badagrians who complain that government policies made to protect them have turned into oppressive conduct by those concerned.

 

“From the traveling experiences I had, it is only  thecLagos-Badagry expressroad that has numerous checkpoints within short intervals, this is an abuse of road checkpoints.

 

“No business can strive in Badagry with the number of police on the road, this is unbearable, we are under siege here,” he said.

 

David said that the security meeting was to tell the world what they were going through in Badagry, adding that they could no longer pretend that things were fine.

 

Also, Mr Solomon Bonu, the Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu  of Lagos state appealed to the police command in the state  that the road blocks should be reduced in the interest of peace.

 

Bonu noted that the increasing number of checkpoints had drastically affected tourists and tourism activities in Badagry.

 

Mr Governor has good intentions to boost Badagry tourism potential when he appointed me and Mr Babatunde Mesewaku as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

 

“But  the police personnel  on the road are causing stumbling blocks for tourists who often decry the number of checkpoints.

 

“I wonder what they are checking. The hardship they are causing is immeasurable. It is not just collapsing the businesses; it is wasting our time.

 

“Even the common man, and  drivers are protesting every day because of checkpoints, the economy of Badagry is going down every day. Kindly look into it for a lasting solution,” Bonu said.

 

Similarly, Hon. Ibrahim Layode, member LSHA Constituency 1, charged the security agencies to do their jobs in such a way that they will  not be detrimental to the residents.

 

Layode condemned the rude manners at which some officers talk to commuters and motorists on the road.

 

He alleged  that some police officers were fond of creating barriers on public roads to enable easy stopover by road users, which he said  was not proper.

 

Also speaking, Hon. Suru Avoseh, a member of Lagos State Civil Service Commission, said the Police were not always friendly on the expressway.

 

“I am from Erekiti, I personally have to challenge a police man who had his gun cocked and was harassing the people on the Mowo-Ikoga road.

 

“We are not against security, but restricting our people is what we are against.

 

“Police were our friends before, but now on the road, police are  no longer our friends,” Avoseh said.

 

Chief Tunde Giro, the representative of Akran of Badagry, disclosed that from Seme to Badagry there are no less than  13 police check points.

 

Responding, the Divisional Police Officer, Badagry Police Station, CSP Sunday Adeyeri, said his station had only two checkpoints situated at Iyafin, Badagry.

 

Adeyeri said that all other check points were not under his jurisdiction.

 

He, however, appealed to the public  that necessary measures would be taken to moderate the situation.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other political stakeholders that attended the meeting include:  Hon. Nuatin Genesis, the former Sole Administrator, Badagry West LCDA and Mr Moses Owolabani, a community leader.

 

Others are the  representatives of  the FRSC,  the NURTW, Customs Service, Immigration Services and Nigerian Army.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Metro

COVID-19: Stakeholders plead for aviation industry bailouts in face of existential threat

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Stakeholders in the aviation sector have called for government’s urgent support to prevent complete collapse of the industry, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They made the plea at the AELEX Aviation Webinar II, tagged “Flying into Turbulent Skies, Safely Navigating COVID-19 Headwinds – Survival Strategies for Nigerian Aviation’’ on Wednesday in Lagos.

Mr Chris Aligbe, an industry consultant and CEO of Belujane Konsult, urged government to assist the industry through bailout to bounce back.

Aligbe said that the interjectory for the industry to get up for business lies in government intervention.

He urged the government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to make soft funding facility available to airlines through its stimulants package at three to four per cent interest rates and spread over two years repayment moratorium.

According to him, government should make fund available for the airline so that business can pick up at the postCOVID-19 economy plans.

“Our airports need to be privatised or concessionaire to meet up the global standard.

“Infrastructural development of the industry is also key and government should fast track the growth of the industry through effective reengineering to attract investment,’’ he said.

Aminu Ismail, Executive Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) said that between 2012 and 2020, the corporation had injected over N50 billion into the aviation industry to stabilise airline operations.

Ismail said that AMCON’s intervention led to the purchase of about $1 billion of non-performing loans (NPL’s) from Nigerian banks owed by major Nigerian airlines including Aero Contractor and Arik Air among others.

He said that the aviation sector accounted for around eight per cent of AMCON’s restructuring portfolio.

He added that the loan restructuring loan of airlines operators protected a critical sector of the economy.

“The corporations are very much in support of the survival of the aviation industry and its commitment jobs within the sector and across its supply chain.

“For the survival of the industry in short term, the government would typically have more direct control over these measures.

“This could be by scrapping Value Added Tax (VAT) in the aviation industry, waivers on landing, parking and navigational for an extended.

“Also government should look into suspension or reduction of air passengers’ duty to reduce the cost of travel and encourage passengers to buy tickets,’’ he said.

For Mr Bismarck Rewane, CEO, Financial Derivatives, said that there was need for investment in infrastructure and airport concession to reduce average cost and increase profitability.

Rewane said that due to the pandemic, exchange rate volatility would affect dollar dominated air travel services-spares, training and maintenance cost.

He said that in Africa, due to the effects of the pandemic, external imbalances and commodity fragility will persist.

According to him, in Africa, trade balances will slide into negative territory ($-15bn), while external debts burden will widen.

Capt. Dapo Olumide, CEO, Ropeways Transport Ltd., urged the government to ensure effective disinfecting of the airport and put all mechanism in place before reopening the domestic airports.

Olumide, however, raised question on how the management of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would ensure disinfecting the counter and sensitive areas of the airport at every 15 minutes to meet the best standard.

He agreed that airline operators needed bailout to bounce back into business.

He also suggested that taking away some of the multiple taxation by regulatory agencies and the provision of requisite infrastructure as well as the steady supply of fuel would assist them in the short term to stabilise, even faster that getting direct government funds.

“Plagued by a myriad of problems that tend to stifle efforts at efficient service delivery to passengers, investors in Nigeria’s domestic airline industry have called for an urgent government bailout to save the industry from imminent collapse.

“Government to, as a matter of urgency, come up with a strategy to bring all parties to the negotiating table to seek direct funding intervention, for the first time, for airlines to save the sector from collapse.

“Without the airlines, there is no aviation,’’ Olumide said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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