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Xenophobia: Buhari receives Report of Special Envoy to SA, orders immediate evacuation of Nigerians

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.

Buhari gave the instruction when he received the Report of the Special Envoy to South Africa, Amb Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners including Nigerians, sent the NIA Boss as his Special Envoy to South Africa

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday, said the Special Envoy was in Pretoria from Thursday, Sept.5 to Saturday, Sept 7.

He said that the Special Envoy conveyed Buhari’s special message to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Abubakar expressed the deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.

He said the president stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.

“ Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it,’’ he said.

He also conveyed Buhari’s assurance that the Nigeria was ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities.

“Nigeria would partner with the South African government to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general, against all forms of attacks including xenophobia.

“Buhari assured that the Nigerian government would guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria,’’ it further stated.

On his part, President Ramaphosa had agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing.

He was quoted as saying that his government completely rejected such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.

Ramaphosa has reaffirming his stand against criminality and committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.

Adesina said that the Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular.

“They agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property,” he said.

According to the presidential aide, President Buhari has taken note of the report and instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take. (NAN)
SYC/IAA/AFA

Edited by Isaac Aregbesola/Felix Ajide

Metro

Buhari congratulates Bayelsa Gov-elect Lyon on election victory

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Nov. 16 election in Bayelsa, David Lyon, on his victory.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday.

The President also commended APC supporters in particular and Nigerians in general in the State who exercised their civic rights in a peaceful manner, notwithstanding the pockets of unrest recorded in some locations.

While condemning the loss of lives in Bayelsa, particularly prior to the election, the President commiserated with the families of the victims.

‘‘Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner,’’ he added.

He noted that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies did their best within the ambit of the law to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

He, however, described as unfortunate that pockets of unrest, ”mostly sponsored by desperate politicians, were recorded during the poll.”

The President looked forward to working with the incoming government to improve the lives of the people in Bayelsa, while ensuring the security of lives and property of all citizens.

Buhari urged Governor-elect Lyon to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance, imploring those not satisfied with the outcome of the poll to seek redress through the constitutionally established channels.

INEC had on Monday morning declared Mr David Lyon of the APC winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa after polling 352,552 votes.

Lyon defeated his closest rival, Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 143,172 votes.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Ex-lawmaker urges Sanwo-Olu to prioritise rail development

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A former Lagos lawmaker, Mr Dipo Olorunrinu, on Sunday called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to invest in rail infrastructure in the state.

Olorunrinu, who represented Amuwo-Odofin Constituency I in the 8th Lagos State House of Assembly, told the Nigeria News Agency that over dependence on roads was not sustainable for the commercial city.

He spoke against the backdrop of the deplorable condition of roads as well as gridlocks and urged the governor to prioritise rail infrastructure in the state.

Olorunrinu, a lone Peoples Democratic. Party (PDP) lawmaker, who later defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) barely a month to the end of the 8th Assembly, however, applauded Sanwo-Olu’s efforts at road maintenance.

“The issue of railway should be truly considered now, looking at huge funds that is annually voted for road construction and maintenance each budget year, yet no end to traffic problem in the state.

“Many of these roads don’t last again because of Lagos peculiarity and issue of water and flooding.

Lagos State, being a metropolitan state, should invest in rail and water transport as solution to transport problems in the state.

“I align with the advice of the Lagos Speaker, Rt.-Hon Mudashiru Obasa, to the governor during the Y2020 budget presentation on Nov. 8 that Lagos needs rail infrastructure to move forward.

“That is the way to go in Lagos as we see in London, New York, Amsterdam and other cities with huge population like ours in Lagos,” Olorunrinu said.

According to the lawmaker, the state must move forward to developing rail having discovered that roads infrastructure had been overstretched and maintenance usually gulp huge amount every year.

“With rail, commuting from end of the state to another won’t be a difficulty again. It will be safe and cheaper for the mass majority of residents.

“We sincerely need to change our tactics in addressing Lagos road traffic. The speaker is right when he advised the governor to start somewhere in developing rail transport.

“We will get there someday. We must refocus and lay emphasis on rail,” he added.

Olorunrinu, who noted that people must get value for their funds, urged the governor to move fast in road maintenance now that rainfall had subsided.

NAN recalls that Obasa had urged Sanwo-Olu to give priority to rail infrastructure to develop the state at the budget presentation entitled “The Budget of Awakening to a Greater Lagos” by the governor.

The speaker had said that to indeed move the state forward, there was the need to focus more attention on rail to connect the entire Lagos.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Metro

Air Peace signs firm order for 3 additional E195-E2 jets, worth $212.6m

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Air Peace Airline says it has signed a contract with Embraer for three additional E195-E2 aircraft, worth $212.6 million.

The company said in a statement on Sunday in Lagos that the contract confirmed the purchase rights from the original contract signed in April.

It said the new E195-E2s would be included in Embraer’s 2019 fourth-quarter backlog and the $212.6 million was based on Embraer’s current list prices.

The Nigeria News Agency (NAN ) reports that the E195-E2 is the largest aircraft in the E-Jet E2 family.

It has been designed to maximize returns and efficiency on high-density routes with its high-aspect ratio wings and swept tips, combined with other aerodynamic improvements.

The E195-E2 achieves double digit lower fuel consumption compared to current-generation E-Jets.

According to Air Peace, the airline will be the first E-Jets E2 operator in Africa.

Air Peace’s firm order, announced in April this year, is now for 13 E195-E2s with 17 purchase rights for the same model.

It also said the first delivery had been scheduled for the second quarter of 2020.

Speaking on the purchase of the aircraft, Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Mr Allen Onyema, said the E195-E2 was the perfect aircraft to expand the company’s operations in Africa.

Onyema noted that the new order was a further confirmation of the airline’s ‘no-city-left-behind initiative’ which the company shall continue to execute.

Onyema, also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Air Peace Airline, said: “We are receiving impressive data about the aircraft’s economics.

“We look forward to receiving our first aircraft, which will enhance connectivity in Nigeria and the African region, while feeding long-haul flights from our Lagos hub.

Raul Villaron, Vice President Sales, Africa and Middle East, Embraer Commercial Aviation, said Air Peace would love the aircraft’s efficiency and the passenger would also experience an unparalleled level of comfort, especially in First Class.

According to him, Air Peace is the launch customer for Embraer’s new premium staggered seating option.

“We look forward to supporting Air Peace’s growing E2s fleet and to deepening our fruitful partnership.

“That experience with Embraer’s products and services, including the pool programme, and the undeniable economic benefits of right-sizing aircraft for the mission, was a key factor in selecting the E2.

“Air Peace’s E195-E2s will be configured in a comfortable dual class arrangement with 124 seats,” Villaron said.

NAN also reports that Air Peace subsidiary, Air Peace Hopper, started operating six ERJ145 jets last year on short thin routes.

Air Peace operates more than 20 local, regional, and international routes and has strategic plans to expand those routes.

Embraer is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 150 seats.

The company has 100 customers from all over the world operating the ERJ and E-Jet families of aircraft.

For the E-Jets programme alone, Embraer has logged more than 1,800 orders and 1,500 deliveries, redefining the traditional concept of regional aircraft.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Metro

10th Chieftaincy Anniversary: Chidoka urges reconciliation with Obosi monarch

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Chief Osita Chidoka, a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said he was willing to reconcile with Igwe Chidubem Iweka, the traditional ruler of Obosi Community, Idemili North Council of Anambra and work for peace in the community.

Chidoka made the declaration during the 10th anniversary thanksgiving of his conferment of the traditional title of Ike-Obosi by the community at St. Andrews Anglican Church, Obosi on Sunday.

It will be recalled that the Chidoka and two other persons were suspended from the Obosi traditional council of chiefs for alleged sacrilegious act of ordering that dead bodies be taken to the Igwe’s palace.

The bodies were those of Obosi youths who died during the March 9 rerun election for Idemili North and Idemili South Federal Constituency.

Chidoka said he was solely responsible for the act and appealed that Chief Linus Mgbakaogu (Atta-Obosi) and Chief Hyman Udemba (Akamposi Obosi) who were suspended alongside him be excused.

He said he was moved to seek reconciliation with the monarch and peace in Obosi by the sermon of the day, adding that he had also forgiven all those who wronged him in the process.

The former minister of aviation who offered to go and mend fences with Igwe Iweka made true his word by going to the palace in company of the priest and Obosi prime minister and dignitaries.

The monarch was, however, not in the palace when he visited according to the guards on duty.

“What we are doing today is thanksgiving to God for all he has done for us, all we have achieved is not by our making but because God is faithful.

“We are grateful because in March this year, my younger brother, Obinna was running for House of Representatives, unfortunately there was crisis, people were maimed and killed in Obosi.

“God saw the purity of our hearts and restored our mandate at the Court of Appeal, so in line with the message of the priest, I want to apologise to the Igwe that he should forgive any wrong I have done him.

“I was alone in this and I take full responsibility, so Atta-Obosi and Akamposi Obosi should be left out of it.

“I am sorry and I have forgiven those who offended me, we need peace in Obosi,” he said.

Chidoka thanked his father who consented that he should be given the title 10 years ago, saying being Ike-Obosi came with so much blessing and also a burden to be a blessing to Obosi.

“My father supported me and agreed that I be made Ike-Obosi, that title made me to be the head of the family but 10 years after he is here with me in the church and my mother too,” he said.

Ven. Ikechukwu Ihemtuge, Arch-Deacon/Vicar of St. Andrews Anglican Church, who delivered a sermon entitled “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past”, said only fools say in their heart that there was no God.

Ihemtuge thanked God for giving Chidoka the grace to come on his volition to come and thank Him.

He urged parents to train their their children so that they could be people they would be proud of in the future.

“We thank God for what he has done in your live, not everybody has the attitude of gratitude, most people see themselves as self-made, only fools say there is no God.

“As a young man of 38 years, Osita was recognised as a Chief in Obosi Kingdom, not everybody get such rare honour, people carry money about looking for where to buy it.

“As a young man you were the biggest officer in Road Safety, as a young man you retired from active service when people are changing their names over and over, you also became a minister as young man.

“The joy of all these is that the good things are happening to him before the eyes of his father and mother, parents are encouraged to train their children so that they can witness the success of their children.

“This is just the beginning, you have done half of what God has destined for you to do, but please don’t take the grace of God for granted.

“I call on you to embrace unity so that there can be peace which brings progress, Chidoka you are a great man in this community, God can use you as instrument of peace, how that is going to be, I do not know,” he said.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Metro

NiMet predicts sunny, dry conditions for Sunday

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunny and dry conditions over the nation on Sunday.

NiMet’s weather outlook pedicted sunny and dry condition over Northern region with partly cloudy to sunny conditions over the Central region.

It further predicted few chances of thunderstorms and rains over the Southern region.

According to NiMet, sunny and dry conditions shall prevail over Northern region with day and night temperatures of 32 to 37 degree Celsius and 14 to 24 degree Celsius respectively.

“For Central states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions are anticipated over the region with chances of thunderstorms over Mambilla plateau during the afternoon/evening period.

“Day and night temperatures are expected to be 28 to 37 degree Celsius and 13 to 23 degree Celsius respectively, ” it said.

NiMet forecast partly cloudy to cloudy conditions over Southern states with few chances of thunderstorms over Ijebu-Ode, Calabar and Port Harcourt in the morning hours.

It envisaged partly cloudy to cloudy skies with prospects of thunderstorms and rains over some parts of the region during the afternoon/evening hours.

It predicted that the region is expected to have day and night temperatures of 30 to 34 degree Celsius and 20 to 25 degree Celsius respectively.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Metro

Dana Air flew 5.4m passengers in 11 years – official

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Dana Air said it flew 5.4 million passengers in its 11 years of operation in Nigeria.

The airline’s Media and Communications Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday.

Ezenwa said the airline expected to double the figure by sustaining its operational efficiency, increasing its fleet size, maintaining its record on-time performance and raising the bar of its excellent service delivery in the coming years.

“Having completed a commercial analysis of our loads in the last 11 years and confirmed it to stand at 5.4 million, we have set the ball rolling for the next 9 years.

“We have commenced reviewing plans and we intend to raise the bar of our operational efficiency, increase our fleet and improve on our excellent service delivery to remain on top and keep the commitment and loyalty of our staff and guests.

“With the addition of two of our recently acquired B737 aircraft, we are looking at creating more flights and providing massive capacity at underserved destinations within our route network this yuletide.

“This is to ensure seamless travel experience for our guests to avoid the uncertainty of last year.”

“On our product and services delivery, we have the Dana miles club which offers benefits such as miles plus cash, miles in exchange for ticket, excess baggage allowance, discount at partner outlets and upgrade from economy to business class.

“Our Dana Miles guests should expect more in terms of innovation and rewards.

“Our business class service is amazing and the service is second to none, tailored for customers who love to travel in style, luxury and comfort.

“We would like to keep the travel experience as topnotch as always.

“We have dedicated each day to serving our customers even better and we have upped our enlightenment for passengers to use their correct details so we can interact with them directly via our multiple channels.”

The Dana Air spokesman said that airline was one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with a fleet size of nine aircraft and daily flights to major destinations in Nigeria.

He said that the airline was reputed for its innovative online products and services, world-class in-flight services and unrivaled on-time performance.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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