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Xenophobia: S/African Govt apologises to Nigerians, says over 50 suspects arrested — Special Envoy

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South African Government on Monday formally apologised to Nigerians and the Nigerian Government over recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals including Nigerians in that country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to Nigeria, Mr Jeff Radebe, conveyed the apology when he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.

Addressing State House correspondents after the closed door meeting with the Nigerian leader, Radebe said President Ramaphosa had already directed the law enforcement agencies to apprehend all those involved in the attacks.

Radebe, who is South Africa’s Minister of Energy, said over 50 suspects had so far been apprehended in connection with the xenophobic violence which erupted in some parts of South Africa.

“We met a short while ago with President Muhammadu Buhari to convey our President Ramaphosa’s sincerest apologies about the incidents that have recently transpired in South Africa.

“Those incidents do not represent what we stand for as constitutional democracy in South Africa and the President has apologized for these incidents and he has also instructed law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned so that all those involved must be brought to book so that the rule of laws must prevail in South Africa,’’ he said.

President Ramaphosa, according to the envoy, said Nigeria and South Africa must continue to play a critical role in rebuilding of Africa to attain the Agenda 2063.

President Buhari had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners including Nigerians, sent Amb. Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), as his Special Envoy to South Africa.

The President, who received the Report of the NIA boss on Sept. 9, ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.

reports that the Management of Air Peace in collaboration with the Federal Government had on Sept. 11 evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa while another set of 320 Nigerians would be evacuated from that country on Tuesday.

President Ramaphosa was on Saturday during the funeral of the former Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe, reported to have apologized for the attacks on foreign nationals in his country.

SYC/WOJ

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Gridlock: LASG cautions operators of events, religious centres over traffic gridluck

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The Lagos State Government on Sunday cautioned operators of event centres, property owners, religious centres and other places of attraction to desist from compounding traffic gridlock on roads around their locations.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, read the riot act to owners of event centres and places of attraction to desist from activities that could obstruct free flow of traffic.

The commissioner specifically cited the Lekki-Expressway where several man-hours were lost on Saturday due to traffic gridlock and apologised to residents for the road blockage occasioned by activities of the event centres.

‘’Henceforth, any social event where the number of expected visitors exceeds 50, organizers of such event must notify the General Manager of LASTMA in advance, especially, if it is perceived that their property would not accommodate large numbers of vehicles that may be brought by their guests.

“The LASTMA authority will be on hand to advise them on what to do rather than allowing their visitors to block roads as this will attract stiffer penalties if caught.

is never repeated.

“Let me, therefore, warn all event centres managers once again that they are now under obligation to notify the LASTMA Authority of their scheduled events plans so that LASTMA can as well plan for efficient traffic flow in the area, failure to abide by this regulations, will attract stiff penalty.

The commissioner said the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was poised to tackle the menace of traffic gridlocks.

He urged the residents to continue to support the 6-pillar development agenda of the state government for a traffic free flow and more prosperous Smart City Lagos.

Edited by: Okisor Angela/Wale Ojetimi

(NAN)

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FG commends Dangote’s $30bn domestic revenue generation drive, road constructions

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The Federal Government on Sunday  commended the Dangote Group for  its proposed  plan  to expand its domestic revenue generation drive from four  billion dollars to 30 billion dollars annually from 2021 to boost the nation’s economy.

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave the commendation during  an inspection of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer Projects and the Deep-water Jetty at  the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

 

She commended the foresight and tenacity of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the  President of the Dangote Group for pursuing the huge projects despite various challenges.

 

She  pledged the Federal Government’s continued support for local businesses to thrive and  attract investors.

 

“Dangote Group is creating a large export industry that will help to bring in foreign exchange into the country reserves and as a business, he will be growing his revenue base from four billion dollars  to 30 billion US dollars.

 

“We are very confident that once Dangote Refinery commences  operations,  it will save us over 10 billion dollars  that Nigeria was spending  on importing crude oil and it will  also help us  to build local capacity and create jobs,’’ she said.

 

Ahmed said  that the savings  from such an investment would  strengthen Nigeria’s macro economy to attract more investors.

 

The minister said that  the opportunities were good for  the Dangote Group but would be  better for Nigeria which would  enjoy several benefits .

 

She said the the  Dangote Group had the capacity to fund the infrastructure needs of the ambitious projects and  would continue to enjoy government’s waivers available to other businesses in the nation.

 

She added that the projects had begun to  create thousands of jobs and bringing several  specialisations and skills to Nigeria.

 

Also  the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote,  in his address  said that the firm had adopted measures that would help it to expand its revenue base from four billion dollars  to 30 billion dollars annually beginning from 2021.

 

He said that the firm was ready to transform the nation’s domestic market by providing forex through expanded operations capacity of its group in the refinery, petrochemical, fertilizer and other supporting projects.

 

“Our refinery can meet 100 percent of the Nigerian requirements of all liquid products such as:  gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation jet. It will also have surplus of each of these products for export,’’ he said.

 

He added that the ongoing projects at the Lekki Free Trade Zone had the capacity to generate about 32,000 direct and indirect jobs during and after completion.

 

“With the new areas of investments, we are doing just four billion dollars of revenue now.

 

” By the time we finish and  beginning from  2021,  we will be having N30 billion dollars of revenue because we will by then have the refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer all coming on stream, also, over a million tons of rice.

 

“We will have about 600,000 tons  of locally made sugar by that time  and our cement will  have gone further.

 

“And beginning from January next year, eight million export facility of our cement  company to other Africa countries to generate foreign exchange will commence operations,’’ he said.

 

Dangote said that the firm  was targeting to meet the nation’s forex needs through its huge investment by  turning around  the group’s entire 20 billion dollars’ investment.

 

He said this would yield the annual 30 billion dollars domestic revenue.

 

He said that the firm hsd been able to meet its energy needs and called on other private sector investors to partner government in power supply to have a meaningful GDP growth.

 

“By the time we finished this refinery and other projects, for us as a company we are going to record a major change, we are looking at moving from 4 billion dollars revenue to 30 billion dollars revenue.

 

“That will strengthen us to invest more money in our domestic economy.

 

“We don’t want Nigeria to be an import base economy but rather  an export base economy.

 

“We have tried that in cement and it has really worked in the sense that we are looking at exporting almost   500 million dollars worth of cement in the next one to two years,’’ he said.

 

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the minister later inspected the ongoing Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project under  reconstruction .

 

She commended the quality of rigid pavement being constructed.

 

The minister said that 19 roads across the country were  being built under the tax credit scheme which Dangote Group leveraged on to take up the project.

 

Ahmed called on other private sector investors to buy into the scheme to bridge road infrastructure gap in the nation.

 

“This is the kind of standard that we want roads to have in Nigeria,“ she said.

Edited by: Peter Dada

(NAN)

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Restrictions of Keke Napep, most difficult decision -FCT minister

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The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello said that the restriction placed on commercial tricycle operators to certain parts of the city was one of the most difficult decisions that the FCT administration had to make.

Mr Anthony Ogunleye, Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, in a statement on Sunday, said Bello disclosed this during the presentation of the FCT’s 2020 statutory budget to the joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the FCT.

The minister said that the decision was imperative because commercial tricycles by law should not operate on the express and highways along with vehicles as they pose dangers to both passengers and riders.

According to Bello, most roads within the Federal Capital City, were expressways and thus could not accommodate the presence of the commercial tricycles and motorcycles.

He, however, said that the FCTA was not unmindful of the challenges commuters were facing as a result of the policy, adding that strategies were being put in place to improve on the public transportation situation in the FCT.

Bello said that the FCTA was working closely with the commercial tricycle association to explore the possibility of upgrading their operations to taxi cabs.

On the 2020 FCT statutory budget, the minister said the FCT was proposing to spend the sum of N232,875,365,947.

“This sum is made up of N53,876,241,095 (23.15 per cent) as personnel cost, N57,070,343,435 (24.50 per cent) as overhead costs and a proposed capital expenditure of N121,928,781,417 (52.35 per cent) as capital expenditure.

“The proposal also indicated reductions in personnel and overhead costs, with N53,876,241,095 proposed in the 2020 budget as against the N55,543,090,041 in 2019 for personnel and N57,070,343,435 as against N57,610,188,661 in 2019 for overhead.

“These figures represent a 2 per cent and 0.93 per cent decrease respectively.

“The sum of N121,928,781,417 was proposed for capital expenditure in the 2020 budget, of which N11,550,000,000 is dedicated to the completion of the light rail project and other counterpart funded related projects aimed at enhancing socioeconomic activities in the FCT.

“Of the amount also, the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA got N40,282,958,388, the Satelite Town Development Agency, STDA, got N33,702,830,000.

“While other Secretariats Departments and Agencies, SDAs, got N47,942,993,029 for their capital expenditure to address critical areas like ongoing road construction, water treatment plants and related facilities as well as a few new projects.”

Bello disclosed that the FCTA was proposing to spend the sum of N6,145,915,689 for the rehabilitation, expansion, extension and construction of six major roads which include the Outer Southern Expressway, Inner Southern Expressway among others.

He also revealed that the sum of N33.7 billion had been earmarked for the provision of infrastructure in the satellite towns while resettlement and compensation was expected to gulp the sum of N3.4 billion.

Similarly, Bello said the transportation sector was allocated the sum of N14,889,210,813 out of which N9 billion was earmarked for the Abuja Light Rail project including the rolling stock and provisions for other phases.

He also said the sum of N37,446,803,606 was allocated to the education sector, while the health sector had a proposed expenditure of N20,621,096,204.

According to him, the environmental sector has N7,231,908,304 allocated to it, while the water sector has N10,558,087,603 and agriculture has a total of N5,334,526,456.

The minister during the budget presentation informed members of the National Assembly that the FCT Statutory Budget was funded from 1 per cent of the 52.68 per cent Statutory Allocation of the Federal Government from the Federation Account.

Bello also said that the FCT budget was funded by the internally generated revenue and other sources as contained in the Revenue Fiscal Framework for the execution of recurrent and capital expenditure in the territory.

He commended the lawmakers for their support for FCTA and expressed hope that with their legislative and moral support, the challenges facing the FCT would be addressed.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said the meeting was to deliberate with top management of the FCTA on the provisions in the FCT 2020 statutory appropriation bill and to assess the performance of the FCT 2019 statutory budget.

This, he said, would guide the committee in making provisions and for the quick passage of the 2020 budget.

Edited by: Ismail Abdulaziz

(NAN)

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Impounded trucks: Iponri Police Station authorities adamant on illegal parking

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Authorities of the Iponri Police Station on the Lagos Mainland have continued their illegal parking of seized articulated trucks at the Iponri Bus Stop, in spite of persistent outcries of motorists and road users.

Four months ago, other agencies, including the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) swiftly removed trucks impounded by them and left on the road to block traffic at the Iponri area.

Authorities at the Iponri Police Station have, however, remained adamant, leaving impounded trucks at the bus stop and causing nightmares for motorists on the Costain-Iponri axis of the busy Funsho Williams highway.

The Divisional Police Officer of the Iponri Police Station, whose name was given simply as Mr Ogunlaja was furious when correspondents of the Nigeria News Agency took him up on why the impounded trucks were being left at the bus stop after the seizure of the trucks by the police.

“You’re asking me why the trailers are being parked here. Is it your job to be looking into this kind of matter,’’ the visibly angry Ogunlaja asked, when he was told that it was wrong to leave the trucks on the highway.

Many months after, the illegal parking of the trucks at the bus stop has continued from day to day, checks by NAN correspondents showed.

But the spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr Bala Elkanah, has promised that he would get in touch with the authorities at the Iponri Police Command, to prevail on them to desist from parking the impounded trucks on the highway.

He said that the command had earlier warned police commands to desist from parking impounded vehicles at wrong places, especially on highways in the Lagos metropolis.

NAN reports that the entire bus stop and some sections of the road have been taken over by impounded trucks, causing serious problems for motorists plying on the road.

It was learnt that some of the trucks were impounded for minor traffic offences, only for the law enforcement agencies to use the seized vehicles to also commit bigger traffic offences.

The leaving of the seized trucks on the roads has choked the Costain area, where construction work is currently going on, causing traffic bottlenecks in the Iganmu area.

Some motorists plying the area, who spoke to NAN on the illegal parking of the seized trucks, complained that the development had betrayed the smart city dream of the Lagos State Government.

“We live in a state where anything goes and law enforcement agents just do things anyhow. How on earth can impounded trucks be parked at bus stops and on bridges?,’’ cleric Dada Williams asked.

“Most of the trucks you see here have been here for months and no one is talking. Does it mean those that should call people to order are not aware or they just decided to keep quiet.

“Any driver that wants to park at Iponri Bus Stop now cannot do so because it is already taken over by impounded trucks. Commercial drivers now drop and pick passengers on the middle of the road, thereby increasing gridlock.

“Why are our law-enforcement agents so lawless and yet so mean on people breaking the law?’’

Another motorist, who identified himself simply as Mr Patrick, also decried the parking of seized trucks at the Iponri Bus Stop.

He described the abandoned trucks at Iponri Bus Stop as an eye-sore, appealing to the State Government to do the needful with the year coming to an end.

A businessman, Mr Kayode Ojo, who plies the Costain-Iganmu road corridor regularly, told NAN that there was need to remove impounded vehicles from the area to ease traffic.

An auditor, Mr Ayobami Adesina, commended traffic management officers for their efforts to ease traffic on Lagos roads but wondered why they would be allowing seized trucks to be left on the roads, instead of the premises of the agencies that seized the vehicles.

Adesina argued that instead of dropping impounded vehicles at bus stops, such vehicles should be taken to places to be designated by the authorities.

LASTMA has not been able to remove scores of articulated vehicles dumped at the Iponri Bus Stop, many years after the vehicles were impounded by the agency.

Edited by: Silas Nwoha

(NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suspension: Turkish Airlines pledges to freight leftover passengers baggage before Dec. 17

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Turkish Airline has pledged to commence immediately freight of all leftover passengers’ baggage in Turkey to Nigeria following the suspension of its operations in Nigeria.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA),Mr Sam Adurogboye, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Adurogboye explained that the management of the airline had met with the NCAA management in Abuja on Friday to resolve the leftover baggage issue.

“The airline said this will be achieved by instantly upgrading the Boeing 737 – 800 being used and found inadequate to a larger Airbus A330 and Boeing 737 – 900.

” The programme of clearance will be carried out from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17,” he said.

Adurogboye said NCAA expected strict compliance to the remedial programme.

He warned all operators to ensure Nigerians were not taken for granted by providing safe, secure and efficient service at all times.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that NCAA in a letter dated Dec. 11, with reference no./12/16/60 signed by the Acting Director General, NCAA, Capt. Sidi Abdullahi has suspended Turkish Airlines operations in Nigeria.

Abdullahi said the suspension was with effect from Dec. 16.

NCAA said the suspension would remain until the airline was ready to operate into the country with the right aircraft size and bring passengers into the country together with their checked-in baggage.

Edited by: Ali Baba-Inuwa

(NAN)

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Ethiopian Airlines to launch 3 weekly flights to Houston Monday

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The management of Ethiopian Airlines says it will begin three weekly flights to Houston, Texas, by Dec. 16.

Ethiopian Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, made this known on Saturday in Lagos.

GebreMariam said that the routes would allow passengers to fly nonstop on Ethiopian Airlines from Houston to Africa.

According to him, Ethiopian’s service to Houston will operate from Addis Ababa via Lome in Togo with Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

“Ethiopian Airlines will be launching new flights to Houston onboard Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

“Early in 2019, we announced that we were changing our services to the United States.

“Service to Los Angeles will terminate in favour of a new thrice-weekly service from Addis Ababa to Houston via Lome, Togo,” he said in a statement.

The Ethiopian Airlines chief said that the U.S was among Ethiopian Airlines’ most important markets, owing to the presence of a large African community and growing business and tourism ties with Africa.

“Our new route structure with additional frequencies to multiple gateways and the opening of new route to Houston are aimed at responding to the market demand and availing best possible connectivity to over 60 African destinations.

“The service will depart Addis Ababa on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Houston departures are on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

“The flight will depart Addis Ababa at 21:30. After a stop in Lome and a long transatlantic flight, the aircraft will touch down in Houston at 8:40a.m the next day.

“Ethiopian’s aircraft will depart Houston at 11:00a.m and finally arrive in Addis Ababa the next day at 14:30,” he said.

GebreMariam said Houston was chosen because Ethiopian Airlines does not face much competition from Houston to Africa.

”In fact, the airline will be the only carrier to offer flights from Houston to Africa.

“Economically speaking, Houston is an oil and business hub. Thus, there is a significant potential for business connectivity that Ethiopian Airlines is trying to gain access to.

“Business and leisure travellers alike will have only one nonstop option to Africa from Houston.

“Addis Ababa is at a high altitude. Thus, the aerodynamics concerning take off is not favourable for launching nonstop service to the United States.

”In fact, Ethiopian Airlines flies several one-stops from Addis Ababa to the United States and other destinations in part due to this problem.

“However, instead of operating nonstop in the eastbound, Ethiopian Airlines can route via Lome and offer additional connections there through ASKY airlines- with whom Ethiopian Airlines partners,” he said.

GebreMariam said Ethiopian Airlines keeps on growing, adding that with this new flight, Africa’s largest carrier would offer new connections both to and from the U.S.

He described Africa as a unique and growing aviation market with incredible potential.

Edited /Olagoke Olatoye

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NIMASA chief urges regular exercise to stay healthy, enhance productivity 

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has reiterated the importance of exercise for Nigerians to stay healthy and boost productivity in the work place.

Mrs Moji Jimoh, the Coordinator, Abuja Liaison office of NIMASA, said this during the monthly exercise of staff members of the agency on Saturday in Abuja.

Jimoh said: “this is a good development. We had one few months ago and the management has deemed it fit to make it a monthly exercise for staff members to keep fit.

“And for today, it is not only for staff but their family members as well, so they can all be up and doing in their various place of work.

“Health is wealth and that is the background to what we are doing today.”

According to Jimoh, majority of the health challenges people face today can be prevented or managed better with exercise.

She, therefore, urged the workers and Nigerians to make exercise a daily affair to stay healthy and live longer.

Mrs Rakiya Laman, an Assistant Director of the agency, also restated the need for Nigerians to exercise.

Laman said: “A healthy mind is a very productive mind, so when you exercise, you become healthier and more productive.”

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NIMASA,  Mr Chika Chukwudi,  commended the management of the agency, especially it’s Director-General,  Dr Dakuku Peterside,  for having the interest of its workers at heart.

Chukwudi said the monthly exercise had also created an avenue for members of staff to come together and have fun in the spirit of the yuletide.

“The management of NIMASA is doing everything possible to make sure its staff members are fit to carry out the affairs of the agency.

“It is not only the staff members that are involved this time but their family members and loved ones and everyone is having much fun.

“The exercise has also provided an opportunity for members of staff and their families to bond in the spirit of the yuletide.

Dr Edidiong Udom, one if the participants, urged the workers and the Nigerian public to cultivate the habit of exercising daily to maintain a healthy life.

According to Udom, when we exercise, it makes our heart to beat more, we burn a lot of sugar stored in our body and the cells get more energy to make the body function better.

While commending the management of NIMASA, he urged Nigerians to exercise to ensure their cells and organs functioned properly and that the body did not shut down suddenly.

Nigeria News Agency reports that some of the children were very excited for the opportunity to exercise in company of friends and family members.

Miss Kelechi Chukwudi, one of the children said: “I wasn’t keen on it initially but when we started, everybody was feeling it and I felt excited.

“There is something about exercises that makes you happy. Everybody was happy and I look forward to the next exercise.

Another child, Miss Luisa, said: “I met new friends, I enjoyed myself and it was so much fun.’’

Edited by: Donald Ugwu

(NAN)

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Gospel singer charges youths to start small, be humble

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Gospel singer Johnson Obiabo on Saturday charged the Nigerian youth to be humble and to learn and start small.

Obiabo gave the charge in Abuja, at the launch of his album entitled: “Ubagidi’’ meaning “The Almightyness of God”.

He said that the album launch was a way to Praise God who inspired him and has remained faithful towards him.

“We must all strive to make positive impact in our generation.

“The nation needs people that will bring change, bring in new things and it will be done with love and peace.

”When Nigerians embrace love, peace and harmony, the country will develop and witness a great turn around economically in this political dispensation.

“As a country, we have to be united, forgo divisions; where we come from should not be an issue and we should see ourselves as brothers and sisters.

“We also need prayers to do all these things for progress to come in,’’ he said.

Obiabo also said that with the songs, many people would be encouraged to achieve whatever they set out to achieve and be inspired spiritually.

He, however, urged Nigerian youth to engage in vocations that would enable them to become self-employed and employers of labour.

Edited by: Donald Ugwu

(NAN)

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Turkish airline pledges compliance with NCAA on transporting passengers with baggage

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Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Saturday said the Turkish airline would operate with the right size of aircraft to ensure passengers were transported with their baggage.

Capt. Abdullah Sidi, the Acting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said this after a meeting with the management of Turkish Airline in Abuja.

Sidi said in a statement issued by Mr Sam Adurogboye, NCAA’s General Manager, Public Relations, that the airline would upgrade from Boeing 737-800 to Airbus A 330 and Boeing 737-900.

“Consequent upon the suspension of Turkish airline’s operations into Nigeria and the meeting between its Management and NCAA Acting Director-General, the airline’s executives has agreed to start immediate freight of all left over passengers’ baggage in Turkey.

“This will be achieved by instantly upgrading from Boeing 737-800 being used and found inadequate to a larger Airbus A 330 and Boeing 737-900.

”The programme of clearance will be carried out from Dec. 13 to Dec. 17.

”NCAA expects strict compliance with the remedial programme,” he said.

Sidi warned all operators to ensure Nigerians were not taken for granted, adding that they should always provide safe, secure and efficient service.

Nigeria News Agency reports that NCAA in a letter dated Dec.11, with reference number,/12/16/60, had threatened to suspend Turkish Airline’s operations into Nigeria with effect from Dec 16.

It stated that the suspension would come if the airline failed to deploy the right size of aircraft to the service of Nigerians at all airports in the country.

The threat letter was issued by regulatory authority to show displeasure over cases of not bringing passengers into Nigeria along with their checked-in-baggage by Turkish airline.

Edited by: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu

(NAN)

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