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FG Suspends Dana Airline License …NGF,NASS,Others Demand Probe

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The Federal Government yesterday suspended indefinitely the operating license of DANA Air, owner of the MD 83 aircraft which crashed into residential buildings in Iju- Ishaga area of Lagos on Sunday, killing all 153 people on board.

The federal government, according to the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, took the step as part of the safety precautionary measures, saying no responsible government will fold its hands while its citizens perish.

Speaking through her Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, the minister explained that this is the first of series of steps to be taken by government to sanitise the aviation industry.

The indefinite suspension of DANA Air’s operating license comes just as anxiety heightens about a major shake- up in the industry regulatory body.

The shake- up, our correspondent gathered comes amid allegations that some officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority may have gone to sleep while the carrier allegedly operated a faulty aircraft without any oversight.

A source, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, wondered what calibre of inspectors would certify a faulty aircraft to embark on a trip, when the flight should be tested for airworthiness.

Apart from the banning of DANA Air operations, government it was learnt is also planning to ban the use of old aircraft in the Nigerian airspace, especially aircrafts that have been banned in other developed countries of the world.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) also commiserated with the families of the deceased passengers of the Dana Air crash in Lagos, Nigeria, the Allied Air crash in Accra, Ghana, and the victims of the Bauchi bomb blast.

Clearly, last weekend was one of the darkest in Nigeria’s history, the governors said. A statement in Abuja, signed by Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, said “this is a very difficult period for our country and us all. We must collectively pray and rally round families, friends and all persons affected by these tragedies.

We pray to God for the repose of the victims of these unfortunate tragedies and for the families to have the fortitude to bear the huge and irreparable loss of dear ones.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Monday said it would set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the cause of the Dana Plane crash in Lagos on Sunday.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Zakari Mohammed (PDP-Kwara), disclosed the plan to newsmen in Abuja.

He assured Nigerians that the investigation would be thorough, as identified culprits would be made to face the full weight of the law.

Also, the Senate  demanded a thorough investigation of all airlines in the country to determine the airworthiness of their aircraft.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Senate’s spokesman, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia).

Reacting to the Dana plane crash in Lagos on Sunday, he said the investigation should not be limited to Dana Air alone as Nigeria could not afford to go back to the “anxiety-prone aviation dark ages”.

“Senate demands nothing, but a holistic investigation of the remote and immediate causes of the plane crash.

“Senate would also insist that the probe this time should not be limited to Dana Airlines and their fleet, but all the airlines operating in Nigeria.

Abaribe said, “We had thought that Nigeria had landed in the golden era of safe aviation industry, where all the standard codes that conform with international best practices were being complied with.”

According to him, the latest incident suggests that we may be headed to the aviation dark ages.

He said the Senate was prepared to support every effort that would strengthen the industry, keep the sky safer and prevent the industry from retrogressing.

Abaribe said that the Senate mourned the death of the 153 passengers in the ill- fated plane and condoled with their families.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa (PDP-Delta) has called on regulatory agencies to conduct “integrity checks” on all aircraft operating in Nigeria.

According to him, it is necessary to ensure that all airline operators conform with international best practices by ensuring that only certified planes are allowed to fly Nigeria’s airspace.

Okowa expressed the hope that the relevant regulatory agencies would employ people with the necessary expertise to carry out the tests.

Wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan (left) accompanied by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson (behind, left) acknowledging cheers from the crowd shortly on arrival at Otuoke, Bayelsa, while the Wife of the Governor, Rachael (right) looks on. Photo: Lucky Francis

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

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