Another air mishap was averted yesterday morning when a plane crash-landed at Benin airport in the Edo State capital, sources said.
An eyewitness told The Tide that the incident, which occurred about 10.31 a.m, caused pandemonium among travellers at the airport.
However, no casualties were recorded in the incident, sources said.
A source at the airport, said that the aircraft, with registration number 5N-BKS, had two pilots on board and was on routine flight.
“The plane landed on the runway with its tyres locked in, an indication that the tyres did not shoot out.
“But only the pilot can really explain what happened,’’ the source said.
The source said that an airport rescue team led by the Commanding Officer, Air Maritime Operations, responded promptly with the emergency team.
Some people at the airport said the incident caused delays in flight operations for some hours.
The airport manager, Mr Segun Ayodele, who confirmed the incident, however said he was not at the airport when it occurred.
Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau yesterday confirmed the belly landing of a small aircraft at the Benin Airport, the Edo State capital.
In a short message, the spokesperson of AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, said, “a Diamond DA 2 MPP aircraft marked with 5N-BKS, belonging to PICOMMS today (Thursday) around 11 am was involved in a serious incident of belly-landing at Benin Airport. No casualty was recorded.”
Oketunbi added that the aircraft belongs to the Federal Government.
According to a maritime source, PICOMMS means Presidential Committee on Maritime.
An industry source also confirmed that the pilot and a colleague in training were the only occupants of the aircraft, which was forced to belly land following the failure of the nose wheel or landing gear to retract.
After the incident, personnel on ground reportedly cleared the aircraft from the runway, so as not to disrupt operation at the airport.
The aircraft has been towed to the hangar belonging to Okada Air, near the Nigeria Air Force facility at the Benin Airport.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to recruit 5,000 lecturers and undergraduates of the University of Benin and Auchi Polytechnic for the conduct of the July 14 governorship election.
INEC Head of Public Affairs, Mrs Priscillia Imoudu-Sule, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Benin, last Wednesday.
She said that the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Kassim Gaidam, would declare open the training of the selected persons at the Auchi Polytechnic, in Etsako-West Local Government.
Imoudu-Sule explained that the management of both institutions was responsible for the selection of the lecturers and students to be used as INEC ad hoc staff for the election.
She explained that the school authorities were critical about the character and moral standing of those selected.
“The REC will during the training session impress it upon them the enormity of the assignment and the high sense of patriotism required of them while on the job,’’ she said.
Imoudu-Sule said a total of 10,000 ad hoc staff including the already trained members of the NYSC were expected to complement regular INEC staff to conduct the election.
She said that about 1.6 million voters captured in the voters’ list were expected to participate in the election.
In a related development, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), zone 5, Mr Argungu Hashimu has warned politicians in Edo State against the use of thugs in the July 14 governorship election.
Hashimu, told newsmen in Benin on Wednesday that any one caught using thugs in the forthcoming polls would be dealt with according to the law.
“They are warned in their own interest to desist from actions and utterances that could lead to crisis situation before, during and after the election.
“The Nigeria Police Force in my zone will not condole any act of lawlessness; we assure all Edo law-abiding citizens of the safety of their lives and property,’’ he said.
He said: “we are fully ready to discharge our constitutional duty in conjunction with other security agencies. ’’
The AIG, however, said some proactive strategies had been evolved to ensure the successful conduct of the election.
“To this end, we are expecting more police from neighbouring states and we are moving round the three senatorial districts to brief our men on the special operation during the election. ’’
He commended the political actors for their peaceful conduct, saying that the current political activities and campaigns had been peaceful and devoid of political acrimony.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
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.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
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.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
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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