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Dana Crash Report: NASS To FG: Sack NCAA DG, Inspector

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The National Assembly  has directed that the appointments of the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA),  Dr Harold Demuren and that of the Inspector, Engr Suleiman Akwuh be terminated for professional negligence and incompetence respectively

In spite of the fact that Dana Airline has restored its operations some months back, the National Assembly also directed that the airlines’ current AOC should be revoked on the ground that it was not originally issued in accordance with the NCAA regulations 2009.

The Senate at plenary on Tuesday, gave these directives following the findings of the joint committee (Senate and House of Reps) after its investigations on the remote causes of the June 03, 2012 crash of the ill fated Dana aircraft which claimed over 150 lives.

The joint Committee led by Senator Hope Uzodimma had in its report on November 29, 2012 indicted both the Dana Airline operators and the NCAA management.

The report as read and considered at the Senate chambers showed that the ill-fated aircraft had not been air worthy and had been involved in five out of 14 air returns due to system failures recorded in the airline between October, 2009 and May, 2012.

The actual age of the ill-fated aircraft according to the report was 22 years , an old generation air craft (MD83) “that has been decommissioned by the manufacturer and phased out by many airlines”.

Amongst anomalies that played out during the investigation , the lawmakers found out that Dana airline has no credible insurance certificate as there was no evidence to authenticate their claim to have been insured by the Lloyd of London while families of the aircrash victims petitioned the committee over the failure of the airline to pay due compensation on victims.

The poor condition of both the management of the NCAA, Accident Investigation Bureau(AIB) , Airport Fire fighting and search and rescue department of FAAN whose low capacity were said to have made way for such huge losses of lives as some could have been rescued if prompt action was taken .

While Dana failed to avail the committee of some useful documents, the committee also found out that the N200 billion Aviation Intervention Fund was only used to refinance existing facility with banks instead of improving the services of airlines in Nigeria.

Equipments and facilities in the airports were also found to be in abysmal conditions .

The committee therefore amongst others recommended that MD83 aircrafts be phased out and the AIB (FAAN) , NAMA be properly equipped.

The lawmakers demanded that the management and operations of NCAA remain autonomous   and insists that every other investigation reports on air mishaps including Bellview, Sosoliso be revisited and made public.

During the consideration of the committee reports, the Senate was almost unanimous on the rot in the aviation sector as occasioned by notable corrupt practices .

Senator Chris Ngige noted that due to corruption , aircrafts which were not air worthy were certified to fly Nigerian air space

“We lost 153 persons on board the airline . This is a situation of culpable homicide , people went and brought an aircraft that is not worthy for any air space in the world to fly in Nigeria,” Ngige said

On the termination of the appointments of Dr Dumoren and Engr Akwuh , Senator Aidoko Attai Ali bluntly made it clear that all those indicted in the remote causes of the monumental loss by now should have resigned.

Briefing Senate correspondents after plenary , the chairman of the joint Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodimma, noted that there were attempts by some groups to scuttle the report of the committee but insisted that the committee’s insistence on the interest of Nigerians prevailed.

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Anglican Bishop Hails Wike’s Support For Church

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The retiring Anglican Bishop of Niger Delta Diocese, Ralph Cornelius Ebirien, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his invaluable contributions to the church, saying that the governor has shown much love and support to the church.
Ebirien stated this during his pre-retirement press briefing at the diocesan church headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday, as part of activities marking his retirement and pulling out from Anglican priestly ministry as well as to mark his 70th birthday celebration, tomorrow.
The bishop, who is the sixth diocesan bishop of Niger Delta, said that the governor, through his generosity and support to the diocese, renovated the Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, making the school one of the best schools in the state.
“God used Governor Nyesom Wike to renovate the Nyemoni Grammar School, today is among the best.We thank him for his love, also his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is a member of diocese. They have shown us love and support”.
Recounting his 12 years’ achievement as the bishop of the diocese, Ebirien disclosed that prominent of his flagship programmes include yearly Sunday school conference, continuous training and re-training of pastors and the clergy, planting of new churches as well as giving scholarship to indigent members of the church, among others.
“We are committed to spiritual development through the revival of the Sunday school conference. The number of people we confirmed was over 5,000;we admitted many into mother’s guild, teach people Bible and prayer ministry.”
The out-going bishop, while commending members and the clergy for the support given to his family in the past 12 years, advised them to let brotherly love that has bound the church together continue, adding that what took the church to its present height was love.
“Bring the little you have for the work of God. Recognise Him as your helper, be appreciative and grateful”, he said.
Ralph urged members of the church not to be aloof in political participation but be active players in the polity.
“Get your PVC so as to vote credible men that will be God-fearing and help the church, irrespective of your party affiliation during the next elections”.
The bishop in company of members of the clergy and the leadership of the church, paid his last episcopal visit to the Port Harcourt Children Home, and Our Saviours’ Hospital owned by the church,where he donated food items, and also prayed for the inmates.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Lagos To Partner Firm On Digital Economy

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The Lagos State Governor, BabajideSanwo-Olu, has said that the State will  partner with TERAWORK, a tech platform for hiring freelancers, to explore the gig and digital economy.
According to Sanwo-Olu,  this partnership will help upskill youths and train them to seize employment opportunities in tech industries globally.
He disclosed this while paying a visit to the business stand of the company during the Lagos Employment Summit organised by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, recently.
“The Lagos State Government is scaling its intervention in critical areas of the economy. As part of that effort, we are rejigging the activities of the LSETF to broaden its impact in terms of strengthening the productivity of businesses and entrepreneurs”, he said.
He noted that the platform will offer an impressive proposition and solutions that meet the expansive needs of the active segment.
The also said that it will help businesses  to raise productivity level by leveraging the skills of a wide range of freelancers while also creating new job opportunities for the teeming youth segment.
The Chief Executive Officer, TERAWORK, Femi Taiwo, who spoke during a break out of the summit themed, ‘The Future of Work: Gig Economy’, said the gig economy is the locus of shared prosperity in the 21st century.
Taiwo, also pointed out that  it can be expanded to drive economic growth if appropriate national policies are formulated and implemented.

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City Crime

PH City Marathon: Over 3000 Athletes To Run, Saturday

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Over, 3000 athletes are expected to take part in the 16 kilo meter Port Harcourt City Marathon Race this Saturday.
Take off point is scheduled be Forces Avenue, by Christ Church,  back of SPAR shopping Mall, in Port Harcourt, by 7:00am.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with  Tidesports, on Saturday, shortly after athletes collected their  numbers of participation , at Las Mall  Hotels and Resorts,  Rumukalagbor, the Chief organiser of the event, Goodluck Azunwena, said all arrangements had been concluded for the event on Saturday.
According to him, over 200 volunteers, have indicated interest to ensure that the race was successful, adding that various medical outfits, doctors, road safety officers are fully prepared, as health talks was also delivered to athletes.
“ The crowd was really overwhelming today. Honestly we are really impressed with the turnout, that means many athletes were waiting for such event.
As I speak, so many volunteers have indicated interest to work with us, private hospitals have also pledged to give out their ambulances and doctors to be on ground that day. We have also contacted the road safety, police and other security agents to ensure a hitch-free race” Azunwena said.
He advised athletes not to take the competition like a do or die affairs saying that they should exhibit what sports stand for, that is  unity, friendship and love.
Speaking,  one of the intending competitors, Jude Nwanaopara, a footballer, said he is optimistic to win the race, in spite of the fact that this would be his first time to compete in a  long distance race.
According to him, if he comes up top he will use the money to solve his personal problems.
“ I am optimistic that I will win the race being a sportsman, but I must say that this is my first time to enter such competition.
“I have self prophecy that I am going to win” Nwanaopara said.
Another competitor,   student, Victor Okoro, said he was inspired to go for the race following his walking skill.
He explained that he had been looking for  such opportunity to run marathon race to showcase his talent, saying that he is happy that what he was looking for will happen in Port Harcourt.
“ I have the belief that I will win because I have been walking from school to my house for three hours , which is more than that 16 kilometer,” Okoro said.

By: Tonye Orabere

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