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16 Perish In Lagos Air Crash; As Agagu’s Remains Leave For Akure …Mark, NGF, Others Mourn Victims

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The Associated Airlines Plane conveying the corpse of late former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Agagu,  which crashed during take-off yesterday morning at about 9.20 am at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, en-route Akure, claimed 16 lives out of the total of 20 persons on board.
The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) yesterday officially confirmed that 20 passengers and crew members were on board the Associated Airlines plane.
However, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has assured that the two black boxes of the Associated Airlines plane, which crashed in Lagos yesterday, have been recovered.
The Director of Engineering, AIB, Mr. Emmanuel Dialla, said the two black boxes had been retrieved from the accident scene.
Dialla said, “AIB has succeeded in picking the two black boxes, which will give us an insight into what really happened.”
Meanwhile, the management of Associated Airlines has released the names of passengers and crew members of its flight 5N-BJY which crashed yesterday morning in Lagos shortly after take-off from the domestic terminal at Lagos’ Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
This is even as the management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has released the names of four survivors.
While Feyi, the only son of late former Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, is among the survivors, Deji, the son of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, could not make it. Deji was a Commissioner in the Ondo State Government.
Contrary to earlier reports, Gbenga, son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was not on board the flight; nor was Dr. Agagu’s widow.
The chartered plane was heading for Akure, the Ondo State capital, with the remains of Dr. Agagu, a former governor of Ondo State, who died on September 13, and were scheduled to be buried this weekend.
Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Stella Oduah yesterday said the ministry has commenced investigations into the plane crash at the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Oduah, who made this known in Abuja at a news conference, said the ‘Black Box’ of the aircraft had been found.
Oduah said the Black Box had been handed over to the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau to determine the cause of the accident.
“The Federal Ministry of Aviation deeply commiserates with the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time,’’ Oduah said.
She urged members of the public to be patient while the investigation progresses, and assured them that it would be thorough.
The minister assured Nigerians that the country’s airspace “remains safe and secure’’.
Meanwhile, Rescue Coordination and Trauma Centres had been set up at the Annex of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to provide necessary information and support.
Reacting to the incident, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, said the death of some passengers of the Associated Airlines aircraft, which crashed in Lagos yeserday, is more than a double tragedy.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that Mark described the deaths as “sad, disheartening and cruel.
“This is one tragedy which tempts one to question the essence of human existence. But as ordinary mortals, we lack the locus standi to question our creator.
Mark said that the Senate shared in the pain, stressing that it was, indeed, grieved over the unfortunate incident.
He prayed God to give the nation, especially the immediate families of the deceased, the fortitude to bear the painful loss.
He also prayed that the souls of the departed would rest in peace.
Similarly, the Deputy Senate President, Senator  Ike Ekweremadu, described the crash as a double tragedy and called on all well-meaning Nigerians to pray for the nation.
“It is, indeed, a double tragedy; not only for the late Chief Olusegun Agagu’s family, the government and good people of Ondo State, but for the nation as a whole.
“I feel most saddened over this unfortunate incident; I send my heartfelt condolences to all the affected families and pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of all those who lost their lives,” he said.
Ekweremadu called on all Nigerians to pray for the nation, adding that Nigeria needed the divine intervention of God, in addition to the government’s efforts to mitigate such occurrences.
Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives yesterday called for a thorough investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the Associated Airline plane crash in Lagos.
Tambuwal said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, in Abuja, that the crash was “tragic and sorrowful”.
The speaker particularly expressed sympathy to the Agagu family, saying they needed all the support and encouragement of all Nigerians “in this dark period”.
In the same token, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje has expressed shock over yesterday’s plane crash in Lagos, describing it as an unspeakable tragedy.
The party, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, condoled with the bereaved families as well as the Ondo State and federal governments.
“As confirmed by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Associated Airlines chartered flight heading for Akure, the Ondo State capital, took off at roughly 9:30 am (0830 GMT) from the domestic terminal at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, but the engine failed on takeoff and it crash-landed and burst into flames,” Eze said in the statement.
“We urge Nigerians to remember the victims and their families in their prayers and to intensify prayers for our dear nation in these difficult times,” the party said.
However, the Government of Ondo State yesterday confirmed that one of its commissioners was among the passengers of the Associated Ailrines flight heading for the state capital, Akure, but which crashed shortly after take-off from the domestic terminal at Lagos’ Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
A statement issued by Chief Press Secretary to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Eni Akinsola, also confirmed that “family members, associates and other top government officials were also involved in the crash.”
In like manner, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State also commiserated with the government and people of Ondo State over the death of some government officials in a plane crash in Lagos.
The governor’s condolence is contained in a statement issued in Ilorin by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Malam Abdulwahab Oba.
Ahmed, described the incident as very shocking, saying that the state had lost some of its vibrant officials at the time their services were needed most.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State described  yesterday’s plane crash as a  national tragedy.
In a statement issued in Abeokuta by his  Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama,  said the incident was regrettable.
The governor  condoled with Nigerians and the families of the deceased.
“I join the entire nation, especially the government and people of Ondo State, in lamenting this monumental disaster,’’ Amosun said.

Acting Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Peter Agumagu (left) exchanging pleasantries with the state Education Commissioner, Dame Alice Lawrence -Nemi at the Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Anniversary celebration in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday

Acting Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Peter Agumagu (left) exchanging pleasantries with the state Education Commissioner, Dame Alice Lawrence -Nemi at the Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Anniversary celebration in Port Harcourt, last Tuesday

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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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