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Plane Crash: Obasanjo, Others Escape Death

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and 393 others aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane, escaped crash on Wednesday at Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
Obasanjo who was reported to have been absent from the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term, escaped crashing in the plane.
Other prominent Nigerians in the Ethiopian airline passenger aircraft, Boeing 777-300, included the Director General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Amb. Ayoola Olukanni.
Also in the plane was Prof Samson Tunde Adebayo, the Director of Ports Inspection, National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) as well as scores of Nigerians and other nationals.
The passenger aircraft, ET-901, had departed the Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, at about 9:10 a.m., Ethiopian time; 7 a.m Nigerian time.
The Tide source correspondent, who was among the passengers, reported that the almost 5-hour flight from the Ethiopian capital to Lagos had been smooth until the pilot attempted to land at the Murtala Mohammed International airport.
Rather than landing on the first touch line of the runway, the pilot over short it, due to rain and heavy wind, landing on the third touchline.
Reports say that on realising this, the pilot quickly maneuvered the plane back air, flying out of the Lagos airport.
After hovering between Lagos and areas suspected to be in Ogun, causing panic in passengers and crew members, the plane finally landed in Lagos airport, some 20 minutes after the initial false landing.
The atmosphere in the air bus upon landing was replica of what is obtainable in some Nigerian worship centres, as many passengers broke out into worship songs and clapping, while some fell to their knees in prayer.
Officials of the NCAA were unable to confirm the incident as the General Manager, Public Relations of the agency, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said there was no report of any incident in Lagos so far while the General Manager, Public Relations, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, said he had not received any incident notification from any airline.
Report checks from the Control Tower also gave the same report.
But the Duty Manager and Chief Customer Service (Nigeria) of the airline, Mr Otori Otan, said that if the pilot had continued taxing down after landing on the third touch line, he would have overshot the runway.
“But this is an experienced pilot. He realised this immediately.
“Fortunately, the distance between when he realised the situation still permitted him to take off and renegotiate landing,” Otori said.
He added that the incident was not out of place, while confirming that the wind obscured the pilot’s vision.
Otori also disclosed that most of the aircraft that flew out of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport had to fly against the mid day heavy wind.
“These things happen. That is where the sophistication of the aircraft and experience of the cabin crew members come in.
“The aircraft is one of the best you can have around and we are fortunate to have pilots who know their onions ” he said.
Furthermore, Mr Ikechi Uko, Media Consultant to Ethiopian Airline, confirmed that the aircraft had a “missed approach” while about landing due to poor visibility caused by inclimate weather.
“The aircraft thereafter made an air return before it proceeded to land successfully .”
He said the pilot’s effort was in line with the Safety and Recommended Practices (SARPS) in aviation
Obasanjo and Olukanni had both attended a Stakeholders Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.

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COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.

This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.

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Aviation

S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

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