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Stakeholders Task Buhari On Airports’ Infrastructure

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Some aviation stakeholders on Wednesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to redouble efforts at addressing the present aviation infrastructure gaps in his second tenure.
Those who spoke to The Tide source were the President of the Association of Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Mr Kabir Gusau and the Deputy General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Mr Frances Akinjole.
It also included the Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi.
They noted that the country’s aviation industry required significant upgrade and expansion to meet the requirements of the projected growth and development the nation desired.
Gusau said that there were airports in some states that were still dilapidated apart from the ones in Lagos and Abuja.
“As I am speaking to you now, there are some airports that are in bad conditions apart from the airports in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt but there are some other airports that this government still needs to look into.
“Airport is an airport, because when we are talking about airports, we are talking about the navigation aids which help pilots to land and takeoff the terminal buildings and runways.
“All this aviation infrastructure should be looked into in this second term of the president,” he said.
Gusau also advised the president to appoint a substantive minister of aviation to head the affairs of the industry.
He said this was necessary because of the sensitivity of the industry, adding that the ministry of aviation should stand on its own and not under another ministry.
Gusau said that the immediate-past Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had performed well and the decision to retain him lies with the president.
The ANAP president noted that whatever be the outcome, the incoming minister should continue from where the former minister had stopped.
He appealed to the president to appoint someone that knew the terrain because the industry wanted an experienced minister.
“He might be a pilot or an engineer but we do not want someone that does not understand the industry.
“The former minister tried his best so if the president is bringing in someone else, it should be someone that has the idea concerning aviation and not someone that does not carry the stakeholders along in his policy,” he said.
Also speaking, the ATSSSAN deputy general secretary, Akinjole, said Nigeria still had a long way to go in the area of aviation infrastructure.
He said the unions were expecting the president to hit the ground running by appointing a substantive minister that would interface with all stakeholders in the industry.
“On the type of aviation minister we are expecting from the president, we will prefer someone that has good knowledge about the sector and can improve on the present infrastructural deficiency in the industry.
“So the type of aviation minister we want, if it is not Sirika, is someone who is also ready to engage meaningfully with every stakeholder. We do not want a minister who believes he knows it all.
“We expect the incoming minister to have an interface among all the players in the aviation industry,” he said.

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Aviation

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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Aviation

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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