The Ministry of Aviation has dismissed claims by Senator Sani Uba that it was frustrating the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) from floating a new airline, NG Eagle Airline.
Sani, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, had accused the ministry of frustrating the issuance of Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to AMCON’s proposed NG Eagle, in preference for the floating of a national carrier for the country.
Reacting to the allegation, however, the Ministry of Aviation through its Director, Press and Public Affairs, James Odaudu urged the lawmaker to direct his concerns to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Odaudu said:”NCAA is in charge of issuance of AOCs, and also regulates the operation of airlines, not the ministry.”
This is even as Sani said that part of the reasons for denying NG Eagle an AOC was Federal Government’s fascination with a national carrier, saying the dream has since become unrealistic.
It would be recalled that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator UbaSani, had declared that the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was not happy that certain agencies of government were working at cross-purposes.
He saidin a press statement, that the development was not in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy.
Sani spoke at the Zuma Rock Resort in Niger State,adding that the Upper Chamber was particularly not happy with the Aviation Ministry, which he accused of frustrating the efforts of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), a government debt resolution agency that has scaled all hurdles required by law to set up a new airline tagged NG Eagle, but are being denied the final Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to enable the new airline to commence scheduled operations.
AMCON, in a statement by Head of Public Communications, Jude Nwauzor, recalled that AMCON’s intervention in Arik Air Limited (“Arik”) in February of 2017 was supported by the Ministry of Aviation to prevent imminent collapse of another Nigerian airline, especially one that controlled over 60% of the domestic air transportation in the country, among other public concerns.
He said the intervention was necessary at that time for the continued existence of the airline.
AMCON said it was setting up NG Eagle as strategic exit from its aviation portfolio.
The concerned airlines owed over N300billion, and all funds injected into the airlines pre, and post receivership, have not yielded any positive repayment result.
AMCON, therefore, opted for a strategic exit from its aviation portfolio through NG Eagle, creating an unencumbered and brand-new airline that would be easier to dispose profitably.
Sani, who was noticeably angry, said “This AMCON intervention in Arik and the frustration the agency is going through because of its proposal to set up NG Eagle as best option to recover its investment in the airlines is not supposed to be. I think we are about to lose billions of naira because of ego. The ministry is not being realistic with its proposal of a national carrier and because of that, frustrating the efforts of AMCON on NG Eagle.
Police Service Commission Promotes Magu, Seven Others As AIGs
The Police Service Commission has approved the promotion of some senior police officers including the former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
The commission confirmed John Amadi as a substantive Deputy Inspector-General of Police and replaced late DIG Joseph Egbunike, who will be representing the South-East in the Force Management.
The commission also approved the appointment of DIG Zama Senchi, who was the most senior in the Assistant Inspector General cadre.
Rising from its 15th plenary in Abuja last Friday, the commission in a statement on Monday by its spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, disclosed that it equally promoted eight Commissioners of Police to Assistant Inspectors-General of Police.
The plenary which began last Wednesday, May 11, was presided over by the Chairman of the commission and former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith.
The new AIGs include Magu, who was the most senior in the commissioner of police cadre.
Other new AIGs are Abraham Ayim, Okunlola Kamaldeen, Andrew Amieengheme, Akeera Younous, Celestine Elumelu, Ngozi Onadeko and Danladi Lalas (Airwing).
The commission also approved the promotion of 23 deputy commissioners to the next rank of CPs; 31 assistant commissioners to DCPs and 63 Chief Superintendents of Police to ACPs.
The new CPs include Taiwo Jesubiyi, former DC, Admin and Finance, Akwa Ibom State Command; Kolawole Olajide former DC, Force CID Annex, Alagbon, Lagos; Julius Okoro, former DC, Maritime, Lagos and Adelesi Oluwarotimi, former DC DFA, Kwara State Command.
The statement said, “Other decisions taken by the commission at the plenary were the promotion of 57 Superintendents of Police earlier skipped when their mates were promoted to the next rank of Chief Superintendents.
“Other categories of Superintendents of Police such as the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Course 4, Inspectors Courses 37 and regular ASP’s course 25 and 26 were also promoted to Chief Superintendents, having met established requirements.
Gunmen Kill Two Soldiers, Burn Court, 32 Vehicles In Anambra
Two soldiers have been killed and a lawmaker kidnapped by suspected gunmen in Anambra State.
The gunmen who went on the rampage in the state between Sunday and Monday also set ablaze a local government secretariat, an office of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, a magistrate’s court building as well as over 32 vehicles.
The Tide learnt that a group of hoodlums, wielding weapons, including guns, opened fire on a military checkpoint at the 3-3 Estate in Nkwelle Ezunaka, near Onitsha, where they shot two soldiers dead.
The soldiers were said to have retaliated, as a gun battle ensued thereafter.
According to sources, the shooting started around 10pm on Sunday and lasted till early Monday, with bullets flying in the air and dropping on rooftops.
It was learnt that the gunmen also visited the Government Reserved Area in Onitsha, where they shot intermittently.
The attacks came less than three days after the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, visited the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the custody of the Department of State Services.
In another attack, suspected gunmen also shot dead a vigilante at the Eke Oko community in the Aguata Local Government Area on Sunday.
The victim, who was on a motorcycle, was putting on a mobile police T-shirt when the gunmen overtook and shot him dead.
Sources said the hoodlums burnt all files and property in the council secretariat while over 32 vehicles parked inside the secretariat were also reportedly razed.
The police spokesman, Ikenga, attributed the incident to unidentified arsonists.
The Tide also learnt that the gunmen proceeded to the Ogidi district office of the EEDC, not far from the secretariat and set it ablaze.
About 32 utility and operational vehicles were reportedly burnt during the incident, including other assets and equipment on the premises.
The hoodlums also reportedly inflicted machete cuts on the security guard manning the office, cut his head, leg and arm, as they demanded his gun, while his other colleagues ran for their lives.
Confirming the incident, the Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, expressed displeasure that efforts made to reach the Anambra State Fire Service did not yield any positive result.
Ezeh said members of staff who were on ground were helpless, as they watched the office building and other assets go up in flames.
He said, “It later took the intervention of the Commissioner for Utilities, Mr Julius Chukwuemeka, around 9.05am to bring the fire service team down to the scene of the incident.
“This is a big loss to EEDC, and a great setback to the efforts being made by the company to strengthen its network and improve the quality of service to its customers within Ogidi and Anambra State at large”.
EFCC Arrests Accountant-General Over N80bn Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, over alleged diversion of funds and money laundering to the tune of N80 bilion.
The spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed this on Monday in a statement titled, ‘EFCC arrests Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation, for N80billion Fraud’.
The anti-graft agency said Idris was arrested after failing to honour an invitation.
According to the commission, the Accountant-General allegedly laundered the funds through bogus consultancies.
The statement read in part, “Operatives of the EFCC on Monday, May 16, 2022 arrested the serving Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, in connection with diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80billion.
“The commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities, using proxies, family members and close associates.
“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja. Mr Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts”.
The Tide learnt that Idris is still at the EFCC custody as at the time of filing this report.
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