We’re Not In Charge Of Issuance Of AOCs, MinistryReplies Uba
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.
FG Sensitises Security Personnel On Revised National Gender Policy
In a bid to deepen the gender components of the security system in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, last Monday kicked-off a three-day high level Sensitization/Capacity Building Workshop on the Revised 2021-2026 National Gender Policy.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, Department of State Services, Nigerian Correctional Center Service, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Shehu Shinkafi, who declared the workshop open, recalled that Nigeria developed its first National Policy on Rights of Women in 2000.
This was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006 as a result of review and integration of lessons learnt from the implementation of the Women Policy 2000.
A key lesson then was the need to work from a gender perspective, even though the key purpose remains addressing Women’s rights issues.
He listed women’s rights to include the right to live free from violence and discrimination, the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to be educated, the right to own property, the right to vote and be voted for etc.
“But as we all know, many women and girls still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. This gave rise to the review of the 2006 National Gender Policy”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the strategic objectives of the revised National Gender Policy are: to bridge gender/social inclusion gaps and achieve parity in all spheres of life; protect women’s human rights and mitigate sexual and gender- based violence, through appropriate buffers and related services; and explore and fully harness women’s human capital assets, as a growth driver for national development through women’s economic empowerment.
Others are to advance women’s participation and representation in leadership and governance; support women and girls’ education, lifelong health, survival and sustainable development; fnsure that gender equity concerns are integrated into social protection and complex humanitarian actions, legislation and policies and ensure that socially excluded groups (such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and the poor etc.) are mainstreamed into development projects and programmes of government.
He also stated that the 2021-2026 National Gender Policy focuses on the protection of the girl–child: addressing violence against women and girls; addressing issues of conflict, especially as it affects women and girls; and peace building; rights of women with disabilities and implementation strategies, including the institutional framework, funding and human resource for gender mainstreaming among others.
CAN Condemns Resurgence Of Killings In Plateau
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the recent resurgence of killings in some parts of Plateau State.
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, in a statement, described the killings as barbaric, and disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner.
He said: “It’s with deep concern that I address the nation on the recent resurgence of mindless killings of innocent citizens in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
“The killings which started in Mangu villages on Monday, 15th May 2023, by so-called unknown gunmen have claimed many lives and properties with many persons still missing.
“The villages affected include Fungzai, Hale, Kubwat, Bwoi and many other communities of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area and some communities in Riyom Local Government Area.
“According to reports, about 130 people were killed, about 1000 buildings were burnt, and about 22 villages were affected. We condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest term possible.
“It is disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner”.
He appreciated the efforts of the security forces to maintain peace, calling on the government and law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the heinous acts to justice and ensure the protection of lives and properties of all citizens.
The CAN President implored all parties involved to embrace peace and dialogue as means of resolving their differences, stressing that violence only begets more violence, hence he advocated the breaking of the cycle so the state and Nigeria can witness peace and prosperity.
He added: “It’s also important to emphasise that the CAN unequivocally opposes any form of violence or reprisal as we strive to advance the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their religious or ethnic background”.
He appealed to all Nigerians in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau state and indeed, all over the country, to remain calm and law-abiding in the face of the challenges.
“We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into taking actions that will further escalate the situation”.
Oyebanji Presents N915m Gratuity Cheques To 289 Pensioners
Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji last Monday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to programmes and policies that will enhance the quality of life of Ekiti residents, especially the pensioners.
The governor stated this during the presentation of cheques worth N915 million naira as gratuities to 289 State, local government and primary school retirees in the state at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti.
Speaking at the event, which was hailed as unprecedented in the state, Oyebanji said the payment of the gratuity was in fulfilment of his campaign promise of shared prosperity, adding that his administration would continue to ensure that pensioners enjoy a worthy life after their meritorious service to the state.
Oyebanji, who said he was not unaware of challenges confronting the retires as a result of a regrettable delay in accessing their gratuity benefits as and when due, assured the senior citizens that his government is irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuities.
He informed the gathering that since the inception of his administration in October 2022, over N1.2 billion had been paid as a gratuity to both the State and Local government retirees while payment of monthly pensions had been regular.
He said, “As elders and critical stakeholders who occupy strategic positions in the scheme of things, our government is living no stone unturned to ensure that you all live a quality and happy life at retirement. I am aware of the many odds and challenges confronting retirees as a result of the regrettable delay in accessing your gratuity as and when due.
“I am therefore committed to ensuring that the welfare of our retirees continues to be of topmost priority. We are also irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuity by our senior citizens. This is a priority for us and we will continue to explore innovative ways to support you in your retirement.
“Since we came on board, we have always paid pensions along with salaries of public servants. This, I assure you, will continue. Today, the sum of N700 million has been paid out to 192 retired civil servants as gratuity and the sum of N215 million to 79 Local Government retirees”.
Oyebanji used the opportunity to express his appreciation and to commend the management of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) at both state and local government levels for the hard work and transparency they have deployed in processing this payment with particular reference to their policy based on first-to-retire, first-to-be-paid, urging to sustain it religiously.
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