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Domestic flights resume at Lagos, Abuja airports

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Some domestic airlines on Wednesday resumed operations after three months of COVID-19 lockdown.

Reports have it that few passengers were seen boarding at both GAT Alpha and MM2 terminals in Lagos, while social distancing and other precautionary measures were observed.

The Federal Government had directed the resumption of domestic flights on July 8, after the March 30 lockdown of the airlines.

As at 6.30 a.m. on Wednesday, Arik Air passengers had started boarding for the first flight from Lagos to Abuja, scheduled to depart at 7 a.m.

It was also observed that passengers complied with the COVID-19 preventive screening measures before boarding, but stores within the airport were all locked.

A check revealed that there had been a significant increase in airfares, as some airlines resumed operations (today) Wednesday.

The airlines raised their fares in all classes of tickets for one-hour flights from Lagos to Abuja.

Air Peace sold its Economy-Flexi Domestic plan for N33,001 for a one way Lagos-Abuja trip, while the business class ticket was sold for N80,000.

Arik Air’s economy plan was sold for N29,189, while the business class was N78,532 for a one-way Lagos to Abuja trip.

However, one of the airline official, who preferred anonymity, revealed that prices of the tickets were driven by extra costs factored into the base fare.

The source said that taxes and other fares increased by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was also responsible for the hike in fares.

Mr Adebanji Ola, the Public Relations and Communications Manager of Arik Air, commended government agencies for putting adequate measures in place for airlines to commence operations.

Ola said that Arik Air commenced three daily flight operations from Lagos to Abuja, in the first phase of the aviation restart.

According to him, it is a new beginning in the aviation sector and prays that the COVID-19 pandemic will be fully addressed in Nigeria.

He said that “for us in Arik Air, protection of passengers and cabin crew remain paramount and we have put effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We commend government at all levels in ensuring effective synergy and support for the aviation sector toward combating the pandemic.”

Some of the passengers commended the measures put in place by government at the airport to prevent the infection of COVID-19.

Mr Kola Balogun, the Chairman of Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, who was boarding to fly with Arik Air, commended the managment of FAAN on the preventive measures put in place at the airport.

He said “I am highly impressed with the level of compliance and processes I am seeing here today.

“I commend FAAN for making lives more comfortable and sticking to the social distancing methodology.

“I urge the Federal Government to support the airlines’ operations through interventions for them to bounce back in business.”

Mr Tayo Ojulari, an aviation stakeholder, said that he did not subscribe to leaving the centre seats in the aircraft as directed by government.

“The cost of operations and FOREX is affecting airlines, reducing passengers capacity to 50 per cent, which is another economic implication for the airlines,” he said.

The Director of Aviation Security of the Federal Airports Authority of a Nigeria (FAAN), Retired Group Capt. Usman Sadiq, said that adequte security measures had been put in place at the airport.

Sadiq said government had also increased the security manpower at the airport for effective measures.

“There is effective synergy between the various security agencies across airports in the country to tackle the numerous security breach incidents.

“All security agencies are on ground to ensure law and order at the airports, and today, we can see that Nigerians are well behaved from what was demonstrated,” he said.

He also expressed gratitude to the management team of FAAN for their support in carrying out their responsibilities.

He added that “I am excited to add that the highest level of the authority’s management, an enviable leadership, commitment and support, has been displayed again and again in an unequivocal manner.

“For this, we are grateful and rededicated to achieving the core mission of developing and profitably managing customer-oriented airport facilities for safe, secure and efficient carriage of passengers and goods at world- class standards of quality,” Sadiq said.

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Nigeria signs MoU with Niger Republic on petroleum products transportation, storage

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The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Niger Republic on the transportation and storage of petroleum products.

This was disclosed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources via its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It tweeted, “Nigeria, Niger Republic Sign MoU on Petroleum Products Transportation, Storage. NNPC Pledges to Support SONIDEP on Capacity Building.”

The MoU was signed by the GMD NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari and the Director General of SONIDEP, Mr. Alio Toune under the supervision of the two countries’ Ministers of State for Petroleum, Çhief Timipre Sylva and Mr. Foumakoye Gado, respectively with the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim in attendance.

Sylva explained that the development is another huge step in developing trade relations between both countries.

He said, “This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which needs to be evacuated. Nigeria has the market for these products. Therefore, this is going to be a win-win relation for both countries.”

What you should know

Following bilateral agreements between Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou, talks have been on-going between two countries for over four months – through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole (SONIDEP), on petroleum products transportation and storage.

Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260km from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day. Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export.

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House of Reps to support full aviation reform

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The House of Representatives has promised to support total reforms in the aviation industry through legislation, as it appeals for active participation of stakeholders in public hearings.

This was disclosed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, via his Twitter handle on Tuesday.

According to him, the House has identified that the aviation industry is a key contributor to the growth of the country’s economy and through legislation it would do all it can to develop the industry.

During the opening of a 3-day public hearing session on six aviation-sector bills by the Committee on Aviation, he explained that the draft legislation would make the sector more effective and efficient.

He said, “It is imperative to note that the development of our aviation industry is an added advantage to the growth of our economy. It is in this vein that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our airports and allied services.

“The consideration of these Bills during this Public Hearing is a testament to our commitment to give new life to the aviation sector and make our airports to be a better non-oil revenue-generating sector as is witnessed in other advanced economies.”

The Speaker appealed to the public and interested parties to honour invitations to House committee public hearings so that they can share ideas on how to make critical sectors deliver optimally.

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Hoodlums loot Shoprite store in Ilorin, stole iPhone 11 mobile sets, others

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Some suspected hoodlums l allegedly looted the Palms Mall on Fate road, Ilorin, Kwara State capital. The mall hosts stores of Shoprite, and Lifemate Furniture among other stores including Mobile phones retailers.

This was revealed by an eye witness.

He said, “They allegedly stole iPhone 11 mobile sets, other mobile sets brands, Refrigerators, and households items among others.”

According to him, the suspected hoodlums forced their way into the Mall after they have stormed and allegedly looted Kwara Agro Hall, an agro resettlement centre, where they carted away Aluminium roofing sheets, mattresses, bags of cement and bags of flour among others.

Back story: Similarly, similar incidents had occured in Lagos when suspected hoodlums looted at Shoprite Malls across Surulere, Sangotedo.

According to reports, suspected thugs from Orile have invaded the mall and the neighbourhoods.

The alleged looters were seen with a cartload of goods on the streets along Ajah Road.

An eyewitness account also submitted that the hoodlums were looting shops around Bode Thomas and Adeniran Ogunsanya.

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