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Obiano flaunts N16bn Anambra cargo airport  —promises completion in April

Eyewitness reporter

The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has flaunted the N16billion Anambra cargo airport located in Umueri, as the airport with the longest runway  in Nigeria with satellite landing system to aid aircraft land anytime of the day and in all weather.

He made this observation on Saturday when he conducted members of the  joint committee of the National Assembly  round tge project.
Governor Obiano however told his visitors that he hoped to deliver the project, which commenced in January 2020, by April 2021.
He declared that he was determined to make the date sacrosanct  in view of the enormous economic importance of the airport  to the State and South East zone and the nation generally.
The Governor said he was impressed with  the speed and quality of work at the site since January 2020 when the project started.
Obiano, however, promised that by the end of April, air operation would have started fully at the airport.
“One other important thing is that this is the only airport in Nigeria that has a satellite landing system, you can confirm that from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.
“We did that deliberately because this is going to be one of the busiest in Africa because of the orientation of our people who are business people and travelers,“ Obiano said.
The aide to the Governor, Mr. Marcel Ifejiofor, corroborated his principal when he listed the features of the airport.
According to him, the airport have two runways with 100 per cent erosion control, which would prevent flooding during rain.
He revealed that the airport was a high tech project with good local content which he said was being executed by competent company under supervision of some of the best consultants in the aviation sector.
“This runway has 06, 024, it has a length of 3.7klm, the width is 60 metres, 45 metres carriage way and 15 metres shoulders and the category is 4F, meaning it can take any Airbus.
“The orientation is that you can land on two sides, you can land on 06 or 024, it has category two light and satellite landing system, one kilometer racer to take care of overrun.
“We have four grids on either side or a diversion channel to Oyi River”.
A visibly impressed Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, noted that the Anambra cargo airport is viable and can compete with the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos State.
He added the National Assembly joint committee would go back and think about how the Federal Government could help in the project.
“Aviation is key to social economic development for any political entity, we have heard about this airport and decided to come and see for ourselves.
“Most airports in Nigeria are not viable but they are essential, Lagos Airport contributes about 65 per cent to our aviation but I can say that next to Lagos is where we are standing,” he said
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News Alert! Pandemonium in Lagos as Helicopter explodes, crashes into building

The Eyewitness Reporter
Confusion and panic gripped the residents of Oba Akran area of Lagos when a Helicopter crashed into a resident building in the area.
According to an eyewitness at the scene of the incident, the helicopter crashed into a building located adjacent  AP filling station and United Bank of Africa (UBA) and exploded.
The incident, which happened around 3:00 pm Tuesday, caused pandemonium among the residents in the area who ran helter-skelter.
Sources said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was immediately mobilised to the scene where four persons were rescued from the wreckage.

NEMA’s Lagos Territorial Office Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye who confirmed the crash, said rescue operations were ongoing.

He said details were still sketchy, adding that information would be provided as soon as they were available.

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Sirika, former Aviation minister, ‘jets’ into DSS custody over Air Nigeria controversial project

Hadi Sirika
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Department of State Services (DSS) has caught up with Hadi Sirika, the former Minister of Aviation over the controversial Air Nigeria project.
The former Aviation minister was taken into the custody of the secret police for questioning on the national carrier project widely believed to be a scam.
He was said to have reported himself to the DSS office in Abuja Thursday in a Range Rover SUV after which he was reportedly grilled for several hours over the failed project.
Sirika had, at the twilight of his tenure, went through what was later discovered to be a charade when he launched the multi-million dollar national air carrier, Air Nigeria.
The lid on what has now been described as a scam ”launch” was blown open by the Acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dapo Olumide, who admitted that the plane that was unveiled as Air Nigeria was a chartered aircraft from Ethiopian Airlines.
Olumide had told the stunned members of the Senate Committee on Aviation that the aircraft was leased from Ethiopian Airlines and merely used to unveil the Air Nigeria logo as the real Air Nigeria project was yet to be operational.
The plane that was unveiled was confirmed to be over 10 years old and had previously been operated by Ethiopian Airlines and Malawi Airlines.

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Emirates airline suspends operations in Nigeria over $85m trapped funds


Eyewitness reporter 

From September 1st, 2022, Emirates airlines will cease to operate flight operations in and out of Nigeria.

The beleaguered airline said the operational environment in Nigeria is suffocating as its $85 million is still trapped in the country.
In addition, the airline said the unavailability of foreign exchange has complicated an already bad situation.
In a press statement made available to newsmen, the airline said it will stop its operation indefinitely starting from September, 1st 2022 till after it was able to repatriate its trapped fund.

It could be recalled that Emirate airline had cut down on its weekly number of flights into Lagos from 11 to seven over US$85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria.

The airline said the figure has been rising by more than $US10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.

They, however, said that the trapped funds are urgently needed to meet operational costs and maintain the commercial viability of their services to Nigeria.

“We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting losses, especially in the challenging post-COVID-19 climate. Emirates did try to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in Naira, which would have at least reduced one element of our ongoing costs, however, this request was denied by the supplier,” the airline had said.

However, with no considerable improvement and headway in repatriating the trapped fund, the airline, on Thursday, announced the suspension of its operations in Nigeria indefinitely.

The statement reads, “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.

“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1st September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however, the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.”

“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travelers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”

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