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National Carrier: Why We Suspended Nigerian Air Project-Minister

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Aminat Isiah, Abuja

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the national carrier, Nigerian Air, which was scheduled to take off in December was temporarily suspended due to some issues encountered in the actualization process.

Sirika gave the explanation while speaking at the 5th Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja on Thursday.

He further said another major factor that led to the suspension was the inability of the federal government to provide sovereign guarantee for the procurement of 30 aircraft estimated at $300 million in a staggered payment till 2020.

The minister added that the transaction advisers did not complete the process of modalities for the ownership of the new airline as at when the government had provide sovereign guarantee to acquire 30 aircraft for the take-off of the new airline.

According to him, “In recent months, several misinformation, factual errors, insinuations and fabrications have been peddled in both social and print media on the Nigeria Air Project. This included desirability, inadequate planning, non-consultation with stakeholders, lack of transparency and publications of fictitious amounts allegedly spent by government on the project, amongst others.”

He noted that Lufthansa, which was the first approved transaction adviser, was rejected due to its demands such as opening an escrow account, refusal to pay tax and demand for 75 per cent up front payment.

“Estimated funding requirement for the establishment of the project is $300 million up to 2020. Initial start-up capital of $55 million made up of $25 million for deposit for new aircraft and $30 million for working capital from June to December 2018.

“Estimated working capital for 2019 is $100 million. Estimated working capital for 2020 of $145 million to be provided by the Strategic Equity Partners who are expected to manage the project”, the minister added.

He disclosed that IsDB, AfDB, AFREXIM, US-EXIM, Standard Chartered Bank, Boeing, Airbus, COMAC/CCECC, BOAD, China-Exim, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Deutche Infrastructure Finance, French and US Governments have all indicated interest in the project.

On the name of the national carrier-Nigerian Air, the minister explained that the name was obtained from over 400,000 entries it received from the general public after which Nigerian Air was settled for.

He also affirmed that no foreign company was paid $600,000 for the design of the logo as speculated by the general public.

On why the government embarked on the National Carrier Project, the Minister said it is important to ensure to Nigeria becomes the aviation hub for the West and Central Africa, and also to promote reliable air transport services and growth of the aviation sector which will in turn , provide employment and avenue for Nigeria to compete favourably with foreign airlines for a share of international routes through competitive pricing and reduced capital flight.

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Metro

FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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