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Lufthansa Won’t Fly to Kaduna During Abuja Airport Closure

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  • Lufthansa Won’t Fly to Kaduna During Abuja Airport Closure

German carrier Lufthansa will not fly to the Kaduna airport during the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Lufthansa’s statement was the fallout of federal government’s decision to divert flights to the Kaduna airport, located about 100 miles north of Abuja, while the main airport is undergoing repairs, scheduled to take six weeks from March 8.

“We won’t fly from Kaduna during the closure of Abuja airport for six weeks,” the Lufthansa spokesman said by phone to Reuters. He did not give a reason.

The runway at the main airport had deteriorated to such an extent that some major international carriers refused to fly there, and some aircraft reported damage to their undercarriage.

While it is closed, Abuja-bound passengers will have to fly to Kaduna and travel by bus to the capital, guarded by security, on a road where kidnappings have taken place in the past few years.

The plans for Kaduna to handle Abjua flights have been met with scepticism. The airport handled just 12 flights in December 2015, the last month for which Nigeria’s airports authority has figures, compared with 812 that used Abuja.

A new terminal is being built but when Reuters visited it last month it was still under construction with cables hanging from ceilings.

Contingency plans are in place for the existing terminal to be used. The temporary closure of Abuja’s airport has been criticised by aviation labour unions, business leaders and diplomats.

British Airways, Air France, Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir and Ethiopian Airlines also fly to Abuja.

In October, Dubai-based Emirates stopped flying to Abuja, blaming the state of the runway and low load factor, among other reasons, according to the Ministry of Aviation.

Despite the reservations over the choice of Kaduna as an alternative aviation hub, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, yesterday inaugurated a committee that would supervise the security arrangements for passengers at the Kaduna Airport, its environs and the Abuja-Kaduna expressway during the six weeks closure of the Abuja airport.

According to him, the committee which is made up of high level security personnel, will proactively adopt measures to checkmate any security threats to passengers and visitors during the rehabilitation of the Abuja runway.

While allaying perceived fears over Kaduna and its environs, he said the primary objective of governance is to secure and safe guard the citizenry and foreigners at all times, adding that the government under President President Muhammadu Buhari cannot do less, especially during the six weeks temporary closure of the Abuja airport.

Inaugurating the committee headed by the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mr. Alkali Baba at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, the minister said the committee must be proactive to deal with any security challenges that may arise during the six weeks period.

Other members of committee include representatives of the Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Department of State Service (DSS), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Commission (NSCDC).

Others are the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The minister, while charging the members to provide all round security at the Kaduna Airport, said: “There is so much hype in the media about the perceived fear and threat surrounding the use of the Kaduna Airport.

“Government is setting up this high end committee to ensure watertight security for all passengers and stakeholders during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport.”

According to him, government is determined to ensure holistic security through air surveillance, as well as rail and road monitoring for the safety of passengers and cargo movement.

He stressed that an adequate security template, which cannot be made available to the public, was in top gear to ensure hitch-free movement of passengers.

The chairman of the committee said the team would commence the reinforcement of security personnel on the Kaduna bye-pass, the airport and railway terminals at Idu and Kaduna.

Baba said: “The police and other security personnel are already on the ground, we shall map out immediate and remote challenges on the movement of passengers and hopefully, Nigerians and foreigners will not be disappointed.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Appointments

Standard Bank Appoints Sanni Chief Executive for Africa

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The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets has appointed Yinka Sanni as its new Chief Executive for Africa Regions and a member of the Group Leadership Council.

Sanni, the group’s Regional Chief Executive for West Africa, takes over from Sola David-Borha, who is retiring after 31 years of service to the banking group.

This was disclosed in a statement.

Sanni holds a B. Agric. (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University. He attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2009, and the Global CEO Programme at the Wharton School in 2017. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector across wholesale, retail and asset management, and joined Standard Bank Group’s Nigerian subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, in December 1990.

In a note to employees, Standard Bank Group CEO, Sim Tshabalala, congratulated Sanni on his appointment and thanked David-Borha for her extraordinary contributions to the group.

“Sola was appointed as the Chief Executive of Africa Regions in January 2017 and is one of the group’s most deeply expert and experienced bankers,” Tshabalala said.

“Under her leadership, the Africa Regions portfolio has grown remarkably in capacity, market share and contribution to the group’s headline earnings.”

David-Borha has been a passionate advocate of culture change and executive leadership development, having sponsored the ‘Last Mile’ programme, which has resulted in the successful promotion of talented people into both Regional Chief Executive and Country Chief Executive positions, including the appointment of two female Chief Executives in the Africa Regions business.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve and contribute to the growth of the Standard Bank Group,” David-Borha said.

“I am delighted to be handing over to Yinka Sanni, an exceptional, authentic and experienced leader who will take the baton forward in driving Africa’s growth.”

David-Borha will remain with the group until the end of June to ensure a successful leadership transition and handover process. Sanni’s appointment is effective from today, 15 April.

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Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0

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The third edition of MSME Dialogue will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10am (WAT). Experts at the virtual event will provide insights while discussing the theme: Powering MSMEs with Technology and Digital Transformation.

The event, which is organized by MSME Africa, is expected to have owners and managers of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Business owners from different sector in attendance.

MSME Dialogue which holds every quarter, seeks to address, burning and relevant  issues about entrepreneurship and running a small business as well as proffering solutions to those issues.

The event aims to provide the right knowledge and know-how for MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, and Startups to enable them to grow and thrive and features subject matter experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and players within the MSME Ecosystem.

The speakers expected at the event are: Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Group, Rex Mafiana: CEO, FPG Technologies, Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence at Sokowatch, Kenya, David Lanre Messan, CEO, FirstFounders, Bisoye Coker, CEO/Co-founder, Kiakia FX. The session will be moderated by Solape Akinpelu: CEO/Founder, HerVest.

According to the convener of the event who is also the founder of MSME Africa, Seye Olurotimi “Every business owner who is serious with their business would agree with me that technology and digital transformation are important factors for business growth and success. We all can’t all run or won Tech startups but we can always drive our businesses and operations with Technology and Digital Tools”

“Tech-driven Businesses are making waves and turning in almost unbelievable results against all odds. Businesses who have embraced technology, automation and digital transformation are enjoying unquantifiable advantages. It is because of this that I am calling on business owners and managers to join us at the 3rd Edition of MSME Dialogue, on Saturday April 24, 2021 at 10am ( WAT), as we bring in experts to provide insights on this theme” Olurotimi added.

MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa providing capacity development, news, opportunities, business articles and other resources for MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Olurotimi said the platform was poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in the nearest future.

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Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria

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Ericsson announces plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience.

Ericsson Automation Hub is an open innovation platform, inspired by lean startup methodology in which the Ericsson team works in close dialog with customers, users and partners to showcase and reach the high potential that network automation allows in configuration, provisioning, assurance and orchestration of network services.

This will enable service providers to gain the ability in their environments to govern, manage and orchestrate hybrid networks holistically and in real time and as a result, offer an enhanced consumer experience.

Fields to be covered include but not limited to 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, Network Slicing and Orchestration, Hologram Calls, Complex Standalone, Business Support System (BSS) and Operations Support System (OSS), Cloud and Core product cases, Automated Acceptance Tests demonstration and enhancements as well as complex charging scenarios for 5G and 4G networks.

Lucky La Riccia, Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa at Ericsson says: “As Industry 4.0 accelerates in Africa, automation in operations is proven to boost customer experiences. Ericsson continues to support the telecom industry players in setting #AfricaInMotion, and with the Ericsson Automation Hub in Nigeria, we will focus on driving business outcomes for our partners in Africa as they aim to leverage digital transformation to turn complexities into opportunities while offering a greater experience and value to consumers.”

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