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ACF Maintains Stance on Open Grazing Ban

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Reacting to the presidency’s rejection of the ban on open grazing by the Southern governors, spokesman of the ACF, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, said the Chairman of the forum, Chief Audu Ogbe, had earlier made the position of the forum known.

“Our stand on the issue was already made known by our Chairman, Audu Ogbe, in a statement he issued on May 17, 2021,” he said.

Ogbe, in the statement, had said that the decision to ban open grazing was in the best interest of all Nigerians.

He said: “ACF does not see any reason to object to a decision taken in the best interest of all.

“The fact of the matter is that the crisis emanates from the belief by most herdsmen that they are free to enter any farm, eat up the crops, and rape or kill anyone raising objections. Nobody or society can accept that.”

Afenifere said the presidential statement opposing the ban on open grazing showed that Buhari’s government was not organised.

The Secretary-General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseni, said reacting to Shehu’s statement again would amount to dignifying him.

He said: “Having reacted to the statement of the Attorney-General, I consider it infra dignitatem to still countenance Garba Shehu whose statement, claiming the president’s authority, on the same ban on open grazing does not only show how unorganised the Buhari government is, but also a vote of no confidence on the AGF, who should save the honour of his office and the legal profession by resigning pronto.”

Ortom Condemns Moves to Reopen Grazing Reserves

Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has condemned the moves by the presidency to reopen grazing reserves.

The governor said in a statement by his Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, that he read with concern a statement issued by Shehu in which he said the federal government would commence rehabilitation work on grazing reserves in the country next month.

“It is now clear that there is a hidden agenda, which only the presidency knows. Otherwise, all the regions of the country have accepted the fact that open grazing of animals is no longer fashionable and should be banned to pave the way for ranching, yet, the government at the centre is insistent that grazing reserves/cattle routes must be created across the country,” he stated.

Ortom added that the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) had on February 9 agreed that open grazing was no longer sustainable, in view of growing urbanisation and population of the country.

He accused the presidency of pushing for the continuation of open grazing and the return of cattle routes of the 1950s and 60s, adding that the presidency’s endorsement of open grazing has emboldened armed herders who lay claim to all land in Nigeria as belonging to Fulani, hence their invasion of farming communities and killing of original landowners.

“At present, the routes have been taken over by airports, roads, schools, hospitals, as well as markets, houses and other human activities,” he added.

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Travel

Airline Stocks Tumble as Ryanair Cuts Summer Fare Forecast

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Ryanair’s announcement of a significant cut in summer fare expectations has sent ripples through the airline industry, causing stocks to fall sharply.

The no-frills airline reported a nearly 50% drop in profits for the quarter ending June 30, attributing the decline to lower passenger fares and frugal consumer behavior.

Ryanair’s profit before tax fell to €401 million, a stark contrast to the same period last year. This slump is primarily due to a 15% decrease in average passenger fares, as travelers continue to tighten their budgets amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary highlighted the shift in consumer behavior, noting that “fares are now moving materially lower than the prior year and pricing continues to deteriorate.”

The company’s previous forecast of stable fares has been revised, with expectations now set for a “materially lower” fare structure between July and September.

The announcement triggered a sell-off in airline stocks, with Ryanair’s share price plummeting by 17%.

Other airlines, including EasyJet and Wizz Air, also experienced declines, reflecting broader concerns about the industry’s financial health as customer spending contracts.

Experts are questioning whether the entire sector is facing a downturn, especially as consumers delay booking trips and opt for more budget-friendly options.

Despite the profit drop, Ryanair reported a slight increase in passenger numbers, which helped mitigate a more significant fall in overall revenue.

However, the airline emphasized that its summer performance heavily relies on last-minute bookings, particularly in August and September.

The trend of delayed bookings is partly due to the cost-of-living crisis, which continues to influence consumer spending habits.

This trend aligns with observations from other airlines like Jet2, which noted only modest price increases amid late bookings.

Ryanair’s struggles are compounded by external challenges such as air traffic control strikes and a global IT meltdown, which have led to delays and cancellations.

These issues have further dampened consumer confidence, potentially impacting last-minute booking numbers.

Moreover, Ryanair faces operational hurdles with aircraft deliveries. Boeing has warned that some 737 Max planes expected by next spring will be delayed until summer 2025, posing a threat to Ryanair’s capacity during peak travel periods.

The airline industry is grappling with the end of a post-pandemic boom in pricing, as evident from warnings by other carriers like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.

As economic pressures mount, the sector must navigate a landscape of cautious consumer spending and logistical challenges.

Ryanair’s latest figures underscore the fragile nature of the current travel market, prompting airlines to reassess strategies to attract budget-conscious travelers while maintaining profitability.

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Max Air Flight Suffers Multiple Tyre Bursts, Passengers Safe

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Max Air

A Max Air flight carrying 119 passengers and six crew members from Yola to Abuja experienced a rare tyre malfunction during takeoff.

The Boeing 737, flight NGL1649, encountered an issue when four of its tyres burst, leading to an emergency halt on the runway.

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, confirmed the incident.

She stated that as the aircraft began its takeoff roll, a loud bang was heard, identified as the bursting of the rear gear tyres.

Initially, two tyres burst, and while attempting to taxi off the runway, the remaining two tyres also burst, leaving the aircraft disabled.

Glory be to God, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew, thanks to the quick response and professionalism of the flight team.

A go-team, led by NSIB Director General Alex Badeh, is set to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the malfunction.

This investigation aims to ensure the continued safety and reliability of air travel in the region.

Max Air has expressed gratitude for the cooperation and calmness of all passengers during the incident and assured the public of their commitment to maintaining high safety standards.

The airline is working closely with authorities to address any potential issues and prevent future occurrences.

As investigations proceed, the aviation community remains focused on learning from the event to enhance safety protocols and maintain passenger confidence in air travel across Nigeria.

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Nigerians Increasingly Reject Bribe Demands, Reports NBS

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Bribery

70% of Nigerians reportedly refused to pay bribes on at least one occasion in 2023, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” highlights the growing resistance to bribery among citizens.

The study found that 42% of Nigerians cited moral objections as their primary reason for refusing bribes.

Also, 23% were motivated by the pressures of the rising cost of living, while 21% had alternative ways to achieve their goals without resorting to corruption.

The report noted the highest bribery refusal rate in the North-West, where 76% of individuals resisted paying bribes.

All regions across the country recorded refusal rates exceeding 60%, indicating a nationwide trend towards rejecting corruption.

Public tolerance for bribery has also diminished, with only 23% of Nigerians considering bribery acceptable for expediting administrative processes, down from 29% in 2019.

Furthermore, fewer citizens reported facing negative consequences for refusing bribes, with figures dropping from 49% in 2019 to 38% in 2023.

This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to challenge corrupt officials without fear of retaliation.

Despite these positive trends, the NBS report highlighted that over N700 billion was still paid in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

Corruption remains the fourth most pressing issue in the country, following the cost of living, insecurity, and unemployment.

The report also underscored a decline in public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

In 2019, more than half of Nigerians believed the government was effective in combating corruption, but by 2023, this confidence had fallen to less than a third.

The NBS findings offer a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s fight against corruption, showcasing a public increasingly willing to stand up against bribery and demand accountability from their leaders.

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