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FG Will Help Foreign Airlines to Repatriate $350 Million by December

The speaker of the House of Representatives has assured that foreign airlines will be able to repatriate half of their trapped funds by December 2022.

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The speaker of the House of Representatives has assured that foreign airlines will be able to repatriate half of their trapped funds by December 2022.

Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaking of the House of Representatives, disclosed this at a roundtable discussion with the representatives of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria and other aviation stakeholders.

It will be recalled that foreign airlines in Nigeria under the umbrella of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have accused the Nigerian Government of blocking the repatriation of $700 million accrued to them from the sale of air tickets.

The operators disclosed this in an earlier meeting organised by the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Femi Gbajabiamila noted in yesterday’s meeting that the Federal Government plans to make $350 million available from the total trapped fund of $700 million by the end of the year.

He noted further that it is important for both parties to shift ground so as to have a resolution created for the problem while reiterating that national interest should be of utmost importance.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika noted that the Federal Government will not condone threats or intimidation from any foreign airlines. He stated that foreign airlines should have the courage to come forward and negotiate rather than resorting to blackmail. 

Investors King gathered that the minister added that Nigeria’s airspace will survive if foreign airlines cease operations from Nigeria. He highlights that Nigeria will do better if foreign airlines tow that path.

Hadi Sirika said “Every country, every airline will threaten Nigeria. We will not fly to Nigeria again; we are not given Nigerian visa again. Countries have been shut down completely and they did well. We are not afraid of being shut out. It will help us to do better. We will begin to go to our hospitals and schools”.

Meanwhile, during the submission of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, he disclosed that the CBN has always accorded priority to foreign airlines since 2016.

He noted that the apex bank has always made foreign exchange available to foreign airlines to repatriate their funds. He, therefore, called for understanding while the current challenge is being addressed. 

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Air Peace to Launch Direct Flights to London, Sets March 30 for Inaugural Journey

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Nigeria’s leading airline, Air Peace, has unveiled plans to commence direct flight operations to London, with the inaugural flight scheduled for March 30, 2024.

The announcement came during a prelaunch forum organized by the airline, engaging travel agencies and partners involved in the upcoming London flight operations.

The Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Oluwatoyin Olajide, assured stakeholders that the London operations would be daily and conducted with Boeing 777 aircraft and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, known for their modernity and efficiency.

Olajide emphasized the direct, non-stop nature of the flights, without layovers, and the airline’s commitment to providing unbeatable fares.

Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema, disclosed that the airline had received approval from the Federal Government, facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Aviation, for flights to New York, USA.

Onyema also declared a unified commission for all airline agents, regardless of size or status.

With commendations from industry leaders and associations for Air Peace’s nationalistic drive and dedication to the country, the airline is poised to connect Nigeria with London and further enhance its international presence.

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Nigeria to Implement Biometric Clearance Gates at International Airports by March 2024

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Nigeria is gearing up to introduce a significant upgrade to its airport security measures with the implementation of biometric clearance gates at international airports by March 2024.

This move aims to streamline passenger processing and bolster national security efforts.

Under the plan, five major international airports across Nigeria, including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, and Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, will be equipped with biometric clearance gates.

These gates will utilize advanced technology to provide seamless clearance services for passengers entering the country.

Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, emphasized that the installation of biometric gates reflects Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing border control management and adhering to global best practices.

The gates are expected to significantly reduce clearance times, with a passenger clearing in just 30 seconds.

Tunji-Ojo highlighted the gates’ dual purpose: expediting passenger processing while also enhancing national security by allowing for quick identification of persons of interest.

The initiative aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, aiming to provide quality services to Nigerians while ensuring national security.

This modernization effort is poised to address long-standing issues of delays and improve the overall travel experience for passengers at Nigeria’s international airports.

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Foreign Embassies Given Two Weeks to Settle $5.36M in Ground Rents

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The Nigerian Government has issued a firm ultimatum to 43 foreign embassies and diplomatic houses in Abuja, the nation’s capital, demanding the settlement of outstanding ground rents totaling $5.36 million within two weeks.

In an official advertorial published by the Federal Capital Territory Administration in the Newspaper, the government emphasized the urgency of the matter.

Failure to comply within the stipulated period could result in the revocation of the rent titles held by the diplomatic entities.

The notice serves as a final warning to embassies, including prominent ones like the British High Commission, South African High Commission, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and the Embassy of Japan, among others.

These embassies and diplomatic entities have been identified as defaulters in the payment of their ground rents.

This directive underscores the Nigerian government’s commitment to ensuring compliance with legal obligations and financial commitments within its jurisdiction, regardless of the status of the entities involved.

The ultimatum is reminiscent of a similar notice issued last September to organizations in Abuja, emphasizing the importance of timely payment of annual rents.

The consequence of non-compliance, as stated in the notice, is the potential revocation of land titles.

The deadline creates a sense of urgency among the affected diplomatic missions, as failure to meet the payment deadline could lead to diplomatic tensions and logistical challenges for the embassies involved.

As the clock ticks, attention is focused on how these foreign embassies will respond to the Nigerian government’s ultimatum and whether they will meet the financial obligations within the stipulated timeframe.

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