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Set Back for “Nigerian Air” as Airline Operators of Nigeria Asks Court to Terminate Deal With Ethiopian Airlines

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Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers

The much anticipated “Nigerian Air” could be reaching a stumbling block in the meantime as Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) filed a lawsuit to stop the deal and withdraw the Air Transport Licence already issued to Nigeria Air. 

In the lawsuit filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigerian Air, Ethiopian Airlines, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami were listed as defendants.

Investors King had reported that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation has chosen Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder for the country’s National Carrier, “Nigerian Air”. 

It would be recalled that in September 2022, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika announced Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder with a 49 percent stake. 

While the federal government holds a stake of 5 percent, a consortium of Nigerian investors which include SAHCO, MRS and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund hold a combined stake of 46 percent 

Justifying the reason why Ethiopian Airlines emerged as the preferred bidder, Hadi Sirika revealed that only Ethiopian Airlines showcase interest in the bidding despite the numerous extensions to accommodate more interest. 

The minister added that Ethiopian Airlines met all the stipulated conditions and the company is ready to commit the needed fund. 

This however did not go down well with the domestic air operators who claimed that it will lead to capital flight and cripple the domestic competitors. 

They noted that the Federal Government’s partnership with Ethiopian Airlines on the National Carrier will send domestic airlines out of business by opening up the domestic air travel market to Ethiopian Airlines. 

Furthermore, the Air Operators of Nigeria alleged that the company which served as the transaction adviser for the deal was incorporated in March 2022 and could be linked to the aviation minister. 

They further alleged that the Air Transport License (ATL) issued to Nigerian Air is faulty as it did not pass through the normal security clearance.

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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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Dana Airline Check-in Counter Vandalized by Furious Passengers

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Dana Air

Frustration boiled over at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammed Airport on Monday as enraged passengers of Dana Airline resorted to vandalism, targeting the airline’s check-in counter.

The outburst followed repeated flight delays and abrupt cancellations that left travelers stranded for hours, some even overnight.

Reports indicate that the turmoil erupted around 6 p.m. when Dana Airline announced the cancellation of two flights bound for Port Harcourt and Owerri from Lagos.

Witnesses described scenes of chaos as passengers vented their anger by disconnecting and damaging the check-in computers.

Airport attendants bore the brunt of the ire, with reports of physical altercations between them and frustrated travelers.

The upheaval underscores growing discontent among air travelers over unreliable flight schedules and poor communication from airlines.

Dana Airline, in a statement, apologized for the disruptions, citing non-scheduled maintenance as the cause. However, the apology did little to quell the uproar.

Aviation security agencies eventually intervened, restoring order and allowing boarding to resume late into the evening.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for airlines to prioritize customer satisfaction and transparency in their operations to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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