Amid a court case initiated by the Air Operators of Nigeria (AON) against the much anticipated Nigerian national carrier, indication has emerged that Ethiopian Airlines may pull out of the proposed “Nigeria Air”.
It should be recalled that the domestic airline operators have alleged that the proposed Nigerian Air which is in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines will cripple their business and also lead to capital flights.
Sources familiar with the matter explained that the management of the best airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines is likely to abandon the deal due to negative publicity and controversies surrounding the agreement.
The Airline is worried that such negative publicity could damage its growing reputation.
Investors King earlier reported that the Nigerian Government had picked Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred bidder for the proposed Nigeria Air.
While making the announcement in September, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika announced Ethiopian Airlines as the largest equity holder with 49 percent shares. The federal government holds 5 perfect shares while a consortium of investors which include MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund holds a stake of 46 percent.
In the lawsuit which was filed against the take of the national carrier, domestic operators alleged foul play and seek the termination of the deal.
They also disclosed that the Minister of Aviation has a vested interest in the deal which makes it fail the integrity and transparency test.
Last Thursday when the case was heard in Lagos, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Lewis-Allagoa gave an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and Attorney General of the Federation, to maintain the status quo on the national carrier project.
The order came as a setback for the national carrier which was scheduled to start operation by December 2022. Already, there has been some ongoing work at the Muritala International Airport in Lagos to accommodate the national carrier.
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Nigeria to Implement Biometric Clearance Gates at International Airports by March 2024
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.
Foreign Embassies Given Two Weeks to Settle $5.36M in Ground Rents
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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