Category Archives: Transport and Aviation

Irate Mob Set Dangote’s Truck Ablaze Over Accident That Claimed The Lives Of 9 Wedding Guests

By Festus Alenkhe

A truck carrying cement has been set ablaze by an irate mob in Edo State.

The truck, belonging to the Dangote Group of Companies was involved in an accident at Ekpon junction in the Igueben local government area of Edo state where it allegedly rammed into a commercial bus belonging to “Who Go Better Transport Company”, Benin City

Out of the ten persons on the bus, only one person called “DJ Nasco” survived.

The said survivor is now in the intensive care unit of Shillo Hospital in Ewohimi, Edo state, while the bodies of the nine persons who died at the scene have been deposited in the mortuary.

The unhurt truck driver immediately escaped from the accident scene to avoid lynching.

The gory nature of the accident scene, however, forced sympathizers to set the truck ablaze.

They patiently waited for the truck to burn down before they left the scene.

The bride and the bridegroom are both from Ewatto in Esan South East local government area of Edo state.

The guests were on their way to the wedding venue when the fatal accident happened.

The deaths destabilized the wedding event as the couple who were already on the dancing floor heard the cry and wailing of other guests at the wedding venue when the news of the accident broke out.

The wedding reception ended abruptly but not without the traditional dowry for the bride’s family.

The Federal Road Safety Commission authorities and the police in EDO state are yet to make any public statement on the incident.

NCAA approves commercial flight operations at Bayelsa airport

… It’s a dream come true — Diri

By Samuel Oyadongha – Yenagoa

After months of waiting, the Bayelsa State-owned airport, on Saturday, finally got the nod of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to commence commercial flight operations.

The NCAA Director-General, Dr. Nuhu Musa, presented the regulatory body’s approval letter to Governor Douye Diri in Government House, Yenagoa, after the team completed the mandatory inspection of the airport and its facilities.

Dr. Musa said the airport met all airspace standards and is one hundred per cent ready for daytime flight operations.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the NCAA DG as saying that the approval was sequel to the report of the agency’s inspection team, which prior to the visit had certified that out of 29 gaps, the airport was able to close 26.

He noted that other requirements were non-safety-related and that work was already in progress to achieve night flight operations.

He said the agency had to limit flight operations to daytime as the runway lights were being installed, noting that once completed, full approval would be granted.

Musa commended the state government for the quality of work done at the airport and the capable personnel from the state that facilitated the issuing of the licence.
Responding, Diri, expressed appreciation to God for making the long-awaited day possible noting that the issuing of the operational licence was a winding journey that began from the administration of his immediate past predecessor to when he assumed duty over a year ago.

He commended former Governor Seriake Dickson for his foresight in ensuring that the state had its own airport.
He noted that Senator Dickson started the project, which had been on the drawing board of past administrations, and saw to its completion before handing it over to him.

He said his administration was, therefore, determined to ensure flight operations commenced as he set the machinery in motion to get the NCAA nod.

“This is a dream come true for our state and our people. I thank God Almighty because this journey had been a winding one from my immediate past predecessor and I have been in the saddle for over a year waiting for this licence. Today, God made it possible.

“I also thank my predecessor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. This airport had been on the drawing board but he took the bull by the horns by starting the airport and virtually completed it. May I on behalf of this government and the people of Bayelsa appreciate him.

“As I came on board, having seen what he did, my administration had to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Having been briefed on certain requirements, I wasted no time in approving what was necessary to ensure that the airport was ready for use. Today, we have the approval for the airport to commence commercial flight operations,” he said.

Diri also expressed appreciation to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the NCAA DG, and officials for the approval and promised to do all it takes to get full flight operations.

He added that all the necessary facilities and equipment were in place and would be installed in no distant time, especially all the runway lighting systems.

According to him, the importance of an airport cannot be overemphasised, particularly in the South-South region that is the centre of oil and gas activities in the country.

“Bayelsa State is a major contributor to the oil and gas business in Nigeria. Bayelsa is the centre not only of oil and gas but also other economic activities within the South-South and the South-East.

“So, the Bayelsa airport is critical not only to Bayelsans but indeed the people of the South-South, South-East and by extension the nearby countries. We are at the border with the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

Edo residents applaud Obaseki for ongoing 8.3km Ekehuan Road dualization  

As work intensifies on the dualisation of Ekehuan road in Benin City, residents have commended the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki for prioritising the construction of the 8.3km road.

The road, which leads to the site of the Benin River Port project, on completion would boost infrastructural development in the state in line with the Obaseki-led administration’s promise to upgrade infrastructure and drive urban renewal in the state capital.

A part of the road project includes an underground drainage system, which on completion will tackle flooding problems in the area.

While commending the governor, the residents noted that the road project on completion will improve business activities and better the living standard of the people.

A resident, Mr. Asemota Osaremen said: “Before now, movement from Ekehuan road to Ekehuan barrack takes about 30 minutes, but with the progress of work done on the road, it takes just ten to fifteen minutes. We hail the governor for his commitment to improving the welfare and livelihood of Edo residents.”

Mrs. Juliana Imafidon, a trader along Ekehuan road urged the state government to ensure that the contractor delivers quality and durable projects before the rainy season.

She said: “Obaseki did well because before now vehicles could not pass here. People can move freely. Workers should be fast because the rainy season is fast approaching and if not, movement would be disturbed.”

Another trader, Mrs. Ewaen Omorede-Edokpaiyi, expressed appreciation to the state government for the project.

Anambra International Airport will be one of the best in Nigeria when completed – Captain Musa Nuhu, NCAA boss (PHOTOS)

By James Eze, Awka

The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu has described the Anambra International Cargo/Passenger Airport, Umueri as one of the best airports in Nigeria.

The civil aviation boss who came to inspect the facilities at the fast rising airport said he was amazed at the elaborate, carefully planned and masterfully executed facilities at the new airport.

Speaking after the tour, Captain Nuhu who was the Nigerian representative in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council before his current appointment, said that the impressive array of facilities at Anambra Airport had left him amazed and speechless.

“I am amazed, almost speechless at the level of work, and the level of compliance with our regulatory requirements and also with international standards and recommended practices,” he declared, pointing out that his tour of the airport had given him a clear view of what the Obiano administration had achieved with the project.

“We have gone round the airport. We have a runway of 3.7km with a runway safety area on both ends of the airport of about 1000 meters. There’s no airport in Nigeria that has a racer area of 1000 meters at both ends of the runway, with two taxiways. We have gone to the tower, the control tower is amazing, certainly if not one of the best control towers in Nigeria today,” Captain Nuhu observed.

Speaking further, Nuhu who is the head of the highest regulatory authority in aviation in Nigeria said, “we have seen the fire service station. Amazing. It’s going to be a CAT 955 firefighting station which will allow big planes and international flights to be landing and taking off here once flight resumes.”

According to him, “the water treatment plant is amazing. It takes care of the need of not only the airport but also of the firefighting service. We have seen the emergency evacuation center, trauma center in case, God forbid, anything happens. There’s arrangement to deal with any eventuality. I have seen the operational fence, I have seen the perimeter fence, significantly done or almost completed. And in the vehicle earlier today, I had said that ‘Anambra means business.’ And I mean it when I say Anambra means business.”

Captain Nuhu further emphasized that everything about the airport was perfect, pointing out that the consultants to the government of Anambra State on the project had done a great job.

“It is obvious that when this airport is completed, it is going to be a significant enabler of the economy and growth of this area, the state and the surrounding states here. So, at this point I congratulate Governor Willie Obiano for this legacy project,” he concluded.

More photos from the inspection exercise:

FG begins process for concession of 12 highways

The Federal Government on Tuesday issued a notice for the commencement of the procurement process for the 12 federal highways mapped for concession under the Highway Development Management Initiative.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, issued the notice in Abuja and unveiled the portal that was developed to ensure that the procurement process was seamless.

The 12 highways so far mapped out for concession by the Federal Government have a combined length of about 1,963km and represents less than 5.6 per cent of Nigeria’s 35,000km federal highway network.

The 12 routes for concession under the pilot phase include Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga.

Others include Kano-Shuari and Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta, and Lagos-Badagry-Seme border.

Fashola said, “These 12 roads were carefully chosen to ensure that each of the six geopolitical zones are covered.

“The initial capital investments that we foresee is something in the order of N1.13tn and the employment potentials are an estimated 50,000+ direct jobs and 200,000+ indirect jobs.”

On the procurement portal, the minister said it was developed to ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency, adding that it would serve as the interface with the public and manage the HDMI from procurement to implementation.

He explained that the portal would give access to relevant documents, news updates, videos, ensure the management of the public private partnership procurement process and the process of approvals and permits, among others.

“Therefore, to those writing letters of inquiry, making offers of interest on the HDMI, offering to provide services like tolling, weigh bridge, rest houses, etc, we are sorry we cannot respond to those letters in order to maintain the integrity of this process and to keep the playing field level,” Fashola stated.

He further noted that currently, the government was executing over 700 different contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of over 13,000km of roads and bridges across all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

He said the HDMI was an effort by government to mobilise private capacity, resources and entrepreneurship into the Nigerian highway sector.

Fashola said the initiative would hopefully convert roads from just social assets into assets of commercial opportunities and enterprise.

Reopen international wings of Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt airports, Reps urge FG

House of Representatives yesterday urged the federal government to reopen the international wings of Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt airport shutdown down at the peak of the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemics.

The House also urged the Presidential Taskforce on COVID–19 to urgently direct the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN to place COVID–19 preventive protocols ahead of the formal re-opening of the airports.
The call was a sequel to a motion by the majority leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu and 34 others at Wednesday plenary.
Moving the motion, Doguwa recalled that on 19 March 2020, “among the urgent drastic responses to COVID–19 Pandemic was the closure of three out of the five International Airports in Nigeria namely: Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa”.

He expressed concerned that “Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano has remained closed despite credence to the impact and importance of the Airport to Nigerians, foreigners and the economy as it serves 15 passenger airlines, which include Kabo Airline, Air peace, Aero Contractors, Max Air, etc. being local airlines and Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, etc as International Airlines”.

According to him, “Airport is the hub of Muslim Pilgrimages in Northern Nigeria, alongside serving other exigencies like emergency medical evacuations and between 2010 and 2015, had a yearly average of 391,637 passengers flying the route for either business or pleasure”.

Doguwa said that the losses of jobs on account of the continued closure of the Airport as well as jeopardizing investments in the Information and Communications Technology, facilities and meteorological equipment which the government may not be able to repair immediately, and so susceptible to malfunctioning, contrary to the expectations in an industry that runs on the precision of judgement on anchored working equipment and facilities.

The lawmaker added that the other two Airports that were closed alongside the Airport have resumed operations, hence the continued closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has brought untold hardship in many dimensions from economic to social loss of revenues generated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from the Airlines, other persons whose livelihoods are intrinsically linked to the operations of the Airport such as car hire operators and retailers of different products.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Aviation to interface with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to without further delay, agree on a timeline to reopen the airport.

BREAKING: Tanker drivers block Benin Ore highway over killing of members by Fulani herdsmen

Tanker drivers numbering up to 100 have completely blocked off the the Benin-Ore highway, at Ofosu with petroleum tankers and other articulated heavy vehicles.

The tanker drivers are said to be protesting the killing of two drivers by suspected Fulani herdsmen last night.

According to reports, Ofosu, the twin that lie between Edo and Ondo states have become a den of these criminals who also made away with an undisclosed amount of money stolen from their victims.

The drivers were adamant to pleadings by security agencies, and kept vigil on the road, leading to a heavy traffic gridlock.

Sources also have it that operatives at the military checkpoint have abandoned their posts, due to the chaotic atmosphere.

It was gathered that the angry drivers are insisting that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State must come to address them before they will open up the road for use.

BREAKING: Private Plane Crashes In Abuja, No Survivors

A private aircraft King Air 350 has just crashed a few minutes away from Abuja runway after reporting engine failure enroute Minna.

It appears to be fatal.

From reports currently coming in there were no survivors from the private jet crash in Abuja today.

The passengers on board have not been identified.

Buhari’s FG set to return toll gates, as 11 highways are set for concession

The Federal Government will on Friday (today) receive the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for 12 pilot federal highways billed for concession.

The concession of the roads may also signify the return of toll gates as concessionaires will have to recoup their investments.

It was learnt from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja that the 12 roads were under the ministry’s Highway Development Management Initiative.

Our correspondent gathered that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission would hand over the certificate to the ministry today at the FMWH headquarters in Abuja.

It was further gathered that the 12 highways combined represent about 1,963km and less than 5.6 per cent of Nigeria’s 35,000km federal highway network.

The 12 routes of the pilot phase include Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga.

Others include Kano-Shuari and Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta, and Lagos-Badagry-Seme border.

A document on the objectives of the HDMI stated that the initiative would attract sustainable investment/funding in the development of road infrastructure.

It said the HDMI would maximise the use of assets along the right-of-way and develop other highway furniture.

The HDMI, according to the ministry, targets to develop an ecosystem along the federal highway network by bringing multi-dimensional resources of skills, finance, technology and efficiency into national highway governance.

It stated that the home-grown initiative would become the lasting solution to the development, management and maintenance of Nigeria’s 35,000km federal highways.

PUNCH

Akwa Ibom begins manufacturing of Cargo Ships, Ferries, Barges, others

The Liberty Free Trade Zone licence and the Ibom Deep Seaport licence recently acquired through the ingenuity of Governor Udom Emmanuel, attest to the readiness of the state to become a melting point in marine transport business.

Subsequently, berthing in Akwa Ibom is the first ship manufacturing yard in Oruk Anam, with capacity to produce security vessels, cargo ships, ferries and barges.

Norfin Offshore Shipyard, located at Oruk Anam local government, is ready to launch its first Nigerian produced vessel on the January 23, 2021.

His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel will be on ground to flag it open and further open the vista to more opportunities for the teaming youths of the state.

Charles Udonwa, an Akwa Ibom born ship merchant, is the chairman of the ship manufacturing factory and has assured that in the next three years, the factory which is currently engaging 85 will have well over 3,000 young people in its workforce.

Members of Government House Media Team, including the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media (Research and Documentation), Mr. Essien Ndueso, visited the Shipyard to assess the progress of work at the factory.

Conducting the team round the facility, the Chairman and CEO of the company, Engr. Udonwa explained that finishing touches were being put to the vessel by the technical unit of the company, assuring that by next week, the vessel would wear a new look in readiness for its launch into the sea.

Also in the team were the Special Assistant to the Governor on ICT, Engr. Solomon Eyo and the Special Assistant on Project Monitoring to the Governor, Mrs. Josephine Bassey as well as members of the Research and Documentation Team.