Category Archives: Transport and Aviation

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.

Ikpeazu commissions 4 new roads in Aba(PHOTOS)

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has assured residents of Aba that the era of “Dubai roads” is gone in the city as his administration has set standards that must be followed by others.

Speaking during the commssioning of the 2.3 kilometres Osusu Road, Aba, reconstructed by the administration using rigid pavement (cement) technology, Governor Ikpeazu who also commissioned 3 other roads today as part of his “Kinetic Abia” tours appealed to the people of the state to work hard to protect roads done in their areas.

After expressing satisfaction with the completion of the roads, the Governor noted that Osusu Road is of great economic value to the state, as it is one of the gateways to the famous Ariaria International Market in Aba. He further informed that his administration has so far constructed 5 other access roads to Ariaria area of the state.

Governor Ikpeazu recalled that prior to the reconstruction of Osusu Road, economic activities in the area was crippled, saying that the project has now greatly restored the people’s diminishing means of livelihood.

The Governor said that his administration did its best in giving the people a quality road using the rigid pavement technology which is a sure way to prolonging the lifespan of roads.

He said that the era of “Dubai roads” is gone in the state as his administration is poised to giving Abians roads of the highest quality using the rigid pavement technology which is now the minimum standard of the State Government.

In his words: “The era of “Dubai roads” is gone in Aba and Abia State. Our Government is committed to executing durable road projects using the cement pavement technology in Aba in particular and other necessary parts of Abia in general. This is the standard we have set for ourselves from the inception of this administration and I am confident that whoever succeeds us will be resisted by Ndi Abia if he or she attempts to construct the “Dubai roads” that we saw in the past in this state. The era of “Dubai roads” is gone for good and there is no looking back”, he said.

The State Chief Executive then directed the Commissioner for Works and other relevant government officials to immediately fast track the ongoing work on Ngwa Road within the next four weeks without compromising quality or risk being relieved of their duties.

Governor Ikpeazu urged residents of Osusu and other newly commissioned roads to set up a task force to protect the roads against vandalism and assured that Okigwe, Immaculate, Cemetery, ABSUTH and other ongoing road projects in Aba will soon be completed and commissioned.

While addressing newsmen after inspecting the newly reconstructed Milverton, Eziukwu and Ojike Roads in Aba, Governor Ikpeazu stated that the Osisioma flyover will be ready for use within the next four months as the project contractor has been fully paid for the job and expressed worry over the absence of Arab Contractors Company handling the Osisioma-Asa Nnentu axis of the Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway project.

He also expressed worry over the slow pace of work on the Ngwa Road project which includes the construction of an underground tunnel in the road to help channel storm water to Aba River from the Ndiegoro area of the state revealing that work is ongoing along Ohanku and Obohia Roads respectively.

Speaking while commissioning Osusu road, the Apostolic Nuncio and Head of diplomatic Missions to Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago of the Catholic Church, the Most Rev Fortunatus Nwachukwu noted that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has written his name in gold through the project.

The Achbishop said that the array of projects executed by the Governor speak volume of the welfarist nature of the present administration in the state, a disposition that has put the Governor’s detractors to shame. He wondered why some people will demarket the administration and the state through baseless propaganda.

In his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Okochukwu said that the brand new Osusu royad is Government’s best New Year gift to the Aba business community, adding that he is pleased to associate with the dreams, policies, philosophies and programmes of the Governor.

In their separate speeches, the state PDP Chairman, Chief Alwell Asiforo Okere and the Chairman House committee on works and member representing Isialangwa North State constituency, Chief Ginger Onwusibe described the road as one of the signature road projects of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

On his part, the Commissioner for Works, Dr Bob Ogu said that the brand new Osusu Road is a confirmation of the Governor’s resolve to bequeath the best road network to Abians and urged the residents to stand against any negative acts that could reduce the lifespan of the road.

The Chairman, Aba South LGA, Mr Emmanuel Clinton-Ebere and his Aba North counterpart, Prince Chimuehiura Ikonne noted that Osusu road remained impassable for over twenty five years, describing the project as the celebration of hardwork and efficient service delivery .

The Project Contractor, Mr Uzoma Onuoha said that the road which can accommodate four vehicles at a time, has its unique mark of quality as it was constructed using the rigid pavement technology .

Expressing their feelings, some indigenes and residents of the area including Eze Isaac Ikonne, Mrs Promise Nwagba, Mr Nnadozie Cajetan, the President of ASMATA, Chief Lucky Akubueze, a representative of National Association of Ngwa Students among others, noted that the road has remained inaccessible for decades, thanked the Governor for coming to their rescue and that of numerous others whose sources of livelihood depend on the the road being accessible.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who earlier inspected progress of work on the Ngwa Road, equally flagged off the reconstruction of Omuma Road, Aba, as well as commissioned a cluster of 3 roads in the Ogbor Hill area of Aba namely Egege, First Avenue and Ebenma/Ama Ohafia roads. He urged residents of the areas to ensure that they protect the road by ensuring proper disposal of refuse and monitor the road to ensure that hoodlums don’t burn tyres or illegally excavate it.

PHOTOS:

You boasted to fix Nigeria’s roads in 6 months, but has failed after 6 years-Eholor lambasts Fashola

Human rights activist, Chief Patrick Eholor has condemned a recent statement credited to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, over the deplorable condition of roads in the country which the minister had described as manageable.

Eholor, in a letter to the Minister made available to newsmen said the poor state of roads in Nigeria has become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment as there is hardly any part of the country that can boast of motorable roads.

The activist who is the founder of One Love Foundation, a civil society group based in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, described their activities as domiciled in the schedule of Federal Government of Nigeria, Amnesty International and other international civil society groups.

He said: “We write to counter the statement credited to you that the state of our roads is not so bad”, adding that most of the roads are in terrible condition even after over 20 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country.”

Eholor said by their assessment as a civil society group, “these bad roads are consequences of poor leadership and woeful planning,” noting that even existing railway system which the Federal Government so boast of is not only dysfunctional, but under-developed and under-performing.”

He recalled that sadly the Minister once boasted that “any serious government should be able to fix electricity in six months”, asking if he was now telling them that he is not a serious person, especially as he has not been able to fix the nation’s roads in over six years.

The activist, who years ago, led other civil society groups to champion the compulsory rehabilitation of federal roads in South-South by the Federal Government, through a mass movement tagged “One Million March Against Bad Roads, ” said the “state of our roads is a national tragedy that does not shock anyone anymore as scores of innocent people have been killed daily in avoidable accidents.”

He said the same poor road network has resulted in poor productivity as immeasurable man-hours are lost in traffic, while the national economy suffers incalculable losses”.

Eholor noted that it was high time government at all levels treated road infrastructure as a priority to enhance economic development and secure lives and property.

Eholor, popularly known as “Democracy Observer-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said the poor state of roads reflects a situation where “corruption has dealt another devastating blow on the country”.

He said from available records “since 1999, a whopping N1.4 trillion ($8.5 billion) has reportedly been spent on road construction or maintenance with very little evidence of the money spent,” remarking that without a functional railway system, roads are the only means of movement for people and goods.

“When roads are not in good shape as is seen all over the country, the nation’s economy is sure to be the first victim,” he stated.

The Activist listed some of the worst highways to include “the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Shagamu-Ore, Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt road, generally believed to be the most strategic economic routes in the country as Lagos seaports are the only viable ones”.

He listed others to include “Ikorodu-Shagamu road, Okene-Lokoja-Abuja and Rijau-Kontagora road in Niger State, Calabar-Itu Road, Ikom Calabar Road, Aba Owerri Road, Aba Port Harcourt Road, Benin, Ore, Lagos Road, with a few exceptions, indeed, virtually all the highways in the country are in terrible state”.

According to him, what is more traumatic travelling through Nigerian roads, as he experienced recently moving from Benin City to Abuja was not only nightmarish but depressing, adding that a journey of five hours took him thirteen hours.

He said after 60 years of independence, it is indeed a shame that Nigeria, “despite the huge revenue earnings from oil, is yet to develop a good transportation system.”

Chief Patrick Eholor said “from 2008 to June 2014 alone, Nigeria reportedly earned N44.655 trillion. Add this to another N2.5 trillion reportedly earned by Nigeria in the last quarter of 2015”.

He said that is why it is quite pertinent to ask the kind of premium government places on roads as economic assets that should aid national productivity

He said “smaller African Countries boasts of better Roads noting that the Lagos-Badagry highway, for example, which links Nigeria with the Republic of Benin, underscores this ugly narrative, whereas the Nigerian side of what should be a super highway, linking the whole of West Africa, is dilapidated and impassable, the Republic of Benin’s portion is not only in good condition, it advertises a certain irresponsibility on the part of Nigeria”.

Eholor said “in every respect, we sympathise with the agonising road transporters. The Nigerian authorities are culpable and they should show responsibility. It has been said often that the building of concrete roads with cement, especially in the southern states where erosion is rife is the way to go”.

The Activist said that option “is what experts have been recommending as a solution to uncertain durability of asphalt roads. But it appears that no one listens or cares about this”.

He said such insensitivity nurtured by corruption, of course, explains a situation in which roads are still being built at prohibitive costs without considering quality, whereas, the World Bank’s benchmark for building a kilometre of road is N238 million, the same one-kilometre is built for about N1 billion in Nigeria”.

The Comrade said maintenance of roads in Nigeria must improve or else the nation’s development objectives will remain unattainable.

He argued that the federal and state governments should enunciate a policy that will involve private sector operators in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model that can also attract foreign investment.

He said already, the Federal Government has launched a road concessioning scheme that accommodates private sector participation adding that there is a commission responsible for this and should be made functional to serve public interest.

He expressed gratitude in advance, hoping that the minister and the Federal Government act urgently in fixing the ugly tragedy of bad roads.