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Senate says it will be counter productive to unlock the Aviation Sector now

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Senate says it will be counter productive to unlock the Aviation Sector now 

The Senate has declared that it would be counter productive for the federal government of Nigeria to unlock the Aviation Sector this Sunday as earlier planned.

The upper legislative chamber’s committee on Aviation raised  the concern after an  emergency meeting with leaders of unions in the sector led by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers .

Call for suspension of the easing on the lockdown on the sector this coming Sunday, was also canvassed by the union leaders in the sector on the need for required bailouts to be given first before re-starting it otherwise they would embark on strike action. 

The Federal government had penultimate week, fixed Sunday, June 21, 2020 as date for commencement of domestic flights in five major Airports across the country after about 75 days of  lockdown in curtailing the spread of  Coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate Committee on Aviation after being briefed by the Unionists in the sector on the inherent danger in the plan, called on the federal government to suspend it for now.  Specifically, the Chairman of the Committe,, Senator Smart Adeyemi ( APC Kogi West), said based on serious issues raised by stakeholders in the sector as regards safety and security, plan of  unlocking it should be postponed .

“As submitted by the key players in the Sector, many of the Pilots have lost currency and needed to be re- certified ,   Certificates of Airworthiness of most of the Aircrafts have expired , most of the workers are  owed salaries or on half salary since the lockdown began in March .

” These are serious issues directly connecting to safety and security aside required intervention that must be made by government in form of bailouts for the operators .

“Added to this , is the strike action being threatened by the Aviation workers and since it better to have strike actions in the sector by aggrieved workers than a crash , there is need for government to tarry a bit on the plan unlocking of the sector this Sunday”, he said. .

Former Minister of Aviation , Senator Stella Oduah ( PDP Anambra North ) , concurred with Adeyemi and the Aviation stakeholders on the need to suspend unlocking of the sector for now .

Leaders  of  various unions in the Sector like Comrade Galadima Abednego ,  the National President of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Comrade Ilitrus Ahmadu , National President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and Comrade Nnamdi Hector , the General Secretary of Joint Aviation Trade Union Forum , had in their submissions  , painted gloomy picture of the sector  and imminent danger of restarting it this Sunday.

Comrade Abednego in his submission told the Committee members that many of the Pilots have lost their currency as a result of the lockdown spanning about 75 days now .

According to him, each of the Pilots requires $30,000 for re- currency or re- certification in the face of none payment of salaries .
“Most of the Airlines have either disengaged their pilots during the lockdown or not able to pay them full salaries , treating us as modern day slaves  

“Therefore , before restarting the sector , Pilots and Aircrafts must be re- certified for safety and security , which have not been done .
” Aside that , many of the Airlines need urgent financial intervention to remain afloat , the very reason , government needs to give out bailouts to the operators “, he said .
Painting a more gloomy picture in  his own submission , Comrade Ilitrus Ahmadu of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria , said restarting the sector now would be recipe for disaster as many of the workers are hungry and angry due to  none payment of salaries .
He said : “Even federal government owned agencies in the sector like Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) , is involved in the none salary payment to workers. 
“Those that are paying since the lockdown, are either paying  half or quarter salary to their  workers .
“There is also need for government to subsidise Aviation fuel and even the Airports need to be properly prepared in terms of of fumigation as well as required  protocol for health and safety”.

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A major win for Pondei-led NDDC IMC as court validates its leadership

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A major win for Pondei-led NDDC IMC as court validates its leadership

A Federal High Court in Abuja has reinstated the Prof. Daniel Pondei led interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The court had denied sacking the management of IMC as earlier reported by the Media in a suit brought before it by the Incorporated Trustees of the Forum for Accountability and Good Governance.
President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked the NDDC IMC on December 12, 2020 while he replaced it with another interim sole administrator to take over the affairs of the commission on the strength of the purported court injunction against the Podei-led IMC.

However, the Court reiterated that the NDDC IMC was never dismissed, stressing that there was no order for interim injunction (against the IMC) granted by this court”.
The court also ordered in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/617/2020 that two journalists from Channels and Sun Newspaper respectively to undo the misleading news story, and tell the world the truth of its ruling.

According to the court papers, the court was clear that the leave sought by the plaintiffs did not amount to an injunction but a permission to sue which was allowed but now stands struck out by subsequent findings of the court in January, 2021.
It is not clear whether Prof Pondei-led IMC of NDDC will be reinstated by President Buhari since the president was earlier advised by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to sack the interim managers.

However, there are indications that the Presidency might be working to act on the judgement of the court .

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World

Finally Biden arrives at the White House

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Finally Biden arrives at the White House

By AFP

US President Joe Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday, walking the last block with members of his family through streets that were eerily empty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under tight security, military bands and an escort of police motorcycles led the presidential motorcade to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Biden was riding in a limousine with the license plate “46” — he is the 46th US president — flanked by six mask-wearing Secret Service agents before emerging to walk the final steps to the White House.

“It feels like I’m going home,” he told a reporter from NBC News along the route.

Biden’s arrival was followed shortly afterward by that of Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president of the United States.

The 78-year-old Biden was sworn in at the Capitol about four hours earlier, calling for “unity” in his inauguration speech.

Instead of going straight to the White House, Biden and Harris visited Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to US military war dead at a ceremony attended by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

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National

FG to provide Solar home systems for 5m households

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FG to provide Solar home systems for 5m households 

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power Jedy-Agba has disclosed that the country is set for a ‘bounce back’ programme in its green recovery initiative that will provide solar home systems to 5 million households

He spoke at a UK hosted Climate Change Conference Roundtable on Clean Power Transition on 11 January during a virtual visit to the UK on 10–12 January by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres which he attended. 

The Minister added that off-grid power sources have become more competitive since the removal of fuel subsidies.

He stressed that Nigeria was taking steps to merge its energy access and energy transition plan. 
He acknowledged that the largest population without electricity globally resides within its borders, and identified financing as a major constraint to Nigeria’s clean and renewable energy transition plans. 
According to him, 

“With the help of the international community, we can improve the decentralized renewable energy market to create jobs, provide energy more quickly to those without access, and ensure that we maintain and eventually reduce our emission levels to achieve our net-zero objectives.

“As the COP26 Presidency, the UK Government is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to develop ambitious evidence-based plans to deliver on Nigeria’s own commitments ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021. 
“The UK supported the solar sector in Nigeria with a £66m programme between 2014 and 2020 which  helped provide energy access to   5.5 million Nigerians since 2015.
He said the UK is delivering ongoing programmes to develop quality standards, financing and manufacturing arrangements for solar home systems.
“Many UK companies are also active in the solar home system market in Nigeria.
“The UK considers the licensing of mobile money to facilitate Pay As You Go arrangements for solar home systems a positive development.”

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres at the event challenged developed nations to fulfil their pledges to provide $100 billion annually for developing countries’ clean energy transition.
During the roundtable, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK will pledge up to £38 million to the Climate Compatible Growth programme, supporting developing countries to accelerate their transition to clean energy while growing their economies.
“The UK is already moving to clean power faster than any major economy, and last year committed to protect at least 30 per cent of its land and ocean by 2030.
“Together these announcements address the two leading sources of global emissions – electricity generation and land use – and demonstrate the UK’s leadership in fighting climate change ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.”

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