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Lack of Positive Train Control haunts another deadly collision



…As Zero refining capacity costs airlines 500 million litres fuel shortage yearly***

Although there has been a recent rash of passenger train accidents, the number of accidents involving Amtrak is trending downward. The company has even gone so far as to install the latest so-called Positive Train Control technology on all of its trains and tracks it owns but there are miles that the railroad service must use that it doesn’t control.

Sources told NBC News that there was no Positive Train Control, or PTC, on the tracks in South Carolina where an Amtrak train collided Sunday with a CSX freight train, killing two Amtrak workers. They said the system likely would have prevented the crash.

Experts believe the installation of PTC may further reduce such accidents, particularly if it is installed on the more than 100,000 miles of train track that Amtrak doesn’t own or operate. Most of the tracks the passenger train service owns and operates are in the Northeast Corridor.

“The accident trend downward [for Amtrak] is definitely there, and, of course, positive train control will help eliminate a lot of these class of accidents: either the overspeed or the collision-type accidents,” said Allan Zarembski, director of the University of Delaware’s Railroad Engineering and Safety Program.

In support of the engineer operating the rail, PTC technology operates like a GPS system that connects trains with the tracks they run on. It helps to prevent train-on-train collisions, high-speed derailments — like the fatal crash in Washington in December — and other accidents.

In Sunday’s collision in South Carolina, “they might already have PTC down there, but a switch system involved didn’t have PTC equipped yet,” said Russell Quimby, a former investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB. “It might have prevented it if they had it. It’s meant to prevent mainline trains and passenger trains from colliding.”

Meanwhile, Perennial zero refining capacity of aviation fuel in the country has brought the supply deficit of the total Jet-A1 requirement a year to 500 million litres.
While the demand for aviation fuel, according to industry sources, continue to increase and estimated to have reached one billion litres last year, 100 per cent dependence on fuel importation amid foreign exchange challenges met only half of the potential demand in 2017.

Consequently, limited supply has pushed up the cost of fuel to between N205 to N275 for local operators. And to beat the shortage and cost, foreign airlines source for top up at Accra, Lome and Abidjan airports, after dispatching or picking passengers in Nigeria.

National Vice Chairman of Aviation Fuel Marketers Association of Nigeria (AFMAN), Olasimbo Betiku, said the main problem facing aviation fuel supply is the lack of local refining capability to complement importation, which is also challenged by dollar availability.

Betiku at the presentation of a new partnership between CITA Petroleum and Puma Energy to stakeholders in Lagos at the weekend, said, the potential of the Nigerian market is up to one billion litres annually and in 2017, the country was only able to use half of that capacity.He observed that in the last 18 years, passenger traffic has steadily risen with increase in flight operations, but very little solution by way of local refining capacity.

He added that while the one billion litres fuel requirement has not been met, the industry will face more shortages by 2030 when the traffic would reach 20 million, needing two billion litres fuel consumption according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) projection.

Chief Executive Officer of CITA Petroleum, Dr. Thomas Ogungbangbe, said the last two years was indeed most challenging for importers, with the scarcity of dollars for aviation fuel supply.

“We could not take money from banks in Nigeria to fund transactions, and even when there was money, there was no forex to import product. At this point, it appeared to us that it was likely that conditions may remain as tough or will get even tougher still.

“With this constantly changing market, there is need to plug into dynamics of well integrated organisations whose system is not thrown to shocks by economic situations of any one country or region. I strongly believe it’s even more important – now while we’re enduring an economic crises – that our companies fully utilise the benefits of this type of business relationship.“Therefore, this formal launch of the relationship between PUMA and CITA, is coming at a very auspicious time, for the airline customers and the country. It can only result in a win-win consequence for all.”

The new deal is expected to create supply and availability to tackle the perennial shortage and distribution logistics challenges affecting the nation’s aviation sector.Puma energy is one of the biggest suppliers of jet fuel in the world, with fingers in refining, retailing and other aspects of energy chain. Puma is also part of a parent company called Trafigora Group.

NBC with additional report from Guardian NG

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NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim’s Families Over Boat Mishap



NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

…As Ali Nuhu says recent deaths in movie industry rob the nation of legendary filmmakers

 The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has conveyed its deepest regret over the unfortunate boat mishap which claimed four lives on Wednesday.

It could not yet be established whether or not, all the passengers wore lifejackets at the time of the incident.

A condolence message by Dakio Horsfall, the Acting General Manager (Marine) of the authority, on Thursday in Lokoja, said the management of the authority condoled with the Actors Guild of Nigeria and the victims’ families over the losses.

The mishap reportedly involved two boars on the River Niger en route to Asaba in Delta State at about 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday.

The accident, which involved an unregistered fibreglass boat with 12 persons on board and a privately owned wooden boat with a lone driver, left four persons dead, while seven others were rescued.

Horsfall said: “Preliminary reports indicated that the accident resulted from a frontal collision between the two boats due to overspeeding.

“Sadly, two people died at the scene of the accident, two more bodies were recovered 24 hours later off-site, while 7 persons were rescued.

“Consequently, the Authority commiserates with the families of the deceased persons and pray that the good Lord will repose the souls of the departed”.

He said that upon the receipt of the report of the accident through its community-based structure, the NIWA deployed its search and rescue team to the scene for immediate rescue activities.

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

According to him, the team and other stakeholders including the local divers, swung into action and have continued the search and rescue effort since Wednesday.

“As of the last count, one person is still unaccounted for.

“Also, the Marine Department of NIWA has activated its accident investigation mechanism to determine the cause(s) of the accident and make appropriate recommendations,” he said

The manager stressed the need for all users of the inland waterways to, mandatorily, adhere to all the established safety protocols, including the completion of passenger manifest at the loading and offloading points.

“The usage of life jackets on the waterways is mandatory, avoiding over speeding, and yielding to weather dictates, at all times,” he said.

Horsfall commended the Marine Police, local divers/ fishermen, Maritime Unions and other good-hearted Nigerians who rose to support the Authority in its rescue efforts.

“Nevertheless, NIWA hereby assures all Nigerians of its continuous efforts aimed at promoting safer inland waterways for the use of all”.

In another development, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Mr Ali Nuhu has said that recent deaths in the movie industry have robbed the nation of legendary filmmakers.

This is contained in a statement signed by Brian Etuk,  the Director of Public Affairs of the NFC in Abuja.

Nuhu described the death of Saratu Gidado (aka Daso) and John Odonwodo,  known as Junior Pope, as heart-wrenching for colleagues and film industry stakeholders.

”Their deaths, which occurred within the week has left  Nigeria’s movie industry in a state of mourning.

”Stakeholders have been pained by the frequent recent losses robbing the country of legendary filmmakers,  who have impacted and contributed greatly to the growth of Nigeria’s film industry.

“Their footprints within the development of the Nigerian film industry will not be forgotten,” he said.

Speaking about the late Gidado, the NFC boss said she caught the fancy and interest of Nigerians, particularly as a lead character in several of Kannywood films,  such as ‘Linzami Da Wuta’ and ‘Gidauniya’.

”She was a Zuma Film Festival(ZUFF)  2023 Life Time Achievers Awardee but sadly succumbed to death in the early hours of Tuesday, April 9.

“Odonwodo’s role in showcasing the professional competencies and screen delivery by actors is remarkable,  as can be found in ‘Honey Money’, ‘Blood Affair’ and ‘Wrong Initiation’ movies in which the late actor acted.

 “While Mr Ibu delivered that evoked laughter and comic relief,  leaving behind a gap to be filled, the refined gentlemen shall be greatly missed,” he added.

Nuhu pledged that the NFC would continue to support the film industry policy initiatives that promoted friendly and safe working conditions,  including medical, health and life insurance schemes for stakeholders.

Nuhu also sympathised with the immediate families, friends and associates of the deceased, as well as the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and prayed that Almighty God grant them rest.

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5  Die In Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Accident



19 die, 26 injured in Kano auto crash — FRSC

Five persons were confirmed dead in an accident at NASFAT turning on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.

Ten others sustained injuries in the accident.

Mrs Florence Okpe, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.

Okpe noted that the incident occurred at 9:56a.m and it involved a Daf truck marked KUT 561 ZZ, a Toyota Hiace bus marked GGE 84 YF, and a Man diesel truck without a registration number.

She said that the likely cause of the accident was dangerous driving on the part of one of the trucks.

”A total of 15 persons were involved, which comprised 11 men and four women.

” Ten were injured (six men and four women) while five persons were killed from the multiple crash,” she said.

The FRSC spokesperson said that the injured victims were taken to Famobis Hospital, Mowe, while the deceased were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue, Sagamu.

The Sector Commander, Anthony Uga, cautioned motorists on speed and reckless driving, advising them to drive defensively for safety. 

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Customs Suspends Noble Intention To Sell Rice At Rock-bottom Price



Nigeria Customs Service’s noble intention to sell impounded rice to the masses at the rock-bottom price of N10,000 per half-bag has been suspended.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on the directive of Mr. President, announced the commencement of a noble intervention aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians and improving access to essential food items through direct disposal of seized edible goods condemned in competent courts of law and certified fit for consumption by relevant government agencies. 

Consequently, according to the Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, a pilot exercise was conducted on Friday, 23 February 2024, at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos state. 

Stated Maiwada: “The exercise was conducted following meticulous planning to address all potential risks that may emerge during the exercise. As part of our process and control measures, we had Nigeria Police and military personnel to ensure crowd control. We also fully equipped a medical team on the ground in anticipation of potential risks during an exercise of that magnitude. Their presence was part of our proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

“The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise. This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press. 


“However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome. The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded”, the Service Spokesman stated, stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this challenging time, and we assure them of our unwavering support. 

“We are working with Hospital Authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps. Following this incident, an internal investigation was initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event. 

“As a service deeply committed to the welfare and safety of Nigerians, we recognize the need for heightened sensitivity and preventive measures in all our operations. 

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. 

“This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians as we work towards addressing the challenges facing our nation’s food security”, the Imgemaker said further. 

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