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Nigeria-UAE: Airlines operators commend FG’s reciprocity on flight slots allocations

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Nigeria-UAE: Airlines operators commend FG’s reciprocity on flight slots allocations

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Thursday commended Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, for the courageous way he handled the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.

The row had to do with flight slots allocation between the two countries’ airlines – Air Peace and Emirates Airlines of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE recently reduced the three weekly flights by Nigeria’s Air Peace into the Sharjah International Airport to just one flight per week while UAE’s carrier, Emirates, operates 21 flights weekly into Lagos and Abuja.

The situation made Sirika to reduce Emirates frequency into Nigeria to just one flight weekly too and to only Abuja.

As a result of the reciprocity, UAE quickly retraced its steps and increased Air Peace’s flight into the country to seven slots per week and into the preferred Dubai Airport instead of Sharjah.

President of AON, the umbrella body of airlines operating in Nigeria, Capt. Abdulmunaf Sarina gave kudos to the minister and to the Nigerian government in a statement issued at Ikeja.

Sarina noted that by the recent reciprocal action taken by the Federal Government, the national sense of pride and belief in the country rose to an all-time high.

 

“The AON wishes to commend Sen. Sirika, for the courageous way he stood up for the honour, dignity and respect for our sovereignty as a nation on this matter.

“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for standing solidly and protectively behind Nigerian airlines and also behind indigenous investments and investors.

“By the recent reciprocal action taken by the Federal Government, national sense of pride and belief in Nigeria rose to an all-time high,’’ he stated.

Sarina also expressed gratitude to President Buhari for his unwavering stance on the issue which emboldened Sirika to reciprocate with equal measure the treatment meted out to a Nigerian airline operating into the UAE.

In the same vein, Sarina applauded the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, for his dogged and courageous actions.

He added that the courage did not leave anyone in doubt about Nuhu’s resolve to do all within his capacity not to allow any country to disrespect Nigeria.

He stressed that AON was not opposed to foreign airlines operating into Nigeria but frowned at the underhand actions of airlines and their countries making it difficult for Nigerian airlines to operate in their countries.

Sarina encouraged the Federal Government to continue to reciprocate, in equal measures, actions of any country that derided Nigeria’s integrity.

 

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NAGAFF Kicks Against Customs’ Informants; Says Ports’ Scanners Fall Short of Stakeholders’ Expectations 

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NAGAFF Kicks Against Customs' Informants; Says Ports' Scanners Fall Short of Stakeholders' Expectations 

The 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has kicked against the Nigeria Customs Service and its informants, saying that importers lose a lot of money to demurrage through the activities of the latter.

Addressing the press in Lagos on Thursday, the National Coordinator of the Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, frowned at the activities of the informants and other operational hiccups.

Tanko who indicated this also highlighted that the leader of the informants had been identified and the association had declared war on them.   

 However, he said that freight forwarders and Customs agents were not against Nigeria Customs engaging informants but that the cumbersome process involved in the release of seized containers calls for concern.

 Tanko advised that the controller of the command where the seized cargo was released initially should be allowed to exercise power on the final release, not the Abuja authority who might not respond on time while importers are incurring demurrage.

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 “Informants have taken over our job. They pick container numbers either from shipping companies or terminals and send them to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A which the FOU officers and men on the highways use to arrest our containers. We are not against informants supplying information to Customs, our complaint is about the cumbersome process which the containers are subjected to before final release” Tanko cried out, maintaining that their principals were losing lots of money.

“We want the controller of the port where the cargo was released initially to give the final decision on the release, not the Abuja authority. We have lost a lot of money to demurrage while waiting for the Abuja verdict, which often takes a lot of time to arrive.

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“We have identified the leader of the informants. We have reached out to him and told him that we had concrete evidence against him. He denied any involvement in such act. This guy and his cohorts have caused many of our members to lose a lot of revenue to demurrage. I am a victim. The time is now to declare war on the activities of informants. And we have now declared the war”, he stated further.

He likened the informants to kidnappers and added that the standard of the scanners in the ports fall short of the expectations of the port users especially importers, freight forwarders and Customs agents because the scanners could not identify drugs, arms and ammunition and other security-threat items.

The leader of the Compliance Team advised the federal government to replace the scanners with the ones that can scan and identify hard drugs and weapons. 

“We must have scanners that can detect any incriminating objects. It is not about revenue issue; we should talk more about security,” he also stressed.

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TICT Debunks Alleged Plans to Retrench Workers over Acquisition by MSC

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TICT Debunks Alleged Plans to Retrench Workers over Acquisition by MSC

The Tin-Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) on Monday assured workers that it has no plans to embark on any retrenchment exercise, despite the acquisition of the African Logistics business (BAL) of its parent company, Bolloré Group by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). 

In a meeting with leaders of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Monday, TICT Managing Director, Mr. Etienne Rocher, assured that the acquisition will not have any adverse effect on the jobs and workers of the company. 

“There will be no change in obligations on the part of the company towards employees and vice versa,” Mr. Rocher said. 

He said that all obligations arising from existing contracts with the company will continue to be in force. 

He specifically stressed that the services of TICT workers remain relevant to the company, even after the acquisition. 

Recall that MSC announced in April that it had reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the African logistic business of Paris-based Bolloré Group. The agreement followed exclusive negotiations between the two parties initiated in December 2021. 

MSC’s acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics comprises all of Bolloré Group’s transport and logistics activities in Africa, including shipping, logistics, and terminals operations, as well as terminal operations in India, Haiti and in Timor-Leste.

Bolloré Africa Logistics is the biggest transport and logistics operator in Africa with nearly 21,000 employees in 49 countries, including 47 in Africa.

“The acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics reaffirms MSC Group’s longstanding commitment to invest in Africa and to strengthen supply chains across the continent, as well as connecting it to the rest of the world,” MSC had said in a statement.

Closing of the deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2023 at the latest.

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PORT SECURITY: NPA, Nigerian Army to Synergize, Protect Authority’s facilities- Bello-Koko

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PORT SECURITY: NPA, Nigerian Army to Synergize, Protect Authority's facilities- Bello-Koko

…Takwa Bay to get priority attention***

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA and the Nigerian Army would synergize, to ensure enhanced safety of life and facilities of the Authority, particularly those around the Takwa Bay corridor.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello Koko highlighted this, stressing his commitment to collaborate with the nation’s security apparatus, especially the military High Command while receiving the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Obinna Ajunwa at the NPA Corporate Headquarters in Lagos.

L-R: Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko presenting the Authority’s plaque to the Commissioner of Police Eastern Ports Command, CP Tony Olofu during a working visit of the CP to the NPA Headquarters, Lagos.

The Managing Director stated that the Authority has over the years enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Nigerian Army whenever there was the need to maintain Law and Order within its corridors.

 He applauded the swift deployment of soldiers to the Authority’s Corporate Headquarters during the Endsars’ imbroglio where protesters who destroyed property belonging to the Authority were arrested and prevented from causing loss of lives. 

Mohammed Koko thanked the Army Chief for the visit, assuring him that the Authority was ready to continue to strengthen the partnership in order to make the Port and the nation safer at all times.

He, however, expressed his regrets to the Army Chief about the illegal activities said to be going on at the Takwa bay corridor. 

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko (middle), Commissioner of Police Eastern Port Command, CP Tony Olofu (right), GM Security, NPA, Khalil Mohammed (left) during the working visit of the CP to the NPA Headquarters, Lagos.

He recalled that the Takwa bay facility belonged to the Authority and had been Gazetted. A part of the facility was however given to the military for operational exercises but was surprised that the land was being used to carry out a series of illicit activities such as drug distribution and harboring of hoodlums.

Earlier on, General Ajunwa stated that the Military Authorities were at the NPA as part of military tradition of familiarizing with its neighbors such as the NPA. 

He reaffirmed that his personnel would assiduously carry out their core responsibility of protecting lives and property having assumed office in the last three months.

“I assumed duties three months ago. I felt that as part of our training, we should visit installations in my environment and one of them happens to be the NPA. My men are ready to carry out our responsibilities of protecting lives and property at all times’’ 

On the issue of illegal activities at the Takwa bay, Ajunwa further stated that the Command was discussing security-related matters with various Government agencies by way of being proactive in curbing unforeseen circumstances as the yuletide period was fast approaching, coupled with the forthcoming general elections. 

 “We are not expecting any negative scene, but we must plan for unforeseen eventualities,” the GOC said.

’He posited that the area was constantly being raided by his men, but would further ensure that his operatives work with the NPA team to come up with a lasting solution to the issue.

Expatiating further, the NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mrs. Oyinlola noted in her statement that the GOC whose team comprised other senior military officers were equally received by top NPA management team.

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