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We Are Dying, Airline Operators Tell Senate




Airline operators in Nigeria have told the Senate Committee on Aviation that unless the federal government promptly pumped intervention funds into the aviation sector, all domestic airlines operating in the country will die.

The operators stated this Wednesday during an emergency interactive session convened by the Senate Committee on Aviation.

Speaking on behalf of Airline Operators’ Association of Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arik Airline, Mr. Chris Ndule, said the economic state of the aviation industry had largely deteriorated. “The economic situation as it is today, is suffocating us out of operation,” he said.

Ndule said some other airlines besides Aero Contractors would collapse unless the federal government promptly intervened in the aviation sector.

He listed high interest rate of 24 per cent on bank loans, worsening exchange rate and multiple charges from various regulatory agencies as the factors militating against sustenance of aviation business in Nigeria.

“There are a lot of economic indicators that have made business more difficult which are now manifesting in the inability of the airlines to continue to operate,” he said, explaining that the airlines were operating in an industry that had very little (profit) margin.

According to him, “If you have to borrow money and you have to pay 24 per cent, and you don’t make a margin of 24 per cent, it means that you will find it very difficult to pay back the debt. And there is a limit to what you can do in terms of being able to manage the debt. These fundamentals are the things we need to address.

“The last time we were here (the Senate), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was here (too) and it was the CBN that made it clear to everybody that the intervention fund earlier granted, was not for the airlines. In effect, what this meant was that the loans we took from some banks were transferred to the Bank of Industry and there was a reduction in the interest rate. To that extent, there was a little trickle down effect on the airlines.

“But, there hasn’t been a bailout targeted at salvaging the airlines or addressing the finances of the airlines. I think that is where the committee could assist us by interfacing on our behalf with the federal government. The airlines did not get as much as they wanted in the first place, even for that little reduction in the interest rate. But now, the economic situation has moved from being bad to worse. I think the intervention needs to take place to avoid total collapse of the industry. Two airlines have closed shop; there could be more airlines if the trend continues.”

He advised the committee to collaborate with the federal government and bring Aero Contractors back to operation, noting that the extinction of the airline would send a wrong signal to other airlines, bearing in mind that the airline had operated in Nigeria for 59 years.
However, the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Muktar Usman, assured the committee that the federal government was already taking steps aimed at salvaging the sector.

Responding, the Committee Chairman, Senator Adamu Aliero, said the government must be fast in the steps it is taking to address the situation.
Present at the meeting besides the Arik boss were the chief executive officers of Aero Contractors and First Nation Airlines.

Source: ThisDayLive

National News

#LekkiMassacre: CNN Dares Nigeria Government, Updates Second Report (Video)



The Cable News Network, CNN seems not done with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government with the television channel releasing another report on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate during the End SARS protests.

Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, called out CNN over its report on the incident.

He added that CNN was biased in its report and needs to be sanctioned.

The Minister also addressed a letter to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

The network, however, on Tuesday released the second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The second report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig.Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that military men had live ammunition in their weapons while at the tollgate.

CNN also noted that the statement of Brig.Gen Taiwo contradicts that of the Minister who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

It was also revealed in the new report, the moment when protesters were running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

Watch video below;

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Petrol Subsidy Not Completely Gone, Says Minister



Petrol Subsidy Not Completely Gone, Says Minister

Timipre Slyva

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has stated that contrary to popular belief, the federal government has not completely removed petrol subsidy.

Speaking on Channels’ Politics Today, the minister said: “We are still trying to manage this bumpy start. We have not been able to get to that 100 percent removal of subsidy from the foreign exchange end.

“If we were to take it out completely and allow people to access foreign exchange from the parallel market and allow people to import the product, the price of the pump will even be more.

Also Read: Petrol Price Will Increase When Oil Goes Up – Sylva

“The Federal Government, knowing the impact it will have on the people, decided that they are still going to manage this situation.”

Speaking on the importation of petrol from Niger, the Minister expressed that the importation of fuel from the Niger Republic is not something Nigerians should be embarrassed about.

He expressed that Nigerians should be proud that the Federal Government is set to resume the importation of petroleum products from its neighbour.

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National News

‘Your Report On Lekki Capable Of Setting Nigeria On Fire’ — Lai Writes CNN



JustLai MohammedMinister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has expressed that the CNN report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting of October 20 2020 is capable of setting the country on fire.

Recall that CNN had published an investigative report titled, ‘How a bloody night of bullets and brutality quashed a young protest movement in Nigeria,’ claiming soldiers fired live ammunition directly at protesters at the Lekki toll gate.

But Nigeria’s Minister for Information denied the report of the US-based cable television, calling for a sanction on CNN over the report, adding that the report on the Lekki tollgate incident was highly irresponsible.

Also Read: Lai Mohammed Condemns CNN Investigation On Lekki Shooting

Reacting in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate’, CNN maintained that it stood by its earlier report on the Lekki tollgate incident.

In a petition dated November 23 and addressed to Mr. Jonathan Hawkins VP, Communications, CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia U.S, the federal government demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.”

Lai Mohammed, who signed the petition, said if the US-based media organisation failed to carry out its demand, the Nigerian government will “take any action within its laws’’ to prevent CNN from aggravating the End SARS crisis.

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