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Hard times hit jet owners, planes converted to commercial use

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NCAA fines airline N9.5m for airspace violation

Wealthy Nigerians, who hitherto bestrode the nation’s airspace in their state-of-the-art multimillion-dollar private jets, have now converted them to hire and reward.

Hire and reward entails putting small aircraft to commercial operation. That is done with the permission of the aviation regulatory body.

However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has set out to monitor owners who engage in such practice without notifying the agency, as there are strict rules of engagement  for such operations.

No fewer than 41 private jets have been de-registered with the aircraft either being sold off or returned to their owners abroad.

An airline chief, who preferred anonymity, in a chat with New Telegraph, estimated that 150 business aircraft existed in Nigeria and were owned by the government, corporate organisations and individuals.

He added that the NCAA used to process monthly over 200 business and private flight clearances, but the number has drastically reduced. A pastor of a mega church has since converted his private jet into commercial use.

So also is one of the state governments that has a private jet. Spokesman for the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, confirmed that many of the owners now put their aircraft under the custody of an existing firm, which has an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to enable them to successfully carry out the charter or commercial service operations.

While some of the private jet owners put such aircraft under the license of existing airlines that have AOC, some others do discreet charter business with their aircraft.

The regulatory body is on the trail of such people because “they short change the agency in taxes and other sundry charges.”

Speaking at a two-day Nigerian Business Aviation Conference held last weekend, Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN), Segun Demuren, attributed the latest situation to recession that has made the owners to give up their planes for charter operations to make money for themselves and for maintenance which cost so much.

Demuren stated that the boom in the oil and gas sector led to a rapid growth of aviation business with many Nigerians acquiring jets to travel in leisure and in class, adding that the business took a plunge due to economic situation that made owners to convert to commercial venture.

As at February 2017, the number of privately owned jets in Nigeria has shrunk by almost 60 per cent, according to the records with NCAA. Demuren, however, said he was optimistic that, that special sector of the aviation would bounce back as Nigeria begins recovery out of recession.

He stated that the harsh economic situation has led to an increased number of foreign registered private jets/corporate jets in Nigeria.

He also lamented the situation whereby any aircraft put on a 5N (Nigerian) registry loses asset value by as much as 25 per cent, yet incurs higher insurance premiums, up to 35 per cent higher in some cases. He said: “Maintenance and service support still remains a challenge and whilst the fleet continues to grow, there are no accurate figures for the amount of jets operating in Nigeria. Educated guesses say between 100 and 150.”

The reason for an increased number of foreign registered private/ corporate jets in Nigeria has been traced to lower insurance policy cover, convenience to secure services of crew members as well as a ploy to conceal real ownership.

Nigeria, in the last decade, has seen an upsurge in the presence of luxury aircraft at its airports across the country being used by influential Nigerians. Chairman, ANAP Business Jet Limited, Atedo Peterside, said aviation business has a terrible reputation in West Africa, lamenting that private jets are still seen in the region as expensive toys for playboy millionaires, wasteful Heads of States/ senior government officials or politicians and others who acquired their wealth through questionable means. Peterside maintained that private jets are indeed indispensable and efficient tools for big businesses in West Africa where efficient travel between neighbouring capital cities can still be a nightmare because of the serious challenges faced by commercial airlines.

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Buhari must order the arrest of Ango Abdullahi over his Fulani herdsmen comment – Deji Adeyanju

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A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate arrest of Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former vice-chancellor, over his recent comment on herdsmen that sparked outrage and drew condemnation, especially from the Southern leaders.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard last week, Prof. Abdullahi had said that the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, was nothing extraordinary, even as he accused Southern leaders of a covert plot to split the unity of the north.

Adeyanju However, in a statement issued by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju on Tuesday, the group said it was surprised and disappointed in what it described as Professor Abdullahi’s brazen justification of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen.

It said the Department of states Services, DSS, should invite the professor for questioning, maintaining that Abdullahi’s statement was hate speech capable of shattering the unity of the country.

According to the statement, “We have read Prof Ango Abdullahi’s alarming interview with the Vanguard Newspaper and are appalled that someone of his age, stature, education and professional qualification would provide brazen justification for the wanton and senseless murders of thousands of Nigerians by herdsmen.

“In his interview, Prof Abdullahi likened the killings of Nigerians by Fulani Herdsmen to a politically motivated ruse by “… the South…” to destroy the political unity of the North. He also made several other comments that are too incendiary to repeat here. “It is distressing that there are people who continue to politicise these senseless killings and who continually provide justification, and nuance, for them.

“It is also distressing that the political elite in the parts of the country continue to refer to colonial era grazing routes that involved the forceful acquisition and ceding of the ancestral homes and lands of the Nigerians in parts of the country, to cattle herders for use as grazing routes and continue to use such colonial-era machinations as justification for the disregard and disrespect for the constitution and laws of an independent Federal Republic of Nigeria and the human rights of her citizens.

“Shielding this brazen disregard for the property rights of whole peoples in intellectual garb is dangerous and provides a distressing setting for continued killings.

“In fact, Prof Abdullahi’s condemnable comments indicate more than just a passing knowledge of the killings, its organizers and what their objectives are. They indeed indicate a deep-rooted knowledge of these unfortunate events.

“We call on the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to invite Prof Abdullahi to reveal the extent of his knowledge behind the rationale for the killings. This is in keeping with similar invitations extended to others by the DSS to explain comments perceived by the DSS to be hate speech. “You will recall that the DSS even invited the spokesperson to a former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, for issuing a statement on behalf of his boss. “

Anything less will prove the fear expressed by many people across the country that there is institutional support for herdsmen to be true,” the statement concluded.

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Sanusi, Miyetti Allah laud Fayose over anti-grazing law

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The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi 11 and the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, have commended the Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose for enacting anti-open grazing law in the state. They said the law would cater for the well-being of parties involved, especially the herders, farmers and host communities among others.

They spoke in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Emir, who is a patron of the MACBAN, was represented by a former Kano State governor and Sarduana of Kano Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. Sanusi, who spoke through Shekarau frowned at a situation whereby some criminal elements would hide under grazing of herd to perpetrate crimes.

He said: “My mission is not politics and it is about peace and peaceful coexistence of our nation. I am standing in here for the Emir and I am the Sarduana of Kano. The Emir mandated me to come over here with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and find out how we can work amicably.” But Fayose said “I also appreciate and commend our leader, Emir of Kano, and the Sultan of Sokoto.

They are life savers. I want all of you, irrespective of tribe to trust us as leaders. “Part of the problem of Nigeria is lack of trust as a result of misinformation and distrust and sometimes politics we have been divided against one another. Let me tell you today when governors of any party see each other, we hug and drink together. Whenever Buhari and I see, we will remain friends, don’t die for politicians.

“If you have correct money, you will not be cattle herder. You would prefer living abroad. It is out of fate and condition of your families that makes you this. To be a farmer is not easy, it involves a lot of hard labour. You have to be wise people and remember that you can do better than carrying arms. Any person or politician who has fear of God cannot carry arms to kill anyone.

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FCTA loses N3bn from outdoor advertising

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) loses about N3billion annually, due to its inability to organize its outdoor advertising sector towards effective internally generated revenue.

 

These facts to the came when the Department of Outdoor Advertising and Signage (DOAS) toured some major shopping malls in the city centre.

 

Deputy Director of DOAS, Hassan Abubakar, who led the team that carried out the unscheduled tour, further displayed the frustration of his agency towards taking advantage in the vast opportunities presented in the industry to boost its IGR, when he lamented how residents were not complying in paying their taxes and other outdoor advertising fees.

 

Abubakar, unwittingly lamented that illegally mounted billboards and Signages in some strategy positions within the city, have continued to litter the highways and streets of the territory without any recourse to the regulations.

 

“Long range visibility is impaired with resultant accidents at major junctions due to sight blockcelebrating ages by billboards and outdoor advertisement posts.’

 

“Painfully, we found that the existing administrative structure charged with the duty of regulating these practices was weak and in some cases, there were multiple standards as well as conflicting administering agencies,” he said.

 

However, the Director said the administration was working to reverse the situation, with the setting up of a taskforce team to coordinate Outdoor advertising.

 

According to him, the mandate of the body was to provide a standard for the control and regulation of advertisement and signage practice in FCT by ensuring global best practice, improving internal revenue and stemming the observed chaos

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