The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cautioned Nigeria and other countries planning to concession or privatise their airports to exercise restraints, stressing that they must try as much as possible to protect what it described as important national assets with ‘ironclad regulation’ that prioritises the national interest.
The Director-General of IATA, Alexandre de Junia, stated this yesterday in his remark at the IATA Global Media Day in Geneva, Switzerland.
He warned that Air Traffic Management (ATM) must be taken into consideration should countries insist on going ahead with the exercise, just as he warned nations to learn from past mistakes.
His words: “Getting these right is difficult to do. To be blunt, we have not seen an airport privatization that has fully lived up to expectations. Our members (airlines) are very frustrated. Airport privatization is an issue that needs careful attention and urgent thinking. It will be a main focus for IATA in the coming years.”
The Federal Government had, earlier through Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, hinted that government had concluded plans to concession Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano aerodromes, citing the plans to make them not only efficient, but to also generate money because of scarcity of funds to other critical sectors of the economy.
To that end, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had moved swiftly to set up modalities for the concession by setting up a committee to midwife the process.
The plan had evoked reactions on the propriety or otherwise of the new move.
Although the planned project has led to protests by the sector’s workers’ unions who vowed to resist the attempt to concession the aerodromes, experts say it is on record globally that the government made mistakes in the past by dabbling into so many businesses that should ordinarily be handled by individuals.
2019: Ex-guber aspirant dumps PDP for APC
The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) camp in Abia state was yesterday depleted following a defection of its former governorship aspirant, Friday Nwosu to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Nwosu, until his defection had battled Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in court over an alleged tax clearance certificate fraud he initiated against the governor.
Nwosu, our reporter gathered was formally presented with his membership card by the chairman of his ward after he registered in his Obingwa ward 4.
Over 50, 000 Nwosu’s supporters would also join him in APC when he would be formally presented to the State leadership of the party in Umuahia, the state capital.
In a telephone interview with our reporter, Nwosu said that he decided to join the APC because of the injustice meted on him by his former party.
He said: “I decided to join APC on grounds of several conditions and convictions. PDP cannot accommodate me now because some people in the PDP have decided not to be fair to me.
“The major reason is that PDP cannot accommodate me now. PDP has not invited me to any meeting since after January 15, 2015 when former President Jonathan came and campaign in Abia State I even got to know about that visit from Abuja.
“They (PDP) discriminated against me. They haven’t invited me to any meeting. I don’t want to make mention of matters that I know that are in court in addition to the governorship, something that I contested and lost in court. So, I will be refrained from making statements that will touch on the matters that are in court.”
APC Convention: Imo Chief of Staff rallies support for Oshiomhole
Ahead of June 23 National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Chief of Staff to the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Chief Uche Nwosu has called on the party’s delegates from the South-East to support former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole for the National Chairmanship position of the party.
Nwosu, who briefed journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital, noted that Oshiomhole’s emergence as the National Chairman of the party would usher in a strong and productive leadership that would steer the party out of crisis.
Besides, the Chief of Staff advised South-East APC stakeholders to avoid politics of acrimony and file behind Okorocha as the leader of the party in the zone so as to forge a common front and be heard as one resilient voice in the convention.
He said: “It is obvious that our party is grappling with internal crisis and what we need now is a strong, purpose-driven leadership that can resolve all issues in the interest of the party. It is also very obvious that some of the members of the outgoing National Working Committee had put personal interests above party interests. That is why we should all rally round Oshiomhole who has the experience and strength of character to return the party to the people.
“I am convinced that his emergence will also prepare the party for the 2019 elections, which is just a couple of months away. We are aware that opposition parties are waiting to see the outcome of the Convention and if we fail to get it right, we may be giving them the chance they have been waiting for.”
Benue: Army arrest three killers of Ortom’s security adviser
Troops of the Nigerian Army, Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS), operating in troubled communities of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states yesterday announced the arrest of three killers of Governor Samuel Ortom’s Senior Special Assistant on Special Security, Mr. Denen Igbana. Igbana was murdered over two years ago.
Force Commander of the OPWS, Major-General Adeyemi Yekini, who disclosed this at a news conference at the headquarters of the Tactical Air Command of the Nigerian Air Force in Makurdi, explained that the killers were arrested at Katsina-Ala Local Government during a clearance operation by a combined team of men of the 72 and 73 Army Battalions.
He said the killers had confessed to the crime, adding also that during the exercise, the soldiers, using the NAF Mi35 gunship helicopter, carried out aerial bombardment of the camp of the wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana, during which troops recovered one gun, one pistol, seven rounds of 7.62 mm, 9 mm special ammunition.
According to him, most of the military operations took place around the Lower Benue axis and Katsina-Ala, which he said had been notorious for killing of innocent civilians.
Major-General Yekini announced that troops of ‘Operations Dark Down’ and ‘Deadly Strike’ had ambushed about 40 herdsmen using cows as shields with 3, 000 herds of cattle at Kwatan Gyemu with sophisticated weapons, including AK47 assault rifles, saying some of them escaped into the surrounding bushes with gunshot wounds while the four motorcycles they used in carrying out attacks on villagers were recovered at their camp close to River Benue.
He said: “In continuation of the clearance operation, OPWS troops proceeded to Kwatan Balla, a Jukun fishing settlement on River Benue, which was thoroughly searched. Nothing incriminating was found in the settlement after the search. Thereafter, the troops crossed from Benue State into Nasarawa State and linked up with OPWS Sector 2 troops at Akpanaja.
“Both troops then proceeded to Okungbo, where they conducted ‘cordon and search operations.’ Successes recorded after the search includes arrest of four suspects, recovery of seven locally manufactured riffles, including Revolvers, which were made of fire 7.62 mm, special ammunition and two headsets were recovered, including some documents, which have since been handed over to Department of State Security (DSS) for further investigation.”
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