NCAA orders Ethiopian Airlines to stop collection of unauthorised charges

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ordered Ethiopian Airlines to stop the collection of  unauthorized charges forthwith.

The order was contained in a statement signed by Mr Sam Adurogboye, NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, on Sunday in Lagos.

Adurogboye said these unauthorised charges referred to as” refundable deportation fee” is put at between 75 dollars  and 150 dollars.

According to him, all South Africa bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay this amount before boarding.

He noted that the authority had been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate.


“According to investigation by NCAA, all outbound passengers to South Africa from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, (MMIA), Lagos and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, are liable to pay 75 dollars.

“However, if your transiting time is 24 hours or beyond, the passenger will pay 150 dollars.

“While passengers are not given prior notice concerning these charges before arriving at the airports, some were made to sign undertaken to be responsible for all expenses incurred if deported,” Adurogboye said.

He said consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management were summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported.

Adurogboye said the regulatory authority however found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the its extant regulations.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 18.4.1(iii) stipulates that “all air carriers should obtain approval from the authority to introduce or increase add-on charges or surcharges prior to implementation.

“Till date, the authority has not received any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline.

“On this strength, Ethiopian Airlines has been ordered to stop with immediate effect these illegal charges,” he said.

Adurogboye noted that the Airline could take advantage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CAR) and obtain necessary approvals from the Authority if it has genuine grounds to increase fares or obtain tariffs.

The spokesman said :”the NCAA hereby warns all operating airlines to endeavour to adhere to the regulations in all facets of their operations.

“It is part of our statutory responsibilities to protect the rights of passengers and this we shall continue to do in accordance to the law.” (NAN)

Source: NTA


Unmasking Zannah Mustapha and The 82 Freed Chibok Girls

BBC, London:

Zannah Mustapha has been mediating between the government and militants for the release of the Chibok girls and for an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari told the media that his government was willing to negotiate with “credible” leaders of Boko Haram for the release of the girls.

More than 200 of them were abducted a year earlier from the north-eastern town of Chibok, sparking global outrage.

Previous attempts had failed, with different groups coming forward, each claiming to be the militants in possession of the missing schoolgirls.

It was Mr Mustapha who succeeded in convincing the Nigerian authorities that this particular group should be taken for what they say, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu told me.

57-year-old Zannah Mustapha arrived for the handover of the 82 Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram after three years in captivity, a militant read out the girls’ names from a list.

One by one, the abducted schoolgirls, now women, lined up along the outskirts of a forest near Kumshe town, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Each of them was covered from head to ankle in a dark-coloured hijab.

“I went ahead of the Red Cross. The militants brought the girls to me,” said Mr Mustapha, the lawyer from Borno state in north-east Nigeria.

Mr Mustapha’s role as a mediator dates back to his founding the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in 2007, to provide free Islamic-based education to orphans and the poor.

When the Boko Haram insurgency erupted in 2009, the school offered admission to the children of soldiers and government officials killed by the militants, as well as those of militants killed by the state.


During the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, to intervene in the escalating crisis.

He then set up a group to discuss peace with Boko Haram. Mr Mustapha was included in it because of the relationship he had forged with the families of Boko Haram militants.

After the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria paid a visit to the Future Prowess school in 2012, he arranged for Mr Mustapha to go to Zurich and Geneva to receive formal training as a mediator.

“We were already trying to negotiate peace with Boko Haram before the Chibok girls were kidnapped,” Mr Mustapha said.

The initial negotiation was for a batch of 20 Chibok girls to be released.

But, as a sign of commitment to their relationship, Boko Haram added an extra woman, whom Mr Mustapha said was their gift to him, hence the number 21.

Source: NTA

This Refugee Is Building 25 Permanent Homes From Recycled Plastic Bottles

By Phineas Rueckert|

It is a common proverb that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and in Algeria, one refugee is showing the truth behind this saying.

Tateh Lehbib is an engineer and a Sahrawi refugee. At 28, Lehbib has been a refugee his entire life, one of more than 165,000 Sahrawis displaced from their native Morocco by the Western Saharan War that began in 1975. The majority of the Sahrawis now live in five encampments in southern Algeria.

The idea to build plastic bottle homes came out of Lehbib’s desire to provide shelter for his grandmother in a desert region that can get hotter than 110 degrees Fahrenheit and is also susceptible to heavy rain.

“I wanted her not to suffer so much from the heat, and to lead a better, more comfortable life,” he told the Middle East Eye.

The first of his shelters was made from 6,000 plastic bottles, which are filled with sand and straw, layered one on top of the other, and held together with cement mix. The plastic bottles are then covered with an additional layer of cement and limestone and painted white to reduce the impact of the sun’s rays.

According to the Middle East Eye, these structures cost about one-quarter of what it would cost to build a similar structure from mud-brick, which can cost up to €1,000 to construct. And they are 20 times more resistant, Lehbib emphasized.

The positive environmental impact of these structures is not to be ignored. At 6,000 bottles per structure and with 25 structures being built, thanks to a grant from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, the initiative will recycle around 150,000 plastic bottles in total. That’s 150,000 plastic bottles that won’t end up in landfills, or in the world’s oceans, into which between 5 and 13 million metric tons of plastic already end up each year.

The initiative is also providing employment and education opportunities for some of the youth in the five Sahrawi camps, ThinkProgress reports, and inspiring others to get involved in collecting and reusing bottles.

“My son Alwali, a shepherd, wants to construct a similar one in the countryside of Western Sahara,” one woman told ThinkProgress.

Lehbib, for his part, hopes to be able to expand his bottle house project to other, larger communities. But he’s got a way to go before he can take the crown of most prolific bottled-house builder. Another man, in Panama, is already on his way to building an entire village out of plastic bottles.


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Kukah Center to build skill acquisition centers for Almajiri children in the north

The Kukah Centre (TKC) on Saturday revealed it plans to introduce skill acquisition centres in the Northern part of the country for Almajiri children to acquire vocations of their choice.

kukah center to empower almajiri



Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto made this known during a four day workshop tagged ‘’Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement’’ for Christians and Muslims in Minna.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting, which was attended by Christians and Muslims leaders from Niger, Kano, Gombe and Yobe States was to promote peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

Kukah said that most of the social vices in the society would be reduced when these children are empowered and gainfully engaged.

“One of the greatest concerns in Nigeria now is to get the Almajiri children off the streets.

“The centre will soon sign a Memoranda of Understanding with a foreign partner to make sure that we get the Almajiri children off the streets,’’ he said.

He said that the issue of ensuring peace in the country was a task for all Nigerians.

The Bishop said that the people of the country may have their differences but stressed the need to understand these differences in order to develop the country.

Similarly, Sheik Ahmed Lemu, founder of the Islamic Education Trust said that Nigerians must respect one another in order to develop the country.

‘’If we don’t live peacefully there is no way we can make any progress. So we need one another to move Nigeria forward,’’ he said..

NAN reports that the workshop was organised by the Development Initiative of West Africa in collaboration with TKC. (NAN)

Source: NTA

FG forced to cut overhead – Budget DG

DG budget Ben Akabueze (L), receives NAN MD Bayo Onanuga amd EIC Yusuf Zango.

By Racheal Ishaya

Mr. Ben Akabueze, the Director-General, Budget office of the Federation, has said the government was forced to cut overhead allocations to Ministries, Departments and Agencies due to dwindling revenue.

Akabueze made the explanation on Thursday in Abuja when the Management of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), led by its Managing Director, Mr Bayo Onanuga, paid him a visit.

“The picture you’ve painted about declining overhead allocation cuts across all agencies of government. And the primary reason is that government has grown excessively. It’s not like the aggregate overhead budget has reduced. No it hasn’t its increasing.

“Last year, for instance, the aggregate overhead budget was N163 billion and 2017, we sent N226 billion.

“It may not necessarily translate to any significant change in what you get, because government has got too many agencies that didn’t exist at that time when you were getting N40 million per month, now exists,’’ he said.

Akabueze said the 2016 budget had underperformed its revenue projections as government recorded total revenue of N2.9 trillion only.

“In 2016, we required N1.3 trillion to pay interest on loans and N2.2 trillion to pay personnel, so by the time, you personnel, pay interest on debt, you are already at N2.5 trillion and your total revenue is N2.9 trillion.

“So your total revenue is taken up by personnel and interest on loans and that is why overheads are not released on time because it takes least priority.

“Right now we are in May and overheads have only been released for January and February, yet everyone has collected salaries up to April and are warming up to collect for May,’’ he said.

Akabueze said that in the 2017 budget, personnel cost and pension eats up 30 per cent of the budget while debt servicing plus interest takes up another 25 per cent.

“In the decade up to 2015, the country spent an average of 10 per cent on capital expenditure. That is part of why the economy is at the state it is today with very poor infrastructure.

“The present administration has set a policy to spend at least 30 per cent on capital infrastructure.

“So personnel, pensions debt servicing and capital expenditure, eats up 85 per cent, leaving 15 per cent for statutory transfers to National Assembly, Judiciary, service wide charges and overhead cost of running all of government.

“By the time you finish all of this, you’ll find that the overhead cost is the last to be paid. So overhead cost has been taking the brunt of this situation,’’ he said.

He said that to address this, the government may have to look at implementing the Oronsaye’s report, which proposed the scrapping and merging of several agencies with similar functions.

Earlier, the NAN Managing Director decried the consistent under allocation from the federal government budget.

“Our monthly overhead approval is around N10.3 million down from about N40 million. And we are running an organisation that incurs a running cost of about N38 million a month.

“This is a challenge because we operate from 36 states and 22 district offices.

He explained that the Agency has 850 personnel out of which 501 are journalists.

Onanuga called for increased allocation to NAN, to enable it meet the mandate for which it was set up.

He said the Agency wants to embark on projects that would revolutionalise its role and be able to compete internationally as expected.

The Managing Director explained that the Agency had mapped out a lot of projects that would assist in making it less reliant on government’s subvention but it needs money to implement the projects’

“You use money to look for money,’’ he said.

Source: NAN

Mid-Term Scorecard: Ministers Reels Out Achievements of Buhari’s Administration

Mid-Term Scorecard: Ministers Reels Out Achievements of Buhari’s Administration

Segun Adeyemi, Abuja: The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the achievements of the Buhari Administration in the past two years have put Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth and development.

The Minister spoke at a Special Edition of the Federal Government’s Town Hall Meeting, held in Abuja on Tuesday to give the Administration a platform to present its mid-term report to Nigerians.

“Let me say straightaway that In giving this mid-term report, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that this Administration has a story to tell, a story of achievements that if we are able to continue along this path will stand the test of time and put our dear nation on the path of sustainable growth and development,” he said while giving an overview of the Administration’s achievements.

Alhaji Mohammed reeled out the achievements of the Administration as including the restoration of security to the North-East by putting an end to the scourge of Boko Haram, which has paved the way to negotiate the release of over 100 Chibok girls, in addition to hundreds of others who have been freed by the military.

“We are addressing comprehensively the issues in the Niger Delta that make the production of our oil resources so vulnerable. We have taken on corruption at its core. There are more prosecutions and there will be more convictions for public sector corruption than Nigeria has ever seen.

“We have acted to address the leakages in government spending that make corruption possible, through the zero- based budgeting and the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the government’s efficiency unit and the hugely successful whistleblower policy.


We are restoring the sanctity of our judicial system, and we are implementing and Economic Recovery and Growth Plan designed to reset our economy and remove our reliance on oil production, and oil revenues, for ever,” he said.

The Minister recalled that the most pressing challenges facing Nigeria on 29 May 2015, when the Administration assumed office, was to restore security to the nation, with Boko Haram controlling a significant part of the North-east and the territorial integrity of the nation threatened.

He said at the same time, “corruption levels in our society had become completely unacceptable,” against the brazenness and impunity of those involved, and the lack of accountability at all levels of society, adding that these problems had to be addressed “if we were to create
the foundations for future prosperity.”


“That future prosperity, for all Nigerians, was the overriding objective of the administration. We were, and remain, 100% committed to delivering an economy that enables all Nigerians to achieve their ambitions, no matter how big, or small. We are making strong progress towards achieving all of these objectives,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said the Administration is rebuilding the social contract between it and the people through accountability, adding “We are providing security, we are providing an enabling environment for business and we are delivering strong and effective public services.

President Buhari has made these commitments to the Nigerian people. He and his team are delivering. We are building a future in which all Nigerians can access opportunity and a Nigeria of which we can all be proud.


The Town Hall Meeting was attended by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi.

Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbe; Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelama; Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma; and host Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed.

Source: NTA

Lagos To Kano Rail Lines To Link Lagos Ports Directly – Amechi

The Honourable Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi has expressed confidence that the second segment of the Lagos – Kano Standard Gauge Rail System which would connect the Lagos Port Complex directly has commenced.
Speaking at the one-day National Conference on fast-tracking Ports Reforms at Victoria Island, Lagos today, Hon. Ameachi added that “efforts were on going by the Government to link Nigerian Ports and Terminals to other modes of transport such as roads, air and rail to help in the realization of our noble objective of providing safe, reliable and efficient intermodal transportation system”.
The Honourable Minister also informed the gathering that Government is in the process of establishment of Integrated Port and Maritime Data Centre which would generate reliable trade data that would be readily available to all agencies, operators and stakeholders at all times eliminating inherent abuses.
In her address, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman expressed the need to have an efficient rail system in moving agricultural produce and solid minerals from the locations of production which are mostly hinterland to the Nation’s Seaports for export.
She added that there was already a surge in export of agricultural produce as exemplified in frozen shrimps and prawns, sesame seed, cashew, soya beans and ginger amongst others.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director and Editor in Chief of The Nation Newspapers, Mr. Victor Ifijeh called for immediate resolution of the problems be-labouring the Ports until realizable template with define timelines are reached.
Mr. Ifijeh added that in order to have a lasting success in the sector, agencies within the Ports need to harmonize their plans and carry along other stakeholders in the industry.
The Conference later broke into plenary session where nitty gritty of the theme “Making Nigerian Seaports World Class” was analyzed.
E.E. Nduonofit
General Manager, Public Affairs 
Source: NAN