The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced immediate suspension of its widely publicised national carrier because the nation’s Economic Management Team (EMT) did not approve it when it launched, sources familiar with the matter have told PREMIUM TIMES.
Sources at the presidential villa told this newspaper Wednesday night that the EMT recommendation was that the Nigerian government should not set up a national carrier with public funds.
The EMT is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s aviation minister, announced the cancellation on Wednesday shortly after the cabinet meeting. The minister later posted the announcement on his Twitter page.
Mr Sirika said: “I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always.”
Mr Sirika gave no explanation for the development, which has in the last few hours generated heated debate among Nigerians.
But a presidential sources familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night that the EMT wanted the ministry of transportation to instead accelerate the search for strategic investment partners who will finance and manage the new airline.
In the absence of a borrowing plan for government participation, a source said, the president ruled against spending money that is not in the budget. Promoters of the idea of the new national carrier were therefore asked to work towards 2019 budget if any government investment is to be involved, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.
The cancellation announcement comes barely two months after Nigeria unveiled the proposed airline at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18.
Critics and industry experts raised concerns over the project when it was launched in July, with many suggesting that Nigeria cannot afford it at this time.
Among the critics was former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who argued that the process was not completely transparent.
But the Nigerian government dismissed all concerns raised, saying the airline would begin operation before the end of 2018. During electioneering in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to establish a national airline.
In July, shortly after receiving the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the establishment of the airline from Chidi Izuwah, the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr Sirika, a former pilot, boasted that the airline would be viable. He also said Nigeria will receive the first set of five airplanes for the airliner on December 19, with projections that the airline will make profit in three years after operations.
The proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost.
Nigeria’s defunct carrier, Nigeria Airways, became moribund due to corruption and poor management. More than a decade after the national career stopped operations, however, the numerous controversies surrounding its winding up have not been resolved.
Husband allegedly beats wife to death with belt
A man identified as Laiko Osuri, has been arrested for allegedly beating his wife, Beryl Adhiambo Ouma, to death with a belt.
The unfortunate incident happened at their Kahawa Sukari home, Nairobi, Kenya.
According to neighbours who spoke to a local daily, the couple fought a lot but explained that they were the usual “husband and wife quarrels”.
On the fateful day, the deceased reportedly screamed for help for hours but nobody came to her aid.
Her father, Douglas Ouma said that his late daughter, Beryl Adhiambo Ouma, sent him a “Please Call Me” text on Wednesday night. But he tried to reach her, no one came to the phone.
“My daughter sent me a ‘Please call me’ but I was asleep so I did not hear the phone,” he is quoted by the daily.
Mr Osuri would later call him back and inform him that he and Adhiambo had had an argument.
Confirming the details was Ruiru divisional police commander James Ng’etich who noted that the suspect who is already in custody had admitted to assaulting the deceased using a belt.
Wrong Giving Can Make You Poor — Reno Omokri
Reno Omokri in his Nugget on Friday corrected the popular notion that giving can never make you poor.
The ex- aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan said that wrong giving can actually make one poor. Read below…
“It is a lie that no one has become poor by giving. Giving can make you rich, depending on who you give to.
For instance, you can never be poor if you give to God, your parents and the poor.
However, there are very many men who became poor by giving to girlfriends. A man has no obligation to look after his girlfriend.” He wrote.
Giving money to a girl you sleep with makes her more appropriately a prostitute, not a ‘friend’ #RenosNuggets
Polls: Beware of Voodoo Dollars in Circulation, EFCC Warns Nigerians
…Takes Campaign to BDC Operators
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, February 21, 2019 took its sensitization campaign to Bureaux de Change, BDC operators at the Wuse Zone 4 Office in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The EFCC team, which was led by ADC Aisha Larai Musa, Head, EFCC’s Creative Communications Unit, used the opportunity to warn the BDC operators on the dangerous trend of an influx of fake Dollar notes now in circulation.
Advising the operators to be at alert, Musa, urged them to be cautious because “as the electioneering period peaks, you are now a soft target for money laundering and circulation of fake dollar notes”.
WAEC 2019 timetable for May/June examinations
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