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US May Bar Nigerian Airlines over Safety Concerns




United States federal aviation administration has given Nigerian airlines a 65-day ultimatum to resolve specified security issues or risk being barred from flying to its country.

A team of US FAA officials who recently carried out an audit for the renewal of Nigeria’s category one safety status gave the ultimatum on August 24.

The US FAA periodically check foreign airports with which it has bilateral agreements to ensure they meet set standards.

The checks include having effective and efficient aviation regulations, operational state civil aviation systems and safety oversight functions and technical personnel qualification and training.

Others include the provision of technical guidance, tools, provision of safety-critical information, licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations.

John Ojikutu, member of aviation industry think tank, Aviation Round Table (ART) and CEO of Centurion Securities, told BusinessDay that he doubts if Nigeria can attain the category one safety status without having its major airports certified.

Ojikutu said airport certification is compliant to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) Part 12.6.4, which carries obligations on the operator to continuously maintain standards and competence in operation and ensuring availability of skilled manpower in sufficient numbers, for the periodic maintenance of the facilities and the system.

“Many stakeholders would probably be asking; what is the necessity for the certification when the industry was already classified category one?” he said.

“What many do not know, however, is that the classification of Nigeria as Category one, was meant only for the NCAA Regulations and oversight competence, the way university academic programs are rated or accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC).

“Unfortunately, the NCAA is like a university that has been long accredited but has not been able to graduate a student. The NCAA, in spite of its category one status classification in 2010 and even today in 2017 after its reclassification, has not been able to give certification to a single airport among the over 28 federal and state airports in the country.”

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NIPOST Emerges in Final Selection of World Summit on Information Society Award



The Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has been selected as one of 90 finalists of the annual World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Prizes contest.

Mr Francklin Alao, the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the agency made this known on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Alao, WSIS is a global initiative recognising innovative projects that use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to better the world.

He said the finalists known as WSIS champions represent the top 90 projects selected from 492 nominated projects around the world.

“The project that won NIPOST the finalist place is the NIPOST Address Verification System (NIPOST AVS), which seeks to create a centralised and up-to-date database of physical addresses and details of their occupants.

“It is aimed at bridging the gap in our national financial inclusion strategy to empower the CBN’s Know Your Customer (KYC) and improve our national security infrastructure while creating hundreds of jobs in a commercial manner.

“This is one of the new projects created by the organisation to impact on more Nigerians, especially at the rural level and we hope to come out as a winner of one of the 18 prizes at the end of the summit,’’ he said.

Alao said the WSIS Prizes 2018 edition is the 15th edition and will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on the March 20.

The general manager said the prestigious award started since 2012. “It has been recognising remarkable efforts made by entities and organisations from around the world that focus on accelerating socio-economic progress of the whole world as a community,’’ he said.

WSIS champions represent all regions of the world and all stakeholders that deploy ICT to implement WSIS Action Lines and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a two-tier United Nations sponsored summit on information, communication and information society.

It aims to bridge the global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries by spreading access to the internet in the developing world.

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FAAN to begin Certification of 4 International Airports



The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it has begun the process of certifying the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kaduna International Airport, Port-Harcourt International Airport and Akanu Ibiam International Airports, Enugu.

This is coming on the heel of a similar exercise carried out in 2017 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, made this known on Tuesday at the Gateway Forum organised by the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos.

Dunoma said that FAAN was carrying out the certification process in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He said that the exercise would be completed by the middle of 2018.

Dunoma said that the current drive toward the certification of Nigerian airports was very significant.

“It is not only as a requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, but even more importantly as one of the critical safety targets of the Abuja Ministerial Declaration.

“Very soon, we will certify all the international airports and then, we will focus on the domestic airports.

“All our airports will be certified within a given time frame,” Dunoma said.

He said that FAAN would continue to emphasise the need for safety and security of passengers as well as their comfort at the airports.

Dunoma added that additional patrol vehicles had been deployed for surveillance at the Lagos Airport.

He also said that Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras were being installed at the Abuja and Lagos Airports to monitor activities at all the restricted areas.

He said: “By the time we have all these technology in place, the security will be very tight and no unauthorised person will be able to gain access to these restricted areas.”

The FAAN managing director said that the authority would soon procure sophisticated scanners with capacity to detect any contraband item in a passenger’s baggage.

“What we are currently using at the airports now are scanners that can detect when something is not right in a baggage.

“The security personnel can then focus it on the particular place and if he is not satisfied, he can carry out a manual check.

“But, technology is improving and we are thinking of bringing in sophisticated equipment that can detect anything and very soon, we will get this equipment at our airports,’’ Dunoma said.

He said work had also been intensified in the ongoing construction of terminal buildings at the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports, adding that the projects would soon be completed.

On debts being owed FAAN by domestic airlines and concessionaires, Dunoma said that the agency had worked out payment plans with each of the indebted airlines to clear the backlog of their indebtedness.

He said: “As long as we continue to do business, there will be debts.

“So, you cannot say no airline is owing FAAN. We normally give them grace of two weeks as a policy, because it is a continuous business.

“We came up with a programme of payment which was agreed to by all parties, and this is what we have been doing because we don’t want to put them out of business.”

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FG to auction N70bn bonds on March 21 – DMO



The Federal Government has offered for subscription by auction N70 billion worth of bonds in its March 21 auction, says the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The offer circular obtained from its website on Tuesday in Abuja, said that it would sell N10 billion of a five year re-opening bond maturing in July 2021 at 14.50 per cent.

It would also sell N30 billion seven year new issue to mature in March 202, at an undisclosed interest rate and another N30 billion 10 year re-opening at 13.98 per cent to mature in Feb. 2028.

Nigeria issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.

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