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Senate bargains with Airline Operators to avert imminent industrial action

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The imminent threat to down tool on Friday this week, as a result of high cost of Aviation fuel (Jet – A1) may have been averted with an intervention from the Senate Committee on Aviation, following an emergency interface with Airline Operators in Nigeria.

The Airline Operators had on Monday at an interface with members of the Aviation Committee in the House of Representatives , threatened to stop operations within 72 hours if the cost of Aviation fuel is not urgently brought down to N400 per litre as against N670.

Alternatively they also requested for bailout from the Federal Government to cushion the unfriendly operating environment.

Barely a day after, a another interface with Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), the operators led by their Chairman, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, repeated the threat by declaring that if nothing is done to save the stressful situation , Airline Operators will withdraw their services by Friday morning.

Alhaji Sarina who spoke along with the Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Mr Obiora Okonkwo said they cannot cope with the high cost of operation worsened by upsurge in the price of Aviation fuel.
According to him , “based on  the cost component of Airline operation in Nigeria today, actual price for ticket of one hour flight is N150,000 which is being subsidised to N50,000 per persenger” 
“We are overburdened by this ticket subsidy and heavily indebted to Banks with consequences of running out of business if required actions are not taken ” he said. 

Apparently worried by the threat and pathetic situation at hand, Senator Adeyemi passionately appealed to the Airline Operators to give the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly few days to wade into the matter through interface with the Federal Government.

He said the issue will be raised on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Wednesday for the purpose of making the Federal Government to give the operators , expected bail out.
“Your threat to stop flying from Friday this week, is too tough an order. Aviation is life and there is no way the Senate and government generally, will allow such to happen.
“Your complaints are genuine and will surely be looked into. The  senate would intervene to ensure that the airline operators carry out their activities with minimal pains. 

“The senate president and all senators are very worried by the threat from the operators and the Senate would not keep quiet over the matter.
“We would ensure that the executive do the needful to release bail out to the airline operators  it pays all of us to make the aviation fuel very robust.
“Please give us some time for the Senate to see what we can  achieve. So we want you to extend your ultimatum to down tool. Er would ensure that you get the required palliative so that there won’t be crisis”, he pleaded .

At the meeting were representative of the Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) , Captain Chris Najomo, Secretary Airline Operators, Mr Zamani Solomon etc.

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Senate passes for 2nd reading Tinubu’s bill seeking for re – introduction of old National Anthem

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An Executive Bill forwarded to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu seeking for re – introduction of the old National Anthem which starts with popular phrase of ” Nigeria, We Hail Thee’ received accelerated consideration as it scaled second reading
In giving the Executive bill, accelerated consideration, the upper chamber passed it for second reading during plenary on Thursday.
The Senate, after giving the bill, first reading, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central ), made a lead debate on it for second reading.
The Senate Leader in the lead debate on the bill, said the Bill seeks to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old National Anthem that would promote better symbol for unity, peace and prosperity – compared to the current one.
” The old Anthem if reintroduced, will inspire in us the zeal to build a fully integrated and indivisible nation, whereby all citizens will live in unity and harmony”, he said .
He explained further that the old National Anthem was more patriotism and Nationalism – driven.
His words : ” The Anthem, upon rendition, inspired and stimulated deep sense of patriotism in Nigerians. You will also agree with me that those who were around in the 60s and the late 70s, would attest to the fact that the Anthem played quite a significant and crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity, as well as engendered high sense of value and personal belonging amongst the citizenry.
“It was symbolic of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and nationhood. In retrospect, the Anthem served as regular and constant reminder of our journey, as a nation and provoked feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.
“Mr President, my dear colleagues, at this momentous time in our national history, it is imperative that we utilise any platform that seeks to unite the country and promote patriotism amongst Nigerians.
“Accordingly, the old National Anthem, as a symbol of national pride, has provided insights for patriotic reflections on our aspirations, values and hope for a united and prosperous Nigeria.
“Finally, I implore you all, my Distinguished Colleagues, to support the expeditious passage of this Bill, as it is in line with the RENEWED Reorientation of our collective values and national conscientization efforts of the current administration.
“The rendition and musical accuracy of the Anthem, is better in content and context than the current one. On this note, permit me at this juncture, to reproduce the Anthem to serve as a reminder and reflection:
“Nigeria, We Hail Thee
Nigeria we hail thee
Our own dear native land,
Though travelling and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland
“Our Flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain,
“O God of creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed.”
All the Senators who contributed to the debate , supported the bill and called for its expeditious consideration and passage .
Senator Tahir Monguno ( APC Borno North ) , described the bill as apt and germane.
In his own contribution , Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South ) , said the move made by the presidency to replace the current National Anthem with the new one was very apt and necessary.
According to him, Nigeria, We Hail Thee, is far more inspiring and Nationalistic than Arise O Compatriots.
Senator Victor Umeh ( Labour Party, Anambra South), also supported the bill by declaring that the wordings in the current National Anthem are vague.
The bill was accordingly passed for second reading on the strength of supports given it by all the Senators who contributed to debate on it , after which the President of the Senate , Godswill Akpabio, mandated the Senate Committees on Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal matters, Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs , to make further legislative inputs on it and report back very soon .

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30 CSOs denounce Lawyers who dragged EFCC chair before UN, UK, others

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***describe them as jobless detractors, paid hecklers, defenders of Injustice

Lawyers who dragged the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olanipekun Olukoyede to the United Nations, United Kingdom and other international nations have been called out by 30 civil society groups

The lawyers had on Friday accused the EFCC boss of flagrantly disregarding valid court orders and breaching the constitutional rights of Nigerians.

At a press conference on Saturday, the Convener of the 30 Civil Societies and Chairman of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria, Mr. Adams Otakwu, indicated that the allegation against the EFCC by the lawyers is a slap on the entire nation, aimed at distracting and derailing the ongoing war on corruption.

The Nigerian Civil Societies denounced the lawyers’ unfounded claims and “dismissed the group as jobless detractors, paid hecklers and defenders of Injustice unknown to the civil society.

“The assertions put forth by these lawyers, accusing the EFCC of flouting court orders and infringing upon the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens, are not only devoid of merit but are also symptomatic of a deliberate attempt to impede the ongoing efforts of the EFCC to combat corruption and promote accountability within our nation.

“It is imperative to underscore that actions undertaken by Mr. Olukoyede are not personal endeavors but are emblematic of the steadfast commitment of the EFCC as an institution of the Nigerian people to uphold the rule of law and foster transparency in governance. Any insinuation to the contrary is not only fallacious but also an affront to the integrity of the EFCC and the Nigerian People.

“Furthermore, we categorically reject the insinuation that these self-proclaimed defenders of justice are acting in the interest of the Nigerian populace. On the contrary, it is evident that they are driven by ulterior motives, perhaps influenced by vested interests seeking to undermine the progress achieved by the EFCC and the watchful Civil Society of Nigeria in the last six months.”

The groups urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union not to listen to the so call lawyers.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union should entertain the baseless demands of these individuals. Such propositions are not only preposterous but also reflective of a desperate attempt to garner attention through sensationalism and misinformation.

“We call on the international community to disregard these frivolous allegations and instead lend unwavering support to the EFCC and the Nigerian State in the noble pursuit of combating corruption and promoting good governance.

“The EFCC has made significant strides in the fight against corruption in the last six months, and the Nigerian Civil Society remains confident in the ability of the EFCC to steer our nation towards a future free from the scourge of corruption,” the groups said.

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Uphold virtues of Ethics, Civic Education, Akpabio charges Scout Association of Nigeria

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The Scout Movement of Nigeria has been admonished to inculcate in Nigerian youths virtues of national ethics and the need to be prepared for any eventuality in life all the time
The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio gave the admonition when the Chief Commissioner of The Scout Association of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah led other executive members of the Association on a courtesy to him at the National Assembly.
The Association visited Akpabio as one of their own to brief him on the forthcoming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Award event coming up in Abuja from 17-21 May, 2024.

In his opening remarks, The Chief Commissioner of Scout of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah expressed their joy over the elevation Senator Godswill Akpabio to the position of President of the Senate of Nigeria, stating that Senator Akpabio’s quality as a young scout has propelled him to excel in his tasks as one of the best governors Nigeria ever produced and now his giant strides in his short stay as President of the Senate.

Padopads-Awunah further recalled the role the senate president played by paying for scouts and ensuring Nigeria Scouts were represented at the world scout jamboree in Japan during his period as governor.

In his response, Akpabio expressed his joy at the visit and recalled with nolstagia, his period as a young scout.
He highlighted the tenets of scouting which he said help in molding the character of persons who grow in good citizens of their country.
He stated his commitment to amending the Boy Scout Act of Nigeria and also assist the association in delivering on their core mission to the young people of Nigeria

A statement by the Special Assistant to the President of the Senate, Anietie Ekong quoted Senator Akpabio as having advised the Association on the need for discipline, continuous education on issues like climate change and artificial intelligence.

According to Senator Akpabio, “I don’t know at what stage that Nigeria stopped having organizations like yours in primary and secondary schools. In my time, we had Scout Movements in primary and secondary schools. We even use to have the female counterpart, The Girls’ Guide.

“These Movements inculcated right ethics and ethos on the young ones, getting them to know their country, the national pledge, national anthem and respect for national symbols like the national flags and currency.

“The Scout Movement should prepare the youths for leadership in all spheres of life and that is why the motto of the Scouts, “Be Prepared” appeals to me. You should be prepared for situations that are favourable, be prepared for the rainy season and dry season; be prepared for the season of bountiful harvest and even famine,” he said.

Senator Akpabio extolled the Scouts Movement as a disciplined organization which should be encouraged through training and retraining on contemporary issues like climate change and artificial intelligence and pledged the support of the National Assembly in their programmes.

Mr. Awunah who led the delegation intimated the Senate President on the forth-coming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Medal Awards, sought the collaboration of the National Assembly in executing their programmes that would ne of immense benefit to Nigerian youths.
The deputy senate president and other leaders of the senate were present at the event where the President of the senate was decorated by the Chief Commissioner alongside his colleagues

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