Flight Operations Begin At Abuja Airport’s New Terminal

The newly-inaugurated international terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, has officially been opened for operations as Asky Airlines began operations at the terminal on Sunday.

Asky Airlines’ B737-700 aircraft with flight number ET-AVP, which landed at the airport at 3:30 p.m from Lome in Togo, had 91 persons on board comprising 85 passengers and six crew members.

Commenting on the maiden flight, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, said the new terminal had been positioned to meet passengers’ expectations.

Dunoma said he expected other international airlines to move into the new terminal as soon as possible, saying it was a great departure from what was obtainable at the old terminal in terms of equipment and passenger facilitation.

According to him, other airlines have to key in because “you cannot compare this terminal and the old one because if you are looking for safety, passenger facilitation and comfort this is the place”.

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Oyo Monarch Lauds FG’s Social Intervention Program

The Onigbeti of Igbetiland, Oba Emmanuel Oyekan Oyebisi, Ofasegbejo III, has praised the Social Investment Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, describing it as a people-oriented intervention programme.

Oba Oyebisi disclosed this while receiving the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at his palce in Oyo State.

The Vice President, who was in Oyo State for the continuation of the “family chats” explained that the TraderMoni, MarketMoni and the N-Power programmes were designed to liberate the masses from poverty.

He stressed: “The TraderMoni is to empower the small, small traders, it is not for big business. Those in big businesses have their own, which is called the MarketMoni. We want to reach every village so that the people here will also benefit from this government; all of us will be going up, up, up.”

Osinbajo said the Federal Government will continue to encourage hard work by assisting artisans with money to enhance their businesses.

He added: “Even those  who are not graduates, but can read and write will be given a stipend monthly like those in the N-Power programme.”

The monarch further urged the Federal Government to develop the mineral resources in his domain, including different types of marble, for the progress of the community and the country.

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Army Flags Off Operation Python Dance In Ondo

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, Friday,
flag-off the “Operation Egwu Eke” (python dance) three of the 32 artillery brigade in Owo, Ondo state.

Declaring the exercise open, the chief of army staff, Lieutenant General, Tukur Buratai, represented by general officer commanding, 2 division of the Nigeria Army, Major-General Okwudili Azinta said the army is ready to reduce rising cases of kidnapping and other criminal tendencies.

With the rising cases of kidnapping in Ondo state and allegations of compilation of arms by some hoodlums ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Nigeria Army says Operation Egwu Eke 3 became imperative to checkmate various nefarious acts.

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APC Sets To Take Over Power In Kwara

The Director General, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi says all is now set for the APC to take over power from the ruling party in Kwara State.

Mr Amaechi stated this while inaugurating about two thousand polling units’ canvassers for the President Buhari-Osinbajo Project, BOP in Ilorin Kwara state.

The President Buhari Campaign Organisation Director General said the large number of canvassers and mobilizers in the state was an indication that the people have realized the need for change and urged them to turn out en mass to mobilize and vote for the president in the February 16th election.

The Governorship flag bearer of the APC in the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who called on the sitting governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to resign, assured the people that he would strengthen the security apparatus in the state if elected as governor.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed charged the canvassers to ensure the President gets another four years to enable him consolidate on his achievements.

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We No Longer Owe Pensioners – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has put a stop to the dehumanization of federal pensioners by ensuring they were paid their entitlements and backlog of arrears as at when due.

The President made the statement when he received a delegation of Nigeria Union of Pensioners led by the acting president, Comrade Musa Ayuba Dallatu, at State House.

President Buhari declared that the welfare of pensioners had remained a priority for his administration since May 2015, noting that the retirees deserve timely payment of their emoluments, recognition, and respect for their work and dedication to the country during their active working years.

‘‘In recent times pensioners were ignored, neglected and even persecuted.  We have put a stop to that. As you yourselves have confirmed today, we have begun regular payment of monthly pensions and payment of backlog of arrears.

‘‘The Federal Government released N45 billion accrued rights for the contributory pension scheme and N22.4 billion to start payment of ex-Nigeria Airways pensioners,’’ he said.

President Buhari told the pensioners that the Federal Government also bailed out States to address salary and pension arrears including Paris Club refunds, even as he had authorised schemes for the restoration of Niger Delta Steel Company pensioners, NITEL/MTEL pensioners and Biafra Police war veterans’ pensioners.

Reviewing the actions taken so far by the administration in connection with the pension industry, the President said the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) had saved N4.9 trillion per annum as a result of payroll clean-up under the Civil Service verification exercise.

He added that the Directorate which supervised the payment of pension arrears to over 50,000 verified Civil Service Pensioners, also oversaw the payment of N917.6 million to 432 war retirees.

According to the President, under his watch, PTAD completed full payment of N5.8 billion to police retirees in August 2018 while in November 2018,  N13.7 billion was paid to parastatal retirees and N18 billion to civil service Pensioners.

On the requests by the pensioners, including the implementation of the National Policy on Pension Parity and the National Policy on Social Security on Health and Other Related Matters of the Elderly, the President promised to do all within his powers to address them, subject to the availability of funds.

The leader of the delegation had also sought the President’s intervention on the five percent counterpart funding for the payment of local government pensioners and retired primary school teachers which was arbitrarily stopped in 2010.

Comrade Dallatu appealed for the payment of outstanding pension arrears, gratuities and death benefits that have accrued over the years, among others.

Commending President Buhari on the regular payment of pensions, Dallatu said: ‘‘we are bold to say without fear or favour that you have made our lives better than you met it in so many areas, which among others include regular payment of monthly pensions.

‘‘It is an incontestable fact that since the advent of this government under your able leadership, payment of monthly pensions has been more regular than ever. In fact, if the truth must be told, Mr President Sir, we have never had it so good.’’

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2019: Emir Of Ilorin Restates His Political Neutrality

The Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari has maintained neutrality on his political stance as he says whichever party emerges victorious at the general elections would be supported.

The Emir stated this while receiving members of the state executive of the All Progressives Congress who paid him a courtesy call at his palace.

Briefing journalists after his meeting with the emir, the state APC chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa explained that the emir said he is a father to all and will not discriminate against any party. He also advised that politicians play by the rules just as the electorate should avoid crisis that could lead to mayhem before, during and after the elections.

He restated the fact that his executive is the recognized one as the court judgment only nullified the caretaker committee and not the duly constituted committee.

Bashir noted that the party campaigns will not dwell on name-calling but will be issue based.

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NAF Neutralises Scores Of Bandits In Zamfara

The Nigerian Air Force, says Air Task Force (ATF), of Operation DIRAN MIKIYA has destroyed another armed bandits’ hideout and neutralised several of their fighters near Doumbourou Hill in Zamfara.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, who announced this in Abuja, said the operation was carried out on Wednesday.

“The attack was executed yesterday, Jan. 2 , following human intelligence (HUMINT) reports, which were later confirmed by Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), missions, indicating that a large number of bandits, armed with high calibre weapons, regularly assemble at a compound around the foot of the hill before going out on operations.

“Accordingly, the ATF scrambled two Nigerian Air Force (NAF) attack helicopters, supported by an ISR platform, to engage the bandits and destroy their compound.

“The helicopters strafed the target area in successive waves of attack, with the first wave causing some damage to the structures and neutralising some of their fighters.

“The second wave was sequenced to engage the armed bandits as they re-emerged out of their hiding places, thus inflicting further fatalities on them,” he said.

Daramola said that credible HUMINT sources later revealed that the leader of the group was among those killed during the attack.

He said the ATF, would continue to work in close coordination with surface forces and other security agencies, to conduct reconnaissance and air interdiction missions with a view to restoring normalcy to the affected States in the North West.

NAN

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Zamfara Gets New Police Commissioner

A new commissioner of police has been posted to Zamfara state police command.

A statement by the Command PPRO Muhammed Shehu made available to the press in Gusau said the new CP, Zannah Mohd Ibrahim has assumed duties from 1st January 2019.

The statement said the new CP has served in various commands and locations across the including Yobe and Delta States.

The new CP had however solicited for the support of men of the command to secure the state from activities of criminal elements.

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PDP Cannot Function Without Public Funds – Keyamo

Mr Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of APC Presidential Campaign Council, has said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), cannot function without public funds.

Keyamo noted that the party is not a threat in the 2019 elections, adding that, the effort of PDP to pose a threat to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari has collapsed.

He said that the PDP had more than four hundred groups but the groups are now dropping on weekly basis.

“It clearly shows that they cannot function without public funds and they discovered that it is no longer business as usual,” he said.

Keyamo made the claim on Thursday during the inauguration of the Women and Youths Wing of the APC Presidential Campaign Team in Abuja.

However, he called on APC supporters to intensify efforts towards ensuring that the party recorded massive victory at the polls.

Keyamo also said that the opposition party has been disseminating false information to tarnish the image of President Buhari which would not help them at the polls.

Also speaking, the former Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, commended the role of wife of the President, Aisha Buhari for galvanizing support for the re-election of the President.

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President Buhari Urges Labour Unions Not To Distract Government

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Labour Unions to allow his administration concentrate on fixing infrastructure in the country rather than distracting it.

He made the call at the Presidential Villa Abuja, on Thursday, while playing host to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS.)

He said: “In three and a half years, we have improved tremendously on what we met. We are trying to do infrastructure. No matter which part of the country you come from, you will see the efforts we are making in terms of roads; we are trying to fix rails, we are trying to do power, through the use of gas and solar. If you note what we have done in these three and a half years, you will not regret voting this administration into power.”

President Buhari also stated that Nigeria was doing very well in agriculture as the country was about to attain food sufficiency and security.

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FG Gives Contractor Two Weeks To Fix Iju-Agbado Rail Line

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday, gave the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan rail project two weeks to complete the at Iju-Agbado axis.

He gave the ultimatum during the monthly inspection of the project. The minister noted that work was slow because of the scarcity of the equipment needed.

Amaechi said 30-passenger coaches and about 300 wagons would be used on the axis upon completion.

He said: “The problem the contractor has now is the civil work between Agbado and Iju, which is critical to me because I don’t think passengers should go and board train from Agbado.

“I believe that it is important that the closer we are to Lagos, the better for the rail. That is what we are battling now because I want them to use the same speed noticed in some sections in the construction of Agbado area to Iju.

“They want us to flag off from Agbado, but I don’t want because I feel Iju will be more appropriate to flag off and they said they will be ready with that axis in two weeks. But I think we should get to Iju because it will not be wise to drive from Lagos to Agbado to board train.”

On the unavailability of equipment, he said: “They argued that lack of equipment was responsible for the pace of work because the equipment are not on the shelf that can just be picked and paid for. What is causing the delay on the Agbado to Iju axis is equipment related.

“The equipment have to be brought from overseas. We will have to wait for the processing and then ship it down and if we wait for those equipment, we might be finishing the job when the equipment would arrive.”

On the arrival of coaches, Amaechi said: “We are expecting 30-passenger coaches mixed with locomotive wagons, 300 wagons and two sets of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) made up of 10 coaches each and two motorcars, which will arrive in Lagos before the construction work is completed.”

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President Buhari Sympathises With Victims Of Wadata Market Fire

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sympathy with the victims of Wadata Market fire incident in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Tuesday.

Reacting to the fire disaster, President Buhari said he was greatly saddened by the unfortunate incident.

According to the President, “regardless of our status in life, we are bound by our common humanity and, therefore, I share the pains of the victims with a sincere sense of sympathy and empathy.”

The President prayed to God “to replenish their losses and multiply their blessings as they try to pick up their lives once again from the ashes of economic ruins.”

He commended the immediate response of the state government, led by Governor Ortom in trying to bring relief to the victims.

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