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FG unveils Nigeria Air, starts operation before May 29

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Barely 48 hours to May 29 inauguration of the incoming administration, the federal government on Friday unveiled the long awaited Nigeria Air, five years after its launch in London.

Haidi Sirika, the outgoing Minister of Aviation, speaking at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja said the operation of local and international flights will commence before Monday.

Reporters had reported that the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON, kicked against the commencement of Nigeria Air on the ground that it is a flagrant disobedience to court order.

Sirika had in September 2022, said Ethiopia Airlines emerged as a core investor in Nigeria Air with 49 per cent stake.

The development did not go down well with indigenous operators who believe that the Ethiopia Airlines was given unfair advantage.

AON had taken federal government to court challenging the ownership structure of Nigeria Air.

AON said the commencement of Nigeria Air with Ethiopia Airlines having majority stake would hurt the Nigerian economy and destroy millions of existing jobs.

In July 18, 2018, the government launched Nigeria Air, as a proposed national carrier with $8.8 million in preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost.

Nigeria Air is the second National Carrier after the defunct Nigeria Airways.

In July 2022, the federal Executive Council had approved the leasing of three Aircraft by Nigeria Air to commence operation.

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COP28: Sanwo-Olu highlights infrastructure deficit, funding as factors hindering access to supply of clean water in Lagos

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Governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu has identified infrastructure deficit and meagre resources as factors hindering access to supply of clean water in Lagos

The Governor speaking at a side meeting with the theme: “Valuing Water: A Lifeline in Climate Transition,” organised by Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum and Sustainable Market Initiative at the ongoing 28th session of Conference of Parties (COP28) at Dubai Exhibition Centre pitched a sustainable funding proposal in order to raise private and philanthropic funding in addressing inadequate water infrastructure and supply shortages in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Lagos, with 22 million population, has a daily demand of 700 million gallons of potable water, but said the State could hardly supply 210 million gallons per day due to shortage of infrastructure.

The Governor said, although provision of clean water had been generally considered a social service, it was an essential element of economic necessity, given its importance to keeping humans healthy.

Lagos, he said, is challenged by increasing demand for clean water. Sanwo-Olu said the inadequacy of supply infrastructure could raise disease vulnerability in underserved communities, pointing out that the State, despite being surrounded by abundant water bodies, could only manage to utilise 40 per cent of its installed water facilities.

He said, “Lagos has an investment of about $2.8 billion in water infrastructure, but there is a burden on the huge population, as we need to create an ecosystem where we can have access to basic needs in the 21st century. Given our meagre resources, it is really a challenge but we certainly cannot continue to give excuses. This gap is being felt by underserved communities and the risk to the public is high.”

“We have continued to allocate resources to this sector from our budget, but the intervention is hardly enough to serve the needs of the residents. Four years ago, I gave a commitment of $100 million, but this is like a drop, given the number of investments required to fully explore the potential in the sector. We have huge infrastructure that is not being utilised, making us operate at less than 40 percent of the installed capacity.

“Out of the $1.7 trillion needed globally to address the gap in clean water adequacy, Lagos requires less one percent of the funds to provide safe water. It is my belief that this conversation would lead to a sustainable solution that would meet the needs of millions of people that want water adequacy. Our goal is making committed partners believe in the economic viability of their investments.”

Sanwo-Olu listed the country’s energy crisis as another factor slowing down the provision of clean water, stressing that irregular power supply rendered resources allocated to the sector inefficient.

The Governor called for equity in global investment towards accelerating water adequacy, noting that humans, regardless of their gender and geographical location, need equal access to clean water.

With 65 percent of its population made up of young people under 30, Sanwo-Olu told the funders that Lagos remained an African asset on which viable investments could be made.

The side meeting, which was moderated by the Secretary General of Insurance Development Forum, Ms. Ekhosuehi Iyahen, had seven other panelists, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WaterAid, Tim Wainright, Chief Sustainability Officer of PepsiCo, and CEO of Dalmia Cement in India, Mahendra Singh.

Others are Chief Operating Officer of Water.org, Vedika Bhandarkar, Managing Partner of AquaForAll, Josien Sluijs, Assistant Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation at UN, Maximo Torero, and former CEO of Mars, Incorporated, Grant Reid.

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COP28: Sanwo-Olu seeks partners on implementation of Lagos climate adaptation plan

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Sunday called for global partnership in implementing the state climate adaptation and resilience plan.

Sanwo-Olu made the appeal while speaking in Dubai at the side event organised by the Lagos Government at the ongoing climate conference known as COP28.

The Lagos governor said the state had a huge potential in three critical areas, which the prospective partners could help to harness for global development.

The areas, the governor said, include waste management and recycling, public transportation and renewable energy.

These sectors, he noted, offer “huge opportunities” for reducing emissions and promoting sustainable practices.

The governor called on climate financiers to move from talk to action, saying it requires concerted efforts to achieve the net-zero emission target.

“We are here as a government to have commitments, there are so many talks and now is the time for action, through partnership and investment,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He, however, expressed the support of the state to the national net zero emission target.

This support, he said, was part of the state’s broader commitment to combating climate change and improving environmental sustainability.

He said Lagos was not just passively supporting the target but is actively working towards it.

According to him, the state is ahead to achieve zero net carbon emissions both in terms of preparedness and strategic actions.

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MI-35P crash: CAS visits crew, tasks personnel on resilience

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The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has visited crew members of the Nigerian Air Force MI-35P attack helicopter that crashed on Friday in Port Harcourt.

Abubakar commended the five crew members receiving treatment at the NAF medical centre in Port Harcourt, for the professional manner in which they handled the emergency.

He said that their action was commendable and a decisive factor in mitigating the extent of damage to public property and loss of lives.

The CAS, who visited the injured crew members on Sunday, directed the medical director of the centre to render first class treatment to them.

According to a statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the CAS also addressed troops of 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) during the visit.

He encouraged them to see the setback as a step for a more resilient comeback, and channeling efforts towards thwarting the activities of economic saboteurs and oil thieves in their area of operation.

He urged them not to be discouraged, saying that the hope of millions of Nigerians rest on their shoulders.

According to him, the realisation of these aspirations is hinged on their ability to combat all forms of criminality that threaten the peace and stability of the nation.

Abubakar urged all NAF personnel to regard the incident as a challenge to improve safety measures, while remaining undeterred and focused in tackling the myriads of security threats facing the nation.

“Times like these are a sad reminder of the inherent risks in military aviation, especially when flying activities, occasioned by our current security challenges, have tremendously increased.

“As we continue to fly intensively, incidents are bound to occur.

“Nevertheless, we must continue to ensure we minimize the risk factors as reasonably practicable,” he said.

He said that that 115 SOG had been well known for its gallantry and fighting spirit and the presence of the MI-35P helicopters on the battlefield had been a game changer.

According to him, the helicopters have over the years, continued to strike fear deep into the hearts of terrorists and other criminals, and at the same time boosting the morale of surface forces.

The CAS extended President Bola Tinubu’s appreciation to the personnel for their sacrifices, assuring them of improved welfare and logistics to effectively carry out their assigned duties.

He said investigation had commenced to unravel the circumstances behind the crash with a view to prevent future occurrence.

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