Ten Egyptian soldiers were killed on Wednesday after a booby-trapped car exploded next to their bus in the northern Sinai Peninsula, according to a military spokesman.
At least 35 people were wounded in the bombing, near the town of Sheikh Zuwayed, the military said.
The bombing was the latest in a campaign of almost daily attacks by insurgents against soldiers and police officers that began in July, when the military ousted Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. Many of the attacks have occurred in the marginalized and relatively lawless Sinai, but militants have also struck at officials in Cairo, raising fears of a prolonged and escalating insurgency.
In one of the most brazen attacks, gunmen on Sunday assassinated Lt. Col. Mohamed Mabrouk, a senior Egyptian security official who was responsible for investigating Muslim extremists, firing at his car as he drove to work. An extremist group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, saying that it was retaliating for the arrests of women protesting the military takeover.
A previously obscure group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has gained prominence with a series of bombings and shootings targeting security officers in the Sinai and Suez Canal area. The group also claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination by suicide bombing of Egypt’s interior minister in the capital two months ago. In a video claiming responsibility for that attack, the group chided mainstream Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood for engaging in nonviolent protests.
In the video, the bomber says that “iron must be fought with iron, and fire with fire.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s bombing. The military said that at about 7:45 a.m., a Hyundai laden with explosives struck the bus, which was carrying soldiers who were going on leave.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 arraigned one Franklin Uche before Justice G.K Olotu of the Federal High Court, Maitama on a 6 count charge bordering on forgery and conspiracy to defraud.
The accused allegedly forged an Export Clearance Permit, a document usually issued by the Ministry of Trade and Investment, and which is a major requirement for the lifting of crude oil.
The offence is contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006 and Section 1 (2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M.17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you Franklin Uche on the 2nd of September 2013 in Abuja within the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court did, with intent to defraud, had in your possession a document titled Export Clearance Permit with Serial No: Q2250342 and which document you knew contained a false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under S. 8(b) of the same Act.”
The Prosecution counsel, Samuel Okereke announced that he had ten (10) witnesses who are ready to testify and asked the court for a trial date.
The Defence counsel, Chinedu Obi informed the court that he had filed a bail application since November 14 and that the prosecuting counsel has been duly served.
Justice Olotu granted the accused bail in the sum of N10 million and a surety in like sum. The surety must be a director in the civil service. The accused person and his guarantor must deposit their passport photographs with the court. The accused is however to remain in Kuje prison pending when he perfects his bail terms.
The case was adjourned to April 21, 2014 for trial.
Ag. Head, Media and Publicity
20th November, 2013
The Nigerian Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram is kidnapping Christian women, enslaving them as “brides,” and forcing them to convert to Islam, the Reuters news agency reported.
“The Islamists have changed tack in the face of Nigerian military pressure,” Reuters reported. “Islamists have pulled back after army assaults since May on their bases on the semi-desert plain and are now sheltering in the Mandara mountains, along the Cameroon border around the city of Gwoza. From the hills they have been launching increasingly deadly attacks.”
“If I cried, they beat me,” recounted one woman who escaped. “If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again.”
“They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented,” she added. “They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran.”
Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun has presented a N210.21bn budget for the 2014 fiscal year to the Ogun state House of Assembly.
The proposed budget shows a marginal reduction of N1.57bn from the 2013 budget which was put at an estimate of N211.78bn.
During the presentation, the Governor explained that the 2014 budget shows that the state is receiving lesser funds from the federation account now:
“We encountered some challenges in the implementation of the 2013 budget. We are not insulated from the wider national economic challenges. The funds from the Federation Account and Value Added Tax have been significantly lower than expected.”
The performance of the 2013 budget, as of September 30, 2013 was put at 64.2 per cent by Amosun
The budget consists of N92.70bn recurrent expenditure and N117.51bn capital expenditure.
The Education sector gulped the largest allocation of N43.99bn, which is about 20.93 per cent of the entire budget proposal. Education also got the highest allocation in the 2012 and 2013 budgets in the state
Farewell ceremonies ended last Thursday for another one of us. Deji Falae was the son of a former Minister of Finance, Secretary to the Federal Government and Presidential Aspirant. He got actively involved in Ondo State politics in 2009 and his final role was as the state’s Commissioner for Culture & Tourism. He was happily married with three children.
Deji died on October 3 on the Associated Airlines flight that crashed shortly after take-off in Lagos. A lot has been said about the state of the airline and the aircraft, but what is clear is that Deji’s death was probably needless; unnecessary; avoidable. He didn’t like to fly domestically and travelled by road commuting between Akure and Lagos. He went by road to his meetings in Abuja. This time, he was on official duty to accompany the body of the late Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, to Akure for his funeral.
In the Dana Airline crash last year, we lost Ehime Aikhomu, Innocent Okoye, Tosin Anibaba (nee Odujirin), Dunni Doherty, and Ayoola Somolu to name a few. Before then, we had lost Olukemi, who was shot by car jackers in Ibadan and the closest hospital had no blood, oxygen or ambulance. We had also lost Imole. He was involved in a car crash in Igbinedion University, Okada, and the school didn’t have a functional ambulance. He was taken to the hospital in a taxi – lost time, lost blood, went into coma, and then died. After Dana, we’ve lost Adeola Randolph who died from an asthma attack because the nearest hospital didn’t have oxygen. It was said the first hospital Agagu was taken to in Yaba was unable to stabilise him. He died enroute St. Nicholas Hospital, Ikoyi. And, just last week, Prof. Festus Iyayi died in an accident involving the Kogi State Governor’s convoy.
Sons and daughters; fathers and mothers; cousins, nieces and nephews; friends, peers and colleagues – die daily because we refuse to get involved in the system that shapes our very existence. Instead, we are concerned about our ability to give birth to our children abroad; get them into the best schools outside the country and make obscene amounts of money from the same inefficient system to sustain this lifestyle. We are consumed by our ability to stay relevant with the requisite toys (cars, homes and trips to exotic lands) in a system that has no value for human life. We’ve turned being able to send our children abroad into a status symbol forgetting that there was a time in Nigeria where students went abroad because they couldn’t get into Nigerian universities. It is NOT a thing of pride that you can’t stay in Nigeria for more than six weeks and you have to “get out for civilisation”. It’s madness!
However, we forget that as long as we are within the shores of this great nation of ours, our financial resources and our connections can become so worthless. If you have an accident on the Abuja – Lokoja Road, the Third Mainland Bridge or the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway today, if there’s no ambulance with the necessary equipment to stabilise you and get you to a functional hospital, you WILL die. That you could have afforded an air ambulance to get you to the best doctor in Germany, the US or anywhere in the world becomes irrelevant. Yet, we keep thinking we are immune to the madness that engulfs the land. A dysfunctional system makes no exceptions. It respects no one. Why have we not learnt this?
Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan’s mum was in Germany earlier this year for a medical checkup. She died a few months later in a car accident on a bad road in Port Harcourt. Ironically, the same road that killed her was then repaired for her funeral.
Over the course of this year alone, Sullivan Chime, Bola Tinubu, Timipre Sylva, Rochas Okorocha, Liyel Imoke, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, wounded Nigerian soldiers, Danbaba Suntai (Governor of Taraba) and three subsidy marketers being investigated for fraud have all travelled out of the country for medical care. Nigerians travel to India, Germany, England, Dubai, the US and many other countries to get medical care that was available in Nigeria 20 years ago. Mrs. Josephine Okoye, mother of popular music duo P-Square, died in India last year. The medical tourism industry is conservatively estimated at N250bn naira (approximately 1 billion pounds) annually. That’s almost twice the budget of the National Assembly that’s leaving Nigeria.
There’s at least one person you know who you are sure beyond a reasonable doubt died because our system is dysfunctional. They either had the money and it was too late to travel or they couldn’t afford to travel. Again, senseless and unnecessary deaths. We’ve lost Josephine, Ehime, Tosin and Deji. Which one of us is next? This is not about government, this is about us; each and every one of us. It’s about the loss of our humanity and the paralysis that has overcome us that prevent us from getting involved. I strongly believe in the theory of six degrees of separation – there are only six people between you and any one you are trying to reach. We all know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is in government, but we need to begin to hold them accountable! Beyond this, we also need to get involved ourselves; get our hands dirty. But those who come to equity must come with clean hands. Are we ready for the sacrifices? Are we ready for the discomfort? Because if we are not, we all just need to shut up and deal with it! Accept that planes will continue to drop; cars will continue to crash; patients in hospitals will continue to die; our children will have to go outside of the country to maximise their potential and NO ONE will be held accountable for any of this! As our loved ones continue to die for absolutely no reason, we’ll continue to gather together, pray and say “God knows best”; sing and praise; cry, bury and move on … until the next death.
As long as we are ready to play that game, then let us stop complaining about what Nigeria has become because we are ALL responsible for the rot in the system – moral decay; impunity and a complete lack of respect for human lives and law and order – every single one of us, especially you – Nigeria’s educated elite. We know and understand; but we choose daily this Nigeria that we have – an addiction of some sort – this Nigeria that continues to stifle the best of the best. Unless we are ready to make the changes that are required, then this is the Nigeria we’ll bequeath to our children, much worse than we met it.
Yes, there are pockets of excellence and despite these challenges, some of us do manage to succeed – innovating and excelling. But the numbers are TOO SMALL!!! Furthermore, there’s no reason for it. We deserve better, we can do better and we can truly be the Giant of Africa.
I believe I deserve better. Do you? And if you do, what are you willing to do about it?
The sacrifices can be simple or hard. From supporting initiatives you believe in to actively engaging in the political process – funding, holding officials to account; complaining and not ignoring shortcomings in service delivery; telling off government officials instead of lobbying for contracts. Sacrificing your time and not buying your way through processes and challenges. We should be vocal and take different arms of government, including the judiciary, at the federal, state and local levels to task. When someone you know dies from neglect, you have to be willing to demand accountability from institutions and individuals not just say “God knows best”. Yes, we’ll all die, but we need to curb these needless deaths!
I believe I deserve better. Do you? And if you do, what are you willing to do about it?
(For Olukemi, Ese and the hundreds of thousands who have died or who have lost loved ones because Nigeria is dysfunctional.)
– Ms. Adamolekun is the National Coordinator of Enough is Enough Nigeria.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, plans to begin privatizing its four state-owned oil refineries before the end of the first quarter, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said.
“We would like to see major infrastructural entities such as refineries moving out of government hands into the private sector,” Alison-Madueke said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in London. “Government do not want to be in the business of running major infrastructure entities and we haven’t done a very good job at it over all these years.”
A presidential audit of the facilities last year recommended their sale due to inadequate government funding and “sub-optimal performance.” The refineries, which have a combined 445,000 barrel-a-day capacity, should be privatized within 18 months, according to the report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2012. Nigeria, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, produced 1.99 million barrels a day of crude in October, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
While Nigeria is also Africa’s top crude exporter and the most populous with more than 160 million people, it relies on fuel imports to meet more than 70 percent of its needs. Its state-owned plants operate at a fraction of their capacity because of poor maintenance and aging equipment. The West African nation exchanges 60,000 barrels a day of crude for products with Trafigura Beheer BV and a similar amount with Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage’s refinery in Ivory Coast, according to Nigeria National Petroleum Corp.
“We are right now undergoing a major turnaround maintenance program” of the refineries, Alison-Madueke said.
Improvements to the two-unit 210,000 barrel-a-day Port Harcourt refinery, the country’s biggest, will be completed by the end of the year, to be followed by enhancements at the Warri and Kaduna sites in 2014, according to the NNPC. Warri has a daily processing capacity of 125,000 and Kaduna 110,000 barrels.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at [email protected]
It is hard to imagine the pain of a disenfranchised voter. To have your voter card, to see your name on some weather-ravaged sheet pasted on a wall a few weeks ago, but to get told you cannot vote because your name is not on another paper register. It is the one time that regular citizens get to influence, albeit with reservations and cynicism about the process, the selection of the person who will be responsible for their welfare and they are not allowed to do that. In a country with high voter apathy, this is unforgivable.
It is even harder to imagine the pain and frustration of a disenfranchised candidate who cannot cast a ballot in support of his/her personal vision for their constituency. And neither can the members of their family. This, too, is unforgivable.
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) execution of elections in Anambra State last Saturday was a travesty. While INEC performed reasonably well in the Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections, they seemed to have dropped the ball hard on this one. The signs of deteriorating management of recent elections are recognisable, like signposts along the INEC-is-tottering highway. First, the Imo State House of Assembly bye-elections which remain inconclusive five months after and the just concluded Delta Central senatorial election which is mired in the type of controversy which should no longer be connected with elections: ballot box stuffing and snatching, results illegally collated and announced and violent assault on voters and party agents. This does not bode well for Nigeria. Not when so much is riding on the electoral process.
All reports agree on a few things. The accreditation of voters started late in most of the 4,608 polling units and, in some, there was neither accreditation nor elections, which is why elections continued the next day – on a Sunday. We know that many registered voters were unable to vote because their names were not on the register. According to INEC in its statement yesterday, only 451,826 people were accredited to vote out of 1,763,751 voters. This particular revelation needs to be analysed. First, this number of registered voters for Anambra differs from the number that most Twitter users shared with each other on November 16. The number was 1,784,536. It is extremely disturbing that we cannot count in Nigeria. That for almost every possible thing that can have a value, we can never agree on it. There are always at least two different numbers for the same thing. Which one is the right one? We would like to presume it is INEC’s but it is also likely that the other number is also from INEC. Next, this revelation means only 25 per cent of the registered voters came out for the accreditation exercise. It does not mean 25 per cent of the registered voters actually voted and it is important that INEC confirm this because, surely, a governor should not be deemed duly elected if less than 25 per cent voted. This revelation also does not tell us how many people, who believed themselves duly registered, were prevented from being accredited because their names were not – due to no fault of theirs – on INEC’s register.
Now what does it take to run an election? This is not a question we should attempt to answer lightly because historical narratives tell us we have never held an election in Nigeria where the delivery on time and in full of the required materials was not an issue. Elections seem like a mainly logistical operation and, as such, we must continue to ask: what do professors and judges know about running logistic operations? If we won’t hire from DHL or UPS to manage our elections, then, the least we should do is go to them for training.
As far as August, the public was aware of the date for the Anambra gubernatorial elections. One would presume INEC knew that too. If INEC knew the number of registered voters and the number of polling units, and had hired 12,000 NYSC members as ad-hoc support staff, why did we wake up on November 16 to find INEC unprepared? What does it take to finalise the design for the ballots, return sheets and other accompanying bits of paper, send them to the printer, get them back and, without compromise to their security, distribute them to the polling units a day before?
If arguably printers disappoint and planes are delayed, what is INEC’s excuse for a voter register which repeatedly disenfranchises Nigerians? What is the difficulty in collating lists of people, and does this still have to be solely manual? Some of the data-capturing laptops could be put to use as back-up registers so that when the manual ones we are partial to magically eliminate the names of all the voters in a ward with surnames starting with the alphabets O-U we have electronic back-up. (What’s the probability of having Anambrarians with surnames not starting with O and U?) If it costs too much to design a programme for this, then 50 of those 12,000 NYSC members could manually put this data into excel sheets in order to prevent this from happening.
The issues are not only about corrupt electoral officers and bribing governors; sadly that is common. The real implication for the travesty in Anambra is that if INEC, with or without the help of experts and civil society, can’t manage the logistics of elections, we have little hope for well-organised elections in 2015; forget free and fair or credible. Now we can guess how 2015 will be won. It might not be the orgy of blatant rigging or the use of violence to intimidate which we are all worried about. INEC, it seems, regardless of who is attempting to lead it, will just be the usual ineffective, bumbling INEC; and that’s how the elections will be won (lost) with the majority of Nigerians, as usual, on the losing side.
When Typhoon Haiyan hit this coastal town, residents ran for Saint Michael the Archangel Church. Now, 10 days later, more than 100 of them remain.
“I was in my house, but it was destroyed,” said Belen Cabonce, 87. “We ran for higher ground, and this was it. Some people stayed in houses trying to hold on, but most of them came here.” Ms. Cabonce has lived here ever since, sleeping on a damp pew, wondering when the next shipment of relief goods will arrive.
She has not heard from her two children in Tacloban, the city that lost more than 800 people in the storm, since the typhoon hit on Nov. 8. “Please give me aid,” she said. “I’m alone.”
As the Philippines begins to clean up after the worst typhoon in memory, it is faced with a huge problem of feeding and housing its displaced population. The government says that about four million people have been displaced, with some 350,000 living in about 1,500 evacuation centers.
“The evacuation centers are an increasing concern,” said Matthew Cochrane, spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Places like the Tacloban City Convention Center, an indoor basketball stadium that is now home to about 2,500 people who lost their homes in the storm, are straining under a lack of sanitation and basic supplies. “People are living in squalid conditions in need of as much support as they can get,” Mr. Cochrane said.
In addition, about 2.5 million people require food aid. “The most pressing need is food,” he said.
Basey’s mayor, Junji Ponferrada, 43, estimates that the storm damaged or destroyed the homes of one-third of the population of this city of 51,000 in Samar Province. He said he was struggling to feed and house them all. “People are saying, ‘We don’t want a message of hope. We want food,’ ” he said.
The Basey District Hospital, which sits on a hill facing the church, has extensive damage from the storm. But a few rooms survived, allowing the primary care hospital to provide basic services like delivering babies and treating diarrhea caused by unclean water, said Dr. Jessamine Elona, 33. A team of Japanese doctors has helped treat cuts and wounds caused by flying debris during the typhoon.
Pacquito Manog, 60, a farmer in the village of Iba, which is part of Basey, said Typhoon Haiyan badly damaged his rice crop, leaving him with only 10 percent of his anticipated yield. “We will try again next season,” he said. “We will start planting next month for harvest in April, if we have enough money to pay for seeds.”
In the nearby village of Magallanes, about 75 people stood by the side of the road waiting for a promised delivery of food. They put up large handmade signs with the name of their neighborhood, and held tickets with the face of Egay Tallado, the governor of Camarines Norte Province, which was providing the aid. “We weren’t given a specific time, we were just told to wait,” said Victoria Cajara, 51, a Magallanes village counselor who had been by the roadside for four hours.
Mayor Ponferrada said other towns and provinces had been the chief suppliers of aid to Basey, where 191 died in the storm and 39 were still missing. In the basketball stadium, a medical team from Camarines Sur Province offered medicines and minor surgery. A group from the city of Valenzuela in Metro Manila, which arrived Monday after traveling for five days, scouted how to distribute its five truckloads of goods and where to station five doctors.
As Mr. Ponferrada cleaned mud and trash from his waterfront office, four trucks from the Japan International Cooperation Agency arrived with 77 bundles of plastic, each 165 feet long, for building basic tents. A few hours earlier the trucks would not have been able to squeeze onto the narrow waterfront drive, which had only recently been cleared of debris by teams from the Metro Manila Development Authority.
At the church, a runners club from Samar handed out 6.5-pound bags of rice, crackers and bottles of water to a line of people that streamed out the front door.
It is not the first time that this town’s Roman Catholic church, with its limestone walls and wide buttresses, has been called on to house the homeless. First built by Jesuits in 1656, the church was largely destroyed by a typhoon in 1880. After the end of Japanese occupation during World War II, it served as a refugee camp.
The church, which sits on a hill overlooking the badly damaged downtown, avoided destruction. But signs of damage are everywhere. The force of the storm blew out a stained-glass window in the south wall of the chancel. It lay toppled over, the leading holding together its colored panes.
The church’s corrugated metal roof, with detailed murals showing the Tower of Babel, Catholic saints and a scene from Revelations, has been riddled with coin-size holes that allow in rain and thin shafts of light.
The red stone floor is slick with rainwater. The wooden pews are warped, their knee rests now used as head rests for reclining evacuees. Water and food containers, pots, pans and bags of clothes line the pews. Dogs sleep on the floor.
Outside, food is cooked over open fires, clothes dry on lines hung between palm trees, and piles of bottles and trash climb high. The bathroom is a wall in the church yard.
The Rev. Gil Cabujat, 44, said the church was willing to house the homeless. But he sounded a note of frustration. He said many of the churches’ new tenants had been sleeping through the daily 6 a.m. Mass.
“They’re welcome to stay, but we ask them if they’re able to start rebuilding,” Father Cabujat said. “We can’t start rebuilding until they leave.”
A Taiwanese technology company ASUS is investing big in Nigeria with the announcement of its entry into Nigeria’s N245 billion broadband device market.
ASUS is an international notebook vendor which boasted of annual revenue of $14.73 billion in 2011 has saidthat the huge market in Nigeria has become a big attraction for many global technology firm.
“We are very serious about the Nigerian market. In our own view, Nigeria is the biggest market on the African continent ahead of South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. We are aware that if you want to have a strong footprint in Africa, you must have a strong footing here in Nigeria”, these were the words of Simplice Zaongo, product manager, ASUS at a media launch in Lagos on Wednesday.
At the media launch, the company introduced two Intel-powered devices; the ASUS fonepad 7 and the ASUS Transformer Book T100, which are designed specifically for the Nigerian market. The tablets are powered by Intel Atom processors, Intel Atom Z2560 and Intel Atom Bay Trail – TZ3740 quad-core processor respectively.
The regional director of ASUS for Africa, Turkey and Isreael; Shaw Chang said, “the two devices that we have launched today – the fonepad 7 and the Transformer Book T100 – are designed to fit the Nigerian market. From battery life to the performance of their processors, and to their retail prices, everything is right. These are the devices you want to offer to your loved ones as a Christmas gift”.
The Fonepad 7 and the Transformer Book T100 are priced at N38, 000 and N75, 000 respectively.
It is worthy of note that ASUS has also extended its warranty policy in Nigeria to two year specifically for the Transformer Book .
If that doesn’t sound fun enough, TMZ also reported that “sheriff’s deputies” (not cops, sheriff’s deputies) were called three times and one of Bieber’s neighbors said the authorities smelled marijuana.
That’s all crazy stuff, but the most important part of this story is that it all took place at what TMZ called a “Gatsby party.” And it is legitimately unclear whether that is some metaphorical way of saying it was a very big party or that Justin Bieber actually threw a themed gathering, inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic set in the 1920s.
All of Bieber’s recent Instagrams are just of that weird PYD symbol, so it’s impossible to know for sure. But you are welcome to imagine Bieber and his friends partying in flapper dresses.
When Arik Airline first began operations in Nigeria, it quickly began a household name. ‘Wings of Nigeria’ it was called. With airline services reaching different states in Nigeria. Today however, recent investigations have shown that nothing could be more further from the truth. Arik Air, as we speak, flies upon the wings of Nigeria.
Most users simply grumble about the airlines notorious habit of operating different flight routes and schedules as well as selling the same class and booking codes of tickets to people at various prices at the same time at the airport. Another significant case of irregularity involved a staff of Arik Airline rummaging through the belongings of a notable blogger who was a passenger on-board to steal his Ipad. But even these are trifles where latest developments are concerned.
Today, some officials of Arik Airline face an outstanding trial in a cocaine smuggling case at the London Heathrow airport, Arik Air also faces pending tax-related corruption charges from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The company owes the Nigerian Aviation parastatals over N12billion and owes close to 2000 of its Nigerian employees in Nigeria well over four months in arrears of unpaid salaries.
Beyond re-structured flight schedules and billing systems Arik Airlines no doubt stands as one of the most fascinating private entities in Nigeria. Fascinating because the airline company is neck deep in debt, corruption, financial irregularities and improper practices, and yet it still stands. It is yet to see a court order forcing it towards liquidation.
Perhaps why this is possible is because Arik Air, like so many anti-development agencies in Nigeria has built a solid personal interest networks aimed at thwarting the growth of the Aviation sector and subsequently developments in the interest of the greater Nigerian population. This it has demonstrated this in several ways.
Early this year, Arik Airlines refusal to engage in standard procedure of maintaning its aircrafts as required by the Airline Maintenance Organization led to the grounding of three of its airplanes by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), airplanes which were originally used in its local operations.
The actions by Arik Air do not register on inefficiency or inexperience; rather it depicts a consciously bold and rational approach towards actions which are illegal and punishable under the Nigerian constitution. If anything, the refusal by aviation authorities to install stricter sanctions on the Arik Air has to be brought to question.
Arik Air like so many organizations in Nigeria only survive because they exist in Nigeria, otherwise standard procedures and basic requirements by regulatory authorities in other parts of the world are necessities which any agency in line with the development goals of the country ought to adhere to.
The failure of Arik Air to do this not only shows the company’s unwillingness to aid the development of Nigeria, but also begs that the company should no longer be allowed to maintain the mantra ‘Wings of Nigeria’, as its actions indicate, ‘Flying on the Wings of Nigeria’ should be a better substitute. This wings need to be clipped, Arik Air must not be allowed to fly higher than the law.