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Updated: Azman Air sacks official, apologises to minister, NCAA DG

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Azman Air has sacked its acting Head of Maintenance, Zakaria Al-Najjar, and appointed Peter Vungmo to replace him.

The airline has also apologised to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu, over reported false allegations made by Al-Najjar against the DG.

The airline announced this in a statement, adding that Al-Najjar was relieved of his position due to a “recent development in the airline”.

The statement was signed by the airline’s Admin and Human Resources Manager, Magaji Misau,

The airline is facing suspension  by the NCAA over safety concerns.

“Further to the recent development in the airline, management directed to notify you of its decision to relieve you from your appointment as acting head of maintenance, with effect from today, April 4, 2021,” the statement read.

The airline also appointed Sunusi Mahi as a flight safety officer to replace Tijjani Shaddad who resigned recently, while Eyas Adwan was promoted from cabin services training manager to Azman Air training manager.

Azman Air noted that it had commenced the enactment of corrective action plan (CAP) on the management area of its audits.

In a 19-page audited report dated April 2, Musa Nuhu, NCAA director-general, said the regulator found several unsafe practices in the airline’s operation.

The report noted that the airline was indebted to the NCAA to the tune of N1.54 billion over non-remittance of five per cent of the ticket sales charge and cargo sales charge.

“Azman Air Ltd was found to violate Section 12 (1) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 as regards to non-remittance of five per cent TSC/CSC,” the report read.

“This is evidenced by the airline being indebted to the authority to the tune N1,545,262,120.31 as at December 2020.

“Azman Air Ltd was found to be in violation of Nig.CARs 18.12.6 as regards signing an agreement with the authority for direct debit. This is evidenced by the delay in signing of the Direct Debit Tripartite Agreement with NCAA.”

The regulator accused the airline of failing to submit its financial health report for several months despite reminders.

It said the last submission was in July 2020, adding that during the audit, Azman Air submitted reports for December 2020 and January 2021.

The NCAA also accused Azman’s chief pilot of incompetence, adding that the airline’s director of maintenance failed to ensure that approved maintenance control manual procedures are effectively implemented.

In another statement by the airline’s Accountable Manager, Muhammad Hadi Abdulmunaf, which was released Tuesday night, Azman apologised to the NCAA boss and the minister for embarrassing them with its recent publication.

The airline said it had established that the letter containing the false allegations actually came from an official of the airline, to management’s disappointment.

The statement read in part, “On March 21, 2021, we issued a press statement expressing our surprise and shock at a publication credited to us in which the integrity and reputation of the Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, came under attack as a result of the decision taken by the regulator to suspend our operations based on safety considerations.

”In the said press release, we denied management’s knowledge and approval for such careless and unfortunate allegations made against the person of the DG but promised to conduct internal investigations as to the source/s of the allegations.

”We have now conducted in-house investigations which led to accusations and counter accusations amongst our staff as to who did it.

”We have established that, at least, it came from one of them; hence our disappointment with ourselves.”

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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We’ll make South-East hot for governors if…, IPOB warns

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The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, has raised the alarm that South East governors in collaboration with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and some “treacherous’ tradinonal rulers, and President Generals of some communities, are compiling names of suspected operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN as well as IPOB members and supporters for persecution.

The group stated that if the governors don’t rescind their plan, “IPOB will make the zone too hot for them.” IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful, claimed that its intelligence unit uncovered “a secret file” containing the list of the suspected ESN and IPOB members.

The list according to the statement is to be handed over to the security agencies for torture and elimination. IPOB which said the idea was suggested to South East Leaders by the federal government to weaken ESN regretted that efforts of the security outfit for flush out killer herdsmen from the zone were being sabotaged by the selfish political elite. It noted that since the establishment of ESN, efforts to rid the zone of bandits and killer herdsmen had intensified, a development that has making the masterminds uncomfortable.

The statement read in part: “The South-Eastern Governors in collaboration with Traditional Rulers in the Zone and some PGs of communities are compiling names of suspected IPOB members in their respective communities to hand over to Nigeria security agencies for possible executions. “The arrangement has been perfected to help Nigeria Police and Army to quickly pick anybody suspected to be IPOB member and ESN operatives in the zone. “Our intelligence further revealed that they took this decision to launch this joint military operation to quench and permanently silence what they termed as IPOB and ESN menace in the zone. “IPOB intelligence unit gathered that these enemies within and without have perfected arrangements to abduct our people and put them incommunicado in the security dungeons in unknown locations. “It is unfortunate that our so called leaders could not see or observe how Fulani terrorist herdsmen are raping and murdering our mothers, wives and sisters in the farms across the Biafra territory but they see us as their problem.” IPOB denied any link with the unknown gunmen suspected to the behind the wave of bloody attacks against security formations in the zone and wondered why its members would be marked for elimination. “We have severally explained that ESN has nothing to do with the unknown gunmen responsible for the attacks in South East. The unknown gunmen are not ESN or IPOB.

We wonder why Government will continue to associate us with that group without investigations.” IPOB argued that a government that treats bandits and killer herdsmen with kid gloves cannot claim to be unaware of the said unknown gunmen.

The pro-Biafra movement warned South East Leaders to retrace their steps or brace up for the grave consequences of their action. “If South East Governors do not stop this plan against their people, IPOB will make the zone too hot for them. “We expect all tradinonal rulers and PGs in the South East communities to retrace their steps before it gets too late. The land will also rise against them if they allow this to happen! “Any IPOB member or ESN operative killed shall be avenged! The statement also advised the federal government to jettison any plans to persecute pro-Biafra groups as doing so would come with some price. “We advise Nigeria government and her partners in crime in the zone to desist from this evil agenda because it will backfire. We are aware of their secret file, but we are not going back until Biafra is finally achieved.”

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4 soldiers, others killed as Boko Haram attacks Borno military base

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Suspected armed Boko Haram terrorists on Friday invaded a military base in Kamuya village of Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, leaving four soldiers and many terrorists feared dead, sources have said. Kamuya is about 30km drive from Buratai Town of former Chief of Army Staff, Rt Lt. General Yusuf Tukur Buratai and located south along Damaturu- Buni Yadi- Biu 120km highway.

Few years ago, a military base in Kamuya was dislodged by insurgents, only for the military to reestablish another base last year. The incident which started at about 6:35 pm last Thursday had disrupted the busy road as commuters and passengers plying the road had to take another route, as the road remained close uptil Saturday at the time of filing in this report.

A driver, Ali Isa, who left Biu on Friday with his passengers had to make a u-turn when they reached Buratai, and diverted back to Biu before taking through Gombe- Potiskum- Damaturu- Maiduguri 620km road. A reliable security information said, “armed men suspected to be Boko Haram, ISWAP stormed KAMUYA Community and have already dislodged the Special Forces (SF) location.

“The elements are still present in the community, while patrolling communities within BUNI GARI to prevent SF reinforcement. “SF have currently imposed movement restriction along Damaturu-Damboa-Biu Road. “Kamuya is a border town between  Biu LGA, Borno State and Gujba LGA of Yobe state. Staff to avoid the route. “Unfortunately, the entire SF base was razed down by the terrorists, even as four SF were reportedly killed and a number of them Missing In Action (MIA).” All efforts to get confirmation from the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Edet Okon proved abortive at press time.

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