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Why Air Nigeria was suspended

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The federal government Thursday explained that the national carrier which was earlier billed to kick off in December was suspended temporarily because the process to actualise it was delayed.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has also also stated that Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will start bearing arms within the next three months.

The government said the transaction advisers did not complete the process on modalities on the ownership of the new airline in time.

Sirika who made this known yesterday, hinted that, in recent months, several misinformation, factual errors, insinuations and fabrications have been peddled in both social and print media on the project.

He informed that, Lufthansa, which was the first approved transaction adviser was rejected due to its outrageous demands which included opening an escrow account, refusal to pay tax and demand for 75 percent up front payment.

Sirika who spoke yesterday at the 5th aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, also disclosed that another major factor that stalled the process was the inability of the federal government to provide sovereign guarantee for the procurement of 30 airplanes estimated at $300 million to be paid in installment till
2020.

According to the minister, “Estimated funding requirement for the establishment of the project is 300million dollars up to 2020. Initial start–up capital of 55million dollars made up of 25 million dollars for deposit for new aircraft and 30million dollars for working capital from June to December 2018.

Saraki said Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of FAAN will start bearing arms within the next three months.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Sirika made the disclosure yesterday at the fifth aviation stakeholders’ forum in Abuja.

“Within the next three months, we will get the FAAN AVSEC to start bearing arms like their counterparts in the Transportation Security Agency of the United States, ” he
said.

The minister recalled the Turkish Airline incident in 2016 where some aggrieved passengers overpowered AVSEC officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and gained access to the tarmac.

Sirika also cited the recent occurrence at Sokoto Airport where some political supporters forcefully entered the tarmac, stressing that these actions were clear security breaches.

He said the personnel would be provided with new uniforms, sniffer dogs and other things that would enable them discharge their responsibilities of securing and safe guarding airline officials, passengers and other airport users. “So, for us, our focus is to ensure that we are secured and safe. Aviation is not just about building terminals because safety is one of the most critical aspect,” Sirika noted.

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Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos

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Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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Nigerians to pay more for US visa

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The U.S. government has announced that it is imposing a ‘reciprocity fee’ on Nigerians seeking to travel to the United States. The new fee will only apply to Nigerians whose visa request has been approved.

The announcement was made in a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja. The new fee ranges from $80 to $110 (28,8000 to N39,600) depending on the type of visa being applied for.

“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application,” the embassy said.

The embassy added that the fee was being imposed to reciprocate a similar one by the Nigerian government on Americans seeking to travel to Nigeria.

“U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.”

The U.S. is a major destination for thousands of Nigerians who travel annually for various reasons including education, leisure, and work.

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Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

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Man-made water-bodies are formed by constructing a dam across a flowing river in order to regulate the flow of water. These are known as reservoirs. These artificial lakes are constructed to store water for power generation, irrigation, and can be put to domestic and industrial use.

Dams could also be made on an outlet channel of a naturally occurring lake to provide better control of the water level in the lake. Such types of constructions typically maintain the natural characteristics of the lake, and examples of such constructions include Lake Tahoe in the US and Lake Victoria in East Africa. Human-made lakes are found mainly in regions having limited natural lakes or where the lakes are not suitable for human water needs. Here we take a look at some of the Largest Man-Made Lakes In The World

KARIBA DAM


Kariba dam is the largest man-made lake in the world. Located in Zambia and Zimbabwe, it can hold up to 180.6 cubic kilometers of water. It was constructed in 1959 on river Zambezi and has a height of 420 feet and a width of 1900 feet. Lake Kariba extends for 170 miles. The primary purpose of the dam is to generate electricity and supplies about 1626 megawatts of electricity to Zambia and Zimbabwe. When the dam was constructed there was resettlement or approximately 57,000 people who were living in the area on both countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba controls about 90% of the total runoff of river Zambezi and has directly affected the ecology significantly in the downstream. Between 1958 and 1961 the wildlife rescue operation on river Zambezi captured about 6,000 large animals and several other small animals that were facing a threat from the rising water on the lake. In 2008 it was reported that the heavy rains could force the release of water from the dam which would affect at least 50,000 people who were living downstream. In 2010, the floodgates of the dam were opened because of the rising water on the reservoir, and this forced evacuation of about 130,000 people who were living in the floodplains. In 2014 engineers from the Zambezi river authority warned the foundation of the dam had weakened and needed repairs.

LAKE VOLTA


The Akosombo dam is also known as Volta Dam, and it is a hydro-electric generating plant on Volta River in Ghana. The Akosombo dam is the largest human-made lake in the world by surface area which is approximately 3,283 square miles and accounts for 3.6% of the land area of the whole of Ghana. However, by volume size, it is the third largest after the Bratsk reservoir in Russia. Akosombo dam has a volume of 150 cubic kilometers, and the main purpose of the dam is to provide electricity, and its original output was 912 megawatts, which was later upgraded in 2006 to 1020 megawatts. The flooding that created Lake Volta reservoir had a substantial environmental impact and displaced many people. The Akosombo dam supplies electricity to Ghana and other neighboring countries in West Africa like Benin and Togo. At the time of commissioning 20% output of the dam was serving 70% of the country’s demand, while the 80% was reserved for Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).

MANICOUAGAN RESERVOIR


Manicouagan Reservoir in Canada is multiple buttress dam, and it was constructed on Manicouagan River stretching 133 miles. The construction of the dam began in 1959 and by 1970, and the primary purpose for the dam is to generate electricity and supplying water to the powerhouses. It has the capacity of 2,596 megawatts. The dam is the fourth largest in volume holding capacity of 141.8 cubic kilometers. The project is owned and operated by Hydro Quebec.

LAKE NASSER


Lake Nasser is a reservoir located in the south of Egypt. The lake is approximately 341 miles long and 22 miles wide at its widest part. This man-made lake has a surface area of 2,030 square miles. The deepest part of this lake measures 600 feet. The majority of the lake lies in Egypt, but a section of the reservoir is also located in Sudan. The Sudanese refer to the body of water as Lake Nubia.

BRATSK RESERVOIR

Bratsk Reservoir

The Bratsk Reservoir was constructed in Russia, on the Angara River, in 1967. This enormous body of water covers more than 2,110 square miles and is named after the nearby city of Bratsk.

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Airlines slash fare to encourage voters

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Thousands of Nigerians who want to travel to vote in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections have been given airfare cut by Aero Contractors and Arik Air.

Both carriers yesterday introduced promo fares in what they termed ‘Fly to Vote promotion’ to encourage disenchanted electorate. But for an eligible air traveler to qualify for the promo, he must present his Permanent Voter Card (PVC). The airlines made the disclosure in separate statements issued in Lagos.

Nigerians are set to go to the polls on February 23 to elect their President, 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives after the elections earlier scheduled for February 16 were postponed. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also fixed March 9 for gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls. Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, said the N16,000 Fly to Vote promotion was to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes during the elections.

Ilegbodu said: “Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline has introduced an N16, 000 Fly to Vote promotion to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections holding across the country on February 23, 2019 and March 9, 2019 respectively.

“The N16,000 promotional fare is the one-way ticket cost to any domestic destination on Arik Air’s network and customers must present a PVC at the point of purchase and at check-in to be eligible to fly.

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