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Permalink 02:22:38 am, by lateef lawal, 890 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Nigeria: Abuja Airport Now IATA StB Compliant

By Lateef Lawal

MAEVIS Nigeria Limited, in conjuction with key industry partners, especially the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), British Airways, RESA, IER and other stakeholders, has completed a key milestone in making Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (NAIA) the second IATA StB compliant airport in Nigeria.

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos(MMIA) became compliant in August 2008. British Airways (BA) – a One World Alliance partner airline, and MAEVIS launch partner airline commenced the use of full 2D Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP) Departure Control Systems (DCS) operations on a fully IATA compliant CUTE systems for all Abuja international passengers on her Abuja - London and points beyond international flights from August 16, 2010. ( Continues below..... )

Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,  Abuja, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.

This development makes Nigeria’s Abuja airport fully compliant ahead of the IATA/ACI deadline of December 2010. According to the Managing Director of Maevis, Mr Tunde Fagbemi, this achievement "is also a true testimony of the resilience of the FAAN/Maevis team (a true Nigerian spirit), the extensive Infrastructure, Superstructure and Systems deployment at these Airports and the many tests, customisation and certification by British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta Airlines, Air Nigeria and our numerous IATA/ACI certified deployment partners and personnel".

Fagbemi added, "now that we are fully certified and gone live, we are confident that in the coming days other Airlines and their passengers using NAIA will gradually cut over to the new world class systems and Brand new Check-in-Desks and ultra modern check-in platform /systems provided by MAEVIS on a PPP – BOOT basis. As noted by IATA, these systems would further simplify the check-in and boarding process for all passengers who use NAIA and help to make Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) drive for excellence in customer service and make international standards and other Technology friendly expectations at our airports a reality."

The full implementation of the 2D bar-coded boarding passes enables:

-*Fast and convenient check-in and boarding.

-*Boarding with home printed 2D bar coded boarding passes.

-*Issuance of Mobile phone 2D bar coded boarding passes.

-*Several other passenger facilitation delights for airport customers and Aviation Stakeholders. ( Continues below..... )

FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag  Colours

Photo Above: FAAN logo On A Nigerian Map in Nigerian Flag Colours

Maevis is a world-class Airports Infrastructure, Airports Operations Automation Systems provider Integrated ICT business solutions expert and Out Sourced Service provider. Maevis is FAAN’s partner under a PPP agreement - the team is committed to the renewal, revamping and upgrading of FAAN Airports Operations Management Systems (AOMS) and the renewal of certain defined infrastructure, superstructure and systems at Airports and Terminals located at four International Airports in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

The current deployment at NAIA includes the Building of a Brand new World Class level 4 Data Centre, laying of a brand new ICT backbone for the aviation industry, the re-cabling of the Fiber Optic cable at the airports & the installation of modern servers, a brand new Communications network linking all Airlines and their host Airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano & Port Harcourt, deployment of a full suite AOMS Systems, a Full IATA compliant 2D BCBP compliant CUTE /DCS System, the renewal/revamping of the Check in counters, check-in area, replacement of all current Servers, PCs, Printers etc at these airports with 2D barcode-compatible machines, and the introduction of 2D barcode readers at boarding gates in line with ICAO, ACI & IATA standards.

Since the deployment Friday, August 20, passengers have been able to print their own 2D bar-coded boarding passes at home or at the office and proceed directly to baggage drop-off or through security at NAIA enroute to their boarding gates and destinations of choice. ( Continues below..... )

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

Fagbemi noted that the company had made provisions for all local airlines and any other operators on all its new check-in counters and boarding gate stations to issue and read 2D BCBPs even if their Departure Control Systems (DCSs) have not been upgraded to handle them or if they do not currently have their own CRS and Departure Control System.

The unique approach that Maevis has taken with this technology implementation at NAIA, according to him was fashioned after its earlier deployment in August 2008 at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) which has been described by many industry stakeholders as impressive. Not only are the day-to-day needs of the Airlines supported with shared workstations, Maevis is investing for the future of the Airlines, FAAN and indeed assisting the entire aviation industry in Nigeria to fully implement IATA's Simplifying the Business objectives with the aim of creating:

-*more opportunities for airports;

-*more convenience for passengers and lower costs for the industry.

The technology reduces costs and improves customer service for both airlines and airports by introducing faster and easier check-in. This system offers the passenger more self-service options during their journey through the airport. This also translates into paper documents being converted into electronic messages both for passengers and air cargo, saving time and increasing accuracy. This new system deployed at NAIA will result in less time spent at check-in, giving longer commercial dwell time to travelers and offering passengers more pleasant travelling experience.

Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)


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Permalink 02:34:00 am, by Ikechukwu, 706 words   ng-NG
Categories: News
*Nigeria: The Attitude Of A Repentant Nation

By Ikechukwu Enyiagu

Does Nigeria have a problem? Yes. Is it right to pluralize this monster? Yes. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary describes 'problem' as "an unwelcome or harmful matter needing to be dealt with and overcome." Before anything can be termed as problematic, it must be an unwelcome phenomenon which outcome will bring nothing but harm and/or discomfort to its hosts. The force and the face of a problem stir a spontaneous desire in man to deal with and overcome it. However, the middle line which this definition of problem tends to summarize(in the case of Nigeria)with the word 'deal with' is the key to the 'overcoming' which everyone yearns for. This hidden word is called 'repentance.'

The problem with Nigeria is not just the leaders who cannot lead well and it is definitely not the leaders with passion for embezzlement either. The problem with Nigeria is an epitome of a nation that has refused to apportion its mistakes their appropriate places. It is the mistake of not accepting one's place of fall and the reason for the fall before attempting to move on. I can assure you that many a leader have come up severally in Nigeria with the 'genuine' desire to better Nigeria...but have not only failed, they made everything worse. No farmer who comes home sweating and wants a change of cloths will venture putting on a new cloth without, first of all, taking a clean bathe. The stench has to be removed as a matter of urgency. Continues below..... )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Imo State) and capital (Abuja or FCT)

Nigeria has refused to acknowledge its sins and repent from it yet we yearn to go forward. We heap sin for sin, be it from the government offices to our national and international security quarters, from our business fronts to our neighborhoods, and/or from our religious enclaves to our families. Our desire for sin matches our desire to be better. This is why it has become a blind cycle in Nigeria-soldier go soldier come...

However, there is an attitude for progress, be it in the live of an individual, an organization or a state. This attitude is called REPENTANCE. Repentance has a miraculous grace to lift one to an unimaginable height of assurance, peace and progress. It deals with the covenant of death and cuts off every limiting cord. Nigeria, what we need is genuine repentance...from all quarters.

We need to individually consider our roles in this problem, be it a government that treads on the minority, the president who buys his way forward, the banker that robs, the lecturer that bullies, the security officer that plays god, the parent who spoils the child, the pastor who preaches his type of heaven, the imam who encourages self-destruction or the brother who betrays-the list is endless. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

We all need to take stock and repent genuinely. Genuine repentance is the only answer to our moving forward as a nation because genuine repentance alone can abolish minority-mentality, stop our incumbent president from becoming another Abacha, the likes of Umar Farouk Abdul Matallab from shaming his family, another Prof. P. O. Otubu from destroying the future of our children, the police court-like attitude of execution rights, the parent from buying WASSC for the son, the pastor from feeding on the blood of his weak members, the incorrect re-branding of Islam as a terrorist religion, and the ritual killings for money.

Only genuine repentance will make Nigeria enjoy what it has. As 2011 election approaches, I implore us all, as a nation, to set aside a period for true remorse and genuine repentance before we plunge ourselves into yet another future that could turn out to be an already written history. Genuine repentance alone will make the Nigerian vision clearer and our leaders able to deliver. It is the only true re-branding that Nigerian needs for the now and the future.

Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at


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Permalink 03:04:11 pm, by admin Email , 297 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Woman Dies in Nigerian Ex-Governor U.S. Home

By Masterweb News Desk

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A Nigerian woman, Chinwe Masi, 47, on August 19 died in the United States home of Ex-Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu. Chinwe died from suspected internal organ failure that may have been triggered by ingestion of alcohol. She suffered from high blood pressure according to friends.

Chinwe, formerly married to one Okechukwu Ogbonna, reportedly arrived the ex-governor's home at 14900 River Road, Potomac, Maryland at 8.30 pm on the fateful day, Thursday, August 19. According to sources, she had gone to deliver cologne purchased by the ex-governor at her shop during a previous U.S. visit in June this year. There were four other Nigerians at the ex-governor's home at the time of Chinwe’s arrival.

Chinwe was offered a bottle of Guinness stout upon her request and 15 minutes later started shouting "my chest, my chest" vomiting blood. The ex-governor immediately picked up the phone and called paramedics and police, both arriving the scene in minutes. Paramedics were on their way carrying her into the ambulance when she gave up the ghost at 8.48 pm. ( Continues below...... ) Deceased, Chinwe Masi

Police and detectives with the permission of the ex-governor, conducted an 8-hour search of his home. The Homicide unit of Montgomery County Police Department said they do not suspect foul play so far in Chinwe's death and were awaiting autopsy results for final conclusion.

Masterweb will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Deceased, Chinwe Masi

Photo Above: Deceased, Chinwe Masi (Photo 2)

Orji Uzor Kalu's US home where Chinwe Masi died.

Photo Above: Orji Uzor Kalu's US home where Chinwe Masi died.

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Permalink 01:29:00 am, by admin Email , 543 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News, African Issue, Tellers and Global Viewers

*British Gay Priest To Marry Nigerian Man

By Masterweb News Desk

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Reverend Colin Coward, 65, a homosexual priest at St John the Baptist Church in Devizes, Wiltshire, England, has announced plans to marry his Nigerian male model boyfriend, Bobby Ikekhuame Egbele, 25. Mr. Egbele is a fashion designer and runs an online clothing shop, Bobafrique ( ), where he models clothes.

Devizes has four Church of England parish churches, the oldest, St John the Baptist Church founded in 1130 and dedicated to St John the Baptist.

The Church was stunned with Rev. Coward's proclamation, because ordained homosexual clergy of Church of England are required to be celibate. Coward failed to reassure the Church he would remain celibate with the gay union.

Coward lives with his gay fiancé in Marston, near Devizes and believes his marriage would set a “visible example” to other homosexuals within the church. ( Continues below…… )

British Gay Priest Rev. Colin Coward with Nigerian Gay Fiancé Bobby Egbele.

Photo Above: British Gay Priest Rev. Colin Coward with Nigerian Gay Fiancé Bobby Egbele (Photo 1)

Rev. Coward speaking on his proposed gay marriage said: “My goal is for everyone within the church to feel comfortable with the situation because at the moment the majorityof gay Christians marry secretly.

“It is a taboo subject but the church is now under huge pressure to change its stance and that pressure will only increase in the future.

“Clearly the blessing is going to be quite a sensitive issue. I know that many people will see it and view it with horror.

“But we are both deeply committed Christians so it would be unthinkable for me not to do it in church and not to do it with the congregation and with all of our friends.

“I hope my wedding will inspire others and set a visible example to the church that we are not afraid.” ( Continues below…… )

British Gay Priest Rev. Colin Coward with Nigerian Gay Fiancé Bobby Egbele.

Photo Above: British Gay Priest Rev. Colin Coward with Nigerian Gay Fiancé Bobby Egbele (Photo 2)

Coward who found out he was gay when he was a teenager, kept it a secret. He was ordained a priest in 1978 after resigning his job as an architect. He openly declared his homosexuality in 1991 to the surprise of Church of England.

Coward met his Nigerian gay partner, Egbele in 2007 at a Christian conference in Togo, a West African nation. The duo became engaged two years later, last year. They plan a civil partnership ceremony October 9 at the register office in Devizes and later service at St John the Baptist Church. The service would be a communion Eucharist rather than Blessing which is forbidden for homosexual couples.

Coward speaking on the planned Church service said: "Churches are not supposed to bless civil partnerships. It can bless almost anything else; animals, bombs, battleships, armies going to war but gay couples? No. So our church blessing has to be carefully-worded in so far as it does not use the word blessing in the context of the two of us in relationship."

Sex is only permitted for married couples under Church of England laws, but the Church does not recognize same-sex civil partnerships as marriage.

Masterweb will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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Permalink 03:17:00 am, by ifeatuagbu, 1167 words   ng-NG
Categories: News
*Nigeria: Skill Acquisition In Post Amnesty Era

By Ifeatu Agbu

Engaging the youths in meaningful ventures after a long spell of militancy in the creeks of the Niger Delta poses a tricky challenge that requires some delicate balancing of reorientation and training. It is an integrated process that will not only change the mindset of the youths but also prepare them to be productive citizens with marketable skills.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Amnesty Committee, Mr. Timi Alaibe, said the final stage of the post-amnesty programme, which is reintegration, is where a lot more work is required. At that point, the ex-combatants are expected to return to normal life and gain sustainable employment. “It is essentially a social and economic process with an open time-frame, primarily taking place in communities at the local level,” Alaibe said.

The Ledum Mittee-led Niger Delta Technical Committee took cognizance of this, when it recommended the creation of a Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) – where 2,000 jobs will be provided in each local government council in the zone, to keep the youths meaningfully busy and away from the temptations of militancy and other untoward behaviour.

Much as it is critical to change the mindset of the former militants, it is even more crucial to arm them with skills that will give them financial freedom on a sustainable basis. Unfortunately, the Post-Amnesty Programme may not adequately address the challenges of providing comprehensive training for the former militants because of the constraints of time. Yet, skill acquisition programmes and other short-term trainings must be of such quality and duration that would give optimum value to the beneficiaries. ( Continues below..... )

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militants

Photo Above: Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militants

It makes no sense to hurriedly rush the youths through training programmes with little time and facilities to impact the necessary skills. For instance, you need more than a three-month crash programme to train a good mechanic. It is only when the trainees are given sufficient time to master the skills, that they can put it to full use. Adequate training would ensure that the successful ones would utilize their take-off funds or starter packs, where they are provided, and not sell them as is often the practice.

No matter how well the programme runs, chances are that some of the youths may still be irredeemable. Already, some isolated cases of misdemeanours have been reported at the camp in Obubra. First, some personnel at the camp, including Mr. Alaibe, were said to have been manhandled by some aggrieved ex-militants. Again, two of the ex-militants were arrested recently for allegedly smuggling illicit drugs into the camp. This is in spite of the camp rules which say that anyone caught using such drugs risks outright expulsion.

Obviously, it would take some extra efforts to reintegrate youths with this kind of background. This means that the development agencies, such as the oil companies, the federal, state, local governments, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, must come up with more imaginative ways of dealing with them. It is not enough to put them through skill acquisition programmes The beneficiaries of the programmes must be empowered to set up their own businesses and given access to micro-credits to enable them take off on solid foundation. They should also be monitored and mentored until they acquired enough confidence to stand on their own. Artisans, such as welders, carpenters, mechanics and bricklayers should be given opportunities to update their knowledge and sharpen their skills through hands-on-training in established workshops. This will enhance their ability to render better services and expand their businesses to employ more people.

It is only then that the maxim of dignity in labour would begin to make sense to the youths who have become accustomed to getting quick money without much sweat. If the training is thorough and the mentoring consistent, the strange scenario where some youths that have benefitted from skill acquisition schemes and were given starter-parks to enable them to be self-employed sell the tools and return to the labour market, would be avoided.

Another strategy for getting around this problem hinges on team efforts. Since it is difficult to get the youths to utilize their start-up capital well, a more effective tactics is urgently needed. One government agency that is currently using a new system to achieve better results is the NDDC. The interventionist agency now insists that the beneficiaries of its skill acquisition programmes must form cooperatives before they could access the micro-credit scheme meant to help them to establish their businesses. To ensure the success of this arrangement, the commission works in partnership with training and financial institutions to not only enhance the skills of the youths but also bring them together to take advantage of the opportunities available in the region, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Of course a key component of sustainable development is to create sustainable livelihoods, because the best form of development is to develop the people. ( Continues below….. )

A Nigerian militant levels his machine gun.

The NDDC has been running skill acquisition programmes since 2005 and no less than 8,000 youths of the Niger Delta have benefitted from the various schemes. In 2008, for instance, 7,732 youths were trained in diverse skills. Out of this number, 2,204 were trained in computer literacy, 1,929 in welding while 3,599 young boys and girls acquired skills in such areas as automobile mechanics, aluminium and furniture works, electrical installation and maintenance, home management skills, outboard engine maintenance, printing, photography as well as refrigeration and cooling technology.

Similarly, a total of 1,920 welders have so far been trained by the NDDC under its Human Capacity Development and Empowerment programme. The commission also donated 15 multi-purpose welding processing equipment and 500 KVA generating set to the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI, Warri. During the flag off of the “Train the Trainer” welding programme at PTI, and commissioning of the welding equipment and generating set, the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha said that the commission’s target was to produce 5, 000 professional welders certified by the International Institute of Welding in the next three years.

Ugwoha, who was represented by the Director, Commercial and Industrial Development, Mr. Aniete Usen explained that graduates of the “Train the Trainers” programme would further proceed to South Africa Institute of Welding for advanced welding and fabrication programme. According to him the graduating youths would subsequently be deployed to train a large pool of welding apprentices waiting to be trained and employed in the various sectors of the economy, particularly in oil and gas. ”We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Niger Delta youths acquire necessary cutting edge skills and education that will give them the competitive advantage, especially in the oil and gas sector of the economy that the region is naturally, endowed,” he said.

Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


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*Tags: Nigerians, Niger Delta, Abuja, MEND, Lagos, Skill, Acquisition, Amnesty, Jobs, Africa, Masterweb

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Permalink 02:03:35 am, by admin Email , 456 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Nigerian Prof. Kills Wife, Self In The U.S.

By Masterweb News Desk

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U.S. police are investigating what made a Nigerian lecturer, Chukwudubem Okafor, 64, to kill his wife and himself. Okafor was an associate professor of English and Literature at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. His wife Cheryl, aged 37, previously known as Cheryl Philmore (from previous marriage), came at age nine as Cheryl Moncrieffe with her parents to the U.S. from Jamaica. The family settled in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania where Cheryl grew up. Birdsboro is eight miles (13 km) southeast of Reading were the murder suicide took place.

The couple were found dead last Sunday inside a Chukwudubem sister’s home on Pear Street in Reading, Pennsylvania. A small-caliber handgun was found near the bodies. Reading Police are still checking whether Chukwudubem legally owned the gun used in the shooting. As at the time of this report, no information is available for the possible motive for the murder suicide. The couple had four children.

Cheryl Okafor was a Kutztown University alumna. She graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in art education in 2002 and a master’s degree in art education in 2005. Apparently the couple met at Kutztown University, as Chukwudubem had taught there for 15 years, which covered the period Cheryl studied there. Reading Eagle, a local newspaper, reported that Cheryl in a 2006 interview, said she was a victim of domestic violence in a previous marriage before her marriage to Chukwudubem. ( Continues below…… )

Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl.

Photo Above: Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl (Photo 1).

Cheryl’s marriage to Chukwudubem was the second to end in violence. She left her first husband, Alfred Simon Philmore sometime in the 90s for another man according to reports. Philmore caught up with her and her boyfriend in Reading in 1998, shooting the man, Osmond Dacosta Walker dead. He was convicted of third degree murder in 1999 and remains in prison in Fayette County according to reports.

Chukwudubem Okafor, an acclaimed poet, is cousin to the late poetry giant, Christopher Okigbo. According to sources, Chukwudubem apparently upset his wife left him, arranged a meeting with her last Sunday at his sister’s house in Reading, where he shot her dead and shooting himself on the head.

Chukwudubem held a Ph.D. from University of Minnesota obtained in 1994. He was on sabbatical for the 2009-10 school year at the time of the murder suicide.

Masterweb will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl.

Photo Above: Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl (Photo 2).

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Permalink 01:06:09 am, by ifeatuagbu, 1414 words   ng-NG
Categories: News
*Nigeria: Avoidable Deaths in Niger Delta

By John Araka

Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State is no stranger to violence. May, last year, it made headlines when it was bombarded from the sea, air and land by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF). Since then, the headquarters of the dreaded Niger Delta warlord, Tompolo, has attracted some succour from governments and other quarters. It has, therefore, witnessed some relative calm. The tranquility of the town was, however, violated last week. This time around, it had nothing to do with militancy or clash with law enforcement agencies. It was all about poor facilities in their hospital which caused the avoidable death of a young woman in labour.

Consequently, hundreds of Ijaw youths, women and men poured into the streets of Okerenkoko. They were armed with leaves and tree branches. They mournfully rendered songs of sorrow. Their point of call was the only hospital in that part of the Niger Delta, built years back by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. They laid siege to the hospital. Their reason according to a woman leader, Mrs. Gold Mademi was to protest poor facilities and inadequate personnel which have led to the avoidable death of many women and children in the area.

“The woman that died last week was in labour and she was rushed here with a part of the baby already out. What was needed was CS (caesarian section) to bring out the baby, but because there was no equipment doctors could not perform the surgery. She died on the way, as she was being rushed to Warri for proper treatment” she said. ( Continues below….. )

Tompolo And Henry Okah

Photo Above: Tompolo (Left), MEND Militant Leader - Henry Okah (Right)

Pathetic. In the Creeks of the Niger Delta, avoidable deaths of this nature are very common. Most of the communities have no access to medical facilities. In sane societies, a place like the Niger Delta should have a clinic in virtually every community. The clumsiness of the creeks should be no excuse. After all, it is from the bowels of these so-called inaccessible creeks that the wealth of the nation is extracted. We are talking of over 95 percent of our total foreign exchange earnings.

Paradoxically, it is the region infected with all manners of diseases. All because the environment has been seriously devastated in the past 50 years by mindless oil exploitation with countless oil spillages to the bargain. Worse still, is that most of the people in the region have no potable water. They drink water from the same rivers, rivulets and streams in which they wash their clothes, take their bath and empty their bowels. That explains why water borne diseases are rampant. For these reasons, one would expect that the Niger Delta should be given special attention in the siting of health facilities. That unfortunately, is not the case. In several cases, people have to travel for hours to reach a clinic, which is often poorly equipped and poorly manned as was evident in Okerenkoko.

Given the fact that the Okerenkoko hospital was built by the NDDC, one expected higher standards. But what happened was that, it handed it over to the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, to run. That was to ensure that the state agency took proper care of the place. Since the name of NDDC will inevitably be mentioned when the hospitals that it built are run aground, it should show more than passing interest on how they are managed.

A leader of the area Mr. Momotimi Guwor said “when DESOPADEC was running the hospital it was very well managed. But after the crisis of May 13, 2009 DESOPADEC handed it over to Tare Ventures to manage. The owner of this outfit lives abroad. So, we want a situation whereby DESOPADEC runs this hospital directly because we don’t have doctors here, just a few nurses who merely carry out first aid”. It is difficult to understand why the only hospital which serves several communities was handed over to an absentee management. If DESOPADEC was, for whatever reason, desirous of giving the hospital to someone else to run, it should have looked for a competent organization. Certainly, not the Tare venture man who does not have what it takes to efficiently manage the health facility. The Delta State government should, therefore, heed the plea of the people of Okerenkoko by ordering DESOPADEC to take over the running of the hospital again. Even with all the challenges that the agency is currently facing, there can be no comparison between the level of services it can render with that of the absentee owner of Tare Ventures. Since DESOPADEC was set up solely to cater for the developmental needs of the oil producing areas, it should not shy away for its responsibility. ( Continues below..... )

Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt

It is very painful that various levels of governments in this country and their agencies treat the health of our citizens with levity. They don’t just care. This is most unfortunate. In most parts of the world, the health of the citizenry is given top priority. Enough resources are devoted to it. This is to ensure that there are adequate competent professionals, with up-to-date facilities to do their job. That is the main reason they enjoy longer life span. Nigeria is notorious for having one of the highest infant and maternal mortality in the world. This is the expensive price we pay for having leaders whose only reason for assuming leadership positions is to swell their bank accounts. Service to the people takes the back burner.

One cannot understand why 50 years after independence, most Nigerians can still not have access to basic health facilities. Even when provisions are made for them in the budgets, the money ends up in the private pockets of some of our leaders.

This obnoxious practice is mainly responsible for the stunted growth of the health sector of this country. The issue is further complicated by incessant strikes by doctors in public health institutions. They have a litany of complaints. Their grouse include poor remunerations. They are also unhappy with the cessation of overseas training for resident doctors to hone their skills and make them internationally competitive. They condemn scanty facilities and the purchase of sophisticated medical equipment, without first of all training Nigerian doctors to handle them efficiently. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

This mess in the health sector has been going on for too long. It is now a status symbol for one to go abroad for medical attention and even to die there. Our former President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was treated unsuccessfully in a hospital of a third world country like Nigeria, in Saudi Arabia. What a shame!

Certainly, we cannot continue endlessly on this inglorious journey. That is why, I support the recent action by a reputable human right activist, and seasoned lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana. He has taken the federal government to court to restrain it from taking any public officer abroad for medical treatment. He wants the court to compel the government to “ensure that there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons in the country”. I pray that he succeeds in his patriotic mission. If that happens, the nation will save the whopping sum of over $2.8 billion (N450 billion) that our rich men spend on overseas medical treatment every year.

The Fraudian theory of ego, should not only apply to individuals, but also to nations. As a country, we should have a sense of self esteem. Our nation is fast losing its self respect by allowing our rich men to run abroad even for minor ailments that can easily be treated in this country.

Yes, it is the fundamental human right of every Nigerian to seek medical treatment anywhere in the world. Since this right has, however, been flagrantly abused by our leaders to the detriment of the growth of our health sector, it should be tampered with. The money spent on overseas medical consultations, check-ups and treatments annually by Nigerians is more than enough to build some of the best hospitals in the world in this country. President Goodluck Jonathan should, therefore, give us world-class hospitals to end the shame of Nigerians flocking abroad for medical attention.


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Permalink 01:15:40 am, by lateef lawal, 486 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News
*Alleged Liquidation: Nigeria Federal Court Clears IRS Airline

-*Acquires 3 More Aircraft

-*Expands Operations to West Coast Shortly

By Lateef Lawal

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ruled in favour of IRS Airlines in a case of alleged voluntary liquidation brought against it by Union Bank early in the year.

The airline, had through its counsel filed a counter motion against the suit claiming that the airline was not going into liquidation as claimed by the bank and that the issue on ground was mere misunderstanding between the bank and its customer which could be settled amicably. IRS also filed all necessary documents to support its grounds of objection.

Giving a ruling recently, Justice A. Abang noted that the issue at stake, he strongly believed could be settled amicably among the parties without recourse to legal battle.

The Chairman of IRS Airline, Alhaji Isyaku Rabiu could not be reached on his reaction to the ruling as he was said to be out of the country to shop for more aircraft to beef-up the fleet of the airline in preparation for the airline’s route network expansion on the domestic and West Coast. ( Continues below..... )

IRS Airline plane and copter.

Photo Above: IRS Airline plane (Right) and copter (Left).

The Assistant Secretary General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur said he was delighted on the outcome of the court decision, as it would correct the wrong signal given to the public at-large and foreign business partners of IRS Airlines.

He advised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to as a matter of urgency set up an aviation dispute resolution unit to settle business dispute between airlines and their partners, especially the banks who finance aircraft acquisitions for Nigerian carriers so as not cripple air transportation business in the country through unnecessary litigations.

As a member of AON, Alhaji Tukur said the entire members of the airline’s body congratulated the Chairman of IRS on the manner of the outcome of the case and the manner in which both parties resolved the matter amicably. ( Continues below..... )

Airborne Plane

Photo Above: An Airborne Plane

Meanwhile, competent sources close to the airline indicated that the airline is to increase the number of aircraft in its fleet from the present four to eight before the end of the last quarter of the year. It presently operates 4 Fokker100 and 1 Fokker 28.

Presently, the airline has increased its frequencies on the Lagos-Abuja route to 4 daily, same applies to Lagos-Kaduna, Lagos-Kano.

It is also expanding to its operations to Kaduna-Enugu, Kaduna-Yola-Maiduguri, Lagos-Warri, Lagos-Port Harcourt, while she plans to add Enugu-Abuja at a later time. In total, IRS currently operates 36 frequencies daily.

As part of plans to shore up its operations, the management of IRS has sent 21 pilots and over 20 aircraft engineers on retraining at overseas facilities

Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)


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*Nigeria At 50: Any Hope In Sight?

By Engr. Steve Ochonma

My article entitled “Ahead 2011: Abia loot causes rift” which was published on this website few weeks ago, did not only strike the right cord but made some Abia politicians uncomfortable. The reasons were obvious. Meanwhile, I strongly believe that Dim Emeka Ojukwu and APGA are not the agents of change we desire and deserve neither in Igbo land nor in Nigeria. APGA is a regional party and not good enough for the Igbo cause in Nigeria. The Iboman deserves a better bargaining platform. Most of the decisions and moves the Dim and pals made between 1966-1970 were not right. They would have provided better leadership in the mist of the great challenges they faced, if they had been in touch with the realities then, and were also foresighted, and not go on an ego trip.

On the other hand, I believe Gowon and his co-horts were carried away by youthful exuberance and tribal sentiments and considerations. Their motives, actions and responses were characterized by primordial ethnic chauvinism. Again, if the parties to the Aburi meetings of January 4th and 5th, 1967 and the subsequent accord, had understood that what was on the table then (and still is today) was a national question and not a regional survival or winning or positioning strategy, and had respected resolutions reached, we all would have been better off today. But the Dim did not prove his degree in world history, when he declared quick secession instead of re-strategizing and waiting for the right time to make the right moves. Recognizing Gowon after Gowon’s explaination of the brutal murder of the then C in C and his host Fajuyi, and thereafter do what was needed at the right time, would have been a better decision. And we all saw the consequences. Yet today the issues of the past and their ghost still hurt us as a nation badly, still they are not ready to lead yet. They are obviously not ready for good leadership and governance, so why rely on them? They are making similar mistakes, as they did before. ( Continues below….. )

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Ndigbo need to be firm and formidable in a political party with national appeal. Yorubas made the mistake of playing regional politics and payed for it, before M.K.O Abiola and Obasanjo brought them into main stream and today they are better off. So why go back to regional politics. Why tow that ugly path. We must take the bull by the horns, we must earn every position in Nigeria in relation and competition to all Nigerians, and this is the right path to follow. The south-south has it today because they followed the correct path. No section of this country can go it alone, because no section is significantly ahead of the others, politically, economically or by size (population). Please, do not trust those population figures; they are obviously not a true reflection of the Nigerian realities. If you want to discover the truth and be shocked beyond imagination conduct a biometric data based census, with place of origin (tribe) as the focal issue, and this nonsense of a particular region holding the ace will evaporate like gas before a hot sun. Make no mistake about it, no section of Nigeria can go it alone, we must go with the rest. Even if we want to go our separate ways, we will decide it together.

Still on the afore-mentioned article, someone responded and asked “where are we boarding from” in reference to the call for all Abians to come on-board, my answer for now would be let’s wait a bit and see. But the following websites may give us directions;,,,,, and

Some of these sites are still being developed, so do not get frustrated if you can’t assess them yet. Now, let me also state humbly that i see some credible candidates in Abia for 2011. Certainly, I am one, Chief Charles Okereke is another and I believe Chief Ikechi Emenike, Mr. Uzoma Azogu, Sir Alex Ottih of first bank, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and a few others, are there too. But whether or not any of these people will run and how much they can raise for the campaigns will be determined by the political realities in Nigeria today. At the national level, I believe the issue of zoning should not only be rejected but also the discussions discontinued.

Let us ask all candidates respective of areas of origin to unviel their visions, missions and plans for us, to enable us determine whom we will give our mandate to in 2011. We are waisting too much time and energy on the non- important issue of presidency- by- allocation. I believe President Goodluck Jonathan has started well, though i see “ the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau” in his presidency, so far. Again he has this tendency, which he has utilized to his advantage for long, to stay calm and still in the presence of ills. Though he may not be corrupt himself, he had condoned the excesses of his bosses, in order to be seen as loyal. He should have spoken out at least or resigned in some instances. But the forgoing not withstanding, he has good motive for Nigeria and the capacity, and vision to excel if given the opportunity, in 2011. ( Continues below…… )

Nigerians line-up to vote during election

Photo Above: Nigerians line-up to vote during election, while a cattle herder remains on his normadic job with his herd.

President Jonathan must tackle seriously such issues of urgent national importance as monumental corrupt practices in the Nigeria police, the Military, especially those on joint mission with police in the Niger Delta, South East and elsewhere, who engage in broad day robbery and public extortion, and again amongst the political class, in areas of outright treasury looting through phonzy schemes and award of contracts. Again the issue of power generation and distribution, geunine Electoral Reforms, Authentic biometric data based Voters Register, Guranteed infrastructural developments, amongst others, before the election, if he desires to run and win next year without rigging himself in. I will write a letter shortly to Mr President to furnish him with information on the level of insecurity, lawlessness, looting and extortions within the political class and security operatives in the South East and South-South, and how the security personnels in these regions, both old and newly posited, collaborate with robbers and kidnappers to terrorize the people there. Also I will let the President see why it is wrong to give an award be it local, national or international to people just because the occupy high public positions, even when they have not performed.

The recent national honours conferred on the former speaker of the house of reps., some present public office holders including the police I.G, commerce and industry minister, senators, federal ministers, etc, is an insult to Nigerians. What was the basis and yardsticks for these awards. As the first Nigerian PhD holder to assume the presidency, we expect a clear departure from the failed leadership style of the past, but so far we have seen just very little from him in that regard. He seem to be maintaining the status quo. Obviousy, Mr President is not the best candidate in the political ring today. We need men of higher intellectual and perceptional capacity, and judgement at the presidency of the 21st century Nigeria.

Professor Pat. Utomi and a few others posses these pedigree and should do better. Mr. Donald Duke is certainly in a class of potentail great leaders and therefore may not disappoint the nation, if elected. But he will have hard time explaining to us how he became so rich in government. He is a product of the corrupt military and political class of 1990’s and 2000’s. Though Governors Babatunde Fashola and Chibuike Amechi are fisrt term governors, they have made tremendous marks on our political landscape. Fashola certinly is a man for tommorrow, not today. If keep his cool and continues his laudable projects in Lagos, he will go places, sooner than later. Gov. Amechi on the other hand needs to re-adjust his binoculars. Amechi has the tendency to be arrogant and disrespectful, and has exhibited this, time after time, and again he has a lot of tribal and fraternal attachments that may weigh him down when the time comes. He is certainly not using the best hands around to execute his projects and programmes. Most of his building and road projects are obviously poorly done.

Political patronage rather than professionalism definitly is the motive behind those contracts. Like “they” would say “we don’t want to give jobs to or empower those who will tommorrow use the money from our jobs to fight us.’ But they forget that these are State’s money and not theirs. Senator Ken Nnamani has been tested and found capable, he may be a good material for the presidency. Also senator Ayim Pius Ayim possess the fear of God that is rear today within the political class, so should be a big fish in the Nigeria waters. Vice President Namadi Sambo is a technocrat and carries himself well and therefore should deliever, but he needs to know that corruption can distroy a man faster than he struggled to climb. Retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu has proved himself worthy, though he needs to overcome youthful exuberance and zeal and get matured for a place of such importance. Mallam El-Rufai needs time and another opportunity to rewrite the ills of FCT days before he can be trusted again. But he is a good guy who slipped on the ladder of nepotism. He didn’t have to climb it, but he did. What a pity. Former President Babangida and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have looted enough and should be greatful to be enjoying the air of freedom still. General Buhari (rtd) is a gentleman to the core, a tested and proven leader, he is one of the rear breeds of the military, so he should be a hot cake in the political market. But his military background and non-strategic political moves may undermine his chances. For me he is good enough for the presidency. The present SSG of the federation, nay, of Nigeria, for there is nothing federation in our union as it stands today, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed is a presidentail materia and maybe one of the finest today from the North.Professor Bath Nnaji has the right credentails for the job and should be given an opportunity. ( Continues below..... )

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Chief Emeka Anyaoku has the requisite experience and exposure required today to move Nigeria forward, but age is definitely not in his favour for a 21st century presidency. Senator David Mark is a true Nigerian, accommodative and has done well as senate president, so he has no reason not to do better as president. Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, though not a politician has all it takes to give Nigeria world class leadership, he should be encouraged to run, if not in 2011 but soon.

I can’t understand why someone like that has never been nominated for a federal cabinet position nor asked to run for Governor. I don’t know of any Abian today that has better pedigree and credentails than Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa for the office of Governor. I suggest that He make himself available for that position in 2011. His time for that position may elapse after 2011. The world bank managing Director, Mrs Ngozi Okonji- Iweala is a gift to Abia, Delta and Nigeria. She has the capacity and intergrity to lead either Abia or Nigeria. But I know she may not fancy the idea of leaving such exalted position at the world bank to run for Governor of Abia. Her place may be at the presidency.

If Ngozi Okonji-Iweala and Sam Ohuabunwa would not run for governor in 2011, then let’s file behind people like Chief Ikechi Emenike, Chief Charles Okereke, Sir Alex Ottih or any other honorable man or woman, to give Abia good governance. There are so many other credible Nigerians and Abians that can bring the change we yearn for and need in 2011, whom we cannot particularly mention herein owing to time and space constraints, but whom we will present to Nigerians at before the elections, to see, judge, adopt and vote for.

Now back to the comments that were generated there, from that article: Ahead 2011- Abia loot causes political rift. There were many of them, but one by one so-called Onu Otile needed to be responded to here. Just like he claimed his name is, he is truly “onu-otile” Mr Onu Otile had stated therein “my dear Ochonma, you are but a drop of water in a political ocean and you can only make a tum noise,” He went further to insinuate that I was writing for PDP’s interest. Again Mr. Otile posited that APGA and Dim Emeka Ojukwu would bring the change we crave for in 2011, not just in Abia State but in the entire five South Eastern states.

Mr. Otile is certainly among the few disillusioned persons in Igboland today, who are not only politically naive, out-of-touch with present day realities, but also a supporter of the status quo in Abia. They forget that little drops of water make the ocean, as the saying goes. Again, Mr. Otile forgets that change does not just happen by themselves. They are caused to occur. There must be agents of change. And these are those who are not cynical, those who are not bought over and those who will maintain their courage and integrity, regardless. Mr. Otile and his pals forget that change means a shift from status quo. And that T.A., OUK, Paul, PPA and such wanted criminals in Abia represent our ugly immediate past. They certainly represent all we need and want to change, not just in Abia but in Nigeria too. Onu Otile, as he called himself, is not bold enough to mention his real name, he prefers to masqueared and hide in the dark, because his works are evil. Otile forgets that Dim Emeka and APGA have just opened their living rooms to welcome and hide a confirmed rogue. And in this case, they are all accomplices to those crimes against the state of Abia. So what kind of change will those rogues bring and for whom. Certainly not the kind we need and yearn for today both in abia and in Nigeria. They have looted Abia and therefore deserve only a change of environment: from freedom to incarceration. We should therefore not hesitate to give them passports to prison as they rightly deserve. But solitary confinement alone is not good enough. They should be made to return all their loots first, so we could use same to give Abians what was denied them for this long. ( Continues below….. )

Nigerian Flag

Photo Above: Nigerian Flag

It is therefore on this note that I agree with Mr. Obioma’s comment, on that same article, that those who are thinking that because T.A has gone to APGA, good things will come to Abia, are fools. Nothing can be far-fetched than that. It is without doubt a lie. APGA is a mere political creation of Man. APGA like any other party is controlled by men. And men’s activities are determined by their value systems. If T. A. likes let him join PDP, as he is likely to sooner or later, he will still have nothing to offer to Abia. Certainly, these men who were at the helm of affairs for the past eleven years plus, have very poor value systems. They represent the retrogressive and centrifugal forces that held the Abia project down for too long. You can not be a part of that kind of monumental looting and raping for II years plus and just wake up one morning to start preaching sanctimonious sermons. Such sermons are not only deceitful but insulting too. You needed to have apologized first, and then return all your loots, as a sign of genuine repentance and goodwill, before asking for our vote. You are insulting the intelligence of Abia voters. Do first thing first. Then and only then will Abians take you seriously. Jumping from one political Party to the other will not cover you.

Paul was commissioner for works and earned salaries and other emoulments for years, in addition to his own loots and yet he rendered no service whatsoever to Abia. No road was constructed, repaired or maintained, if they ever did, it ws insignificant and not commensurate with funds available, during this period under review. He never disagreed with his masters and did not resign voluntarily in protest but enjoyed the loot together with his bosses while it lasted. Now he too has jumped to AC or ACN and is preaching his own sermon now, “AC, only hope for Liberation.” what is Paul’s pedigree to desire to run for office of governor? How dare he talk of liberation, why did he not revolt or at least talk against the evil that went on for eleven whole years in Abia? He never opposed it, in fact, he benefited immensely from it and now he talks about liberation. What an insult. From whom or what is he liberating Abia, from himself or those like him? We know those who are wolves in sheep’s skin, and we will not be fooled this time around.

They can rejoin PDP, AC, APGA or any other party, for all I care. They conspired to destroy Abia, they conspired to de-roof Abia house, and now, they seek shelther in the same house, simply because the heat and rains are descending on them heavily. They de-rooted the Abia house; now let the rain drench them terribly. This is the consequences for their individual and collective actions. And mark my words, ‘nmeri ga ama ha nile.’ Make no mistake about that. He that sowed wind shall reap whirlwind. This is the law of nature. Now their harvest is just beginning.

Let me reiterate here that I am not a PDP member as at today. I have never belonged to any political party or movement in Nigeria before now. I am active and a contributory member of President Barack Obama’s organizing for America group. I co-signed the health care bill with him like any other member of that group. But I am a Nigerian and believe that we need to replicate what is happening in America here in Nigeria now. I am open to any political association or relationship that will best serve the interest of the majority of Nigerians. I don’t belong to the elites club and have never benefited from corrupt political class in Nigeria or elsewhere. So I can with good conscience do what I have to do, without fear or favour to anyone. I will join a party at the appropriate time and will make a different in whatever capacity I am mandated to serve, be it on an elective or appointive basis.

Yes, I have political ambition, because I believe that things are this bad in Nigeria today because there are not enough good men in our political rings. We can not sit on the fence and just keep critisizing. We must be willing to sacrifice to make our state and country better, for all.

The Nigeria political environment of 2010 and beyond is such that we should be looking beyond parties, to individual who can deliver, no matter their political inclinations. Credibility and integrity must come first. Some people have suggested that APGA will do well if given the opportunity in the east. Such persons have cited the case of Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra State to buttress their point. I cannot say for certain whether Obi is a success or not in government yet. It may be too early to conclude that. But like it or not, Obi was a successful businessman before joining politics, so if he fails in government I will be puzzled a great deal. T.A, OUK, Ohakim and so many others like them do not enjoy such pedigree as Obi. So it would be wrong to equalt Obi’s performance to APGA’S. There is simply no basis for such. This is also true of Lagos and Rivers governors. They are succeeding because they came with vision and mission. But this cannot be said of majority of the governors and political leaders in Nigeria too.

I am not a pastor or a prophet but let me predict based on my physic abilities, talents and experience that the game is up for those criminals in Abia. They knew that much themselves. Running back to PDP to seek the vice presidency or any other political relevance will not work. If the mission to go back to PDP was to hide under its umbrella, to run away from your crimes, you will be ulterly disappointed. 2011 is the “doomsday” for you all.

The PDP canopy may be large but it is certainly not big enough to hide all those criminals seeking it for cover. Like the police would say ’better come out and surrender’. The earlier the better. We need all that loots back to develop our state. You cannot run away from your crimes for too long.

To all Abians of goodwill, I say congregations, because our set time has come. Our time for change, liberation and quantum leaps has come. The Omnipotent has answered our prayers. All the night vigils for years have not been in vain. The miraculous will take place in 2011. The lion has roared, who will not fear, and the Lord God has spoken, who will but prophesy. Truly when the Omnipotence speaks the miraculous does take place. But who has believed our report and to whom is the Lord’s arms revealed?

Rejoice and be glad Nigerians for our God reigns and rules over the affairs of Nigeria. The Satans Eden built by those evil men will be turn down. All people of goodwill in Abia state, hold on, faint not, help is on the way. To all Nigerians of goodwill, hold on, help is on the way. I see a silverlining in the sky and I know the sun will arise on your behalf for good. Watch out for the people candidates for 2011 on For those who are still fearful and therefore keep silent because of probable evil that will be targetted at them, let me encourage you as Peter did in 1Peter 3:14-17 ‘ And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good, but if you suffer for goodness sake, be happy and not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, for it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing than for evil doing.’ Follow Nigerians, hold on and faint not, help is on the way. Till next time,

With loyalty and humility,

Yours in national service,

Engr. Steve Ochonma


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