Based on the findings of a recent investigation, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency will require as much as N50 billion to fix bad and weak airspace communication and ground-based equipment.
The money will specifically be set aside for the repairs of satellite and navigational equipment such as Very High-Frequency Radio (VHF Radio) Category, Three Instrument Landing Systems, Distance Measuring Equipment, and other critical air navigation infrastructure.
Part of the money will also be spent on providing a secondary source of power through the installation of solar panels. This will serve some highly sophisticated ground-based en-route navigation equipment located at remote locations across the country.
NAMA needs money: According to sources, the agency’s budgetary provisions cannot match the huge cost for its equipment upgrade. Note that the agency mostly operates in a self-sustaining mode.
In the meantime, NAMA has already started receiving complaints from pilots over the poor state of communication in the Nigerian aviation industry.
Communication challenges: Questions has been tabled by pilots to NAMA concerning the issue facing communication. The pilots have also urged the government to take urgent steps to address the communication challenges in the air space with a view to averting air accidents.
The Chief Pilot of Med-View Airline, Captain Stephen Fevrier, recently stated that pilots fly in unsafe airspace in the country owing to a poor communication system.
“I came to Nigeria about 12 years ago and the first thing that we were told to learn as pilots is to say break-break when you get into the airspace and that is because the airspace is congested. I must say that the airspace is still congested and unsafe for pilots to fly.”
He went further to add that when flying from Lagos to Abuja, pilots often lose contact with the Lagos control tower 200 miles into the airspace. The same situation occurs between Port Harcourt and Abuja, he said. Even when flying into Nigerian airspace from Jeddah, pilots hardly communicate effectively with the control tower in Kano, the pilot revealed.
This scary situation should never be.
[ALSO READ: Stakeholders want FG to merge Aero and Arik Air]
Arik Air’s Safety Manager, Captain Jide Bakare, also spoke about the risks posed by poor communication equipment. He noted that the biggest issue that Nigerian pilots are currently grappling with is the problem of communication in the airspace.
“There are so many issues but communication is one of the biggest challenges that we face as pilots in Nigerian airspace.”
Foreign airlines still fly: An official of the agency said that despite the challenges of communication in the airspace, foreign airlines still make use of Nigerian airspace.
The source added that requests for more flight frequencies by some airlines including Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines do not align with reports suggesting that airlines are avoiding Nigeria.
He further stated that no pilot or airline would embark on a suicidal mission to fly into any country’s airspace if her skies are not safe.
FURTHER READ: Arik Air is attractive to investors under AMCON
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 18th of September 2020, 221 new confirmed cases and 1 death were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 56,956 confirmed cases.
On the 18th of September 2020, 221 new confirmed cases and 1 death were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 56,956 cases have been confirmed, 48,305 cases have been discharged and 1,094 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321 tests have been carried out as of September 18th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 56,956
- Total Number Discharged – 48,305
- Total Deaths – 1,094
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 221 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (59), Abia (46), FCT (22), Gombe (20), Plateau (17), Rivers (11), Bauchi (7), Benue (6), Ekiti (6), Imo (6), Kaduna (4), Kwara (4), Ondo (4), Ogun (3), Osun (3), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1), Kano (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,827, followed by Abuja (5,526), Oyo (3,226), Plateau (3,192), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,326), Rivers (2,220), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,758), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,594), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,035), Kwara (1,013), Abia (881), Katsina (845), Osun (810), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).
Imo State has recorded 557 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (447), Bayelsa (394), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (313), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (250), Anambra (232), Adamawa (230), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (73), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
BREAKING: Fire guts fuel tanker, vehicles at Anthony, Lagos
The tanker conveying PMS lost control while in motion and subsequently fell sideways.
There is a fire outbreak, which has gutted a fuel tanker, at Anthony inward Gbagada, Lagos State.
This was disclosed by the Federal Fire Service via its Twitter handle on Friday evening. The incident, which occurred around 10 pm, has razed at least two vehicles.
First responders and other Emergency agencies are already at the scene of explosion in Anthony, Lagos State, Nigeria. Please avoid the area, take alternative routes.
— Federal Fire Service (@Fedfireng) September 18, 2020
The agency urged road users to avoid the area and take alternative routes.
Also, the Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Agency, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed the incident.
He said, “The Agency responded to distress calls and upon arrival at the scene of incident, it was discovered that a tanker with unknown registration number conveying PMS lost control while in motion and subsequently fell sideways.
“This led to an explosion in which two unidentified vehicles were burnt.”
A joint team of responders led by the Federal Fire Service, LASEMA, LASG fire service, LRU fire unit, Nigeria Police and LASTMA are working together to curb the inferno from escalating further.
Details soon …
Facebook to open Lagos office in 2021
When the social media giant comes to Nigeria, it will be its second office on the African continent.
Social Media giant, Facebook announced it would open an office in Lagos in 2021, its second office in the continent and the first in Africa to house software engineers.
This was announced by Facebook Program Manager, Chimdindu Aneke on social media. “We are opening a Facebook office in Lagos, Nigeria later in 2021,” he said.
We are opening a Facebook office in Lagos, Nigeria later in 2021. 😍😍😍
— Chimdi Aneke (@chimdinduaneke) September 18, 2020
He added that the office would be the first in Africa by Facebook for the purpose of engineering and “building for the future of Africa and beyond”.
Media aide to the Presidency, Tolu Ogunlesi quoted Facebook saying, “As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.”
“Lagos, Nigeria, September 18, 2020/ — As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, @Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.”#InvestNigeria 🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) September 18, 2020
In 2019, Facebook’s biggest market in Africa was Nigeria with 33 million monthly active users.