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Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has given assurance that the construction work on the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport would be ready within the stipulated time.

Ayade, who gave the assurance while inspecting the project on Sunday at Obudu, however, did not state the exact time the airport would be ready for inauguration and operation.

The governor expressed satisfaction with the speed of work at the project site in Obudu, saying that the number of contractors engaged in the project would ensure completion in stipulated time.

“I am quite excited at the progress of work so far, we have five subcontractors working here at the Obudu International passenger/cargo airport and we hope to be done with all the earthworks in the next four months.

“The contract was only awarded earlier this year and they moved to site about two months ago and they have achieved about 35 per cent in terms of job completion.

“We are passionate about this project, we are very aggressive about this project, you can see the number of equipment and different subcontractors on site,” he said.

He said that the airport project and the state-owned airline, Cally Air, had been positioned to change the economic narrative of the state by increasing its tourism potentials.

“The Cally Air is completely set up to drive traffic into the state. If you take Emirates out of Dubai, you will have no Dubai, therefore we must understand the fact that logistics is key in today’s world.

“No matter how much you want to depend on a digital world, some physical movement remains imperative,” he added.

Ayade noted that the airport is a vital life wire for the Obudu Cattle Ranch.

He explained that the facility has the capacity to meet Nigeria’s tourism needs, hence the need to create higher footfalls and densification for the ranch.

“To achieve this, access is critical. You cannot have access to Obudu Cattle Ranch even if you were to come in from Lagos, for example.

“You will have to land in Calabar and then you have to deal with six hours of travel time by road to get to the Ranch, which is quite discouraging.

“Tourism cannot be tolerated; tourism is a pleasure. When it becomes tolerance it becomes torture.

“So, we needed to deal with the access because even if I have to put gold in the Ranch nobody will come unless the access to the Ranch is very convenient.

“Beyond increasing footfalls to the Ranch, the main objective of the airport is to create an industrialization process that will give every industry in the state an export potential.

“You have to invest in Naira and earn in dollar for this country to grow,” Ayade said.
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ICT, TRAVEL
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) said it has secured certification for 24 newly recruited air traffic controllers.

NAMA said that the certification, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Organization (NCAA), came after the trainees had successfully completed the necessary training and examinations on Aerodrome and Approach Control.

In a statement in Lagos, on Sunday, the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said that the recruitment was part of the bid to boost capacity and efficiency of air traffic management in the country.

Akinkuotu said that the new air traffic controllers were currently being posted to strategic aerodromes in the country based on need.

In a similar vein, the agency has also recertified a total of 30 air traffic controllers in different categories of air traffic control, including Terminal Approach Radar, Area Procedural Control, he announced.

” We also recertified in Area Surveillance Control after passing the required proficiency/rating tests and certified mentally fit, in line with Annex 1 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and part II of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR),” he stated.

Akinkuotu recalled that from year 2020 to date, the agency had recertified a total of 194 air traffic controllers, in addition to their periodic training and retraining.

He added that the effort was targeted at keeping them abreast with the latest skills and technology in air traffic management, to ensure they remained globally competitive.

The NAMA chief executive also revealed that in order to reduce delays and congestion in the nation’s airspace, the agency had commenced the construction of Aerodrome and Approach Control simulators.

The ongoing facilities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, as a pilot project, would later be replicated in Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, Akinkuotu said, while assuring that the safety of the Nigerian airspace remained a cardinal goal of the agency.

He urged air traffic controllers to continue putting in their best in order to justify government’s huge investment in critical infrastructure, as well as on the capacity of personnel.

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Government, TRAVEL

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed his administration’s readiness to partner and synergise with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other federal agencies in areas of comparative advantages for the growth and development of the State and Federal Government.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh and other top officials of the federal agency, paid a courtesy visit to Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday.

The Governor while stressing the need for collaboration between Lagos State Government and the federal agency, enjoined NIMASA to work with the State in the areas of certification and training for small boat operators, removal of wreckages, improved coastline rotation and clearing of the waterways.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed that Lagos State is responsible for over 70 per cent maritime activities in Nigeria, said the State Government has put in place many plans and policies to improve the blue economy in Nigeria through business opportunities in the maritime sector.

He said the Lekki Deep Port will be commissioned before the end of his administration to decongest the Apapa Port, noting that several investments that Lagos is making in the maritime sector when completed will increase businesses and revenues for NIMASA.

“We are at the stage of completing 15 jetties in the state. We have moved over 250,000 passengers through our ferry services in less than a year. Our plan is to develop the waterways where people do a lot. It is a deliberate strategy we need to look at.

“As a government, we are ready to work hand in hand with you. We will commission the Lekki Port before the end of this administration so we can decongest Apapa. We are willing and ready. We want to see that real synergy,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA commended Lagos State Government for ensuring that the State is the safest maritime domain in the country based on how the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration has addressed insecurity in the State.

Jamoh, who disclosed that 70 to 80 per cent of the goods coming in and out of the country are from Lagos, noted that in spite of high rate of insecurity in the maritime sector in the country, Lagos remains the only state that has the highest maritime security.

The DG of NIMASA said the maritime industry, if well harnessed could help the country diversify and end its reliance on oil, adding that the Blue economy, which is the use of the ocean for economic growth, will increase livelihood and enhance the wellbeing of our people.

He said the areas of partnership between Lagos State Government and NIMASA, will include fishery, safety on the waterways, ferry services, waste management on the sea, extension and development of the shipping industry.

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Health, LIFE STYLE, TRAVEL

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a Lassa fever Public health advisory to Nigerians.

In the advisory, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that people of all age groups who come in contact with the urine, faeces, saliva or blood of rats are at risk of getting Lassa fever.

Others at risk, he said, are people living in rat infested environments which increase their chances of coming in contact with rats and people who consume potentially contaminated food stuff especially those left open over-night or dried outside in the open.

Others, he said, are people who handle or process rodents for consumption and people who do not perform hand hygiene when appropriate.

To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, Ihekweazu advised Nigerian to ensure proper environmental sanitation, keep their environments clean at all times and block all holes in homes to prevent rats from entry.

“Cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Communities should setup dump sites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes.

“Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize in containers which are well covered with tight fitting lids.

”Avoid drying food stuff outside on the floor, roadside where it will be exposed to contamination. Avoid bush burning which can lead to displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings.

“Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means. Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water /or use of hand sanitizers when appropriate.

”Visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, avoid self-medication,” he advised.

The NCDC boss advised healthcare workers to practice standard precautions at all times: i.e. wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill patient and relative.

He also called on healthcare workers to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever i.e. be vigilant and lookout for signs and symptoms of Lassa fever.

“Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics should raise an index of suspicion for Lassa fever.

”Relatives who care for sick persons with unexplained illnesses at home, including: doctors, nurses and other health workers providing direct patient care in the absence of standard precautions must be cautious.

“To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, the hospital staff must clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, materials and supplies with adequate protective gear,” he said.

The NCDC activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with an inter-disciplinary, multi-partner technical team to ensure a well-coordinated response and swift control of Lassa fever outbreaks across affected states.

Confirmed cases are being treated in the designated treatment centers in the affected states following optimized standard of care protocols. Guidelines for appropriate case management and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures have been disseminated to the different states.

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TRAVEL

The 43KM Obajana-Kabba road constructed by Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has been described by motorists as the country’s most strategic highway that is aiding travelers between the North and the South.

Olatunbosun O. Kalejaiye, the Project Director, said he was excited that the Corporate Social Responsibility Project is being delivered for use by Nigerians, adding that while the rigid pavement has been completed, the company was dressing the shoulders.

Site Engineer Samuel Obosi assured that the dual carriage way will be durable and less susceptible to potholes and repairs like asphalt road, adding that it would crash the rate of road accident in the country.

Motorists said it is now one of the busiest roads linking the two regions in the country.

“Thank God it is a concrete road. It can withstand any heavy duty vehicle,” Alhaji Lamidi Sikiru, a driver expressed optimism.

John Moses, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, said his taxi business is booming compared to when the road was very deplorable with potholes and barely used by motorists.

A community leader of Apa Bunu Kingdom and spokesperson for the community Sam Omosayil commended the Dangote Group, saying that the road has attracted a lot of businesses along the road.

Traditional and community leaders eulogized the President of the Dangote Group.

The Bajana of Obajana Land, King Idowu Senibi described the project as gigantic and the first of its kind anywhere in Nigeria.

“Dangote is our son. We would protect his huge investment and gigantic concrete road. I am happy that this is happening in my lifetime and in my Kingdom. This is a great opportunity for us and many generations to come. Our society will be opened as you can see vehicles and commercial activities have started coming up. May God Almighty bless Dangote and all his staff.”

Speaking in the same vein, the traditional head of Akpata Land Frederick Durojaiye Balogun said his people were very proud of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, adding that the Dangote Cement, Obajana plant, which is the single largest cement plant in the world, has brought honour and respect to their Kingdoms.

“His presence has brought a total turnaround in our lives. Also permit me to appreciate the Federal Government for this joint effort. We are very grateful,” he said.

Speaking, the King of Okebunku Land in Kabba Bunu Local Government, Timothy Omonile commended the President of the Dangote Group and charged other philanthropists to emulate him, adding that that is the only way Nigeria can develop its economy and infrastructure.

He said the construction of the road has helped cut down the rate of criminality in the state, while describing the Group President of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as God sent.

Rechel Olatunji, a businesswoman said she makes more money now and that business is booming because of the road.

Another businesswoman Veronica Samuel prayed fervently for the Dangote Group, adding that the new road has changed her life, and enabled her to sponsor her children to school.

Worried by the huge sum of money used in road repairs, President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote had said plans were afoot to revolutionize Nigerian roads with concrete, stressing that resources used in road repairs and maintenance would be channeled to other more important needs of the nation.

“We are going to be building concrete roads in the country so that anytime we build a road, we do not have to go back to repair after the third raining season, but move on and use the resources to address other pressing needs of Nigeria,” Mr. Dangote had said.

It would be recalled that as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), the Dangote Group had earlier commissioned the 26 km Itori-Ibese Concrete Road.

At the commissioning, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had noted that the stride by the Dangote Group demonstrated the unwavering commitments of an indigenous investor towards the industrialization of Nigeria.

A statement from the Corporate Communications Department of the Dangote Group said: “Concrete road last longer than asphalt roads and do not have potholes. It does not require frequent maintenance as asphalt roads. It saves fuel for motorists and protects tyres from wear and tears.”

The statement said it is part of the Group’s determination to support government and Nigerians in order to grow the economy and facilitate ease of doing business.

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