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Air Peace transports 274 Israelis from Nigeria

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Air Peace evacuates 301 Chinese out of Nigeria

Air Peace says 274 Israelis were evacuated from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIA) to Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Mr Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, made this known on Sunday in a statement in Lagos.

Onyema said the flight, which transported 65 passengers from Lagos and proceeded to Abuja to transport another 209, was operated by Air Peace Boeing 777-300 with registration number 5N-BWI.

He described the flight as historical, saying, “it is the first time Nigeria and Israel would have a direct flight”.

Onyema expressed hope that subsequently, the two countries would have scheduled direct flight between Lagos and Tel-Aviv.

“It is a historic day for both Nigeria and Israel. History has been made today; 60 years of diplomatic relations, no direct flight has been conducted between Nigeria and Israel till today.

“So, this is the first time Nigeria and Israel will have direct air connectivity.

“So, it is a historic day, and it is going to portend greater things that will come, both countries have a lot to gain by having direct flights.

“Nigeria is a land of huge potential, which Israel may be willing to tap into, while Nigeria will want to tap into science and technology, which Israel is known for.

“I really want to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for making this possible.

“Previous administrations were unable to pull this through, but this government did it. We have a compassionate government, that I can tell you,” he added.

According to him, it is difficult to get flight permits, even during this critical period of emergencies from other countries, but Nigeria did not waste a second to approve this flight.

“The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, approved the request the moment it was presented to him.

“All the heads of aviation agencies gave their supports, which made the flight possible. So, it is the government that made the evacuation possible,” Onyema said.

He said the Israel Government also gave its support and allowed for the first time a Nigerian airline to operate direct flight to Israel, noting that this was something good for both countries, good for our diplomatic relations.

“So, I feel proud; I fell privileged to be part of this history, and I thank God Almighty for it. We have to build from here now going forward,” the Air Peace chairman said.

He also said that the COVID-19 storm would be over someday.

“When it is over, we look forward to do scheduled direct flight to Israel; at least twice a week to Tel-Aviv; this will help boost business relations between both countries.

“So, there is a lot to be gained instead of people going through different countries before getting to Israel.

“For Israelis to get to their country, they spent about 18 hours for just about five hours flight from Nigeria.

“They were happy and clapping for the Nigerian Government and for the Israeli Government for making this happen today. So, I say kudos to the Buhari administration for making this come through,” Onyema said.

Responding, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, expressed happiness for the successful evacuation of his country’s citizens from Nigeria.

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Ben-Shoshan commended the chairman of Air Peace, for his invaluable contribution in making the air transport possible.

“Thank you so much for this cooperation with us. We will work together.

“During this operation, I will work with you hand by hand. I can say that you are the darling of the Nigerian people, but you are my hero. Thank you so much,” Ben-Shoshan.

Also, an Israeli official, who superintended the process from Lagos, but wished not to be named, said it was because of the Coronavirus pandemic that Israel decided to evacuate its citizens.

“This is to enable them to have access to better medical facilities and personnel in Israel than in Nigeria.

“We are evacuating because of the Coronavirus and the situation in Nigeria, which could become serious.

“You see what is happening all over the world. So for us to protect our citizens better, we take them home to get better health service.

“If something happens to you here you go to a private hospital, not a government hospital; but in Israel, we have government hospitals. By God’s grace we hope to have direct flight subsequently,” the official said.

Commenting, the Air Peace Station Manager at MMIA, Mr Lenard Olisakwe, expressed happiness that Israel chose Nigerian airline to evacuate its citizens to Israel.

Olisakwe said: “It is not easy to be patronised by Israelis who are highly security conscious, having to say, yes I am handing over the lives of my citizens to a particular airline is a big one.

“I was excited too because for them to choose Air Peace they must have done a lot of homework because they are not frivolous people.

“We are operating from both Abuja and Lagos. It is a transit flight. We will take them to Abuja International Airport where the other passengers will join and from Abuja to Tel-Aviv.

“It is about five hours flight. We are using one of our B777-300 BWI. It is one of the best we have,” he said.

 

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Computer Village: Community seeks LASG intervention over looming crisis

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The Ogunbiyi Community Development Association (CDA) in the Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State has urged the state government to intervene over alleged constant harassment by hoodlums at the Ikeja Computer Village market.

Mr. Timi Davies, Vice Chairman, Ogunbiyi CDA, who also doubled as the chairman of a coalition of associations in Computer Village, told newsmen on Wednesday that his people were tired of constant harassment on residents by thugs.

Reports have it that the trader’s shutdown the biggest ICT market on Saturday in protest against the constant assault on the people by some hoodlums.

Trouble started on Saturday when the CDA erected a gate at Idowu Lane in the market which was allegedly removed and carted away on the order of the Iyaloja who also ordered the arrest of t two men, including the CDA Chairman.

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Davis urged the state government to come to its aid and intervene before the matter degenerated into a major crisis in the community.

He said, “This is an ICT business hub, this is not a market where they sell pepper and tomatoes, therefore, installing Babaloja and Iyaloja here is a misnomer. Computer Village does not belong to the market women association for Christ’s sake.

“We have made our position clear that we do not want these people, they do not represent us because we have our own different associations to which we belong.

“Moreover, they have continued to harass and assault people here to the extent that customers are already running away from the business environment for fear of being harassed.

“What happened Saturday is that the CDA erected a gate at Idowu lane to protect the market from burglars which were witnessed during the lockdown.

“We approached the local government, being our supervising body, and we were given the approval, but in the evening, Iyaloja sent hoodlums to remove the gate while she also ordered the arrest of the CDA chairman and others.

“Their offense for being arrested was that they didn’t take permission from Iyaloja and Babaloja before erecting the gate to protect their goods from being stolen.”

Davis said that the traditional title of Iyaloja or Babaloja did not give them permission to govern the community which was under the CDA created by the law of the state.

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He called on the state government to intervene to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the area.

Reacting, the Iyaoloja of Computer Village market, Mrs. Abimbola Azeez-Isokpehi said “the Idowu Lane where the gate was erected had always been part of Computer Village.”

Azeez-Isokpehi said there was arch built by TECNO mobile with signboards of Iyaloja which was erected at all the entrances of Computer Village.

“Suddenly, some people just thought they can cordon off Idowu Lane, claiming it is not part of Computer Village and they want to be alone.

“These unscrupulous elements wanted to try my authority by removing Idowu Lane as part of Computer Village.

“That was why they went to erect the gate there without my knowledge and I cannot be looking for people who hold the keys to the market when I am in charge,” she said.

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Lockdown: Abubakar Rimi Market, Kano. loses over N15m revenue

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The management of the Abubakar Rimi Market, Kano, says it has lost over N15 million in revenue since the lockdown of the state aimed at curbing COVID-19 spread.

Mr. Muhammad Bashir, the market’s Director of Administration and General Services, gave the figure while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Kano.

“As a result of this loss, we cannot even pay our staff salaries; we pay our staff from the revenue we generate.

“Every month, we generate over N12 million out of which we normally spend over N8 million as workers’ salaries,” he said.

Bashir said that huge business activities in the market were making social distancing difficult.

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The director said that the management of the market had, however, received over 20,000 face masks from the Kano State Government for distribution to traders and customers to reduce COVID-19 spread.

Bashir appealed to the state government to assist the management with funds to enable it to pay workers’ salaries.

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The director said that payment of workers’ salaries would reduce hardship induced by the 45-day-old lockdown.

He hailed the state government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tanzanian gov’t to crack down on hiking of sugar price

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Tanzanian Authorities said on Wednesday it will launch a crackdown on sugar traders who have been hiking the price.

Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture, said the crackdown followed complaints from the public that traders sold the commodity higher than the indicative price set by the government.

“The crackdown will target one shop after another and traders, who are found for hiking price of sugar, will face the full force of the law,’’ said Hasunga.

“If there are traders who think the crackdown is a joke, let them continue selling the commodity at a high price.

“They should not blame anyone when they face the music,’’ added the minister.

On April 24, the government announced an indicative price of the commodity, which is 2,600 Tanzanian shillings (about $1.12) a kilogram, after sugar price had gone up.

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The rise in sugar price was allegedly attributed to traders, who had hoarded the commodity in warehouses, to create an artificial shortage.

Hasunga said Tanzania’s sugar demand stood at 470,000 tons a year, while the country’s five sugar processing factories had the capacity of producing 378,000 tons in 2019.

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