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Is Murtala Mohammed Int’l Airport Truly International



By Eric Elezuo

The Murtala Mohammed international Airport located in the heart of Ikeja, Lagos, is probably Nigeria’s most important airport. Not only that; it is Nigeria’s pioneer airport, and has played the big brother role ever since it was officially public in 1979 by the General Olusegun Obasanjo administration. But many years after, the airport is still struggling to find its feet among the league of prolific international airports across the world.

Originally known as Lagos International Airport, it was renamed in the mid 1970s, during construction of the new international terminal, after a former military head of state Murtala Mohammed. The international terminal was modelled after Amsterdam Airport Schipol. The new terminal opened officially on 15 March 1979.

The airport which occupies a massive land space could be described as just a massive edifice that is just there, a typical example of a whited sepulcher which somehow presents an atmosphere of activity from the outside while the inside of full of rot and smelly flesh.

The MMA as it is popularly known has had its fair share of notoriety. From 1992 through 2000, the US Federal Aviation Administration posted warning signs in all US international airports advising travelers that security conditions at Lagos Airport did not meet ICAO minimum standards. In 1993, the FAA suspended air service between Lagos and the United States.

The FAA ended its suspension of direct flights to Nigeria in 2001 in recognition of certain security improvements. By 2010, the FAA granted the airport its highest safety rating. These were laudable achievements, but how far have they sustained.

The frustrations of a would-be passenger or a visitor to the airport is developed once he decides his trip, and is heightened as he embarks on the trip to the large expanse of land. The feeling becomes real as he makes a gradual entry into space.

Dilapidated walkway

If you are driving your own car, you are inundated with the depression that comes with moving up to the arrival or departure section depending on whether you are boarding or coming to ‘pick up’. On the other hand, if you are chauffeured in a public transport, the driver transfers the aggression to the passenger as his constant sighing and complaints get to the nerve. He follows it up with the hike of the fares with the excuse that ‘shebi you don see how much time I don waste here’.

At the garage, one is face with the fact that only one shuttle bus is functional among the lot, consequently, it is either you excruciating time waiting or take the inglorious option of trekking the distance. More often than not, the later had been the most preferred the loads one is carrying not withstanding.

The walkway to and fro the halls of the airport are quite a sight to behold. It appears clean but not neat. It can be compared to a footpath connecting two remote villages with the green-netted fence like heaps of unkempt and overgrown grass. The roof of the walkway has carved in, leaving people at the mercy of the elements even as they are supposedly under a shade. A handful of cleaners are also sighted attempting to do a job, but they more the brushes and brooms touch the floor, the more discomfort everyone around becomes. This is because each contact the broom makes with the ground raises lots of sandy dust, constituting serious health hazard.

At the entrances, one is confronted by the presence of agile, able looking security operatives, but you will be surprised to discover that they are just on duty but never alert. Their routine is just ordinary as there is no gadget to ascertain the eligibility of the one entering the airport halls. You are checked for identification, your baggage thrown into the electronic roller, and you are good to go.

Inside, there is a plethora of forlorn looking faces, either at the departure hall where they are checking in to jet out or at the arrival hall where the returnees are making an entry into the Nigerian world. Passengers complained of long hours of queuing before any activity is initiated. While most of them said there is a marked improvement irrespective of the shabby treatment, ‘considering how it used to be in the past’ others agreed that ‘we are just going round and round a circle’.

Non functioning lifts

If you would want to move upstairs, you had better be strong enough to climb the staircase, as the lift ‘is not working’. It has been closed for sometime, and little effort is being made to put them to work again. However, to the average Nigerian, who has little knowledge of the airport facilities, especially as they are in countries in Europe, America and other parts of the world, the toilets look clean. But the Murtala Mohammed toilets are actually far from clean

A passenger, Friday Omorogbe, who was traveling to Belgium recounted nasty experiences he had with security guards at the airport concluding that they were selective in the search, and only needed someone to give them money.

“When I was coming to Nigeria from Belgium, I was hushed to a rude stop by the guards. The surprising fact was that a lot of white folks had passed before me and were still passing; but none of them was disturbed until it got to my turn. They rudely set me apart, asked silly questions about what I was carrying and even searched. All they wanted me to do was give them money. Why did they have to single us out, blacks, for such harsh treatment and accord the whites free passage? Not even in Belgium, but here in Nigeria,” he said.

Interior floors

Omorogbe noted that the ‘only thing that makes this place an airport is the fact that planes land and take off here’, stressing that facilities have greatly decayed and services half-heartedly given.

“The last time I was here, the whole roof was leaking, and the cleaners were packing water from the floor. Imagine, international airport. In Europe, the floors of their airport are a beauty to behold, but look at these ones here, “he added.

Another lady, who was traveling to the United States with her family frowned at the infrastructural decay of the airport, saying ‘it is not up to standard; I don’t even want to talk about it, but I would get there one day’.

For Anthony Raphael, who was traveling to Dubai, his message is simple; ‘we will get there one day’. He wants the authorities to look into the issues of flight delays and rehabilitation of infrastructures to actually have an international status and outlook.

With the return of Haji Srika as the Minister of Aviation and the unbundling of the aviation sector to be become a separate ministry away from transportation, stakeholders believe that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and other international airports around the country will begin to experience a turn around that will eventually elevate it to really international status.

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Police Arrest Four Yoruba Nation Agitators for Seizing Radio Station




Some Yoruba Nation agitators, on Sunday morning, seized Radio Nigeria, Amuludun FM 99.1 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, taking over broadcast for more than one hour.

A source told The PUNCH Metro that the agitators, who besieged the station around 5:40 am in an 18-seater bus, were armed with dangerous weapons and charms, threatening to deal decisively with any staff member who refused to cooperate with them.

However, four out of the agitators, among whom was a woman, were arrested by the police with the assistance of the Nigerian army, while others ran into different directions to evade arrest.

One of the arrested agitators, who sustained gunshot wounds, had rushed into the studio to tell others that security operatives had taken over the nooks and crannies of the station. The blood stain was seen in the studio.

An investigation by our correspondent revealed that after holding some night duty staff and security guards hostage, the agitators hijacked the studio and announced live on radio “Welcome to Yoruba Nation.”

An impeccable source further said they continued threatening staff members to remove all Nigeria flags in the station and replace them with Yoruba Nation flags as they have already taken over the Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

It was further learnt that they initially hijacked some commercial vehicles (Micra) to block the main road.

When our correspondent visited the station at J&P Bus-stop, Moniya in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state, more than 20 operational vehicles of security agents, including Department of State Services were sighted at strategic locations to forestall any eventuality.

Confirming the invasion, the most senior staff on duty, Ajayi Omotola, stated that, “They told us that they are Yoruba Nation agitators. And in their T-shirt, there was that inscription there. They wrote Yoruba Nation. Only six persons came inside the studio with different charms threatening to kill us if we failed to cooperate. Others were outside manning security at different areas within the premises.

“They collected all our phones and threatened to kill us if we made any noise or phone calls. They said they wanted to broadcast live that Yoruba Nation has taken over. We should remove all Nigeria flags in our studio and replace it with their own. They didn’t allow anybody to go outside. The Area Commander came, addressed and even pleaded with them but they ignored him. We later heard sporadic shooting outside. So, one of our staff members then came inside to inform us that police and soldiers had arrived,” Omotola stressed.

As of press time, normalcy had returned while stern-looking security operatives were still manning the station.

The Punch

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76th Cannes Film Festival Ends with Bang




The stars on parade at 76th Festival de Cannes


By Michael Effiong

The colour, the glamour, the style and class of the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival ends today with a big bang.

Festival de Cannes, the film industry’s most prestigious festival will take place at 8:30 pm and will be broadcast live on France 2 and internationally on Brut.

The Jury, presided over by director Ruben Östlund and including director Maryam Touzani, actor Denis Ménochet, writer/director Rungano Nyoni, actress/director Brie Larson, actor/director Paul Dano, writer Atiq Rahimi, director Damián Szifron and director Julia Ducournau, will select the winners from the 21 films in Competition this year.

Actress Anaïs Demoustier, President of the Jury, will hand out the Caméra d’or award to the best first film. Actress Stacy Martin and director Ildikó Enyedi, President of the Short Film and La Cinef Jury, will award the Palme d’or for short films.

Actor Orlando Bloom will hand out the Jury Prize. Actor Song Kang-ho, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actor for Broker and actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi, last year’s winner of the Best Performance by an Actress for Holy Spider, will award the Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actor Prizes respectively.


Actor John C. Reilly, President of the Un Certain Regard Jury, will award the Best Screenplay Prize, while Pete Docter, Creative Director of Pixar Studios, will present the Best Director Prize.


The Festival de Cannes will also be honored by the exceptional presence tonight of legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, who will present the Grand Prix alongside virtuoso Quentin Tarantino.


Finally, the prestigious Palme d’or will be presented by the formidable and inspiring Jane Fonda.


The Closing Ceremony will mark the end of the 76th Festival de Cannes, and will be followed by the screening of Peter Sohn‘s film Elementary in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.


The 21 films competing for the Palme d’or this year are : Firebrand by Karim Aïnouz, Asteroid City by Wes Anderson, Rapito (Kidnapped)(Kidnapped) by Marco Bellocchio, Les Filles d’Olfa (Four Daughters)(Four Daughters) by Kaouther Ben Hania, L’Été dernier (Last Summer) (Last Summer) by Catherine Breillat, Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)(About Dry Grasses) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Le Retour (Homecoming) by Catherine Corsini, The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, Club Zero by Jessica Hausner, May December by Todd Haynes, Monster by Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen Leaves)(Fallen Leaves) by Aki Kaurismäki, The Old Oak by Ken Loach, Il Sol dell’ avvenire (A Brighter Tomorrow)(A Brighter Tomorrow) by Nanni Moretti, La Chimera by Alice Rohrwacher, Black Flies by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, Banel e Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy, La Passion de Dodin Bouffant (The Pot-au-Feu) (The Pot-au-Feuby Tran Anh Hùng, Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall) (Anatomy of a Fallby Justine Triet, Jeunesse (Le Printemps) (Youth (Spring))(Youth (Spring)) by Wang Bing, Perfect Days by Wim Wenders.

The Closing ceremony, usually a wonderful evening to behold will be broadcast in English and French by Brut.

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Delta Beyond Drugs: Bishop Aruakpor Receives Silec Initiatives




In preparation for the forthcoming Delta Beyond Drugs Project in Delta State, the SILEC Initiatives team paid a visit to the Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Oleh Church of Nigeria, The Rt. Rev’d John Usiwoma Aruakpor. The solidarity visit was led by the Founder/President Silec Initiatives, Amb. Sunny Irakpo, a U.S Government Sponsored Exchange Alumni who was invited by the U.S Government to participate in the prestigious international Visitor’s Leadership Exchange Program of the Department of State in 2019.

Upon his return from the States, the anti-drug ambassador has continued to sensitize the public on the dangers of drug abuse in Nigeria where he currently floats the Delta Beyond Drugs Project to compliment the efforts of the State Government in order to help address the heightened state of drugs and substance abuse.

Irakpo, intimated the plans of the DBD Project to the Diocesan who keep championing innovative projects in Isoko especially the just concluded School of Nursing , Hospital and many other ongoing projects for the Isoko nation. He hinted that the primary objective of the DBD Project is to sensitize the youths and parents alike about the dangers of drug abuse with the various experimentations presently ongoing amongst youths.

He voiced that drug abuse has eaten deeply into the fabric of the society, and the illicit are experimentation by the youths with different hazardous chemicals/ drugs on a regular basis which is even harmful to their health and that the need to address this ugly trends claiming the lives of promising youths in the state is now.

The trend which has become very worrisome in Isokoland and other parts of Delta state, need the attention of all stakeholders to participate in the wellbeing and wellness of our youths and society.

While he appreciated the clergyman for given them the opportunity to collaborate with the church, also related that Silec Initiatives is one of the most active anti-drug NGO in Nigeria, and as a pragmatic organization that has contributed immensely to the fight against drugs merchandise with empirical evidences, remain an NGO recognized at the international level for their exception capacity in the fight against drug abuse in Nigeria for over a decade.

In his response, Bishop Aruakpor was very happy, impressed and proud with the Founder Silec Initiatives Sunny Irakpo for making the Isoko nation proud in Nigeria and across the global space.

And that seeing a young man with such laudable vision with thought provoking ideas and concept is an indication that Isoko nation is on the good path of greatness and progress if only support is given to him and many others who are making the Isoko nation proud.

In his words, I am proud of you for all the giant strides you have made in this nation in this life transforming Initiative.

We gladly welcome you home for we need you at this critical moment that our youths are becoming something else in the name of drugs. As a diocese ,we are doing our best in the environment we’ve found ourselves as we continue to apply the ant philosophy to achieve all the God given projects to us. For there’s nothing , I lay my hands that God will not help me to accomplished. So in this campaign against drugs and substance abuse in Delta State Particularly in Isokoland, we are solidly behind you to drive the message back home. We shall give Silec Initiatives the full support and to also rally round in the area of funding for the sustenance of the project. We shall also try our best to reach out to the various stakeholders of which we are also involving the Nigeria Police, all the clergy and the youths.

Other members of the team were Kingsley Ewomarevia Silec Initiatives Community Liaison Coordinator, James Agholor, Director of Publication Silec Initiatives, top Isoko artistes Obara Obaro (MC Moonlight) and Funky Franky a music impresario.

The event is schedule to take place with a mega rally to mark the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking on the 10th June ,2023 in Partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Oleh Church of Nigeria by 8:am at the Cathedral of Paul as a meeting point to take off.

The founder Silec Initiatives enjoined all Sons and Daughters of Isoko to come out enmass to vehemently resist this enemy of progress of youths, Isoko nation, Delta State and Nigeria in general.

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