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NANTA Applauds FCCPC’s Investigation over Outrageous Airfares

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The President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye, has said that the announcement by Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ( FCCPC) to investigate the raging and unbelievable airfare regime in Nigeria, is a welcome development.

NANTA leadership in recent times and in response to the cries of Nigerian travelling public had taken decisive advocacy steps, and complained to the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), and the National Assembly Committee on Aviation to wade into the issue which has made life difficult for the members of Nigerian travelling public and also impacting negatively the survival of travel trade professionals in the country.

According to Mrs Akporiaye, NANTA is elated beyond measure by the response of the Federal Government through its consumer protection and regulatory agency to wade into this matter, which has become seemingly unending.

We want to appreciate Government through the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, who has assured the sector that investigations would commence into the present structure of Airfares in Nigeria and bring it to an acceptable regime” she stated. According to the Executive Vice Chairman FCCPC, it is only fair to conduct a thorough investigation before decisive intervention steps are taken.

Mrs Susan Akporiaye, who in recent times with her team, initiated one of the most stringent advocacy for good practices in the down stream sector of the aviation industry in Nigeria, described Mr Irukera’ s announcement as “a Christmas and new year gift” to travel agents who have borne the backlash of the fare hike by Airlines operating in Nigeria.

“This is it, and we want to appreciate Mr. President, for gifting us an FCCPC, headed by a thorough professional, and to this end, we will endeavour to help the regulatory authority with whatever information that can help bring back sanity to fare management issues and give some respite to our Nigerian customers.

Babatunde Irukera on Thursday in Abuja, while hosting the press to the end of year party, promised to run a detailed investigation into the high airfare regime in Nigeria, noting that as important as that may sound, it is however a difficult task determining price hikes, particularly airfare.

He explained further, ” There’s a provision in law against price gouging. Nigeria is a free market economy where the buyer and seller agrees to determine cost. Do we, as a regulator, have the power to impose price? No, we don’t. So one way to determine excessive pricing is through investigation.

The FCCPC boss revealed in his usual detailed presentation, that forensic studies in airfare pricing remained the most complex in the market investigation ecosystem, adding that it’s possible to travel at a short distance and pay more, even with someone sitting beside you, paying something different.

Describing the phenomenon as a “competition issue,” Mr. Irukera noted that there are many issues that must be considered when investigating hikes on airfare.

“We believe that airfare in Nigeria is too high, but it will amount to an abuse of office by the regulatory authority to take action just because we feel the price is high. Our duty is to establish evidence and confront the body, and that’s hard work.” Mr Babatunde Irukera clarified.

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APC Declares Monday Okpebholo Winner of Edo Guber Primary Election

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared Monday Okpebholo, the Senator representing Edo Central in the National Assembly, as the winner of its rerun governorship primary election for the September 21 gubernatorial poll in Edo State.

The APC, on Thursday, held a fresh direct primary election across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, after it declared last Saturday’s shadow election inconclusive.

Nine aspirants contested the election after three aspirants, including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, and a former Permanent Secretary, Earnest Afolabi Umakhihe, withdrew from the race.

Earlier, the APC had mandated a seven-man Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee chaired by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to supervise the direct primary election.

The party, however, replaced Uzodimma with Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu.

Declaring the results of the shadow election on Friday at the collation centre, Lushville Hotel and Suites, Gapiona Avenue, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin City, Otu said Okpekholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat his closest rival, the lawmaker representing Ovia constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.

Born on August 29, 1970, in Udomi-Uwesan, Irrua, Edo Central, Okpebholo, whose name also coincides with his Okpebholo ancestry, was popularly nicknamed Akpakomisa from childhood because of his survival of the tough times occasioned by the numerous water borne disease at the time.

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Defamation: Emefiele Threatens Lawsuit Against Akpabio, Demands N1bn

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The embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has demanded N1billion damages from Senate President, Godswill Akpabio for alleged defamation.

Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa, in a notice to the Senate President dated February 19, 2024, faulted the “we don’t know what to charge Emefiele with” statement credited to Akpabio on February 18, 2024.

Emefiele, through his lawyer, considered Akpabio’s comment “false, distorted and clearly aimed at disparaging his character and indeed made in bad faith”.

The Senate President at a thanksgiving service by Senator Barinada Mpigi in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, had said Emefiele left the Nigerian economy in a mess and the Federal Government does not know the charges to levy against the ex-apex bank chief in the eye of the storm.

The President Bola Tinubu administration, through anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is currently probing the affairs of ex-CBN governor.

Burkaa said contrary to Akpabio’s claim, the Federal Government had since August 14, 2023 preferred charges against Emefiele and his client had pleaded not guilty of the said allegations.

Burkaa, in his letter to Akpabio, said: “Your statement attributing the present economic woes of the country solely on our client is most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies in Your assertions, especially, as you were a major player in the immediate Past Administration and worked closely with our client and indeed witnessed the innovations he introduced in the banking sector and its impact on the economy whilst in office, as well as the role he played despite all odds in salvaging Nigeria in the P & ID Saga and the positive result it brought for Nigeria.”

“You are also aware that no single policy was carried out by our client without the approval, directive or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which you were a key and powerful member.

“These baseless and false allegations clearly defames the character of our client and has also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right thinking members of the society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We, therefore, have our client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character and the sum of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard earned reputation.

“In the event that you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, our client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

View a copy of the letter:

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We Will Continue to Prioritize Welfare of Our Senior Citizens – Gov Adeleke

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, on Tuesday, reiterated his unwavering commitment to the well-being of the pensioners and the populace of Osun State.

This declaration, according to a statement signed by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, came during the official launch of the free surgery and medical care program for pensioners in the state, a collaborative effort between the Osun Health Insurance Agency and Rotary International.

Governor Adeleke underscored the significance of prioritizing the health needs of senior citizens, stating, “We are here to participate in another event designed to address the health needs of our people, especially the senior citizens, as their well-being is our priority.”

He emphasized the government’s continuous efforts to innovate and implement programs and policies aimed at alleviating the burdens of the people. “Our pro-people activities are multi-sectoral for maximum effect on the citizenry,” Governor Adeleke added.

Furthermore, Governor Adeleke announced the forthcoming commencement of the 3rd episode of the Imole surgical and medical outreach program. The previous episodes provided surgical and medical care to over 50,000 inhabitants of Osun State.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of healthcare providers, Governor Adeleke highlighted recent approvals, including allowances and upgrades, benefiting health workers in the state, thereby ensuring their welfare and motivation.

Dr. Rasaq Akindele, the Executive Secretary of Osun Health Insurance Agency, expressed gratitude to the Governor for his visionary leadership and commitment to prioritizing the health of pensioners and the people of Osun State. He noted that the 23,000 enrolled pensioners under the OHIS scheme have begun receiving comprehensive treatment free of charge since February 1st, 2024, expressing their appreciation to the Governor.

Rotarian Ilori-Olokose Yetunde and Rotarian Ojo Phillip, representing Rotary International, commended Governor Adeleke for his healthcare initiatives, aligning with Rotary International’s core values. They expressed their organization’s readiness to collaborate with Osun State Government through OHIS to further enhance healthcare delivery in the state.

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