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‘To promote trade, tourism’ — Zamfara begins construction of international airport

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Dauda Lawal, governor of Zamfara, says the state has started constructing its international airport to promote trade and tourism.

Lawal spoke on Thursday when Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace, officially unveiled the construction work on the Gusau International Airport, according to a statement issued by Sulaiman Bala Idris, the governor’s spokesperson.

He said the project is intended to be a smart airport designed to accommodate domestic and international flights.

The governor said the airport project would include the construction of a 3.4 kilometre primary runway suitable for large commercial aircraft, installation of runway lighting, and navigational aids.

Lawal said his administration is determined to transform the state into a compelling investment destination that would attract both local and international investors.

“Honourable minister, guests, ladies, and gentlemen, the airport will have a modern terminal building with passenger facilities, including check-in counters, automated baggage handling systems, waiting areas, and customs and immigration services buildings,” the governor said.

“This is in addition to an air traffic control tower equipped with state-of-the-art communication and surveillance systems.

“Further, it will include the construction of maintenance hangars, fire and rescue stations, fuel storage facilities, and other ancillary buildings, access roads to the airport, parking facilities for passengers and staff, water supply, sewage, electrical systems, and telecommunication infrastructure.

“There will also be a cargo wing and the landscaping of the airport surroundings to enhance the project’s aesthetic appeal.

“It will have the capacity to land most aeroplanes. It is intended to facilitate more accessible and more efficient travel to and from Zamfara state, promoting social interaction, business and tourism.”

Lawal said the project will be handled by Triacta Nigeria Limited with JBI Tech Consult serving as the consulting firm and will be completed within 30 months according to the contractual agreement.

Speaking on the project’s economic benefits, Lawal said it would provide direct air access to the state, eliminating the difficulties businessmen and women face when exporting and importing goods and services.

In his remarks, Keyamo said the state had previously been disadvantaged in terms of facilities.

He said while other parts of the north-west have good airports, Zamfara has lagged despite being an agricultural hub of the zone.

“But it is better late than never. An international journalist called me and asked whether Zamfara needed an airport. I firmly believe that having an airport in Zamfara is more than just a matter of commercial viability; it is a crucial social amenity for the people,” Keyamo said.

“Looking around today, I am convinced that the state is fully ready for this development.

“I want to come here next year to flag off the Hajj operations. Intending pilgrims from Zamfara have suffered for many years in other states to board a plane to the Holy Land. It will never happen again.”

The minister reiterated his commitment to making the airport project a reality.

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Nigerians can now obtain UAE visas, says FG

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Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, says Nigerians can now apply for and obtain visas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Idris said the federal government has reached an agreement with the UAE to allow Nigerian passport holders to obtain visas for travel to the Arab nation starting today, July 15.

The minister spoke with the State House correspondents in Abuja on Monday, shortly after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting.

He said the agreement includes updated controls and conditions to be fulfilled before the issuance of a UAE visa.

On December 13, 2021, the UAE issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citing a surge in the countries’ COVID-19 cases among passengers from the two African nations.

However, TheCable reported the travel ban might not be unconnected with the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE over Air Peace’s flight frequency to the Arab country.

Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in the UAE, but only one was granted by the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

GCAA said Air Peace should not expect to retain its flight frequency after pulling out of Sharjah Airport; the Nigerian airline, however, denied the claim.

In retaliation for Air Peace’s treatment in the UAE, the federal government dropped Emirate’s slots from 21 to one, leading to the Dubai-based airline suspending all its flights to Nigeria.

In September 2023, the federal government said the airline would resume services in Nigeria, signaling a resolution of the dispute.

The assurance followed a meeting between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mohamed bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates.

But since the meeting and the federal government’s announcement, Emirates has yet to begin scheduled flight operations.

In April, Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, said Emirates Airlines is prepared to resume flight operations to Nigeria.

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Lagos state government designates 5 operational parks for trucks in Lekki-Epe corridor ahead of e-call up system launch

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The Lagos State Government has designated five operational parks for trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor in anticipation of the e-call-up system’s launch on August 1, 2024.

This strategic initiative aims to regulate truck movements and prevent the traffic congestion previously seen at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

According to Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the designated parks for articulated trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor are Hog Marketing Limited in Okorisan, Epe; Nilmage Two4Seven in Poka, Epe; Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd. opposite Dangote Refinery on Lekki Coastal Road; Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. in Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe; and Tal Concept Ltd. at HFP Brick Industry on Lekki-Epe Expressway.

“Five operational parks for trucks: Hog Marketing Limited (Okorisan, Epe), Nilmage two4seven (Poka, Epe), Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd (Opp. Dangote Refinery, Lekki Coastal Road), Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. (Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe), Tal Concept Ltd (HFP Brick Industry, Lekki-Epe Expressway),” the statement read in part.

Furthermore, the Lagos State Government has mandated that all articulated trucks operating in the corridor must be equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. This requirement aims to streamline and automate the management and tracking of truck movements once the system goes live next month.

Additional initiatives in the implementation plan include the separation of wet and dry cargo and the deployment of vehicle inspection services at parks for vehicle certification.

These measures are designed to eliminate traffic congestion, address environmental concerns, and reduce accidents caused by trucks along the corridor. They will also help manage the increased activity expected from the Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port, and other entities.

The Lagos State Government provided additional details on the e-call up system, clarifying that it will officially launch on August 1, 2024, through the platform mycallup.com, with full enforcement beginning on August 7, 2024.

Compliance with this system is mandatory, and trucks that fail to comply will be impounded to ensure strict adherence to the new regulations.

The government emphasized the necessity of cooperation from all stakeholders for the success of this initiative. This includes truckers, organizations, security agents, and local communities, all of whom must work together to prevent a recurrence of the severe traffic congestion and logistical issues previously experienced at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

The active participation and commitment of these groups will be instrumental in ensuring a smoother and more efficient transportation process along the Lekki-Epe corridor.

The state government emphasizes that by adhering to these regulations and fully cooperating, stakeholders can contribute to a more organized, safer, and environmentally friendly transport environment in Lagos.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate increases to 34.19% amid rising food prices

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Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 34.19 percent in June 2024 — up from 33.95 percent in May.

The data is captured in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its consumer price index (CPI) report for June, released on Monday.

The CPI measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services.

According to the bureau, food inflation also surged to 40.87 percent in the month under review as prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to surge.

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