Press focuses on report that Emirates Airlines, will resume flights in Nigeria soon, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The report that there are strong indications that a Middle East carrier, Emirates Airlines, will resume flights in Nigeria within the shortest possible time is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.

The Punch reports that there are strong indications that a Middle East carrier, Emirates Airlines, will resume flights in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.

According to a notice sent to travel agents in Nigeria, the Dubai-based carrier said it would resume four-weekly flights to Nigeria.

The notice, which was obtained from Peacock Travels and Royal AlmondTravels, read in part, “Operations to Nigeria will be reinstated with 4-weekly Lagos (LOS) flights EFF.11Sep22.

Emirates had announced the suspension of flights to Nigeria effective September 1, 2022, just a few days ago where it linked the development to the inability to repatriate $85m ticket sales proceeds from the country.

The earlier statement read in part, “Emirates Airlines has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.

“Regrettably, there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective September 1, 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.”

The newspaper says that former President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday said Nigeria’s democracy was drifting towards dictatorship, insisting that all hands must be on the deck to save it.

Jonathan spoke at the 70th birthday of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, in Abuja.

Speaking on the theme of the event, ‘Nigeria’s unfinished greatness: Next steps,’ Jonathan advised Nigerians to remain vigilant.

He said, “The task before all of us is not to lower our guard, lest the democracy we cherish today succumbs to threats and recedes into fascism tomorrow, and there are signs already.

“Looking at the states and so on, we are derailing towards quasi-fascist form of government, but democracy is not only about winning elections alone, it is about accommodation. We, as leaders at the centre and at the state levels, especially at this time when elections are coming, must accommodate different views.

“Towards this goal, we are again faced with a good opportunity of choosing our leaders as the nation prepares to go to the polls next year. Let us choose those that will take us to the desired destination and the promised land.”

The former Nigerian leader described Nigeria as a work in progress, adding that until that work was done, people like Kukah, who serve as the conscience of the nation, will continue to be around to constantly hold the mirror of the nation’s progression to its face.

“Nigeria may not be where we want it to and should be, but we should not give up or lose hope by focusing on only the negative.”

The Guardian reports that almost two years after the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which came into force on January 1, 2021, Nigeria continues to lag behind in making the trade agreement operational owing to structural challenges, lack of consensus on trade protocols and strategy among stakeholders.

Though the country continues to express readiness to commence trading, the political will to implement the deal remains in doubt going by the pace and protectionist stance of Nigeria and other African governments.

Already, seven countries, including Rwanda, Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have been selected among countries to start trading under the AfCFTA framework in a pilot phase.

The move seeks to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for intra-African trade, according to the AfCFTA secretariat. The countries were selected from the 36 that had expressed interest in trading under the pilot phase. Each of the applicants had submitted its tariff schedule.

Nigeria has yet to finalise its tariff schedule as well as unveil guidelines and implementation strategy for the trade deal, raising concerns for the organised private sector.

The Secretary, National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Francis Anatogu, on Tuesday, announced that all is set for Nigeria to begin trading activities under the AfCFTA.

Anatogu stated this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI’s) Export Group Symposium in Lagos. The Secretary said Nigeria must pay attention to trade facilitation, policies, infrastructure, trade information, free movement of people and goods, finance and institutional coordination between the federal government and private sector.

“What we are focusing on in 2022 is understanding where the opportunities are and we have already identified areas that are priorities for AfCFTA in terms of products and services. We have also been able to dimension them into arrowheads to help us focus on the short term and frontiers that we can focus on the medium to long term”, he said.

The newspaper says that within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), their broom is falling apart. For the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the umbrella is losing its handle. While there is no longer any handshake of comradeship in African Democratic Congress (ADC), things are falling apart in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Although the Labour Party (LP) narrowly escaped its round of recriminations, investigation revealed that barely 28 days to the kick-off of electioneering, there is crisis in virtually all the front row occupants among the 18 political parties recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The parties are enmeshed in internal battles relating to the outcome of their presidential primaries and other internal irritations related to control and organisation. To a great extent, it could be said that the parties are battling with the surfeit of indiscipline, breach of covenants and lack of foresight within their folds.

Observers express worry that the political parties did not envisage the crisis and put measures in place to nip in the bud uprisings. Although PDP stands as the relatively older political party, others within the fold of APC have been in existence since the fourth republic began in 1999.

For APC the outcome of the presidential primary, which produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his subsequent choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as running mate, has been roiling the party. Some party faithful are engaged in finger pointing, trying to shift blame over the emergence of Tinubu instead of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo or Chibuike Amaechi as projected.

Tinubu has reportedly called a meeting today to smoothen out certain issues in a bid to build a united front for the major electoral battle ahead. The attendance of the meeting would give a clue as to how easy the fence mending could go, even as sources disclosed that the VP, Prof. Osinbajo, may be absent on health grounds.

For the ADC, which profile was lifted at the entry of former Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, the reported power tussle between the presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, and the national chairman, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, is shaking the party’s structure.

The NNPP became the first platform to lose a powerful political figure in the build up to the forthcoming general election due to irreconcilable differences bordering on elective positions and power sharing arrangement.

But, after just three months together, the two political playmakers fell apart. On Monday August 29, Shekarau, who represents Kano Central in the Senate moved over to PDP, from where he left to APC in the build up to the 2019 general elections.

According to the Senator, Kwankwaso deceived him into joining NNPP, knowing that he would not accommodate his supporters, some of who wanted to contest for some elective positions.


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