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Nigeria Suspends Emirates Flights Over COVID-19 Tests

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Nigeria’s aviation minister Hadi Sirika has explained Emirates Airlines was suspended last week from flying into or out of Nigeria, because the airline had demanded three COVID-19 tests within 24 hours from passengers from Nigeria.

In addition to requiring a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test before flying from Nigeria, Emirates Airlines also added an extra requirement of having a rapid test four hours before departure.

The airline is only allowed to undertake cargo and humanitarian flights to and from the country.

Sirika said “to make us go through three tests within 24 hours does not make sense. Since they insist, their operations remain suspended.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria has lifted the ban on in-flight catering services. Authorities have announced the resumption of catering services on domestic and international flights after they were banned last year as part of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The aviation minister said the decision was taken in light of businesses that had been affected by the ban.

He said the protocols for the resumption of the services, however, will be announced in due course by the civil aviation authority, NCAA.

“The [Presidential Task Force on COVID-19] has decided that this catering service resumes immediately while the process and procedure will be communicated to the airlines via NCAA in due course,” he said at a media briefing on Monday.

The authorities also reiterated their plan to resume flights in Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu airports.

The minister said Dutch Airline KLM commenced flights in and out of Nigeria this month.

Emirates said last week passenger flights to and from Nigeria had been suspended until further notice in line with government directives, but did not give details.

Last month Nigeria lifted a suspension of emirates airlines flights imposed after the carrier sought additional covid-19 tests for passengers from Nigeria.

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Nigerian News

Many Feared Dead As Tanker Explodes In Benue

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Many residents of Oshigbudu in Agatu local government area of Benue state are feared dead today after a tanker explosion in a residential area in the town on Sunday.  Many shops and houses were also razed in the inferno that ensued.

Executive secretary of the state emergency management agency, Dr. Emmanuel Shior said the destruction to lives and property was still to be quantified but described the accident as quote, “the chief of all the calamities that have fallen us this year,” end quote.

Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in Ondo State has confirmed that six persons have died in an auto crash in which an 18-seater bus plunged into Owena river in Akure on Sunday.  They include three males, two females and a child.  Eight were reportedly injured and are receiving treatment in hospitals.

A newly married man was among the fatalities, while his wife is said to be seriously injured.

The two were said to be returning to Akure after their wedding at a registry, with plans to conduct their traditional wedding next weekend.

The driver is said to have lost control while speeding in heavy downpour.  As a result of the heavy rain, help was said to have been impeded from reaching them for more than an hour.

The bus was said to have hit a rock at the bottom of the river causing the deaths.

 

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Nigerian News

JUSUN Strike: FG, Staff Union To Meet As Nigeria Judiciary Paralyze

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Fear, Tension As Major Economic Sectors Shut Down

The judiciary workers’ strike is still going strong with no end in sight.  The umbrella body, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN has begun a nationwide protest in Abuja on Monday over its demand that governors across the country comply with constitutional provisions for the judiciary’s financial autonomy.

The union began a nationwide strike two weeks ago and has stuck to its guns that the protest will not end until the union’s demands are met.

This strike action has paralyzed services at the nation’s courts, including the supreme court.  JUSUN decided to begin nationwide protests after talks failed with governors on Friday.

Meanwhile, the judiciary workers’ strike could not have happened at a more opportune time for former aviation minister, senator Stella Oduah, whose arraignment on a twenty-five billion naira fraud and money laundering charges at the federal high court in Abuja today has been scrapped because of the strike.

There was no access to the court today as the gates were locked as a result of the strike.  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had hoped to arraign and dock her today along with eight others.

On two other occasions, other events had prevented Oduah’s arraignment in the same court.  Her lead counsel, chief Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, says Oduah would be ready to honor the court’s schedule whenever it reopens.

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Health

NCDC Confirms 26 New COVID-19 Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says 26 new cases of covid-19 have been recorded in the country bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 164,233.

The data shown on its official twitter handle on Sunday say the new cases were registered in five states including, Ebonyi 10 cases, Kano-Two, Lagos nine, Osun-two Oyo-one and the Federal Capital Territory-FCT two cases.

So far, more than 154,000 persons have recovered from covid-19 and discharged from hospitals since the pandemic was reported in 2020.

NCDC has advised Nigerians to take responsibility to protect themselves, loved ones, customers, employees and society by disinfecting surfaces in their homes, shops and offices regularly to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in their communities.

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