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Seven suspended over stolen lighting at Lagos Airport runway

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

Seven people have been suspended over the stolen lighting systems at the domestic runway 18/36L of Murtala Muhammad Airport.

The disappearance of the approach lighting systems had raised security concerns in Nigeria’s busiest airports.

According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, those who carted away the lighting systems took advantage of the closure of the runway for over three months.

The source alleged that some FAAN workers connived with outsiders to steal the airport lighting equipment.

“The criminal took advantage of the closure to commit the crime. I cannot give the actual worth of the theft, but almost all the lighting was removed. The permanent secretary came around to see for himself the huge damage done. A lot of FAAN officials have been suspended,” the source confirmed.

According to Punch, some heads of relevant departments at FAAN have been suspended over the missing lighting equipment on the directives of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Dr Emmanuel Meribole.

The source also disclosed that investigations had since commenced to unravel those responsible for the missing safety equipment.

According to the source, the regular incursion and stealing of safety components at the airports are carried out by a syndicate, consisting of some workers of the agencies, who have access to the restricted areas and accomplices from outside.

A top official with FAAN, who did not want his name in print, said the agency’s Managing Director, Mr Kabir Yusuf, was displeased with the development.

He stated that FAAN MD had also ordered the suspension of security personnel who were in charge of guarding critical airport facilities.

Reacting to the latest development, a former Military Commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.), said, “This is not new at MMA. I wish the FAAN management could go back to 1990 when similar things happened in the airport. I was convinced that it was an ‘insiders threats’. What did I do? I positioned soldiers on the runways and ensured that no FAAN maintenance staff went near the runways for anything without my approval; otherwise, it was shoot at first sight. It stopped completely.

Runway lightings were being stolen and my conclusion then was that runway lightings can only be useful for runways and not roads or houses.

“Those stolen were being sold to FAAN by the same workers. That is why I am not in support of the unions carrying the picketing of their employers to the airport’s security controlled areas.”

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN, Mr Yakubu Funtua, told The PUNCH stated that investigations had been launched and that the agency would do all within its powers to avoid a reoccurrence.

He said, “FAAN is doing all it can to get to the bottom of this. You are very aware that there are many agencies within the airport, including the different ones that are supposed to be taking care of security there. So, it would be unfair to put this (the theft) on our (members of) staff and I don’t think there is any FAAN (member of) staff that wants the agency to crash.

“Note that most of our revenue comes from Lagos. So, what kind of staff will ‘kill the goose that lays the egg?’ However, we can’t say exactly who did it, but we are doing all that we can to recover what is lost. We are going to recover it because we are going to find out those people who did it and then block all those loopholes.”

For 15 years, the Lagos Airport domestic runway 18L was shut down to night operations due to the absence of airfield lighting.

Domestic airlines were forced to use runway 19 at the international airport, which consumes more aviation fuel because of the longer distance.

The equipment, which aids aircraft to take off and land at the domestic airport at night, was installed on the 2.7 kilometres long runway last November.

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Breaking: Rotten tomatoes, pepper dangerous — Doctor warns Nigerians

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

A medical doctor, identified simply as Wales, has warned Nigerians to stay away from rotten tomatoes and pepper, known as ‘eesa’ or ‘baaje’ tomatoes.

In a clip that went viral on social media, Wales stated that the continuous consumption of rotten tomatoes and/or pepper posed several health risks, and could lead to cancers, due to the presence of harmful microorganisms such as fungi, known to produce mycotoxins.

Displaying rotten tomatoes on a plate, the doctor stressed that the tough economic situation should not be a reason for people to eat ‘poison’.

He said, “Fellow Nigerians, good morning. I know that, because of the economy, you are saving money on so many things. But please, if you see this thing, (rotten tomatoes and peppers) in the market, run away.

“Just because we are in a ‘rogbodiyan’ (tough) economy does not mean you should start eating poison, because this type of tomato can cause cancer.

“Fresh tomatoes are vegetables rich in Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Rotten tomatoes, however, aren’t fresh in any way but are soft pieces of piled tomatoes sold at cheaper prices to people who cannot afford the fresher options.

“And, because they are broken, this type of tomatoes are easily accessible to flies, which deposit germs and eggs inside them. But, that’s not the worst part. As these tomatoes break, microorganisms invade them, causing them to rot. Among these microorganisms are fungi known to produce something known as mycotoxins. Meanwhile, mycotoxins have been linked to cancers and induction of immune deficiency in humans. And, because tomatoes contain lots of fluid, these mycotoxins spread faster to all parts of the tomatoes.”

The medical doctor also stated that boiling and washing the tomatoes would not rid them of the mycotoxins, which not only cause cancer but can also damage the kidney and liver.

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Minimum Wage: ₦‎250,000 demand not sacrosanct – TUC

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Festus Osifo said yesterday that there was nothing sacrosanct about the N250,000, adding that labour was receptive to adjustments.

There was no immediate response from the federal government last night on the latest stance of organised labour, although the Senate yesterday pledged to grant accelerated consideration and passage of the new minimum wage bill from President Bola Tinubu.

Only last Wednesday, the acting President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said labour’s demand “remains N250,000, and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position, which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.”

Adeyanju was responding to the Democracy Day broadcast of President Bola Tinubu in which he said an agreement had been reached on the new national minimum wage.

Osifo himself in his first reaction to the FG and OPS agreement on N62,000 as minimum wage penultimate Friday had said “for us (labour), we felt that with the current economic hardship and the difficulty in the land, the sum of N250,000 should be what will be okay as the minimum wage.

But speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, The Morning Brief, he said there was “no figure that is sacrosanct; there is no figure that is cast in stone that both parties will be fixated on it.”

He added: “What we said is that for us, when we give figures, there is always a room to meander; there is always a room for us to do some adjustment here and there.

“One of the reasons that we went on industrial action the last time was because when it got to N60,000, they told us that a kobo could not even join the N60,000; that they could not even add one naira to it.

“So that was one of the reasons that led to that industrial action beyond the fact that there were also delays.”

President Tinubu is expected to send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the new minimum wage for legislative action.

The TUC President said that they are not going to pre-empt the President, but they are making all efforts to justify why Tinubu should tilt towards the figure presented by the labour instead of the one by the organised private sector and the government.

He said that if the President sends a figure that is not favourable to the labour to the National Assembly, they will still approach the lawmakers and push them to do much more.

Osifo vowed that the work of the labour leaders will not end until the Minimum Wage Act 2024 becomes law. He said it is premature to predict what labour will do if what is passed is not acceptable to them at the end of the day.

The FG and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had on Friday, May 31 reached an agreement to pay N62,000 to their least paid worker; an increase of N2,000 on the N60,000 rejected two weeks ago by labour.

The 36 states, which were represented on the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage, said on the same day that they could not afford to pay even N60,000 while the NLC and the TUC disagreed with government and the OPS.

They said the minimum they would accept was N250,000, which is N244,000 less than the N494,000 they initially demanded.

The Tripartite Committee has already submitted its report and recommendation to the President, who is expected to take a decision on the final figure to be sent by way of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

The TUC President said while labour was not disposed to pre-empting the President on his decision, the unions were keen on ensuring that Tinubu tilts toward the figure presented by labour instead of the N62,000 by government and OPS.

He said should the President decide on a figure labour finds unfavourable, it will take its struggle to the lawmakers to convince them for an increase.

He said it was premature to predict labour’s reaction if the action of the executive and the legislature turns out to be unfavourable.

Tinubu, at a state dinner to mark Democracy Day on Wednesday had declared that his planned minimum wage is “what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford.”

He added: “Cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”

Apart from the state governments which have expressed their inability to pay even the N60,000 which labour had rejected prior to the June 3 and 4 strike, signals from the local governments also suggest that they cannot pay N62,000.

National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Aminu Muazu-Maifata, said on Thursday that the LGs could not pay that amount.

Muazu-Maifata said some local governments have not even been paying their workers the ₦30,000 approved as minimum wage in 2019.

He said an affordable minimum wage should be set and not something unsustainable.

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