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Fare Hike: Airlines record low booking as passengers shun flights



Airlines have recorded a drop in passengers following the recent increment in price of ticket with a one-way economy ticket selling for N50,000.

A source at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA) domestic wing said passengers’ figure had dropped since weekend, saying more people would have decided to travel by roads as they could no longer afford what they called the “exorbitant air fares.”

An official of one of the domestic airlines who spoke with our correspondent said, “The passengers coming to the airport have somehow dropped. People are probably now traveling by road. Those you see at the airport now are big men.”

A Twitter user, Ikenna, on Tuesday posted a picture of a nearly empty flight he boarded in the morning, suggesting that the passengers must have shunned air travel over the recent hike in fares.

“Just look at how empty a morning flight is. 50k! 100% increase in air ticket! We are finished in this country,” he said.

Passengers have continued to lament over the increment in air fares across all sectors.

It was, however, learnt that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) may reject the price increase which is seen to be against competition.

A source said the decision of AON was anti-competition for a group to take a decision on price fixing. “The FCCPC will soon come up with a position on it.”

Since last week, operators under the umbrella of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have increased air fares by about 100 per cent with a one-way economy ticket selling for N50,000.

They blamed the decision on the increasing cost of operation, especially the price of aviation fuel which has almost quadrupled, now selling for over N410 per litre.

However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) appears to be helpless on the issue as it said air fares are deregulated and determined by market forces.

“Air fare has been deregulated long ago and as such it is market forces that are the determining factor. NCAA is meant to check predatory practices with the provision of the civil aviation policy,” spokesman of the NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye said in an interview with a national newspaper.

However, some stakeholders are insisting that NCAA has a responsibility to intervene. An aviation analyst, Capt. Alex Nwuba, said with the increment in airfares, people would begin to travel by bus and by train.

“Some of us will go by bus, some of us will go by train. Very soon, we will have the Lagos-Kano rail route. Aviation has always been for people in a hurry. It is not for everybody’s journey. And it is not about the elite that it is open to, it is only for people in a hurry.

“If you are not in a hurry, go by road and enjoy the scenery, experience many cities and many activities in the country,” he said.

Nwuba noted that price-fixing by a group is anti-competition and distorts the market, and called on NCAA to intervene as a matter of urgency.  

Another aviation analyst, Dr Daniel Young, insisted that NCAA must intervene, saying the authority “cannot afford to keep quiet over what they (operators) are doing because the onus is on them to correct and regulate the airlines and the industry to ensure that people are not unnecessarily expressing greed all in the name of trying to balance their business.”

Speaking about the airlines, he said “They are not offering anything more than what they are giving. You enter an aircraft, they give you Ribena as if you are going to school and they expect to collect N50,000. It is just biscuit of N50 and Ribena of N100, then you are collecting N50,000.

“The flight is delayed, no incentive in terms of giving you refreshment. You take passengers for granted and when they miss their flights, you don’t refund their money and then you want us all to keep quiet.

“Then you went and conspired, having a series of meetings which is against the law to hike the price and peg it. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council has a law against that.”

He stated that the implication of the fare hike is that passengers’ number will drop, insisting the challenges being faced by the operators are temporary.

“Now if we allow them to peg their price at N50,000, to bring it down from that will be difficult.”


2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others



President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park



Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member



Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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