The Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board has so far transported 2,999 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2015 Hajj via Max Air.
The board’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alhaji Badaru Bello, disclosed this in an interview on Tuesday in Katsina.
Bello said the pilgrims were transported in six flight schedules.
He revealed that a total of 4,463 pilgrims were expected to perform this year’s Hajj from the state.
He said that the exercise was expected to be completed next week.
The spokesman commended the efforts of all stakeholders toward a smooth operation, and urged them to sustain the tempo.
According to him, all the pilgrims transported to the Holy Land were in good health.
He also revealed that the state government would give two meals daily to each of the pilgrims during their stay in Madinah and Makkah.
The PRO said government had since dispatched a medical team to the holy land who would offer medical assistance to the pilgrims.
He urged the pilgrims to pray for the prosperity of the state and the country
Oyo Polytechnic student dies, female partner rushed to hospital after sex romp
A male student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Monday lost his life while his female partner was rendered unconscious after the two reportedly had a long duration of sexual intercourse.
Witnesses said the couple were engaged in a sex romp after they came back from the campus.
They were also suspected to have used drugs to enhance their sexual performance.
The deceased, a National Diploma 2 student identified only as Oromidayo, was from the Civil Engineering Department, while his lover, Aramide, is also in ND 2 level in the Department of Business Administration.
SaharaReporters gathered that the incident occurred at a private hostel around Apete.
A neighbour of the deceased said she was horrified when she saw his lifeless body on the floor while the female partner was gasping for air.
“He is in my Faculty; yesterday was supposed to be the day we start our examinations but the school was closed down.
“There was protest yesterday; so he and his girlfriend went back home. They drugged themselves and started having sex. The guy is dead now and the babe who is in a coma is at the University College Hospital,” the witness said.
Bomb blast rocks Kano
At least three residents of Kano were killed while many are currently trapped in an explosion which rocked Sabongari in Fagge Local Government Area of the state.
Details of the incident are still sketchy, but residents said an explosive device went off in the early hours of the day.
One resident said a suicide bomber struck in the area, but that cannot been independently verify as at the time of going to press.
When our correspondent visited the scene, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were seen packing what is suspected to be shattered body parts of the suspected suicide bomber.
A welder in front of Winners Schools, Kano, which is adjacent the scene, is reported to be among the casualties.
Commenting on the incident, the Kano state government debunked the reports that the explosion occurred in a school.
The state commissioner for information, Malam Muhammad Garba said the incident happened at an animal feed store opposite the school along Aba Road, Sabon Gari.
He said while the cause of the explosion and the damage it had done is yet to be officially ascertained, investigation has since commenced to determine the cause, impact and measures to be taken.
Malam Garba called on the people in the state, particularly those living in the area where the incident occurred, to remain calm while government in collaboration with relevant agencies are working on the matter.
The commissioner assured that government would keep the public abreast on any development and warned people to desist from spreading unsubstantiated news.
More details shortly
Unions reject Aero’s plans to reduce workforce by 40%
Aviation unions have threatened to disrupt Aero Contractors’ operations over allegation that the management of the airline plans to sack 40 per cent of the workforce.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) accused aero management of concluding plans to reduce the staff strength of the company without considering redundancy or any other alternative to outright sack.
Speaking during a press conference organised by the General Secretary, NUATE, Ocheme Aba and Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole the two unions appealed to the National Assembly, Ministers of Aviation and Labour & Employment to initiate an intervention that could save both Aero Contractors and Arik Air, which are under the receivership of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
The unions chided the management of Aero for admitting that the airline has old aircraft, noting that Aero has maintenance facility and so identifying the aircraft as old was immaterial.
They said the challenge of the airline started with a phony aircraft lease, where it acquired two aircraft, which it operated at a loss.
The unions frowned at the seconding of Mr. Charles Johnson Arumemi from Arik Air to Aero Contractors, alleging that as commercial manager Arumemi drew up a schedule granting the leased aircraft all Aero Contractors’ juicy routes, which grossly reduced the airline’s revenue and leading to its inability to pay staff for about three months.
Aba said: “The CEO’s assertion that Aero’s planes are too old to fly is completely false, even if aided by internal misinformation. The fact as we know it is that Aero operates the B737 Classic generation, the oldest of which just clocked 30years.
“This class of aircraft are able to operate up to 85,000 cycles, or 100,000 flight hours as approved by the manufacturer, Boeing. None of these aircraft in Aero’s fleet has operated up to half of the approved figures. “We stand to be proved wrong. While it is true that older aircraft do have higher maintenance costs, it must be borne in mind that the airline owns an approved Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO) with elite engineers in its fold. Till date, there is no report from the MRO or the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that any aircraft operated by Aero is too old to be maintained or to fly.”
On the alleged phony lease, Aba said, “For the period that the lease lasted, the entire Aero Contractors was essentially working for House of 5A’s (the leasing company), as the lessor was making more money than the airline itself.
“No wonder the airline ran itself into deep financial crisis and began to owe salaries unprecedentedly. But for the intervention of the unions, which threatened to direct workers to withdraw services to the leased aircraft, Aero would still have been under the bondage of the House of 5A’s contract. So, who arranged such a murky lease? And was it a deliberate ploy to bring the airline down?” he asked.
The unions said they were exposing the ills in the airline for concerned authorities to know; so that when they take action the unions would not be told that it was unexpected and without consultation.
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