As part of preparations to float the proposed national carrier, the Federal Government on Friday announced Ethiopian Airline as the preferred bidder.
Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the national carrier, Nigeria Air will be launched with Boeing 737-800 (NG) aircraft, followed thereafter with B787 aircraft for international operations.
He expressed hope that the airline would be launched mid-November after approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Speaking on the status of the airline, the minister said: “The National Carrier, Nigeria Air, is well on its way to being launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.
“Nigeria Air will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian airports.
“Other domestic destinations will follow thereafter.”
On how they arrived at the highest bidders, Sirika said: “A bidders’ conference was held online on 28th March, 2022 with over 100 participants. Over 60 parties requested access to the data room. On 10th June 2022 the ministry received on time one closed bid by the Ethiopian Airline Consortium. Few others attempted to submit, but unfortunately could not meet the deadline. Since we did not collect the bids, we are not in a position to say who they are.
“The evaluation Team, 11 Experts from ICRC, FMFB&NP, FMA and the TA met on the 20/21st July 2022 and again on 1st August 2022.
“The Ethiopian Airline Consortium bid was formally opened in the presence of a representation of Ethiopian Airlines, checking that all envelopes were closed and sealed at that point, 11am on 20th July, starting with the Technical Bid. The Financial Bid was opened, again under the observation of the Ethiopian representative, on 21st July 2022.
“All 10 forms, as required by the RFP, were evaluated by the team. Unanimously, the assessment team cleared the Technical Bid, which had a total score of 89% out of 100.
“In a further meeting on 1st August, 2022, the team assessed the Financial Bid further and graded it with a score of 15% out of 20.
“The Ethiopian Airline Consortium got a combined score (Technical and Financial Bid) of 86.7%.
“Ethiopian Airline Consortium was declared the Preferred Bidder.
“After a careful, detailed and ICRC governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as preferred bidder, offering an owner consortium of 3 Nigerian investors MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46%), FGN owning 5% and ET 49%.
“The consortium has been subject to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“We expect this process to take 6-8 weeks.”
On the amount spent so far on the entire process, he said: “The money spent so far for all we have done is less than N400million. The claim that we spent N14billion for the process is not true.
“The money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC and be admitted starting an airline operation, is well within the 5% capital investment of the Federal Government of Nigeria, that will be overall needed to establish the National Carrier initially for the AOC approval and everything else required by stringent national aviation regulations, as prescribed in the FEC approved Outline Business Case (OBC).
“The OBC is the milestone for the preferred Bidder Consortium and has been met by the submitted business plan of the preferred bidder. It is the overall share capital of around 300 Mio USD, provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next four years.
“No further FGN funding will be provided above the 5% share capital of the next national Carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air.”
On the number of aircraft to start operation, he said: “Three aircraft were searched for by the interim Executive experts and several offers were evaluated, from highly experienced and competent operators.
“The contract was negotiated with three final candidates, and a signature-ready contract has been finalized with Ethiopian Airlines for three Boeing 737-800 with a 16 Business Class and 150 Economy Class configuration.The first aircraft is ready to arrive in Abuja for further work and NCAA inspection, demo flights and audit as part of the AOC requirements.
“In time, two others will arrive to complete the required three aircraft for a new AOC holder.”
3 million children at risk in Sudan as civil war engulfs – U.N
The war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has killed 12,190 people, according to conservative estimates by the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data project. It has displaced 5.4 million people inside the country, according to the UN, and sent over 1.3 million fleeing abroad.
Sudan’s raging civil war threatens the lives of almost 3 million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Thursday, as fighting imperils what had become a haven for hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
Fighting in the huge northeastern African nation has now reached Jazeera state, the country’s breadbasket with a population of 5.9 million people — half of whom are children, UNICEF said.
« This new wave of violence could leave children and families trapped between fighting lines or caught in the crossfire, with fatal consequences, » the organization’s executive director, Catherine Russell, said in a statement Thursday.
The latest about of violence broke out on April 15, as Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force vied for power. Since then, heavy fighting has left hundreds of thousands of people facing the agonizing decision of whether to flee their homes or stay and risk injury or death in the violence. Cease-fires have failed to halt the power struggle and fueled the growing humanitarian crisis.
Civilians are often caught up in the crossfire as neighborhoods are divided between the armed forces, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
Some 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the U.N., but local doctors groups and activists say the death toll is likely far higher.
Almost 300,000 people have fled Jazeera state, moving to the nearby Sennar state, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday.
‘Nothing for me in Cameroon’: Waiting in Tunisia, one eye on Europe
Having lost everything and everyone precious to him, Joseph tries to hold things together, waiting to leave Africa.
Joseph Afumbom is a big man who has faced unimaginable tragedy.
The conflict in Cameroon between Anglophone separatists and the government killed the 27-year-old’s mother, father and siblings. It also took his home in Bamenda in the country’s northwest.
“I was there when the war started. The war took everyone,” he said, “It was three years ago. My brothers and sisters are all gone.”
With his home and family destroyed and no jobs available, Joseph felt he had no option but to gather his fiancee, Esther, and their three-year-old daughter and travel the 5,000km (more than 3,000 miles) overland to the Mediterranean coast. They arrived in Algeria, where they considered crossing into Tunisia and from there to Europe.
However, both Joseph’s fiancee and daughter died in El Menia. “They are all gone because of the cold,” he says. “That was last month.”
“I’m just trying to act normal, you know,” he tells Al Jazeera. “See, I’m smoking. I’m whiling away my thinking, trying to act like a normal person, but I’m not.”
He paused, allowing his thoughts to drift back. “We had been together for years. My daughter was three. I called her ‘Little Joy’.”
Eventually, Joseph crossed into Tunisia, making his way to the coastal city of Sfax before travelling by shared taxis to the capital, Tunis. He didn’t eat for two days.
“There is nothing left for me in Cameroon,” he says. “I will continue to Europe if I have the opportunity.”
This article is the third of a five-part series of portraits of refugees from different countries, with diverse backgrounds, bound by shared fears and hopes as they enter 2024. Read the first and second parts here.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Chad: Supreme court approves ‘yes’ referendum vote
Chad’s Supreme Court definitively validated the results of the referendum for a new constitution organized by the military junta that has been in power for the past two and a half years, a key step intended to pave the way for elections in the country at the end of 2024.
According to the final results, the « yes » side won with 85.90% of the vote, while the « no » side won 14.10%, with a turnout of 62.8%, the president of the Supreme Court told a press conference.
For some members of the opposition and civil society, the result of this ballots a plebiscite resembles designed to pave the way for the election of the transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Bloc Fédéral, an opposition coalition which had called for the results to be annulled on the grounds of several irregularities in the voting process.
The opposition, which had widely called for a boycott, denounced, in the words of Max Kemkoye, president of the Groupe de concertation des actors politiques (GCAP), « a second coup d’état by Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno », in the face of results which, in his view, were not credible.
The new constitutional text is not very different from the one already in force, and still gives great power to the Head of State.
Mahamat Déby, 37, was proclaimed transitional president by the army on April 20, 2021, at the head of a junta of 15 generals, following the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed by rebels on his way to the front. Idriss Déby Itno had ruled the country with an iron fist for over 30 years.
The young general immediately promised elections after an 18-month transition period, and made a commitment to the African Union not to run. Eighteen months later, his regime extended the transition by two years and authorized him to stand in the presidential elections scheduled for late 2024.
On the anniversary of the 18-month transition, October 20, 2022, between 100 and more than 300 young men and teenagers were shot dead in N’Djamena by police and military, according to the opposition and national and international NGOs.
They were demonstrating against the two-year extension of the presidential term.
More than a thousand were imprisoned before being pardoned, but dozens were tortured or disappeared, according to NGOs and the opposition.