Air traffic controllers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos have been compelled to relocate from the airport’s tower within the terminal building to a mobile tower situated near Caverton Helicopters, a move that has come in the wake of a fire incident at the MMIA baggage hall on Wednesday.
The fire, which erupted around 8 a.m., prompted the temporary evacuation of passengers and airport staff from the flagship airport.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) confirmed the incident in a statement issued by Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at FAAN.
The statement read,
- “At approximately 0723 hours this morning, a suspected electrical spark at the baggage hall ceiling caused the smoke incident that was reported at Terminal 1 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, located in Ikeja, Lagos.
- The source of the smoke was identified as a burning lithium inverter battery installation in the basement.
- Promptly responding to the situation at 0730 hrs, the dedicated firefighters from the Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the Electrical Department of the authority initiated immediate action.
- Their swift response and professional efforts have successfully brought the situation under control.”
FAAN evacuated the terminal building due to the smoke that had spread in some areas, directing passengers of various airlines to the new terminal building funded by Chinese loans. Normalcy was eventually restored to the old MMIA terminal around 3 p.m.
However, the incident led to the relocation of air traffic control (ATC) officers to a mobile tower, as the fire affected some cables and caused a blackout in the control tower. ATC officers will continue to operate from the mobile tower until the issue is resolved.
Khalid Emene, the Director of Media at the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, confirmed the relocation of ATC officers and emphasized that it was a standard precautionary measure during emergencies.
- “The fire did not affect the control tower in any way. If there is an incident, the normal thing is to evacuate people from the building.”
Emene added that the equipment and tower were in good condition.
Regarding the return of ATC officers to the terminal building tower, Emene noted,
- “I will confirm when they will be back on the tower and let you know.”
He also emphasized the continued safety of flight operations.
In response to the incident, the Lagos Fire Service’s Public Relations Officer, Amodu Shakiri, confirmed that no lives were lost.
Passengers, however, reported disruptions to their travel plans, with some flights rescheduled for the evening.
As the situation develops, passengers are urged to stay informed and follow instructions from airport authorities.
Governor Sanwo-Olu invites DSS to join investigation into Mohbad’s death
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has extended an invitation to the Department of Security Services (DSS) to collaborate in the ongoing investigation into the tragic death of the late singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad.
This announcement was conveyed through an official statement signed by Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, on Tuesday.
Mohbad, a former signee of Naira Marley’s Marlian Records, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 27, leaving his family, friends, and fans in mourning.
In the statement, the Lagos State government expressed its heartfelt condolences to Mohbad’s family and fans, acknowledging the profound loss of a young and promising talent in the fiercely competitive music industry.
The statement read,
- “We feel the pains of losing such a talented and promising young man, who made a name for himself in a highly competitive industry. May the Almighty grant his soul rest and comfort his bereaved family and fans.”
In a concerted effort to ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s untimely death, Governor Sanwo-Olu has taken the initiative to involve the Department of Security Services (DSS).
The aim is to widen the scope of the inquiry through inter-agency collaboration and the utilization of state-of-the-art technology to uncover the truth.
Governor Sanwo-Olu has issued a directive that all individuals who may have played any role in events leading up to Mohbad’s tragic death be held accountable and face legal consequences after a meticulous investigation.
The inclusion of the DSS in the investigation underscores the determination of the Lagos State government to achieve transparency and justice in the inquiry, with a commitment to bringing those responsible to account.
The state government also implores anyone who possesses vital information that could assist the investigative process to come forward and share their insights with the investigative team.
Furthermore, the government emphasizes the need for the investigating team to guarantee the confidentiality and protection of all witnesses who may provide essential information or indicative evidence to aid the process.
Meanwhile, in response to Mohbad’s passing, his management announced a candlelight procession and tribute night to honour the late artist.
The move comes as fans and sympathizers continue to call for a thorough investigation into the cause of his death.
The management expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love from fans worldwide and those who have organized events in their communities to pay respects to Mohbad. They invited everyone to join them in the candlelight procession and tribute concert to remember and celebrate the artist’s life.
Dangote Refinery to start production by October and November 2023
The Dangote Refinery is gearing up to commence refining operations, with plans to produce diesel and jet fuel by October 2023 and petrol by November 30, 2023, according to the Executive Director of the Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin.
According to reports, Edwin in an interview with newsmen disclosed that the refinery is on track to receive its first crude cargo within two weeks.
Initially, the facility is set to produce up to 370,000 barrels per day of diesel and jet fuel in October 2023.
Furthermore, Edwin outlined the refinery’s strategy for gradually increasing petrol production, to reach an impressive 650,000 barrels per day by November 30.
He expressed the refinery’s readiness to receive crude oil:
- “Right now, I’m ready to receive crude. We are just waiting for the first vessel. And so, as soon as it comes in, we can start.”
Regarding the shift in the original timeline, Edwin explained that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) had already committed their crude oil to another entity on a forward basis, causing a temporary delay.
He assured that this setback is momentary, and the refinery will exclusively use Nigerian crude oil from November 2023 onwards.
Edwin highlighted that the Nigerian oil will be purchased in US dollars, not in naira, as the refinery operates within a free trade zone on the outskirts of Lagos. However, due to its equity stake, the NNPCL will supply some crude at discounted prices.
The Dangote refinery is equipped to process various crudes, including most African grades, Middle Eastern Arab Light, and even US light-tight oil.
- “We can take even some of the Russian grades… if the global system opens up to allow us to receive them. If you look at our production profile, 50% of my production will meet 100% of the requirements of the country.”
Excess gasoline, meeting 10 ppm sulfur Euro 5 quality, will be exported to other African markets, the US, and South America, albeit in relatively small volumes.
Jet fuel will be exported to Europe, while diesel will be sold in sub-Saharan Africa.
Edwin emphasized that the refinery would benefit Nigeria significantly, providing a reliable supply of environmentally friendly refined products and generating substantial foreign exchange for the country.
Furthermore, he noted that the Dangote refinery will play a pivotal role in addressing fuel supply challenges faced by import-dependent West Africa, particularly following Nigeria’s removal of fuel subsidies, which had resulted in a thriving illicit gasoline market due to price fluctuations.
Edwin added that the revenues generated from the refinery’s operations will be reinvested in further developments, underscoring Aliko Dangote’s commitment to Nigeria.
- “The money will be coming back in, and it will go for further investments,” he affirmed, highlighting Dangote’s dedication to the nation.
Senate President, Godswill Akpabio faces strong opposition amid allegations of loyalty to Tinubu
A brewing political storm is on the horizon as top politicians within the Senate, gear up to challenge Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s leadership when the Senate resumes later this month.
The unhappy forces are reportedly angry by what they perceive as Akpabio’s submissiveness to President Tinubu, rather than prioritizing the interests of lawmakers and the Nigerian public.
Accusations have been levelled at Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom State Governor, suggesting that his close relationship with the President has diverted his attention from his colleagues and hindered his ability to address the pressing concerns of Nigerians amid the nation’s challenges.
Reliable sources have confirmed that a group of dissatisfied Senators, led by two former North West governors, intends to capitalize on Akpabio’s recent misstep, where he claimed that “prayers” had been sent to their mailboxes for celebrations, to take punitive action against him.
A well-placed source within the National Assembly, knowledgeable about the brewing plot, revealed that the anti-Akpabio faction has convened multiple meetings, including gatherings in Saudi Arabia and Ilorin, to finalize strategies for Akpabio’s potential impeachment upon the Senate’s return.
The source within the National Assembly disclosed,
- “Among Senator Akpabio’s ‘sins’ is his perceived ‘highly-subordinated relationship with President Bola Tinubu. Additionally, the ‘token’ slip by the Senate President on the day of adjournment for the ongoing recess forms the basis for the move to serve him the famous ‘banana peel’ treatment.”
Despite Akpabio’s subsequent clarification and retraction of his “prayer” comment, it failed to mollify many of his colleagues who had publicly expressed their disapproval.
The source further noted,
- “All of these actions are part of preparations for the 2027 general elections, where a new ‘hybrid party’ is expected to emerge, drawing membership from both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition parties, particularly the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
- The goal is to replicate the ‘tsunami’ that rocked the then-ruling PDP in 2014 when many party heavyweights defected to form what is now known as the SPC.”
As the Senate gears up for its resumption, political intrigue and manoeuvring promise to be at the forefront of Nigeria’s political landscape.
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