Arik Air is a disgrace, an embarrassment, and should be shut down. – By Olawale Atanda

Arik Air has to be the worst airline to come out of Nigeria in recent times. Their incompetence is on a whole different level and it appears they are either oblivious to it or they just do not care. For a company that prides itself as Nigeria’s biggest airline and the ‘Wings of Nigeria’, they ought to do better, way better.

Tales of mismanagement have constantly trailed Arik Air as far back as 2011. The mismanagement has been accused of being unable to service their debts, of not remitting monies deducted from staff accounts for the mandatory pension fund scheme and failing to pay the Personal Income Tax deducted from staff salaries to the appropriate tax authorities, amongst others.

It was no surprise when, on Monday December 19, the chickens came home to roost. Aviation workers unions under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) announced that Arik Air workers will go on an indefinite strike the following day, Tuesday, to protest the non-payment of their salaries for 7 months and other anti-labour practices, some of which have been mentioned above. They announced that the strike would not be called off until their demands are met.

Arik Air not only has a responsibility of care to their workers but also to their passengers. However, the treatment passengers get is just as bad as what the staff get. Let us talk about the perennially delayed and cancelled flights passengers of Arik Air have to face every time they fly the airline. Arik essentially cancels or reschedules more flights than not.

In April this year, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority revealed that domestic airlines operating in the country recorded 8,478 cases of delayed flights in the first quarter of 2016. Out of these, Arik Air topped the list with a staggering 2,801 and 99 delayed and cancelled flights respectively out of 4,926 flights operated by them. This means that just 43% of their flights in the first quarter of 2016 were not delayed or cancelled. This is unacceptable.

Tales of delays and cancellations by aggrieved passengers are seen almost daily on social media. Tales of Arik delaying or cancelling flights without warning and without any form of compensation whatsoever. This is regardless of the fact that Arik is mandated by virtue of Part 19 of the NCAA Consumer Protection Regulations to compensate passengers for delayed flights by refunding up to 25% of the flight ticket cost, providing refreshments and even providing hotel accommodations if the flights are delayed overnight. However, passengers have had to sleep over at boarding lounges, pay for their refreshments and basically bear the cost of the delayed or cancelled flights by themselves.

Arik Air constantly gives the lame excuse that they delay flights because of the inability to get jet fuel. This excuse falls flat on its face on the fact that Arik is not the only airline to fly within Nigeria. No other airline gives passengers headaches more than Arik Air. There have also been reports that Arik has been unable to pay their aviation fuel suppliers which caused most of their flight cancellations. There really is a difference between the lack of availability of fuel and the inability to pay for fuel, Arik Air.

Even after Arik Air’s operation have been grounded due to the strike embarked on by its workers, it is still accepting bookings on their flights. If this is not madness, we do not know what it is. Arik Air must have been aware that their workers would go on strike as late as Monday the 19th of December, but they still sold tickets for flights that would not take off the following day and beyond. This is insensitive, misleading and plain wrong.

Arik Air is everything that is wrong with the airline industry in Nigeria. It is apparent that there needs to be an overhaul of its management and operation practices. If they can no longer deliver timely and quality services, and it has shown that it cannot for so long now, then it should shut down.

Arik Air passengers stranded nationwide as shutdown by protesting workers intesifies.

Aviation unions on Tuesday shut down the operations of Arik Air, leaving hundreds of the airline’s passengers stranded across the country.

The strike was embarked upon by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers(NAAPE).

The unions embarked on the joint strike following the airline’s failure to pay seven months salary arrears and other alleged anti-labour practices.

The unions said the industrial action would continue indefinitely until their demands are met by the management of Arik Air.

They shut down Arik Air’s flight operations at both the local and international wings of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and also barricaded the airline’s corporate headquarters within the airport premises.

As early as 6:00 a.m, the aggrieved workers stormed the airport chanting solidarity songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions, denouncing the actions of Arik Air’s management.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, said the unions decided to ground Arik Air for safety reasons.

Abioye said : “Arik Air has refused to pay workers salaries for seven months and we know that a disgruntled worker is an accident waiting to happen.

“The airline has been defaulting in taxes and other statutory deductions from workers remunerations.

“The management has refused to allow total unionisation of its employees, in compliance with extant labour laws and with respect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He also demanded for the immediate reinstatement of five of the airline’s employees who were sacked for their involvement in unionism.

Abioye further alleged that Arik Air was owing about N13 billion and N6 billion to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), respectively.

According to him, the airline was also indebted to its aviation fuel suppliers and ground handlers and should therefore be declared insolvent by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Also speaking, Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, said the unions were prepared to embark on the strike for as long as possible.

“Things cannot be business as usual for Arik. A pilot who is disgruntled can crash an aircraft deliberately. An engineer who is being owed salaries can sabotage the aircraft.

“So we need to ground Arik Air until the management shows that they are responsible,” Akinjole added.

Some of Arik Air’s passengers at the General Aviation Terminal resorted to changing their travel plans as there was no staff to attend to them at the airline’s counter.

One of the passengers, Ms Tomisin Olukare, said she bought a one-way ticket from Lagos to Abuja at N42, 000 three days ago.

“I came this morning and there is nobody to attend to me and my flight is supposed to leave by 10:00 a.m., so I am really confused,” she said.

Another passenger, Mrs Chika Emmanuel, said an agent assisted her in buying an Air Peace ticket for Abuja immediately she sensed that there was going to be a disruption on Arik Air operations.

Emmanuel said she would be demanding for a refund of her ticket from Arik Air when she returns from her trip.

When contacted, the Corporate Communications Manager of Arik Air, Mr Ola Adebanji, said the airline would soon issue a statement explaining their position on the situation.

BREAKING: Exxonmobil Office in Lagos shutdown by PENGASSAN.

Fresh reports coming from a reliable source, has it that the Exxonmobil office in Lagos Nigeria was today shut down following a dispute between the employees union (PENGASSAN) and Mobil management on initiating an arbitrary sack of Nigerian employees without conclusive negotiations.


It is unclear whether the Union will extend the shutdown to offshore facilities but it is certain that the feud between PENGASSAN members and the Mobil Management is far from over.


It was reported that the office at 1 Lekki Expressway, Victoria Island was under lock and key as PENGASSAN members decried the arbitrary sack of their Nigerian employees.


We shall update you on further happenings as the details of this crisis unfold.

WhatsApp Extends Shutdown On BBOS, Blackberry 10 Phones To June 2017

Messaging app WhatsApp has reversed its decision to stop supporting some specific phones which includes Blackberry OS, Blackberry 10 at the end of the year . Recall that the initial deadline given was December 31 2016. WhatsApp has now shifted the “dooms-day” to June 2017.

The initial deadline caused a lot of frenzy as users of phones that fell into the category of phones that were not compatible with WhatsApp had started selling their phones off or swapping directly for those that support WhatsApp after December 2016.

South African Student Protesters Demand University Shutdown

South African students protesting against high tuition fees have demanded that all universities be shut until the government provides free education, Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) said on Friday.

Student leaders, whose protests have forced Wits and Cape Town universities to suspend classes twice in less than a month, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Wits was aiming to reopen on Monday after police clashed earlier this week with student demonstrators on the campus in scenes that recalled apartheid-era skirmishes.

Wits said in a statement that it had “no agreement from the protesting students that the academic program will continue on Monday” and that it had suspended a general assembly scheduled for midday Friday to thrash out differences.

“One of the latest demands of the protesting students is that Wits and all other universities should be shut down until government agrees to free education,” Wits said.

The cost of university education, prohibitive for many black students, has become a symbol of the inequalities that endure in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid.

Wits’ vice-chancellor Adam Habib told a media briefing that the university was striving to save the current academic year, which in the southern hemisphere ends in December.

“The struggle for free education is a noble cause. But it is not a cause that requires the sacrifice of the 2016 academic year,” Habib said.

The government, grappling with a budget deficit of nearly 4 percent of GDP, has capped 2017 fee increases for next year at 8 percent, but warns that education subsidies should not come at the expense of other sectors like health and housing.

The National Treasury allocated nearly 300 billion rand ($21.5 billion)towards education in its 1.46 trillion rand 2016/17 budget, compared with 168 billion rand for health.

Read More: reuters

Labour threaten to shutdown Nigeria over planned national assets sale

Oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, have threatened to shut down the country should the Federal Government carry out its plan to sell national assets to augment revenue shortfall.

Also, the Trade Union Congress on Sunday said it would join PENGASSAN to shut down the country if the government remained adamant on its plan to sell some national assets.

PENGASSAN, in a statement on Sunday by its National Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojugbana, said the government should look into other ways to increase its revenue base while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.

The union, which described the plan to sell the national assets as a self-destructive move for Nigeria, said, “The plan meant to solve short-term financial obligations is targeted at handing over our collective wealth to a few individuals and further impoverish the rest of our countrymen and women.”

It said government at all levels should pump money into the economy through the execution of capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to revive the economy.

PENGASSAN said it would not sit back and watch the sale of national assets, especially those in the oil and gas industry, such as the Nigeria LNG that had become a huge revenue-earner for Nigeria; refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations being shared among those in power and their cronies.

It said, “Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the association, as PENGASSAN will galvanise every support, including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt.

“Some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short-sighted politicians had earlier advocated the sale of public assets such as the NLNG, four state-owned refineries, Nigeria’s stakes in the Africa Finance Corporation, the nation’s airports and reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations and this was approved by the National Economic Council.”

Reacting to the recent approval of the sale of the national assets by the NEC, Ojugbana said the sale of the assets would further compound the economic and security problems in the country.

He added, “They should tell us what will happen after the recession if we have sold the assets to greedy individuals. Will the country go cap in hand begging those individuals who bought the assets and borrowing from them?”

He said the plan “is ill-timed and unwarranted as it does not serve national interest,” adding that no nation could develop, survive or feel secure after selling all its national assets.”

PENGASSAN stated, “Doing this will further mortgage the future of our great country in the hands of few cabals. These individuals are just looking for advantage to further loot the country through illegal acquisition of the national assets as in the case of various oil blocks held by a few powerful Nigerians.

“The sale of national assets is not only surprising but also embarrassing for a nation experiencing economic recession. The proponents of the sale of national assets are those who have been actively involved in the operations of the nation’s economy in the past. They were part of those responsible for the country’s current economic situation.”

According to him, such sales in the past, including the power and steel sectors privatisation, are just a shift from public monopoly to private monopoly, which has further worsen those sectors.

“It is, therefore, the candid position of PENGASSAN that such a plan should be thrown into the trash bin. Government should continue to seek better ways to address the present economic challenges and reduce areas of wastage. The long overdue calls for diversification of the economy should be driven with all seriousness; more action is required urgently than propaganda mechanism,” he said.

The President of the TUC, Bala Kaigama, said on the telephone on Sunday that the Congress would collaborate with the two major unions in the oil sector because the planned sale of the assets was flawed.

He noted that if those who invested in the assets had sold them, the current administration would not have met them.

Kaigama said, “We will solidarise with them. You cannot sell vital assets like that. You don’t. If those who invested in the assets had sold them, would they have met them?

“Of course, these business people, who are saying sell and sell, let them pay the appropriate taxes. Those people who are not paying the appropriate taxes, let them pay the appropriate taxes and money will accrue to the Federal Government.

“TUC will solidarise with NUPENG and PENGASSAN to shut down the country.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress, on its own, said while it would take necessary steps on the issue, it had not taken the decision to shut down the country.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, stated on Sunday that the congress would inform Nigerians when the decision was taken.

Ozo-Eson added, “No. We are a democratic organ; we have our processes. We have not taken a decision; when we take a decision, we will let the country know.

“If individual unions have announced, we have no quarrel with that. We are opposed to it (assets sale) and we will take the necessary steps. We have not yet taken that decision of shutting down the country or whatever. We will inform the nation when we take that decision.”

Minister Threatens To Shutdown Fertiliser Plant Over Products Diversion

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has threatened to shut down any fertiliser plant that denies local farmers access to the product while exporting the same commodities.
The Minister made this known following allegations that one of the two big urea plants in Nigeria is producing for export while selling to Nigerian farmers at inflated prices, making affordability and accessibility difficult.
“Two urea plants are big enough to meet Nigeria’s demands. We know their capacities. But where there are allegations that some people are exporting instead of putting in the Nigerian market, and prices shot to N10,000 per bag of urea, we became extremely angry with them. Thank God now, many of them have started producing and putting into the market. The price is already dropping,” Ogbeh observed.
“But we are warning against the future. There can’t be any priority but the Nigerian market. If there is a surplus, they are free to export. But unless and until there is a surplus, we can’t sit by and watch people selling fertiliser beyond the shores of Nigeria when the local farmers have nothing to buy. And we are saying the same to others. The priority is the Nigerian market.”

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