Third Mainland Bridge Partially Shut.
Beginning August 2009, the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos will be partially shut to traffic to enable repair work proceed on failed sections of the 18-year-old bridge. The Federal Ministry of Transportation which tried to shut the bridge earlier by mid July failed following a complaint by the Lagos State government that adequate diversionary routes had not been made beforehand.
The partial closure would likely last till September. Media sources said that modalities for the partial shutting included plans for vehicular movement using one side of the bridge as the work progressed. Motorists have been told to expect traffic snarls on the side of bridge (Oworonsoki to Lagos Island) being rehabilitated because there would be barriers on the bridge.” To smoothen the impact of the disruption, a media sensitization team would be constituted to inform motorists about alternative routes.
Already, handbills in circulation encourage motorists to use three alternative routes:
Ebute Meta-Herbert Macauley-Oyingbo-Iddo to Lagos Island ; the Oworoshoki-Anthony Oke-Ikorodu Road to Lagos Island; and the Ojota-Ikorodu Road/Western Avenue to Lagos Island. The handbills also said that the state government would provide enhanced ferry services at designated locations.
Fire Guts NPA Headquarters.
A wing of the sixth floor multi-storey corporate headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at Marina Street Lagos, has been gutted by fire. As at press time, the cause of the incident was yet to be made known by NPA.
The fire started inside one of the boardrooms and gutted a wing of the sixth floor which had the office of the Managing Director, Mallam Abdul Salam Mohammed, Secretary of the Board and that of a General Manager.
It started at about 8.30am and was quickly put off by the combined efforts of fire agencies including the NPA Fire Department, the Lagos State Fire Service, the Red Cross, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Julius Berger Plc.
Eye witness said no life was lost nor anybody injured the incident caused serious pandemonium at NPA headquarters and its environs as people started running helter skelter.
Many NPA staff were seen in groups discussing the incident at about 9 .30am. Visitors were not allowed access into the premises as armed policemen turned most of them back, advising them to come another time. Some observers suspected foul play in view of various issues that has dogged the NPA management in recent times, including the sale of NPA Houses in Nigeria and overseas, seaport concession, import charges, payment of terminal benefits to retired dock workers and some staff retrenchment.
Nigeria Spends N415bn on Roads in 9 Years
Former Director of Federal Highways Department in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Charles Unuigbe, has told the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee probing the management of funds released to the transportation sector that the Federal Government has paid N415 billion for road construction from 1999 to 2008. He said N455 billion was actually certified for payment but only N415 billion had been paid out to the various contractors, stating that the total commitment to road contracts by the Federal Government since 1999 was N940.79 billion.But the Office of the Accountant General had told the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee that over N800 billion had been spent on road construction and rehabilitation since 1999.
Unuigbe said that “the projects were of financial commitments totaling N420 billion. Three of the projects, such as the East-West Road, the Kano-Maiduguri road and the Abuja-Lokoja road were to be funded by loans from the Niger Delta Development Commission and the National Stabilisation Fund.”
He added, “Obasanjo approved the withdrawal of N16 billion from the NDDC for the funding of the East-West road and ordered the release of N20 billion from the stabilization fund for the execution of the Kano-Maiduguri and Abuja-Lokoja roads respectively.”
He however said that the funds which were intended to be loans, ended being too small to take care of the road constructions and were returned forthwith to the Funds when the appropriations were approved and released.
Flight hitches recorded as Lagos Airport radar breaks down
Air traffic controllers have complained about fresh problems in handling flight operations as electric power outages and the breakdown of the radar at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, in Lagos had complicated the situation as at July 2008.
One air traffic controller claimed that even the newly installed radar at the airport had never worked, adding that “we are not even using it.”
According to one report by the Guardian, the situation took a worrisome dimension following power outages that rocked the airport, and paralysed flights for hours. The traffic officials alleged communication breakdown between pilots and the Control Tower.
The radar at the airport, which was built in 1978, is obsolete, while the Lagos phase of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) has not functioned since it was installed some months ago.
TRACON was expected to modernise Nigeria’s air traffic management system with state-of-the-art surveillance and integrated flight and radar processing system. The secondary radar surveillance and radar processing project has dragged on rather interminably, though it was to have been completed within 18 months.
Chanchangi set to spend $40m to renew fleet
Chanchangi Airlines plans to add new airplanes to its fleet in a budgeted N4.8 billion ($40 million) aircraft acquisition programme which the company says it needs to match up with other airlines in the domestic and regional routes.
Speculations are rife that the aircraft type being sought might be either B737-400 or A320.
The airline’s Managing Director, Trevor Worthington, made the revelation after a meeting with officials of Airbus at Chanchangi headquarters in Kaduna early July.
He said that the decision to go for aircraft that are relatively new was due to the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel, JET- A1, in recent times.
“We have no option than to acquire new generation aircraft, as you know, their level of fuel consumption is low. For us to remain in business and not sack our staff, we have to continue to think ahead,” he explained.
Worthington said consultations with Airbus was in line with price comparison with other plane manufacturers like Boeing.
16 Tank Farms Suspended at Lagos Ports.
For failure to build holding bays for trucks lifting products from their facilities, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has suspended operators of 16 tank farms from using the Lagos seaports for discharging their petroleum products. The FEC took this decision in order to decongest federal access roads leading to and within the Lagos Ports Complexes at Apapa and Tin Can Island. Towards this end, no new tank farms are allowed to be built till further notice.
The council said that the 16 tank farms had failed to meet the minimum conditions and requirements for provision of holding bay and associated facilities. Their suspension will last until they provide the requisite facilities. Ministerial re-approval from the Minister of Transportation, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, would be required before they are cleared in future.
However, 22 other tank farms met the operational guidelines concerning holding bays and would be allowed to continue operations.
Governor Babatunder Fashola of Lagos State, who was part of the special FEC meeting corroborated the Transportation Minister’s claim that the activities of trucks and trailers around the seaports caused this new development. Fashola said drivers of these vehicles had defied all provisions made so far to contain their menace, including shunning a special terminal purposely built for them at Iganmu near Lagos.
FG enforces ban on domestic flights from MMIA
The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to ensure that all domestic operations from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, in Lagos, cease by 12.00 midnight on Monday August 11, 2008..
A statement by the Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Lawrence Ojabo, advised all intending domestic air passengers to use only the domestic terminals.
The Federal Government had on Monday, August 4, 2008, given Virgin Nigeria Airways, the only airline still operating domestic flights from the international airport, a seven-day “final relocation notice”, which expired on August 11, 2008.
The statement said, “The Federal Government hereby appeals for the understanding and cooperation of all intending domestic passengers to ensure the smooth conclusion of this exercise.” Indications however showed that Virgin Nigeria had made plans to abide by the regulation.