The Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, has announced that it has successfully completed work on the damaged portion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail track following the terrorists’ attack on 28 March which grounded service on the route. The attack led to the deaths of at least nine people and the kidnap of hundreds more. In a press release on Thursday, the NRC said track access between the two cities has been achieved, but failed to provide an update on the 141 persons still in the custody of their abductors. Signed by Niyi Alli on behalf of the corporation’s Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, the statement read: “The connection of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service, AKTS line has been achieved. This implies that the major track components (concrete sleepers and rails) have been completely laid. The south end of the tracks (which was destroyed by the explosion) has been successfully joined with the north end. Track access between Abuja and Kaduna is now restored.”
The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) has demanded the immediate resignation of ministers and other federal appointees interested in contesting the 2023 general elections. The party’s chairman, Dan Nwanyanwu, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the affected appointees to resign immediately. Federal ministers who have indicated to contest for the 2023 presidential elections are Chibuike Amaechi, Chris Ngige, Emeka Nwajuba ministers of Transport, Labour and Employment and Education (state) respectively, as well as Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who is eyeing the Kebbi State governorship seat. Section 84(12) of the amended Electoral Act reads: “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.” On 28 April, President Buhari told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he did not order the Senate to remove the contentious Section 84(12) from the amended Electoral Act 2022 despite a ruling by the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, on 18 March, which ordered the section removed. Mr Malami had immediately said that the FG would honour the Umuahia court order.
Nigerian airlines were informed Thursday by oil marketers that aviation fuel had risen from ₦500 per litre. The marketers published their new prices as follows: Lagos, ₦600 per litre, Abuja, ₦650 per litre and Kano, ₦680 per litre. Airline operators said that some of them might ground their operations due to high cost of the product, which is now over 60 percent of their cost of operations. The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which is billed to meet today hinted that airlines might not pass the high cost of aviation fuel to their customers, but take the matter to government. An unnamed AON official told ThisDay newspaper that some airlines would not survive the price increase because many of the airlines are still recovering from the very low passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, the services of many of the domestic carriers would be impacted negatively and many airlines might have no choice than to shut down as they threatened to do in March because they would not be able to cope with the high cost of operations. A spokesman for Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, said that AON would be meeting Friday to deliberate on the increase but expressed optimism that the airlines would not pass the increase to their customers but would reach out to government and marketers for the downward review of the new prices.
Somalia will hold presidential elections on 15 May, a parliamentary committee tasked with organising the long-delayed polls in the fragile Horn of Africa nation announced on Thursday. The election is more than a year behind schedule, and has been marred by deadly violence and a power struggle between President Mohamed Farmajo Abdullahi Mohamed, and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. Somalia’s international partners have been pushing for the process to pick up speed, fearing the delays sap efforts to tackle entrenched problems, including the fight against Al-Shabaab jihadists and the threat of famine. A three-year $400-million (380-million-euro) aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will automatically expire by mid-May if a new administration is not in place by then, a move that would plunge the country into deeper peril. After Farmajo’s term ended in February last year without a new vote taking place, he attempted to extend his rule by decree, triggering violent street battles in Mogadishu as rival factions clashed. Following international pressure, he appointed Roble to seek consensus on a way forward. But the process has progressed painfully, stoking fears of further instability. In addition to the feud between Farmajo and Roble, the central government has also been embroiled in disputes with certain states, slowing down the voting process.