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NLC Blasts Foreign Airlines Involved In Back-Catering, Says It Causes Unemployment

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) blasted foreign airlines in back-catering, saying the act could reduce employment opportunities for Nigerians.

Back-Catering is an approach by these airlines not to take their food from Nigeria but bring food from their countries.

The labour union also threatened to shut down operations of the airline operators concerned if they fail to correct the anomalies.

Chairman, NLC, Lagos State chapter, Funmi Sessi, in an interview with Daily Sun, said the airlines were capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic, even though such acts would never be condoned in their respective countries.

According to her, labour, through NLC Lagos, has discovered that foreign airlines are now in the habit of back-catering.

“This is an approach whereby they don’t take their food from Nigeria but bring their own food from their own countries,” she said.

She noted that before the pandemic, the act was not prevalent as there were mutual arrangements between the airlines and the industry in Nigeria.

The labour leader said lack of local suppliers providing catering reduces employment opportunities for the populace.

“The more airlines back-cater, there could be job losses for our populace. We need more intervention from the Federal Government and the aviation sector in the matter.

“This practice must be stopped, henceforth, or labour will be forced to take decisive action. Airlines such as British Airways, Egypt Air, Ethiopian, Rwandair, Turkish Airlines currently engage in this practice. Their countries will not allow Nigerian airlines engage in such practices,” she added.

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Omicron: Canadian Government Adds Nigeria, Two Other Countries To Travel Ban List 

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The Canadian government has added Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to the list of African countries from which it is banning travellers amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19’s Omicron variant.

“We are adding three countries to the list of these countries that we talked about last Friday, these are Malawi, Egypt and Nigeria,” Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was quoted as saying by Sputnik news agency.

Duclos added that all travellers coming from outside Canada, apart from the United States, would now be tested at Canadian airports for the novel coronavirus disease, regardless of vaccination status.

This came after the World Health Organization on Tuesday called for countries to keep calm and take “rational” measures in response to the new COVID variant, Omicron.

“We call on all member states to take rational, proportional risk-reduction measures,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing to countries, Al Jazeera reports.

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Nigerian Government Lift Ban On Emirate Airline

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After airline ten months of restrictions, the Nigerian government has lifted the ban placed on Emirates Airlines over the COVID-19 travel requirements on Nigerian passengers.

However, Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, who announced the lifting of the ban, said the airline had removed some of its travelling conditions for Nigeria.

Sirika added that the lifting of the ban is a product of lengthy negotiations between Nigeria and the airline.

“Today, we received communications from Emirates removing some of the conditions for travelling for which we had concerns,” he said.

“Having done that, it is necessary to lift the ban on Emirates.

“This subsequent lifting of the ban is a product of lengthy negotiations between us and them,” he added.

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Nigerian Government Unveils Improved e-Passport In UK

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As part of the immigration process to improve the passport application process for Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, the Nigerian Government in London launched an enhanced passport.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Minister of Interior Affairs, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, assured of the FG’s commitment with the enhanced e-passport, stating that the FG is committed to providing passports to all its citizens.

The Minister said: “What we have come to do here is symbolic of the core mandate of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and indeed, the Federal Government’s affirmation of citizenship integrity.

“The Nigerian passport is the highest affirmation of Nigerian citizenship. It is, therefore, our responsibility to provide the passport without any stress, within a reasonable period,” Aregbesola said.

He disclosed that the process of securing a passport had been riddled with challenges from the shortage of booklets to louting, with an economy of corruption built around it.

He assured Nigerians that he comes from a tradition of problem-solving in public administration and does not believe that any problem is insurmountable.

“So we are going to solve all the problems associated with passport administration and we are already succeeding,” he said.

He also added the new enhanced passport was a huge improvement from the standard passport introduced in 2007 because it had more sophisticated security features, making it one of the most secure passports in the world.

The Minister said that the enhanced e-Passport was a great improvement on the Biometric Passport technology which Nigeria adopted in 2007 stating that the FG is aware that technology rules the world and is keeping abreast with the latest development in the field.

“Over the years, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has worked assiduously and in close synergy with Messrs Iris Smart Technologies Ltd. to develop and implement passport reforms that are in tandem with international best practices.

“This includes extant International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Standards and Regulations,” he said.

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