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School leaver, accounting graduate nabbed with drugs at Abuja, Kano airports

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Joy Joseph, Lagos.

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have foiled attempts by a 23-year-old secondary school leaver, Iwuyi Princewill Chukwuka and a Europe based Nigerian, Peter Mkwo to export nine kilograms of skunk and methamphetamine through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Turkey and Belgium respectively.

Mkwo aged 37, was arrested on Friday May 28, while trying to board an Ethiopian Airline 910 enroute Abuja-Addis Ababa- Brussels, Belgium.

It was learnt that when searched, 3kg of methamphetamine was discovered stuffed in the lining of a false bottom of his luggage.

Under interrogation, Mkwo claimed he has lived in Belgium for 15 years and worked as a forklift driver in an automobile company, where he earned 1,700 Euro per month.

According to the NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, Mkwo said he came into Nigeria on April 26, for the burial of his father who died in August, 2019 but buried on April 30, in Awka, Anambra State.

Babafemi in a statement said : “After spending two weeks in Awka, he traveled to Uyo for another week to see his sister and later to Lagos to see his girlfriend. He claimed he Lodged in a hotel at Amuwo Odofin in Lagos where he met two men while hanging at the bar by the hotel’s swimming pool where they made a proposal to him to carry the drug for onward delivery to Belgium.

“He said the bag containing the drug was brought to him in the hotel by the two men on Friday May 28, before he took off to Abuja where he was to take his flight to Brussels. He said he was promised 3,000 Euro on successful delivery to one Ishmael, in Belgium.

“He claimed he accepted the offer to deliver the drug to raise some fund to pay back the money he borrowed from friends during the burial of his father.”

In the same vein, the 23-year-old Iwuyi Princewill Chukwuka, was arrested with 6.3kg skunk concealed in cray fish and stuffed inside Golden Morn packs during an outward clearance of Turkish airline flight at the departure hall of the Abuja airport.

Babafemi stated that during interrogation, the claimed he was travelling for a Diploma study in Tourism and Hotel Management at University of Mediterranean, Karpasia, North Cyprus.

Similarly, a 27-year-old graduate of Accountancy, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Zakaru Baba, has been arrested at the local wing of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano with 6kg of cannabis sativa.

The consignment was flown from Lagos to Kano on Saturday, May 29, via Max Air.
The suspect who turned up to claim the packaged drug was arrested and has since confessed ownership of the exhibit.

The NDLEA spokesperson said: “This is the first time the Command has apprehended a suspect via the domestic wing of the Airport, as most arrests and seizures are usually made at the international wing.

In his reaction, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the NAIA Commander, Kabir Sani Tsakuwa, and his MAKIA counterpart, Mohammed Ajiya, as well as the officers and men of the two Commands for their vigilance and commitment to the task of ridding the country of illicit substances.

He charged them not to rest on their oars as the Agency intensifies the war against drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


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Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


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Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.

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