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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 9th Feb 2007, 10:50
  #1661 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
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As far as I can tell road transfers between Owerri and PH have stopped for Bristow. It's helicopter only. That will also soon go and it'll be NAF Base to/from Lagos direct. Better late then never............

Keep your heads down guys.

NEO
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Old 9th Feb 2007, 14:01
  #1662 (permalink)  
 
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NEO,

That's good news - at least Bristow is doing the right thing. I also heard that CHC was moving all its Filipino staff from Nigeria for their safety and peace of mind. Maybe at last the companies are starting to deal with the very real concerns of their employees in Nigeria.

Intersetingly, MEND have denied that the CNN report had anything to do with them, claiming instead that reporter Jeff Koinange had misled the public with his report and threatening to disclose the entire e-mail communication between MEND and CNN if Koinange should dispute what they say:

What CNN has presented as the truth to its unsuspecting viewers, is a collection of thugs, pirates and bunkerers put together by Jeff Koinange and CNN to meet up with the deadline given to Mr. Koinange by his editors in CNN. It is far from the truth.
"The band of criminals paraded by CNN as MEND have nothing to do with MEND. They are indeed the kidnappers of the Filipinos and as earlier stated, carried out this act at the behest of politicians and some misguided so-called Ijaw leaders to prevent an Itsekiri man emerging as governor in Delta State.
"It is astonishing that a network of high repute such as CNN would descend this low in its search for a sensational story. We are reluctant to release our correspondence with Mr. Koinange but will circulate this if our claims are refuted."
In an earlier release, Gbomo had stated: "From the inception of our campaign, all statements from MEND have been released through this email account only and we categorically denied taking the Filipinos."
Apparently refering to another group which claimed to have kidnapped the Filipinos, Gbomo said the so called Major General Tamuno "is unknown to us and is a fraud."
The Filipinoes, he said, "were abducted by a community in Gbaramatu with the connivance of FNDIC in Warri who were paid by local politicians to blackmail the government into annulling the PDP primaries in Delta State.
Gbomo said the FNDIC in a bid to "lend credence to their fraud and cover up this disgraceful act carried out in the name of the struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, they added our original list of demands to their intended goals."
The struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, he said in the release, "has no relationship with the PDP primaries for which the Filipinos are being held. This same group of frauds in their earlier release claimed to hold the Italian hostages as well. This has long been disproved".
If true, this may well be good news as MEND have pretty much abided by their promises and actually do seem more interested in politics than kidnapping for financial gain. The CNN news report caused a lot of people here in Port Harcourt a lot of stress and Filipino expats here have been very worried by it, especially as it seems that they are being targeted at present. Bristow and CHC are doing the right thing in relocating or removing them. There have been reports that many Filipinos have been catching flights from Port Harcourt today. It's sad that these gentle and hard-working people have been made unwitting victims in the Delta problems. Without them, both the offshore and onshore oil sectors and the aviation companies in Nigeria will be badly affected.

The President, and the military, despite not appearing to take any positive action are at least talking with communities in the Niger delta and with Pengassan in an attempt to calm the situation. Sadly, with elections due soon, it may be a case of too little, too late. In Nigeria, there's always a lot going on behind the scenes which is unreported, so there's still hope of an improvement in the situation before the international reputation of Nigeria is further tarnished.
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Old 9th Feb 2007, 16:20
  #1663 (permalink)  
 
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Unhappy Intrepid Reporters

flungdung,
I think you've got it in one there . If not for the fact that we had a scene from the camp where the Filipinos are being held, I'd almost have suspected that he'd filmed the whole thing in Ghana. Still, lots of good profile shots of him with his chin jutting forward in best heroic and manly fashion. He certainly did a good job of helping these terrorists because today Filipino families are flocking out of Nigeria .
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Old 9th Feb 2007, 18:29
  #1664 (permalink)  
 
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Rivers State - Security State Red

Rivers state in Nigeria has now been declared to be on Red Alert. This basically means that the Federal Government will be taking over much of the responsibility for security in the State. Expect lots more Army and Police roadblocks and 'stop and search' starting in the next couple of days. Movement may well be more difficult, but after today's 3 incidents of robbing, killing and kidnapping in Port Harcourt something needs to be done and, hopefully things will be a bit safer.
Shell have told all their expatriate staff on the Shell Residential Area to stay on the RA and not go to work from tomorrow until 18th February.
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Old 14th Feb 2007, 10:31
  #1665 (permalink)  
 
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Question Gone quiet?

Come on guys/gals there must be some more rumours out there! or has everyone been taken hostage?
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Old 14th Feb 2007, 18:06
  #1666 (permalink)  
 
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Lightbulb Update for SwampQueen

Swampie,

Actually the number of hostages has fallen since the release of the 24 Filipino seamen from the Bacoliner yesterday. Sadly, the 3 hostages taken from Brass are now in their 70th day of captivity and there seems no prpospect of their release until after the elections.

Road travel in the Port Harcourt area is considerably slowed down by huge fuel queues which also are unlikely to go down until after the elections. There's little sign of the military deployment on the streets since the Red Alert - this is because the majority of the troops have been deployed into the riverine areas to help in trying to weed out some of the militants from their camps in the creeks and the swamps.

The Nigerian Minister for Information, in characteristic fashion made a complete fool of himself in his efforts to discredit the CNN report by Jeff Koinange, featuring so-called MEND fighters in the swamps with the kidnapped Filipinos. MEND actually say that the CNN report grossly underestimated the numbers of fighters and weapons (many captured from the many police and military who have been killed in the Delta), and if he had been more accurate the report would have been far more disturbing.

Back in the real world, Bristow is having great trouble getting any expat staff to go to Port Harcourt because of the 'security situation' or to keep those it has there. Some of the security situation is just being whipped up by the press, like CNN. Sadly, the staff of both Bristow and CHC now have night time curfews (though not, of course those of Caverton - they probably just stay in some 1* doss house with no security, so they're not targets and the militants know their company wouldn't pay a kobo for them anyway ). Both companies staff can also be seen being escorted to work by armed escorts now. At least CHC staff in Port Harcourt live fairly close to work, have internet in their houses, a company bar (even if it is a gay bar ), have good individual rooms which are reasonably equipped with essentials like refrigerators and en-suite bathrooms and know that if they are injured in an incident or accident, they can get treatment in the SOS clinic at Intels (probably the only clinic in Port Harcourt worth a damn). Bristow, on the other hand, have a long, nasty journey to work as they move into more secure housing a long way out of town, may well be sharing bathrooms, find the fridge is only good for putting things on top of as it doesn't work, probably have no internet access either at work or at home and if they're shot or injured at night, have to try and find a driver or a friend to take them to some crummy bush clinic (if anyone even knows where it is ). Many of the Bristow staff have still not been paid their accrued leave pay, months after it was promised and a lot of employees on an 'accompanied' deal are angry that their increase was proportionately much lower than anyone elses and that they still have to work 22 weeks on site before they get any leave. Communication from upper management is almost non-existent. I forecast another sizeable of exodus from Bristow, just leaving Nigeria and great difficulties in being able to fulfil their contracts in Port Harcourt because of staff shortages.

However, the Nigerian Minister of Tourism claims that Nigeria is on the verge of a tourist boom, with tourism set to take over from oil as the main earner in the Nigerian economy by 2009!!! . Nigerian immigration officials are being despatched to frontier posts to start a count of the number of tourists entering. Unfortunately they only have one pencil and 2 pages of paper between them, but luckily this should be about 2 pages of paper and one pencil more than is required . One travel site proudly proclaims:

The main tourist attractions in Nigeria have to be the animals: Hippos, elephants and even lions, all in their natural habitat. There are also over 600 species of birds to see while hiking across vast stretches of parks.
Actually, I'm not sure if it's a travel site or a new comedy site!

So, what else did you want to know?
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Old 14th Feb 2007, 18:50
  #1667 (permalink)  
 
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Angry Statistics for Nigeria

Okay, we all know there are lies, damn lies and statistics, but some of the humanitarian statistics for Nigeria make interesting reading (Nigeria Facts)

Average life expectancy has declined from 51.5 to 43.4 years since 2000 and the percentage with access to improved water has declined from 62% to 48% since 2000. Average literacy has slightly improved, but it's the number of cellular telephone users which shows the biggest increase, from 0.3% to 14% of the population since 2000. In terms of corruption ranking (where 1 is the least and 145 the most corrupt) it ranks slightly better than last year (142), but was only 90 in 2000, so things in general since democracy have been getting worse. The percentage of the population living on less than $1 per day has changed little from the 70.2% of 2000 to the 70.8% of today, though it's obvious that the transition to democracy and the huge increase in the oil price have done absolutely nothing for the ordinary person. After all this, people wonder why there's so much unrest as the people continue to see their oil wealth squandered for the benefit of just a few corrupt politicians while they live in squalor. This must be the most corrupt government Nigeria has ever endured
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 14:46
  #1668 (permalink)  
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Well, I Did It

Yup, due to pressure from Good Woman In Africa I called the Boss and told him I won't be going back to Wunderland until I (or more importantly, she) can see an improvement in conditions there.

By conditions I mean the whole package: security, accommodation, Ts & Cs, the whole nine yards.

The last straw was the Bristow guy I just heard about who was 17 hours in a " company approved" hospital in agony before a doctor even looked at him. Then he got told he shouldn't smoke !! Luckily he didn't die (quite) and is being properly cared for now. What the hell ??!!

Good Luck Guys.
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 15:48
  #1669 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down The First of Many

GMIA,

Good for you! I wish I had the guts to do what you have. Like many of us here, I now always have some worries for my security. Looks as if you're the first of those I forecast would be leaving and it's ironic that it also comes as the result of another thing I mentioned - Bristow's cynical refusal to do anything about providing proper healthcare for their employees in Nigeria whilst they are there. There are a (very) few decent clinics in the country with well-trained doctors who also have paramedic training to enable them to give proper treatment for things such as gunshot wounds and critical illnesses. CHC, as has been said, fulfils the duty of care to its employees far better, with night standby vehicles and drivers at its accommodation, proper night call-out procedures with a 24 hour manned radio room and armed MOPOL available to escort any sick staff to hospital by day or night. Many people in Bristow have not even got an idea of where they will be taken, or where they should take their colleagues in the event they fall sick outside working hours. Despite being a large city, Port Harcourt is poorly served for medical facilities to treat anything other than pregnancy or malaria. Some hospitals may have good facilities, but they don't have the trained staff to use them 24/24 and many Nigerian hospital staff appear to have little interest in the welfare of their patients (and here I speak from bitter and unforgettable experience ). Even if someone is taken to a hospital, he is often left there with no security whatsoever. as far as I know there is only one clinic in Port Harcourt which has a helipad available 24/24 because it's lit, is secure (because it's inside the most secure living area in Port Harcourt), and has properly trained, caring paramedic staff always on call. If you work for a company which is not using that facility in the present security situation, I'd suggest you write to someone in senior management and ask why it is failing in its duty of care to you when such a facility is available and informing them that you hold them fully responsible if something should happen to you if they fail to respond. Put it in writing and make sure you get a reply, so you have something to refer to later if the worst happens.

GMIA, I think you'll be the first of many unless companies stop just coming up with feeble excuses and start taking security seriously rather than just paying lip service to it.

Oh, and if anyone thinks that CHC is whiter-than-white in this respect, maybe their employees should start asking when they're going to stop leaving for work at the same time every day. They talk of the new secure Death camp, but that's all they do -talk. Have their security advisors carried out a safety assessment of their present accommodation (it should make amusing reading if they have, because security their is a sick joke ). Accommodation was available at the new Intels camp more than a year ago (still is, I believe), but they're just constantly being put off with architects impressions of how nice things will be years down the road when they move.

It's only a matter of time now before helicopters sit out on the ramp in the morning due to the lack of crews rather than the Harmattan
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 18:19
  #1670 (permalink)  
 
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Devil CHC vs BRISTOW

At least CHC is heavily investing in Nigeria
Brand new aircrafts, new hangar. What about Bristow?
The supposed "Death Camp", let's wait and see what it will be. CHC bought the land so they can do what they want, they will bring everything down and built new buildings, swiming pool ... What about Bristow?
With CHC you have access to a real hospital. What about Bristow?
Salary are nearly the same for both companies but with Bristow you have no loss of licence...
The CHC package is still one of the best
I am not saying that everything is great with CHC, but I personnaly prefer to work for a company which is going forward
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 18:26
  #1671 (permalink)  
 
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I am not saying that everything is great with CHC, but I personnaly prefer to work for a company which is going forward
Spot on Mate!
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 18:51
  #1672 (permalink)  
 
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Froggy pilot,

you're 100% right
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 20:54
  #1673 (permalink)  
 
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Hm froggy,

Let's just examine that in a bit more detail shall we?

Heavily investing in Nigeria, or only in Port Harcourt, the only place where it has a significant helicopter presence? Brand new aircraft? Well, I guess you're just looking at one of Bristow's smaller operations, that at NAF where they have some old aircraft which are soon leaving. Remember that as opposed to CHC's 17 or so helicopters in Nigeria, Bristow has over 40. Of CHC's helicopters 5 are owned by NNPC and one by River's State Government. Of Bristow's helicopters 6 are owned by Shell. Bristow has many new bell 412EPs at QIT, with more on the way and will shortly have the first S76C++s in Nigeria, an aircraft with a rather more useful payload and range than the 365N3. The AW139 has yet to prove itself in this environment and is not on the Shell list of approved aircraft. It has great single-engine performance, but with the resultant penalty of high fuel burn and limited range for a helicopter of its size. It also has a very poor baggage capacity and the same C of G problems which plagued the S76 for years. For around $3 million more than an S76, it doesn't seem to offer a significantly large advantage. IMHO, the problems of getting the range the oil companies will need for the real deepwater fields will require something with significantly more range or payload, such as the AS332L2, the EC225 or the S92.

The new CHC hangar is being built at great expense on the NAF Base, a place from which all the civil operators have been expelled at short notice at least 3 times in the last few years. Maybe there's a reason why Bristow is biding its time? I'm sure the shareholders wouldn't be happy to see a multi-million dollar investment confiscated by the military. If you think that's a flight of fancy, just have a look at what some of the more likely contenders for President are talking about doing: talking with the Venezuelans about nationalising lots of oil companies here. It's already been done in the past with BP.

The death camp is still a pipe dream, more than 6 months after the land was purchased, and it wasn't CHC's idea; it was purchased by Aero Contractors. In the meantime, nothing is being done about providing safe and secure accommodation in Port Harcourt for Aero staff. By the end of the month, all Bristow staff will have been moved to approved secure housing, whilst all CHC do is talk, talk, talk. The new Bristow housing already has swimming pools and all modern sporting facilities, with the possible exception of Calabar (and Escravos no longer has a swimming pool, but crews only spend 4 weeks there). You're certainly right about the loss of licence and many in Bristow were very disappointed when that was not re-introduced in their new salary package in December. As for the hospital issue, that's certainly something which needs addressing urgently, but whether it will be or not, nobody knows. It's interesting that you say that salaries are nearly the same as I hear that all the pilots who have left CHC for Bristow have had an increase in salary. However, as is always the case in this industry, one will be better one year, another the next. It's also about time CHC introduced a proper way of paying a standard monthly salary without staff having to claim for it, and large fluctuations in pay. Remember that there's a great deal of difference between the illusion of going forward and the reality. More companies are being run by people who have no interest in aviation per se, only in the money which can be made from it, and shareholders are only interested in the bottom line.... $$$$$$.
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Old 18th Feb 2007, 21:54
  #1674 (permalink)  
 
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Anjouan

First of all CHC bought Shreiner just for Port Harcourt rotary wing operation, but I think you forget to talk about the new few Boing 737

About the 40 Bristow aircrafts you must include the PanAf single eng helicopter in Escravos which have to be soon change to twin eng if they don't loose the contract

About the 139 not approved by Shell, let Shell deal with oil and not with aero matters, when I think that they bought EC 155 (a long range helicopter) to fly from Shell IA to Soku (less than 15 min of flight) or Nun River

For choosing a helicopter, remember that it's the oil companies who are taking the final decision, you won't give a model to an oil company if they don't want it. All oil companies have "aeronautical specialists" to give advices and recommendations to decision makers

For the "death camp" I believe that CHC priority is going to operations, before housing which make sense
"nothing is being done about providing safe and secure accommodation in Port Harcourt for Aero staff" as far as I know Areta will be the last camp in PH to be attacked, just because of who owns the place
I never heard of any threat in Areta, which is not the case with Bristow camps recently...........
I do agree that hiring those Pointer Security is a waste of money, but we do have a lot more MOPOLS, but honnestly I don't think the number of MOPOLS really matters if militants really want to enter a place, if they can attack the central police station in PH just to free one of them...
Remember also that AERO is 60% nigerian and that can make a huge difference during those trouble times

For the new hangar in NAF, why has Bristow recently invested in a new hangar also ? Why don't they invest in a new hangar in international airport, may be shareholders are happy to see their aircrafts sleeping outside during harmattan or rainy season

Whatever, you always find people who think that's better next door, and keep moving from one company to another one, to finally come back to their departure point.

And please stop saying that Bristow will do this and will do that.
They were supposed to introduce a loss of licence...
Let's keep to the facts, sorry I am like Saint Thomas I believe what I see
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 06:08
  #1675 (permalink)  
 
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Devil

Now, now girls, as everyone knows, there's NO such thing as a good company to work for in Nigeria.
Point of order Mr froggy - with the exception of NLNG, all foreign companies in Nigeria are 60% Nigerian - that's the law.
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 14:25
  #1676 (permalink)  
 
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Um....,

Every so often we read a post such as yours suggesting posts pointing out problems are some sort of aid and abetting the bad guys.

The reality is any idiot with evil intent in mind can assess the situation at street level and obtain exactly the same information. What is visible to all has to be accepted as "non-classified" information.

Where the folks live, how they get to work, the starting point, ending point, departure times, routes travelled, security personnel, all are quite easy to determine by a simple straight forward recce. The insurgents and criminal gangs are very capable in that regard already.

The problem in these kinds of situations is being able to vary any and all of the above in such a fashion as to be "unpredictable"

The next level if one cannot be "unpredictable" is to be well armed and thus become a "hard" target vice a "soft" target.

I would suggest in Nigeria.....neither of those methods are possible. The Mopo's cannot be relied upon to stand and die in an ex-pats defense. The Insurgents have shown that repeatedly as they appear to have prevailed in all of the attacks to date.

I participated in numerous Protective Services Details over a period of five years thus have an understanding of what methods, procedures, and tactics are used in doing such work. The situation expats are confronted with in Nigeria, particularly Port Harcourt is one I would reccommend to the Protectee that he not expose himself to the risk of ground travel at all and only do travel by helicopter or airplane. Sadly, that adds to the risk element because one has to protect the take off and landing points as well as do the ground escort as well.

At some point the situation will get to the point where all travel becomes too risky and the insurgents will have won.
SASless is online now  
Old 19th Feb 2007, 16:29
  #1677 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Um...
Any company driver, gardener or cook steward can give away more clues about your habits and movements to the bad guys than all the posts on this thread together. Not to mention the colleagues working "for you" in the ops room, the hangar or office.
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 16:45
  #1678 (permalink)  
 
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Let's go down the list of things said here and compare them to the possibility of them being found out by someone planning some action against the folks.

Start Point and stop points....now that is a hard one for them.

Route selection....again how many different ways are there to go?

Timing....predictable? Yes...very.

Identifying the vehicles used....one day outside each start and end point takes care of that.

Security personnel (armed personnel)....again...standing on a street corner for a day will take care of that.

Security procedures at the start point....stop point....how many local staff are employed by the operators? That takes care of that.

Communications.....harder but not as important.

Reaction forces....pre-planned ambush sites takes care of that.

Target selection.....pretty easy to figure out who the "White Boys" are.

All generic issues UM....what can be said here that provides the bad guys information that they do not already know....or can find out with as little as 12 hours of recce done in one day?

I would suggest the truth of the matter is....the Insurgents can strike at the time of their choosing as they have already done on many occasions.

UM....the fat is in the fire already....they may be Nigerian but as very many of the Nigerians we work with are, the Insurgents are very capable individuals.

The real question that needs answering should be along the lines of "What has the operators done to counter these issues?". Just as important is what can be done using the existing infrastructure and physical plant locations?

At some point does the security situation dictate major changes in the way business is done, such as building secure facilities so that no travel is required to be done by ground, put them behind lots of barbed wire and earthen berms with over head protection against mortars and RPG's. (Sounds like some places in Afghanistan or Iraq or Northern Ireland somehow!)


The bottom line on Security is cost.....and one must always remember that any physical security system can be penetrated. One must chose between two methods.....preventing a breach or containment of a breach the difference in them being "no attacker gets in" and the other is "no attacker gets out".

As in any security situation....travel is the most dangerous part of the equation. Invariably, the Insurgent has the advantage over the target. The attacker plans.....the target can only react.

Last edited by SASless; 19th Feb 2007 at 16:56.
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 17:52
  #1679 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Um,

Hm, maybe you need to get out a bit more (difficult I guess if all you guys are on lockdown) and read some of the posts on the Military forum before you make pronouncements about how military guys would be in chokey. Are you still in the military by any chance?

Here's what the Australian government has had to say on its website (for at least 9 months) about at least one of the companies being mentioned:
Security has been increased at airports in the south of the country due to threats to oil and gas industry related flights. This includes flights operating between Owerri, Warri and Lagos. Recent credible reporting indicates a potential terrorist threat against the Nigerian Aero Contractors airline.
.

Maybe these 2 airheads are just fed up because they have had no response from their companies form what they feel to be very real concerns. I know that if I were out there right now and my company was ignoring my concerns about safety and security, I'd be pretty darned annoyed too and just maybe, airing those concerns here might get them to do something about it and make other folks think twice before commiting themselves to going to Nigeria until something is done. Neither of them actually seems to have actually said much of anything specific, except about building hangars or medical facilities and I'd guess a lot of that must either be pretty obvious or on the public domain anyway.

I've never worked for any company presently in Nigeria and I don't think I'd much like to be there right now, but for all of you that are, I hope you stay safe and remember that loo slips ink ships - or somthing like that.
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Old 19th Feb 2007, 22:52
  #1680 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Posts: 153
Danger Security?

Security ? What a joke...

First of all, working hours are not a secret and we can't really change it as we can't fly at night

Second, we are really easy targets, we keep giving all details...

Has anybody some suggestions to secure our frequencies, I think that should be the first priority for all companies. (only really cheap solutions as they won't spend too much )
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