June 14,2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The raging controversy over the “unveiling” of the supposed national carrier, Nigeria Air plane, at the twilight of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration should not be swept under the carpet, civil society organisations say.
The unveiling of Nigeria Air was carried out by Hadi Sirika, former Minister of Aviation, on May 26, 2023, at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Ex-Minister expressed delight, insisting that the Federal Government had matched its words with action regarding the project.
Before the unveiling, the erstwhile Minister had repeatedly assured Nigerians that the project would kick off, at some point revealing the plan for aircraft which would be used in the fleet.
NAIJA247NEWS reported how Sirika promised that Nigeria Air would begin operation within five months following the unveiling of the name and logo of Nigeria Air at the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2018.
However, there was a backlash after the event, especially over the Ethiopian Airlines plane used for the unveiling.
The outgone House of Representatives Committee on Aviation reacted by calling for the suspension of the establishment of Nigeria Air.
It also called for prosecuting those involved in the unveiling of the national carrier by the previous administration, describing the exercise as a fraud.
The committee urged President Bola Tinubu to constitute a high-level Presidential committee to undertake a holistic review of the processes of the Nigeria Air project.
Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, the Chairman of the committee on Aviation, said the committee was dissatisfied with the actions of the former Minister of Aviation in going ahead to flag off the operations of Nigeria Air despite a standing court injunction against such, insisting there was no provision for sustaining the airline’s operations.
He said a careful review of the process indicated the exercise to be highly opaque, shrouded in secrecy, shoddy and capable of ridiculing and tarnishing the image of Nigeria before the international community.
We want to put on record that the committee and, indeed, the National Assembly had no role in the purported launch of Nigeria Air or anything related thereof.
“While the committee and indeed the parliament is not opposed to Nigeria having a National Carrier, as a matter of fact, having a National Carrier is highly desirable to us as a people and Nigeria, as a nation,” he said.
The committee also directed the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the Nigeria Air project to suspend flight operations and every other action concerning Nigeria Air.
Joining the call for a thorough probe of the alleged fraud is a Civil Society Organisation, the Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network, CHRAN.
It called on the anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to probe Buhari over his role in the alleged ‘fraudulent’ launch of the Nigeria Air.
It also demanded immediate arrest and investigation of Sirika and all those involved in the alleged scam for them to face the full wrath of the law if found wanting.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Otuekong Franklyn Isong and the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Comrade Vincent Aluu, the group said, “The launch, which took place on the last day of the Buhari’s government, was criminal and aimed at defrauding the people.”
A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr Haruna Gololo, also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the immediate past Minister of Aviation over unpleasant discoveries in Nigeria Air aircraft’s purported lunch.(www.naija247news.com)