Nigeria Air Unveiling A Huge Fraud – Aviation Stakeholders
Aviation stakeholders and national assembly Committees on Aviation have spoken on the recent launch of the national carrier by the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki as a fraudulent act to siphon Nigeria’s commonwealth using the Nigerian Air project.
In a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Emmanuel Meribole, and other relevant stakeholders in the industry, the chairman of the House of Reps committee for Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji said that the whole project was shrouded in secrecy and the committee has ordered the suspension of the project. He also called for the arrest and prosecution of all those behind it.
According to Nnaji, “The Committee after careful evaluation of the issues on deliberation is totally dissatisfied with the actions of the former Minister of Aviation, Sen, Hadi Sirka in going ahead to flag off the operations of Nigeria Air despite a standing court injunction against such, and without any provision for sustaining the operations of the airline. We are equally irked by the role played by Ethiopian Airlines in this whole process. It does not speak well of the excellent brotherly relationship existing between our two nations.
“A careful review of the process indicates the exercise was 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. However, such a process should be transparent and all-embracing. We as a Committee would not accept any attempt by any individual or group of individuals or organization to hide under the project and siphon our commonwealth.” He added.
“Ensure that all individuals, groups, or organisations involved in the controversial shenanigan named “Nigeria Air Take-Off are brought to book, prosecuted, and sanctioned.
“In conclusion, looking at the total amount required to fully start the airline which is put at $250,000,000, the Nigerian government and its citizenry can raise these funds without necessarily subjecting itself to the ridicule we have been exposed to by this recent episode. This is what we suggest the new administration look into.”
Reacting, the permanent secretary said it was the unveiling of the Nigerian Air, not the launching. “I am not aware of any launch of the Nigeria Air. What I saw in the media and what the Minister rightly said was the unveiling of the Nigeria Air. Nobody said he was launching that. The second thing is that the Nigeria Air project did not start today. It was part of ten road map approved by the President in 2016.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Mohammed Oduwowo said “We had an approval. We granted the aircraft a flight permit. It was meant to be a chartered flight from Ethiopia to Nigeria. It was a chartered flight. It went back the following day,” he said.
Similarly, the Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air said they only concluded one out of five steps required to secure the Air Operator Certificates.
“We have a five-phase process to go through with the regulator. After the five phases, you can get the AOC certificate. Until you do not have an airline. So we are in the five-phase process of getting the airline. So this is not an AOC process, it is not the launch of the airline. We are not selling tickets. None of the above
Speaking on behalf of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Capt. Roland Iyayi called for the status quo of the airline whether the relaunching or unveiling.
In addition, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema expressed displeasure that some Nigerians colluded with the foreigners to breach the laws of the land for personal gains.
The Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Michael Ohiani also said they had not issued a full operational license to Nigerian Air.
“This has not been done. We have not issued a full business certification to Nigeria Air. Once it is presented to FEC and it is approved, it will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for vetting then there would be contract execution. Because of the court matter, the Ministry of Justice advised us and we took the advice. That is the reason we have stopped on further processes with Nigerian Air”, he said