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Ex-Aviation minister Sirika claims shareholders of Nigeria Air, not FG unveiled national carrier

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The immediate past Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has claimed that the shareholders of the national carrier, not the federal government, were responsible for launching Nigeria Air.

When he made an appearance on Arise TV on Sunday, the former minister spoke.

“It is their own marketing strategy as equity partners that they came to do this unveiling on a special allowance, which is called a chartered flight. Chartered does not mean they paid for it. If there is anybody who paid for it, it would have been the Ethiopian Airlines. No penny is paid,” Sirika said.

On May 26, three days to the expiry of President Mohammadu Buhari tenure, the national carrier was unveiled in Abuja by the minister of aviation, with a chartered aircraft with Nigeria’s colour.

The unveiling and was said to have signified the take off of the national carrier operation in fulfillment of all the promises made by the administration of Buhari in the aviation sector.

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However, stakeholders said the unveiling was a fraud by the last administration to deceived and defrauded the country of huge funds allocated to the project.

Before the Senate committee on aviation winded down last week, wondered why the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, hurriedly unveiled a national carrier on the last day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In its resolution, the Committee stated that after careful evaluation of the issues on deliberation, it is totally dissatisfied with the actions of the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirka, in going ahead to flag off the operations of Nigeria Air despite a standing court injunction against such a move and without any provision for sustaining the operations of the airline.

The acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Dayo Olumide, has disclosed that the airplane that landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on May 26, 2023, was a chartered one from Ethiopia.

While speaking before the Senate Committee on Aviation on Tuesday, Olumide said that the plane was chartered from Ethiopian Airlines to launch the country’s official airline.

The Nigeria Air acting chief executive added that his mandate is to secure an operating license for the airline, which is still in its early stages.

He said; “It is a pleasure to be here and to finally make our position known, where I can clarify all the misconceptions regarding Nigeria Air as it pertains to the technical aspects of it.

“As you know, this airline was launched with the logo in 2018. Several things have transpired since then that have nothing to do with me.

“I was invited last February; my mandate is to secure an air operating certificate for the airline, not necessarily to operate the airline but to secure a license to fly. And that is entirely my responsibility.”

(omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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