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Nigeria Air: We ‘ll not allow fraudulent individuals to siphon Nigeria’s commonwealth – Reps
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Nigeria Air: We ‘ll not allow fraudulent individuals to siphon Nigeria’s commonwealth – Reps

House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on Tuesday said it will not allow fraudulent individuals or group to siphon Nigeria’s commonwealth through the Nigerian Air project. The committee spoke on

  • PublishedJune 7, 2023

House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on Tuesday said it will not allow fraudulent individuals or group to siphon Nigeria’s commonwealth through the Nigerian Air project.

The committee spoke on the heels of the recent launch of the national carrier by immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki.

Rising from a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of aviation, Emmanuel Meribole and other relevant stakeholders in the industry, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji said that the whole project was shrouded in secrecy.

Consequently, the committee ordered the suspension of the project, called for the arrest and prosecution of those behind it.

He said: “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 Airline 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 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. 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.

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“Consequently, the Committee hereby resolves to: Direct the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the Nigeria Air project to immediately suspend flights operations and every other action with respect to the Nigeria Air

“Urge our new President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President and C-in-C, to as a matter of urgency constitute a high level Presidential Committee to undertake a holistic review of the processes of the whole Nigeria Air project, and advice the government on the way forward.

“Ensure that all individuals, or groups, or organization involved in the controversial shenanigan named “Nigeria Air Take-Off are brought to book, prosecuted and sanctioned.

“Advice that the Federal Ministry of Aviation with its agency, the NCAA to designates some Nigerian Indigenous Airlines as Carriers to take advantage of Bi-lateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) entered into by Nigeria, pending when a viable National Carrier comes on board.

“In conclusion, looking at the total amount required to fully starts 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.”

“The whole thing is fraud. There is no full business case. As far as I am concerned we do not know the Acting MD.”

Reacting, the permanent secretary said it was unveiling of the Nigerian Air, not launching.

“I am not aware of any launch of then Nigeria Air. What I saw in the media and what the Minister rightly said was the unveiling the Nigeria Air. Nobody said he was launching that. The second thing is that Nigeria Air as project did not start today. It was part of ten road map approved by the President in 2016.

“Nigeria Air as I am aware started from 2016 and the process of having partners came up in March 2021 and we followed due process with the ICRC that was given birth to through the PPP.

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“The AON has taken us to court and I want to ask are we protected by discussing the issue of Nigeria Air here while the case is in court”, Meriole said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace management Agency, Mohammed Oduwowo said the plane that was used for the unveiling was a chartered flight which returned 48 hours later.

He said the plane had Ethipian registration and was chartered by Ethiopian Airlines NAMA

“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

“We are in stage one. We left stage one but we replaced all the key management of the airline. We replaced all of them. When you replace them, you have to go back to phase one. That is the requirement. We have not gotten to phase two yet. We are going to go into phase two but to go into phase two, there are certain documents you must attach to your request. One of which is called the schedule of events. There are other technical documents. We are in the process of putting these together,” he said.

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Speaking on behalf of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Capt Roland Iyayi called for status quo of the airline whether the relaunching of unveiling.

Also speaking for the AON, 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.

Also, the director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Michael Ohiani they had not issued full operational licence to Nigerian Air.

“This has not been done. We have not issued full business certification to Nigeria Air. Once it is presented to FEC and it is approved, it will now be forwarded to 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 advise. That is the reason we have stopped on further processes with the Nigerian Air”, he said.

For the representative of Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), Boye Oyemumi, no one informed them of the unveiling.

“Even as stakeholders, we were not even aware of the unveiling. We saw it in the newspapers and social media. We were not consulted. I am a bit surprised that the Perm Sec is attempting to whitewash this thing. The whole process looked like a politically driven process meant to whitewash before then government leaves. Because if stakeholders were not there, I don’t know who was there. We were not notified,. We would not have attended it anyway because we know what it means. So the illegality cannot be the unveiling. We are one of the two started partners 15 percent for SAHCO and 15 percent for MRS. We were never contacted for the purported unveiling”, the representative said.

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