The House of Representatives has criticized the procedure that led to the launch of Nigeria Air at the conclusion of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, calling it a fraud.
This was revealed by Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, during an investigative hearing with Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and Ministry of Aviation personnel on Tuesday.
After the primary partners in the contract between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch, Nnaji declared Nigeria Air’s launch a scam.
The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.
Members of the committee were shocked when NAMA disclosed that the aircraft bearing Nigerian colours was on a chartered flight to Nigeria.
Other stakeholders who confirmed the disclosure noted that a chartered flight could be painted in any colour and with any inscription.
The committee also passed a resolution asking the federal government to suspend the operations of Nigeria Air.
The resolution of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation reads,
- ‘’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 commonwealths.
- ‘’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 Nigeria Air;
- Urge our new President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR 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, groups, or organizations involved in the controversial shenanigan named “Nigeria Air Take-Off” are brought to book, prosecuted and sanctioned.