Photo: Hadi Sirika, Ex-Aviation Minister
EFCC invites ex-Aviation Minister over alleged multibillion naira Nigeria Air fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to appear before the commission over alleged multibillion naira Nigeria Air scam.
The anti-graft agency also invited for questioning officials of Nigerian Air over the recent launch of the airline in Abuja, which was garbed in Ethiopian Airlines colours.
While the former minister is due to appear before the commission within the week to answer questions related to the launch of the national carrier, the commission has already grilled some officials of the national carrier.
Although the spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation, he could not give further details.
“I can confirm that there is an ongoing investigation in that regard,” he said.
Competent sources revealed that the commission would look at the billions of naira sunk into the project which some stakeholders claim is over N140 billion.
The minister had, at the twilight of the Buhari’s administration, caused the supposed launch of the Nigerian Air in Abuja using an Ethiopian aircraft.
Stakeholders were enraged that an Ethiopian airline that landed in Nigeria with Ethiopian colours was packaged as a national carrier.
The minister had said at a recent Arise News Channel interview that the landing of the Ethiopian aircraft in Abuja, was “a marketing strategy.”
“We have already questioned some officials of Nigerian Air.
“We have invited the former Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika.
We are expecting him within the week”, the source said.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) disclosed last week that the airline was still in the first stage in a five-phase process of obtaining an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to operate as a commercial airline.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had also consistently opposed the idea on several grounds.
Speaking on the matter recently, the spokesman of AON, Obiora Okonkwo, warned President Bola Tinubu not to be “blackmailed into accepting a contraption that would definitely and ultimately hurt the Nigerian economy and destroy millions of existing jobs in favour of one or two individuals”.