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‘Arrest, probe ex-aviation minister, Sirika over fraudulent launch of Nigerian Air,’ Northern group tells EFCC

The Concerned Northern Forum (CNF) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and investigate Hadi Sirika, former minister of aviation, over the fraudulent launch of Nigerian Air.

This development comes 48 hours after the house of representatives poked holes in the purported launch of Nigeria Air at the twilight of the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari.

The chairman of the house committee on aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, on Tuesday, June 6, declared the launch of the national carrier a fraud after the major stakeholders in the deal between the federal government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.

Also, the ministry of aviation claimed that 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 after Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) disclosed that the aircraft bearing Nigerian colours was on a chartered flight from Ethiopia to Nigeria.

The chairman of the CNF, Ali Mohammed, while making this known in a statement issued on Thursday, June 8, said that, “The call for the arrest of Hadi Sirika followed the recent revelation by the interim MD of Nigeria Air, Captain Dapo Olumide, when he appeared before the senate committee on aviation and claimed that the aircraft used for unveiling of Nigeria Air was rented from Ethiopian Airline.

”No wonder the unveiling was quick, no details were made available, no one has the eyes to say he saw any features of the plane or anything.

“He also said that the airline was yet to secure an operating licence for full flight operations, disagreeing with earlier declarations of the former minister, Hadi Sirika.

“This explains why the minister was so adamant and insisted on going ahead with the unveiling of Nigeria Air, even when there was a court order against that same matter.

“It’s a half baked project, driven by lies, deception, corruption and personal money benefits to the minister amounting to billions of naira.

“This is deception and breach of trust that should not go unpunished, Sirika must be brought to face the law.

”It is also a disregard for the rule of law and entire justice system to proceed on matter against the order of a competent court of law.

“The minister has acted with so much impunity on several occasions, as if the law cannot get to him.

“He has continuously operated as a tyrant, refusing to listen to no one, aviation experts, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), who advised against this project.

“This national embarrassment and waste of resources incurred on the country could have been averted if he had listened to advice, yet Sirika went ahead knowing it was a charade, to deceive Nigerians.

“The EFCC, should as a matter of national urgency, arrest and investigate Sirika as he has been deceiving Nigerians for eight years and now he is lobbying for ministerial appointment.

“We, therefore, caution and kindly call on President Tinubu not to consider him for ministerial position or any appointment in his administration, rather he should be behind bars.

“The EFCC and other anti-graft agencies must not waste any more time in arresting Sirika alongside all his co-perpetrators that took part in deceiving Nigeria, and shaming it before the international community.

”They should be investigated thoroughly, and asked to provide reasonable and acceptable answers with respect to the Nigeria Air project or be made to lay on their bed as they made it,” Mohammed added.


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