Reps halt further action on Nigeria Air

•aircraft leased for 48hours
•urges FG to prosecute immediate past Aviation Minister, others for economic sabotage

The House of Representatives on Tuesday halted further action on all activities pertaining to the national carrier, Nigeria Air unveiled by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, till a comprehensive probe is carried out on the entire transaction by the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The committee chaired by Hon Nnoliom Nnaji gave the directive during the investigation into the purported launch of the national carrier by the Buhari administration.

It was discovered that all the tractions pertaining to the national carrier did not follow due process as the aircraft used to unveil the national carrier was leashed for a period of 48 hours.

The committee urged the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to institute a high-powered probe against the failed national carrier project and as well to prosecute the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and others for economic sabotage over the project.

Reading the resolution of the committee, its Chairman 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 Airlines 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.”

According to him, subsequently, the committee hereby resolves to “direct the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the Nigeria Air project to immediately suspend flight operations and every other action with respect to 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, groups, or organizations 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 designate some Nigerian Indigenous Airlines as Flng Carriers to take advantage of Bi-lateral Air Services Agreements (BASA)entered into by Nigeria, pending when a viable national carrier comes on board.”

The committee stated that looking at the total amount required to fully start the airline which was put at $250,000,000, the Nigerian government and its citizenry “can raise these funds without necessarily subjecting itself to the ridicule” which the nation had been exposed to by this recent episode.