Nigeria Air Launch Declares ‘A Fraud’
Reps committee has declared Nigeria Air launch as ‘a fraud’ following confession of Capt. Dapo Olumide, the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air, said that the aircraft that flew in with the logo of the airline was chartered from Ethiopian Airlines for the purpose of unveiling the logo.
Olumide told the Senate Committee on Aviation that the airline had yet to secure an operating license for full flight operations, saying that the processes were still in the early stages.
Consequent to the revelation, the Senate Committee on Aviation criticised the unveiling of Nigeria Air saying the project was shrouded in secrecy.
During a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Emmanuel Meribole; the Interim Managing Director, the Committee members expressed misgivings towards the unveiling of the national carrier.
At the meeting, the Chairman of the Senate Aviation Committee, Senator Biodun Olujimi wondered why the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika hurriedly unveiled a national carrier on the last day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Capt. Olumide said the aircraft used to unveil Nigeria Air was a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines and after the unveiling, the aircraft went back. The Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the launch of Nigeria Air is a fraud.
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.
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 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.
They seek to ensure that all individuals, or groups, or organisations involved in the controversial shenanigan named “Nigeria Air Take-Off” are brought to book, prosecuted, and sanctioned.
Olumide said that the aircraft was used pending the completion of the processes required for the operation of the airline. He said his mandate was to secure an air operating certificate for the airline not necessarily to operate the airline but to secure a licence to fly.
“The aircraft that came in and left was a legitimate charter flight. Anyone of us here if we have a destination wedding in Senegal, we can charter an aircraft.
“You don’t need to have a licence to do that, you just charter an aircraft, an aircraft you paid for it, it will be brought here, take your passengers and off you go.
“And that is what we did. but in this case, it was to unveil the Logo of Nigeria Air. Ever since 2018, all you have ever seen about Nigeria Air were pictures, drawings not the real aircraft, and we thought it was time to show what the real aircraft will look like also to let shareholders see,” Olumide said.
He added: “We have institutional investors, they are not in aviation but they are putting their money for 10 to 15 years, so they need to see what the actual aircraft will look like.
“So we brought it in here to show them what the aircraft will look like, then the social media dimension came into it. For us to get that licence which is my mandate, we must among other things have three aircraft before the NCAA will give us a licence and those three aircraft must be Nigerian registered aircraft.
“So when this aircraft came on a chartered flight, everybody said we have launched Nigeria Air, there are learned people in the aviation industry who could have countered that when social media came out, but they chose not to.” #Nigeria Air Launch Declares ‘A Fraud’