By Chidipeters Okorie
Abuja, NIGERIA – Like a loaded cannon, House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hon. Pharm. Nnolim Nnaji, has fired salvos on the ex-minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over his unfounded claims that he demanded 5% shares of the purported fraud marred Nigeria Air.
Insisting that the accusation was a hoax and a lie, futile efforts to defame him, Nnoli Nnaji, said the ex-minister’s baseless and desperate move to overturn the monumental controversies arising the shoddy unveiling of the Nigeria Air will not deter him from consistent demand that due process must be followed.
In a statement made available to Time Africa, Nnoli Nnaji, suggested that the ex-minister was a drowning man struggling to grab anything on his way to survive the barrage of attacks he has been receiving since his controversial unveiling of the Nigeria Air.
The statement reads:
“Ordinarily l would not have bothered to reply to his allegations of my demand for 5 percent equity in Nigeria Air as he claimed during his interview on Arise Television but l believe l owe my constituents and indeed Nigerians a duty to put the records straight.
“It is on record that last year when the Minister announced Ethiopian Airlines as core investor in NigeriaAir, my committee which was also inundated with petitions from various stakeholders regarding that announcement invited the Minister and his team to furnish the committee with the details of the project.
“The committee requested for the evidence of the bid process that gave Ethiopian Airlines the award and, the full business case as prepared by the Nigerian Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC) which was supposed to spell out the details of all the investors and their equity contributions.
“Sirika at that meeting said it (FUll Business Case) was still being worked out by the ICRC and promised to make it available to the committee as soon it was ready which he failed to do before Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON) took the Ministry to court and got injunction restraining it from going ahead with the project.
“Off course we suspended our discussions and enquiries on the project the moment court got involved. Normally when a matter is before the court the parliament does not discuss it.
“However, on May 20th 2023, l received reports of threats of mass resignations by key personnel of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) due to pressures from the Ministry to give waivers to Nigeria Air to enable it secure Air Operator’s Certificate, (AOC) so that it could take Off before the exit of the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I quickly issued a statement warning the former Minister against subverting the authority of NCAA because of its severe consequences on the Nigeria’s air transport sector. It is also a common knowledge that the Nigerian institutional investors he mentioned as participants have all denied him.
“It is not strange that Sirika came up with this spurious allegations against my person because l remained consistent in demanding that he followed due process.
“He should not deviate from the subject matter. Let him tell Nigerians the truth about the contraption he sold to us as Nigeria Air. Nnolim Nnaji is not his problem.”
Meanwhile millions of Nigeria have urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) to investigate the immediate ex Minister over unpleasant discoveries on the purported lunch of Nigeria Air aircraft.
EX-Minister Sirika allegedly spent his eight years in office implementing selfish agendas. Almost everything in the Nigerian aviation industry revolves around Sirika and his interest. He cared less about the interest of the larger Nigerian society. Many accused him of desperation to concession Nigeria’s four major airports to private firms with so much vigour.