The Airline Operators of Nigeria has called the attention of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari to Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika’s bid to launch a national carrier – Nigeria Air Limited – despite court orders halting the project.
In a TV interview on Wednesday, Sirika said that a Nigeria Air aircraft will land in the country in two days (on Friday) as part of processes to commence operations and unveiling of the delivery process.
However earlier in April, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had restricted any steps to be taken concerning the project after a law suit was instiruted against the project by the AON.
The suit was made on allegations of “shady deals, deliberate infraction of
the Nigerian laws and self-enrichment/corruption, mainly against the Federal Ministry of Aviation over the Nigerian Air Project.”
In response to the interview on Wednesday, the AON released a statement titled, “Nigeria Air Project: Last Minute Planned Disobedience To Court Order And Deliberate Plan To Rubbish The Achievement Of This Administration”.
It called for the intervention of the president to put a stop to Sirika’s plans to launch the project before the end of the Buhari administration and his tenure in office which comes to an end in less than five days.
They called the president’s attention to the minister’s insistence on his plan to launch on the final days of the administration and described it as a violation of the court order and detrimemtal to the image of the administration.
The statement signed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Abubakar Nuhu Ahmed of Nureini Jimoh Chambers, reads, “Honourable Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, is planning to circumvent the Court Orders on Friday 26th May, 2023 being the last working day of this administration and possibly to cover up the various infractions of Nigerian laws, amongst others. This was disclosed in the interview granted yesterday by the Hon. Minister to Channels Television and same has gone viral on social media. The Minister is planning to hurriedly bring in two (2) aircraft and pretend that Nigeria Air has commenced operations.
“Aside moral justification for commercial operation after the Minister’s last day in office, it is a clever way to violate the court orders. This action has no regard to whether or not it will stain the record of this administration, whether or not it will cover for corrupt actions raised in the suit and deliberately meant to violate Court Orders for self-serving purposes.
“We therefore implore your Excellency to STOP this action of the Minister of Aviation, ensure compliance with the terms of the Order and avoid needless controversies on the action after your Excellency’s administration would have expired.”
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has confirmed that the aircraft for Nigeria Air will arrive the country on Friday ahead of commencement of operations.
The statement further said that Sirika will be charged with contempt for attempting to disobey a court order, regardless of whether he is in office or not.
Glamour Adah and Chioma Kalu