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Sirika: House Aviation Committee Chair Asked Me For 5% Of Nigeria Air

He also said N5bn was budgeted by government for the carrier, with only about N3bn released and not N85bn as has been alleged.

The Immediate past minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said it is mind boggling that the Nigeria Air is said to be shrouded in secrecy.

Sirika also responded to the claims of the former Chairman of the house committee of Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, who said the Nigeria Air project is a fraud. He alleged that Nnaji asked for 5% of the airline from him.

“He asked me to please indulge him and give him 5% of the airline and carry him along and his people. What I told him in private is that it belonged to the owners and I believe they will still be willing to give him if he had the money.”

Sirika said this and more on Sunday, during an interview with ARISE NEWS.

 Sirika said there was nothing secretive about Nigeria Air as its activities were carried out un public before the unveiling.

“There is an allegation that the whole thing was shrouded in secrecy and that, I find mind boggling and disturbing,(. This airline we advertised during the procurement stage and there was a business conference and members of the airlines operations of Nigeria participated in this conference.

“The whole world knew that we were bidding and everyone bidded and even asked for extension of time. It was open. So, where is the secrecy? 

“We held 6 stakeholders conference and presented it to the public”. He said

Also speaking on the unveiling of the carrier against a court order, Sirika said there was an existing motion to vacate the court order restraining them from unveiling.

He said “I remember there was a court order and I also remember there was a motion to vacate the order immediately by our counsel. But I am not the court and I cannot determine here whether it is contempt of court or not, so I’ll leave that one to the court.”

Also reacting to the agitation over the unveiling of the national carrier on May 26th which was the last working day of the past administration, He said it was the choice of the owners as part of their marketing strategy.

Speaking on the concerns of the local airlines on tax holidays, the former aviation minister stated that Nigeria Air will operate within the same laws as every other airline.

“There is no tax break or holiday for Nigeria Air limited. They will operate within the same tax laws that everybody is operating. But they are going to be operating within a special economic zone we established and they will enjoy those taxes like every other person.”

He slso said in the 8 years of his service, the total money voted and budgeted for the carrier was N5bn with only about N3bn released and not N85bn as has been alleged. 

He further said the N3bn was not fully expended as at the time he left office.


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Chioma Kalu 

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