Hadi Sirika, the former minister of aviation under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been called to appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the Nigeria Air scam scandal
The anti-graft organisation had also questioned Nigerian Air executives on the airline’s most recent Abuja launch.
It was learned that the committee had already questioned several alleged representatives of the national carrier, even though the minister was scheduled to appear before the commission later this week to respond to inquiries about the inauguration of the airline, Nigerian Air, dressed in Ethiopian flags.
The spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed to THIS DAY that there was an ongoing investigation.
“I can confirm that there is an ongoing investigation in that regard,” he said.
Competent sources said that the commission would look at the N3 billion sunk into the project though some stakeholders insisted that over N80 billion was expended on the project.
The minister had, at the twilight of the Buhari’s administration, caused the supposed launch of the Nigerian Air in Abuja using an Ethiopian aircraft.
Stakeholders were enraged that an Ethiopian airline that landed in Nigeria with Ethiopian colours was packaged as a national carrier.
The minister had said at a recent Arise News Channel interview that the landing of the Ethiopian aircraft in Abuja, was “a marketing strategy.”
“We have already questioned some officials of Nigerian Air. We have invited the former Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika.
We are expecting him within the week”, the source said.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) disclosed last week that the airline was still on the first stage in a five-phase process of obtaining Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to operate as a commercial airline.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) had also consistently opposed the idea on several grounds.
Speaking on the matter recently, the spokesman of AON, Obiora Okonkwo, warned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to be “blackmailed into accepting a contraption that would definitely and ultimately hurt the Nigerian economy and destroy millions of existing jobs in favour of one or two individuals”.