Sen. Hadi Sirika, a former minister of aviation, controversially unveiled an aircraft for Nigeria Air in Abuja, and the National Assembly has asked President Bola Tinubu to appoint a committee to investigate the incident.
Nnolim Nnaji, the chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, stated that the Federal Government must urgently convene a powerful presidential commission to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Nigeria Air project.
The aviation commission also suggested that Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which was controversially unveiled and flown into Nigeria with Nigeria Air colors, be subjected to legal action by all parties involved.
The committee also emphasized the necessity of the planned presidential commission, which would advise the federal government on the next steps following a rigorous examination of the entire project.
After considering the submissions from all the interested parties and that of Dr. Emmanuel Merebole, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, who acknowledged in his presentation that the airline had not yet been launched but that the aircraft had been chartered to gauge Nigerians’ support for the project, the committee came up with the resolutions.
Merebole also informed the committee that Nigeria Air had not purchased any aircraft and lacked an air operator’s certificate (AOC), statements that were verified by Capt. Musa Nuhu, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Basil Agbosrimi, the managing director of Skypower Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), acknowledged in his statement that the handling company had not yet purchased any stock in the national airline.
Along with Ethiopian Airlines, the second listed institutional investor from Nigeria in the project, MRS, did not attend the conference.
The committee also found that because the shareholders’ agreement had not yet been signed, it was difficult to determine how much money all intended investors had contributed to the projects.
Nnaji had emphasized in his opening remarks that the interaction’s goal was to create a roadmap for the upcoming 10th Assembly to follow. He also said that the committee was not against the creation of a national carrier but would prefer it to be done in a transparent manner.
He lamented Sirika’s failure to involve the parliament in the entire plan despite her assurances that she would provide the committee with information about the transactions.
However, he commended the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for standing firm in its regulation of the sector and urged the agency to continue doing so.