The Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Capt Dapo Olumide, on Tuesday, said the aircraft used to unveil the country’s national career was a legitimate chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines.
He said the aircraft returned to Ethiopian Airlines after the unveiling.
Olumide stated this before the Senate Committee on Aviation.
The Committee members expressed its misgivings towards the unveiling of the national carrier during a meeting with Olumide; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Emmanuel Meribole; as well as heads of aviation agencies.
At the meeting, the Chairman of the Senate Aviation Committee, Senator Biodun Olujimi wondered why the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika hurriedly unveiled a national carrier on the last day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Also, the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the launch of Nigeria Air is a fraud.
He stated this after meeting stakeholders in the aviation sector who largely denied knowledge of the launch.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation said Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched.
Responding to the Committee, Capt Dapo Olumide said Nigeria Air was unveiled at the time it was to prove to Nigerians that the project is not a fluke.
RESOLUTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPS COMMITTEE ON AVIATION
The Committee after careful evaluation of the issues on deliberation is totally dissatisfied with the actions of the former Minister of Aviation, Sen, Hadi Sirka in going ahead to flag off the operations of Nigeria Air despite a standing Court injunction against such, and without any provision for sustaining the operations of the airline.
We are equally irked by the role played by Ethiopian Airline in this whole process. It does not speak well of the excellent brotherly relationship existing between our two nations.
A careful review of the process indicates the exercise to be highly opaque, shrouded in secrecy, shoddy and capable of ridiculing and tarnishing the image of Nigeria before the international community.
We want to put on record, that the Committee and indeed the National Assembly had no role in the purported launch of Nigeria Air or anything related thereof.
While the Committee and indeed the parliament is not opposed to Nigeria having a National Carrier, as a matter of fact having a National Carrier is highly desirable to us as a people and Nigeria, as a nation. However, such a process should be transparent and all embracing.
We, as a Committee, would not accept any attempt by any individual or group of individuals or organization to hide under the project and siphon our commonwealths.
Consequently, the Committee hereby resolves to:
1. Direct the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the Nigeria Air project to immediately suspend flights operations and every other actions with respect to the Nigeria Air;
2. Urge our new President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR the President and C-in-C, to as a matter of urgency constitute a high-level Presidential Committee to undertake a holistic Review of the Processes of the whole Nigeria Air project, and advice the government on the way forward.
3. Ensure that all individuals, or groups, or organization involved in the controversial shenanigan named “Nigeria Air Take-Off” are brought to book, prosecuted and sanctioned.