Nigeria Air Remains Suspended Indefinitely—Keyamo

May 28, 2024
Nigeria Air project

By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Nigerian government has said the “indefinitely suspended” national carrier, Nigeria Air project, remains suspended after years of constant promises and utter failure.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, stated this while reeling out the achievements of the aviation sector at the 3rd ministerial update on Monday in Abuja.

He also hinted at plans for the resumption of cargo flights between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Recall that in January, the Minister said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had commenced an investigation into the controversial Nigeria Air deal sealed by his predecessor, Mr Hadi Sirika, under the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He had said, “There is a criminal investigation going on. I have called for the report”.

Last August, shortly after he was sworn in as Minister, Mr Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), faulted the deal by Mr Sirika and suspended the whole arrangement which was hurriedly unveiled days before the end of the administration of Mr Buhari, to enable proper audit of contracts.

The controversy surrounding the establishment of Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air had forced veteran aviator, Mr Girma Wake, to resign as Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines.

The then Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dapo Olumide, had said the aircraft used to unveil the country’s national career was a legitimate chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines, adding that the aircraft was returned to Ethiopian Airlines after the unveiling on the last day of the Buhari administration in May 2023.

Nigeria’s Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Aviation had both labelled the launch of the Nigeria Air as a fraud.

He also said the federal government is reviewing the airports concession process to ensure transparency and deliver world-class infrastructure.

The airports were Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Murtala Muhammed Internatıonal Airport, Lagos; Malam Amınu Kano International Airport, Kano; and Port Harcourt International Airport and were to be concessioned for 20-30 years.

Mr Keyamo, at Monday’s briefing, said the ministry was developing a master plan for major airports in the country.

According to him, the president has approved the review of the concession process of the major airports to make sure they operate at international standards.

“We will do full concession of the airports and run them as private businesses. The president has asked us to go for the best,” the minister added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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