The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is delving into the contentious Nigeria Air deal, which was inked by the Federal Government during the tenure of former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
In an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, disclosed, “The EFCC is investigating that deal. There is a criminal investigation going on. I have called for the report.”
Keyamo spoke on the need for a thorough inquiry into the matter, saying, “We will establish a proper national carrier,” while firmly stating that no local airline would be designated as the national carrier.
Last August, upon assuming office as minister, Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), criticised Sirika’s deal and suspended the entire arrangement.
The deal had been rushed into just days before the end of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, prompting the need for a comprehensive audit of contracts.
The creation of Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, sparked controversy, leading veteran aviator Girma Wake to resign as Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines.
Dapo Olumide, the then Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, clarified that the aircraft utilised to unveil the country’s national carrier was chartered legitimately from Ethiopian Airlines.
He added that the aircraft was returned after the unveiling on the last day of the Buhari administration in May.
Both Nigeria’s Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Aviation condemned the launch of Nigeria Air, labelling it as fraudulent.