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Mainland Metro News | Nigeria Air…Sirika takes Nigerians for a ride | All the news you need...

Outgoing Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika appears to have taken Nigerians on a ride to nowhere after he gleefully announced Friday that Nigeria Air has arrived, giving an indication he much awaited national carrier is ready to fly.
But the Nigeria Air plane that arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, actually belongs to Ethiopian Air, a technical investor in the proposed Nigeria Air that has been on the wish list of the Muhammadu Buhari administration for eight years.
With barely 48 hours to go, Mr. Sirika pulled a fast one perhaps to fulfil his promise that the Airline will take off before the Buhari regime expires on May 29. It’s another case of deception it turned out to be.
According to the new facts, the aircraft that Sirika has dragged to the top echelon of Nigeria’s leadership to unveil is actually registered in Ethiopia with registration number ET-APL.
The B737-800 was formerly operated by Malawian Airlines which leased it from Ethiopia in February 2014 as ET-APL. It rejoined Ethiopia Air inventory in 2015.
According to the Nation reports the aircraft made its last flight under service of Ethiopia as ET405 to Addis Ababa from Tel Aviv on Monday May 22 before it was repainted for Nigeria also as ET-APL.
The aircraft is now presented to Nigerians, by Sirika, as acquired for Nigeria Air though regulatory sources indicate that there is no form of documentation about the aircraft.
Aviation stakeholders are embarrassed that despite the humongous amounts of money made available for the project, the minister could only boast of a rented aircraft from Ethiopia.
Industry stakeholders are calling on the incoming administration to order a detailed probe of the Nigeria Air project as a minimum of three aircraft is required to commence operations, not just one that Sirika brought in.
They said the outcome of such a probe will shock Nigerians.
The stakeholders are also asking that Sirika should be made to publicly declare the value of contributions of all equity stakeholders as the aircraft which still bears Ethiopia registration is still the property of Ethiopia, not Nigeria.
United Nigeria Airline chairman Prof Obiora Okonkwo who was speaking on ARISE News Friday night said the Minister has scammed Nigerians.
“There is an attempt by somebody to hang on to Nigeria Air, using it as cover to take over Nigeria’s aviation industry. So, the purpose is self-serving. The cost of the establishment of this airline is about $250 million. Who paid the $250 million? MRS and Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO) listed as shareholders are not talking and have not made any contribution to the company and indications show they are not interested. Then if after eight years as Minister you can only bring in one aircraft, what do you make of such? The Nigeria Air unveiling was meant to confuse Nigerians.
“Nigeria’s aircraft registration number is 5N and before you express the readiness to operate an airline you must have at least three aircraft registered in Nigeria, which you could buy or dry lease, but I can assure you that the document of the aircraft the Minister brought in is not with NCAA,” said Obiora who is also spokesman for the Airline Operators Nigeria.

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