Tinubu’s government should waste no time probing the unveiling of Nigeria Air


The controversy surrounding the unveiling of Nigeria Air has continued to fester, demanding urgent attention from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The secrecy, unanswered questions, push back by indigenous Airlines Operators are the travails of Nigeria Air.

Recall that in disobedience of a Federal High Court ruling which ordered the Federal Government to stay action on the setting up of Nigeria Air, a Boeing 737 800 Max with “Nigeria Air” inscribed on it, registration number, ET-APL, Mode S Q4005C and serial number 40965/4075, flew into the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja on May 26, and was received with much flourish by the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Haidi Sirika and his team.

Reports show that at least N85.42 billion Nigerian Air was budgeted for the national carrier project in seven years. The Federal Government had in 2019 budgeted N47 billion.

Between 2020 and 2022, an additional N14.6 billion was budgeted, while yet another N24 billion was captured in the 2023 budget for the carrier.

Like some Nigerians, the Senate and House of Representatives recently described Nigeria Air as a scam.

The Chairman of the Committee, Nnolim Nnaji (PDP, Enugu), urged the federal government to suspend Nigeria Air.

Nnaji called on the President to set up a high-power committee to investigate the entire controversy surrounding Nigeria Air.

“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.”

The Reps Committee also directed the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its partners in the Nigeria Air project to immediately suspend flight operations and every other action concerning Nigeria Air.

Similarly, the Senate Committee on Aviation said the unveiling process of the Country’s National Carrier was a mere gimmick.

Senator Biodun Olujimi, PDP, Ekiti South, led Senate Committee on Aviation, frowned at the Federal government’s action concerning the Aircraft.

“The unveiling has created integrity question. You are not standing well; you have an image problem.”

The Committee acknowledged that Air Nigeria is a good concept but regretted that Nigerians do not want to see gimmicks, saying “go and wash clean.”

However, the interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Dayo Olumide, during a section with Senate Committee on Aviation, disclosed that the aeroplane that landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on May 26, 2023, was a chartered one from Ethiopia.

The Authority  insisted that the project was not a fluke but legitimate.

He said, “I would like to address your question first before I go on. The Aircraft that came in and left was a legitimate charter flight. Anyone of us here, if we have a destination wedding in Senegal, we can charter an aircraft.

“So when this Aircraft came on a chartered flight, everybody said we have launched Nigeria Air.

“There are learned people in the aviation industry who could have countered that when social media came out, they chose not to.”

In this editorial, Nigerian NewsDirect calls on Tinubu’s government to investigate the circumstance surrounding Nigeria Air.

The President must heed to call to halt further action on the continuation of the Nigeria Air project until all controversies surrounding the Nigeria Air project are unravelled to the knowledge of all Nigerians.

Nigerian NewsDirect states here that  all culprits found wanting in the Nigeria Air saga must be persecuted as deterrent.