- The proposed establishment of Nigeria Air project launched in July this year has not come to an end
- According to the minister of state aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the suspended national carrier would be activated as soon as possible
- He explained that the suspension was only in the interim and a new pronouncement would soon be made on the project
The minister of state aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has stressed that the proposed establishment of Nigeria Air project launched in July this year has not come to an end.
Sirika had few months ago, through his Twitter handle announced the suspension of the national carrier project.
The announcement caused outrage in the polity, with many Nigerians accusing Sirika, a former pilot, of fraud and deceit.
The suspension took place in less than 6 months after the minister had pegged December 24 this year as take-off date for the national carrier.
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But, less than two months after the suspension announcement, the minister has again, reaffirmed that the suspended national carrier would be activated as soon as possible.
He was quoted as making the declaration in a statement issued on Tuesday, October 23, and signed by deputy director, media and public affairs in the aviation ministry, James Odaudu.
Sirika was also quoted to have made the statement while receiving the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Al Taffaq in his office in Abuja.
He said: “The suspension was only in the interim and a new pronouncement would soon be made on the project.
“It is inconceivable that Nigeria, with its population of over 180 million people, would not be a major player in the aviation industry,” noting that “even the country’s geographical location has made it a natural hub for air transportation and ancillary businesses."
He added that Nigeria and UAE have had a long standing relationship politically and business wise, especially in the aviation sector, and hoped that the new envoy will use his presence in the country to further boost these relationships.
Sirika also emphasised on the need for Emirates Airlines to increase its daily flights out of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to compliment the support and patronage that Nigerians have given it and asserted that government was doing all that was necessary to provide the conducive environment that airlines need to thrive.
Ealier, Ambassador Fahad Al Taffaq had told the minister that he was at the ministry to reaffirm his country’s continued cooperation with Nigeria in the area of aviation where both countries have enjoyed a long-standing relationship.
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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had berated Sirika over the federal government’s suspension of Nigeria Air.
The party called for Sirika’s arrest and prosecution for allegedly defrauding the nation of N1.2 billion, while also asking President Muhammadu Buhari to address the alleged corruption in his administration.
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