The immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has accused the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee of Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, of demanding five per cent stake in the controversial and proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air.
Sirika made the accusation during an interview with Arise Television on Sunday.
Earlier, Nnaji had declared Nigeria Air as a fraudulent deal after stakeholders in the project appeared
Before then, the Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Dayo Olumide, while facing inquiries by lawmakers on the project, revealed that the aircraft that landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on May 26, 2023, was chartered from Ethiopia Airlines.
However, speaking during the interview, Sirika said, “I record all my things. He asked that I should give him five per cent of the Nigeria Air to carry him along with his people and I said to him that time, this is a bidding process that has taken place, and some people won. So, I think you should go to those people and ask them for the five per cent; I even told him that at some point even the five per cent held by the Federal Government will go to the market so he should get his money ready and buy for him and his people.”
Sirika also disclosed that less than N3bn was spent on Nigeria Air.
In a swift reaction, Nnaji described Sirika’s allegations as lies, adding that the ex-minister is a drowning man who will hold to anything to survive.
The House panel chair said, “Sirika is a drowning man struggling to grab anything on his way to survive barrage of attacks he has been receiving since his controversial unveiling ceremony of the so-called Nigeria Air. Ordinarily, I would not have reacted to the allegation that I demanded five per cent equity stake in Nigeria as he claimed but I believe I owe my constituents and indeed Nigerians a duty to put the records straight.”
He added, “He should not deviate from the subject matter. Let him tell Nigerians the truth about the contraption the sold to us as Nigeria Air.”