Minister clears air on suspension of National Carrier

Posted by Faith Yahaya, Abuja | 9 November 2018 | 897 times

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• Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

The Federal Government has made clarifications following the suspension of the national carrier project.

The Federal government also said only N50m has so far been incurred for the national carrier project adding that it was yet to pay the money.

Contrary to claims that the project was suspended because of investors apathy, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said so many people indicated interest in the project.

He also denied claims that the Federal government paid a foriegn company the sum of $600,000 for the design of the Nigeria Air logo.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at the 5th edition of Aviation Stakeholders forum.

He also said the idea that Arik and Aero be merged to establish national carrier was not tenable.

On the amount incurred so far the project, he said: “The Transaction Advisers for National Carrier coordinated the campaign and provided the additional services that included the development of the brand strategy and the media activities relating to the unveiling of the Airline.

“Due process was followed in the branding, which included obtaining ‘’No Objection’’ Certificate with Ref. No.BPP/RPT/18/VOL.1/075 from the Bureau of Public Procurement for the sum of N50,893,000.00. Payment for these services is yet to be made.

He further said: “Apart from commitment in respect of transaction advisory services,  branding and participation  at Farnborough air show, no other expenditure has been incurred on the the Nigeria Air project.

“So my dear brothers and sisters, it is not $8.8million I paid. I swear by Allah who created me, I also swear by Allah who created me that it is this amount I have shown you that we paid for all of the activity.

“No foreign company was paid $600,000 for the design of logo. If they have proof that I paid such amount of money, they should show it because it is public purse. If I did anything wrong, I would be sent to jail.

“Judges were prosecuted in this government and ministers. So ministers like me can also be prosecuted if I do wrong.

“As far as I am concerned, you will not find me with financial misappropriation.  I am too young and too ambitious to smear my name. Honestly, such money was not spent and I don’t know where people got the figure of N1.2bn from.”

On the merging of Arik and Aero, he said:  “The suggestion that Aero and Arik Airlines under AMCON be merged to form a National Carrier is not tenable as national carrier would get entangled with huge indebtedness of the airlines, litigations and other encumbrances.”

To avoid accidents and boost safety and security around the airport, the Minister disclosed that Aviation security will start bearing arms in three months’ time.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said the personnel would start bearing arms in three months’ time

Excerpted from The Nation report

Source: News Express

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