Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has disclosed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is investigating the controversial Nigeria Air deal initiated by former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
Keyamo made this known during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today program on Wednesday.
Keyamo stated, “There is a criminal investigation going on. I have called for the report.” He emphasized that no local airline would be designated as the national airline, expressing the intention to establish a proper national carrier.
Last August, shortly after assuming office as minister, Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, criticized the deal by Sirika and suspended the entire arrangement. The deal had been hastily unveiled days before the end of the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, prompting the need for a thorough contract audit.
The establishment of Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, had sparked controversy, leading to the resignation of veteran aviator Girma Wake as Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines. Capt Dapo Olumide, the then Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, clarified that the aircraft used for the unveiling was a legitimate chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines, returned after the unveiling on the last day of the Buhari administration in May.
Both Nigeria’s Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Aviation labeled the Nigeria Air launch as fraudulent, further adding to the controversy surrounding the deal.