….amid AON’s opposition to project, subsisting court order
In what appears a confirmation of the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to walk its talk on the national carrier project, a Nigeria Air aircraft, which was earlier sighted early today at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia, has reportedly landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The landing of the aircraft came barely two days after the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, told Nigerians during an interview with Channels Television that the Nigeria Air’s aircraft would arrive the country before the end of the Buhari-led administration.
Some videos circulating on social media platforms indicated the aircraft with a white background and the ‘Nigeria Air’ inscription on its tail-end landed at the Abuja airport before 2.00pm today.
Speaking on the Nigeria Air project during the television interview on Wednesday, Sirika assured Nigerians that the aircraft would be unveiled in Nigeria’s national colours in fulfilment of the outgoing administration’s promise to deliver on the project.
It would be recalled that the ‘Nigeria Air’ had trigger raging controversies in the past year as some stakeholders in the aviation sector, especially the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) faulted the processes the government adopted to revive the national carrier and sued the government for adjudication on its position on the position.
Specifically, the AON faulted plans by the outgoing Minister of Aviation to launch the operations of Nigeria Air on Friday (today) despite a restraining court order on the project.
Already, the AON lawyers had written a letter to President Buhari, urging him to stop the minister’s attempt to “circumvent the court orders on Friday being the last working day of this administration and possibly to cover up the various infractions of Nigerian laws, among others.”
The local carriers threatened to sue Sirika on contempt of court charges for planning to launch the carrier, based on the subsisting court order stopping the project.
The AON, in a statement issued by the Chairman, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, accused the minister of making statements that were in disobedience to the Federal High Court orders. which “halted the said moves by the minister to float the said airline until the determination of the substantive suit brought by AON against it.
“We have noted with dismay the comments by the outgoing Minister of Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, to the effect that he will commence operations of Nigeria Air before Monday, May 29, 2023”, he added.