Nigeria Air: Reps grill aviation, justice ministries officials today

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The investigational hearing on the contentious launch of Air Nigeria, Nigeria’s national airline, by the previous administration presided over by Muhammadu Buhari has been rescheduled by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

The hearing was originally scheduled to take place on Monday in Abuja, and the committee had invited all pertinent parties. However, most of the stakeholders’ representatives had already left the location before Nnolim Nnaji, the committee’s chairman, arrived about two hours late.


The Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Ethiopian Airlines, as well as aviation fuel (Jet-A1) suppliers, are among the stakeholders that the committee has invited.

After he arrived, Nnaji apologised to the attendees who had been waiting and requested that the hearing be postponed until today, Tuesday, at 3 p.m.

Due to the controversy that surrounded the national carrier, Nigeria Air had not been delivered by the Buhari administration after eight years.

Under the auspices of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, the Federal Government had boycotted domestic airlines and had made a deal with Ethiopian Airlines to flog the Nigerian airline.

In order to stop the process, the AON had taken the government and its agencies to court.

According to reports, the Federal Government received the first aircraft of Nigeria Air on Friday at the end of the administration, prompting complaints from local operators who claimed it was against a court order that forbade the government from moving forward with the project.

The House has also summoned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Auditor General for the Federation, and the Accountant General of the Federation regarding the payment of N32.5 billion to two companies, Messrs. GSCL Consulting and Biz Plus, without proper documentation.

Exxon Mobil and Nigeria Agip Oil Company were among the oil companies whose managing directors or chief executive officers were called before the House to testify regarding petroleum transactions in the nation.

The summons was issued on Monday in Abuja at the House’s Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4 Billion in Revenue from Alleged Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015, Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 Till Date hearing.

The Federal Government has not yet collected a judgement debt of $1.7 billion from a company found guilty of making false statements about the crude oil it took from Nigeria, according to Bashir Jamoh, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, who was questioned by the committee.

The CBN paid N16.5 billion to each of two companies on the same day, according to records made available to the committee, but Gbillah claimed that the money was withdrawn by the companies within two months.

In light of Malami’s denial of knowledge of the payment, the chairman emphasised the need for the CBN to provide an explanation for the payments made to the businesses.

Gbillah stated that even though the 9th House is coming to an end, it can still issue a bench warrant for their arrest. All agencies, officials, and companies that have been summoned by the committee have a duty to respond to the summons.

Later on, Jamoh disclosed to reporters that NIMASA was still pursuing the case in court.

“In 2013, when the revenue profile was low, the Attorney-General’s office directed NIMASA to coordinate two technical teams to source data on the actual lifting of crude oil and the last destination point to see if there are any discrepancies,” the speaker said.

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