Taraba’s losses grow after 16 years due to its failing airline operation

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During a press conference, Governor Agbu Kefas stated, “We are not unaware of the fact that a lot of Taraba movable and immovable assets are either in the hands of people or abandoned across the country. That is why I set up a committee to do an independent assessment of the assets and report back to government.”

“We are determined to improve the state’s economy, and we will not hesitate to look into the books if the need arises,” Kefas continued.

Governor Kefas instructed the recovery committee to locate the government of Taraba State’s moveable and immovable assets anywhere in Nigeria or the world. The committee’s composition was announced in a circular by the secretary to the government of Taraba State, Barr. Gibeon Timothy Kataps.

In addition, the committee was required to “make an overall assessment of each asset’s economic/monetary value.”

 

“Determine whether each asset is suitable for use by the State Government, and generally provide the State Government with appropriate recommendations.”

The governor’s outburst triggered off an investigation to find the location of the state’s moveable and immovable assets that she had mentioned.

According to our research, the state government’s primary transportable assets include a few planes and a helicopter it purchased for the defunct Taraba Air as well as a few logistical vehicles.

In addition to opening Taraba to the outside world, former Governor Jolly Nyame’s goal in starting the now-completed Danbaba Suntai Airport project in Jalingo and purchasing an aircraft in the name of the Taraba State Government in 2006/2007 was to increase the state’s revenue profile, as Taraba was heavily dependent on the monthly Federal Allocation to survive.

Five years later, in 2012, Taraba Air was formally created as a state-funded carrier by the late Pharmacist Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, who had succeeded Jolly Nyame as Governor. The airline added one Embraer 145 and one Cessna 208B Caravan aircraft to its fleet.

Regretfully, Suntai died in a US hospital in June 2017 after his own Cessna 208B Caravan crashed in Yola, Adamawa State, in 2012. Taraba Air had not yet begun full operations.

Further research reveals that in an attempt to establish Taraba Air in 2012, the late Governor Danbaba purchased two aircraft and a chopper.

Hon. Kallamu Ahmandu, the state’s most recent Commissioner for Rural Development and ALGON Chairman at the time, informed our correspondent that he was a member of the delegation of government officials that traveled to the United States of America in 2012 to purchase the aircraft.

Another government official at the time, who begged to remain anonymous, stated that the two planes acquired by the Danababa administration were paid for with local government funds. He did not, however, disclose the specifics of the transaction, citing a lack of official figures and procedures involved in the procurement of the planes.

The source claims that Senator Bala Ibn Na-Allah, who served as the state government’s consultant and oversaw the procurement process alongside the late Governor Suntai and Senator Bashir Marafa, the Permanent Secretary of the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs at the time, concealed the procurement’s financial details.

“State monies were used to purchase the helicopter, but local government funds were used to purchase the Embraer 145 and the Cessna 208B Caravan plane.

“The Embraer 145 is parked at the Kaduna International Airport, while the plane acquired by former Governor Jolly Nyame is parked at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. The late Suntai later crashed with the Cessna 208B Caravan plane, which he piloted in October 2012.”

“There have been unfounded rumors that Nyame purchased a second aircraft, but I am unable to ascertain the location of the aforementioned aircraft that Nyame purchased,”

As of this year, an Embraer plane sells for roughly N2.299 billion. The identical aircraft sold for an estimated N306,560,000 in 2007, while as of 2012, the Cessna 208B cost $1.42 million, or

2,240,000,00 NAV.

The identical aircraft now costs N3.364 billion.

In a phone interview with our correspondent, aviation expert Capt. Roland Iyayi stated that, despite the difficulty in estimating the precise amount the state has lost over the years by not using the planes for commercial purposes, it is clear that, over the previous 16 years, the state has lost billions of naira in revenue.

“Look, the Embraer 145 you mentioned the state purchased is the same model of aircraft that United Airlines, Bristol Airline, Rano Air, and Air Peace use for commercial flights. They can tell you the annual net profit they make after deducting staff and maintenance costs.

“An Embraer 145–50 passenger plane will make roughly N50,000–N100,000 per year if you do the math. An average flight ticket costs N50,000, and some go for as much as N100,000.

“Parking the planes for that long does not make economic sense, even though the yield from 2007 to 2012 and from 2013 to 2023 may differ significantly.” Recall that the hangars where the jets are parked are either paid for by the state or will eventually need to be paid for.

“Observe Ibom Air.” It is the ideal illustration of how states may profit from the aviation industry. Ibom Air is thriving in the industry, and other states should take note of its success. It should not be a lending organization, but rather be connected to the state’s economic growth strategy, according to Capt. Iyayi.

Mr. McDonald Dogoson, a public affairs expert from Jalingo, bemoaned the years-long mismanagement of the state government’s aircraft fleet, saying it had let them down.

“I want to implore Governor Agbu Kefas to take all necessary steps to guarantee that Taraba Air becomes a reality, as the government has lost a great deal of money over the years. He said, “This will generate significant revenue for the state.

Residents of Taraba want the current governor to take decisive action to stop this massive economic waste and put the state back on the path to success as the state, if not the entire country, awaits the committee’s report on the appraisal of the mobile and immovable assets.

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When Governor Kefas declared, “We will stop at nothing to ensure that we succeed,” he may have been aware of the enormous expectations held by the people of the state. The Nigerian Air Force and the NCAA have certified that the maintenance work on the Danbaba Suntai Airport is complete. He recently gave this assurance in response to questioning from the media: “We are going to open up the sector for the good of the state.”

The governor did not answer voice calls or SMS sent to his phone after several attempts to speak with the Special Adviser Media.

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