Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika has pushed back at a subsisting lawsuit recently filed against the Federal Government over the establishment of Nigeria Air, saying the national carrier formation will go ahead.
About eight domestic airlines last week Friday, November 11, sued the FG in court, listing Nigerian Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as defendants.
The airlines want the court to stop the national carrier deal and withdraw the Air Transport Licence already issued to Nigeria Air by the Federal Government/Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, claiming that the firm which served as Transaction Adviser for the transaction was incorporated in March last year and alleged that the company was linked to the aviation minister.
However, speaking during a stakeholders appreciation forum for the successful reconstruction of Lagos airport Runway 18L on Tuesday, November 15, Sirika insisted that airlines, aviation stakeholders and unions had sufficient time to take part in the project, rather than waste time trying to stall the national carrier project.
He claimed that he personally engaged domestic airlines to participate in the project but they turned down the invitation because it was not formal.
“I have been very transparent in the processes put in place to deliver the national carrier. If anyone wants to invest in a company, no one can stop them from investing. You can own a company 100 per cent. If anyone wants to invest, why not? We want foreign direct investment.
“Every information or document pertaining to the project is domiciled at the ministry of aviation and Infrastructure Construction Regulatory Commission which are driving processes leading to the national carrier,” Sirika said.
At the headquarters of FAAN last Thursday, three aviation unions, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) met and vowed to resist the minister’s directive to demolish staff quarters and offices of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) in Lagos. But Sirika says there is no going back on the directive.
“If I have my way, those structures from the local airport to Bristow will be demolished tomorrow and pave way for the emergence of a befitting airport city. Would you not like to see shopping malls, befitting car parks and other support facilities like you find in other parts of the world?,” he said.