National Carrier: Sirika sets the record straight

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has contradicted what the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi said concerning the suspension of the proposed national carrier.

Recall that Amaechi had at his valedictory press briefing in Abuja on Thursday said the proposed national carrier project was suspended because members of the Federal Executive Council members were divided.

He said: “On national carrier, the cabinet is divided on the issue of modality. There are those who believe that the Federal Government should invest and then we can sell the equity later.

“There are also those who believe that no, and from day one they say let us get investors in and give them the franchise of Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria or whatever is called.

“That is where we are and that is what held it down. But as for whether it is still in our plan, it is and has not been abandoned.”

Reacting on Friday, Sirika in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry, James Odaudu, said the Nigeria Air project has the full support of Council which deliberated on it and approved.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Minister of State for Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has been drawn to reports in a section of the media quoting the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, to the effect that the Federal Executive Council has been divided over the mode of implementation of the National Carrier project.

“It is the belief of the Minister of State for Aviation the Minister of Transportation was misquoted by the media in this respect, as the Federal Executive Council is one cohesive body that cannot be divided over any issue.

“The Nigeria Air project has the full support of Council which deliberated on it and approved.

“Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the Viability Gap Funding for the project be provided for in the 2019 Appropriation which the National Assembly has graciously done.”

Sirika, while stating he regrets the media mix-up, assured the general public, and prospective partners and investors, that the Nigeria Air project is fully alive and on course.