Captain Dapo Olumide ,Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, said the aircraft used to unveil the country’s national carrier was a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines and did not belong to Nigeria.
Nigeria Air is a proposed national aviation carrier for Nigeria.
Olumide said the aircraft returned to Ethiopian Airlines after the unveiling.
He made these clarifications before the Senate Committee on Aviation.
In a meeting with Captain Olumide, members of the Senate Committee on Aviation expressed doubts about the authenticity of the unveiling of the national carrier and attendant processes.
Biodun Olujimi, Chairman of the Senate Aviation Committee, at the meeting, wondered why Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, hurriedly unveiled a national carrier on the last day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, said the launch of Nigeria Air was a fraud.
Nnaji made the remark after meeting stakeholders in the aviation sector who largely denied knowledge of the launch.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation said Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched.
Responding to the Committee, Captain Dapo Olumide said the reason Nigeria Air was unveiled at the time, was to prove to Nigerians that the project was not a fluke.
The Committee said that after a careful evaluation of the facts before it on the matter, it was totally dissatisfied with the actions of the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirka, in going ahead to flag off the operations of Nigeria Air despite a standing Court injunction against such, and without any provision for sustaining the operations of the airline.
“We are equally irked by the role played by Ethiopian Airlines in this whole process. It does not speak well of the excellent brotherly relationship existing between our two nations.”
“A careful review of the process indicates the exercise to be highly opaque, shrouded in secrecy, shoddy and capable of ridiculing and tarnishing the image of Nigeria before the international community,” the Committee stated.”
It added: “We want to put on record, that the Committee and indeed the National Assembly had no role in the purported launch of Nigeria Air or anything related thereof.
“While the Committee and indeed the parliament is not opposed to Nigeria having a National Carrier, as a matter of fact, having a National Carrier is highly desirable to us as a people and Nigeria, as a nation. However, such a process should be transparent and all embracing.
“We, as a Committee, would not accept any attempt by any individual or group of individuals or organisation to hide under the project and siphon our commonwealth.”