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Just as Nigerians are yet to come to terms on how Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi in August 2016 went to Singapore and sealed a baseless agreement with Pacific International Lines (PIL), an Asian Shipping giant incorporated in Singapore in 1967, on the floating new national shipping line in July, the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt Hadi Sirika went to London Air Show after paying N183m ($600,000) to a Bahraini designers for the logo only, and launched Nigeria Air.
Today, both enterprises have died even before arriving the shores of Nigeria and millions of tax payers’ money up in flames from a government that is driving the economy on the basis of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Whereas there is no evidence of recourse to Executive Order 5 which stipulates strong and mandatory local content in government procurements in the design of the Nigeria Air logo, it would be recalled that in 2016, Amaechi went with a large entourage including the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, to Singapore to sign a National Shipping Line deal of 60% funding with PIL, a shipping giant of Singapore with an understanding that indigenous shippers will foot the remaining 40%.
In a terse tweet last Wednesday, Sirika just informed Nigerians that Nigeria Air has been suspended indefinitely by the federal government and that was all.
Besides, in the Singaporean failed partnership agreement, it was discovered that before signing the deal with PIL, there was no clear understanding between the Ministry and consortium of local shippers in raising the remaining 40 per cent for the emergence of new National Shipping Line.
Rather, after observing that the deal is dead even before arrival, Amaechi turned around to blame it on Nigerian Ship owners who were not able to provide the 40% counterpart funding.
Up till now, there have been no questions on how much was spent before the agreement with PIL was signed and at what level of understanding did Amaechi secure the conviction that Nigerian shippers will agree to foot the bill of 40 per cent”.
Form both case scenarios, one thing was common; both started abroad and ended abroad but Nigeria’s hard earned money and the prevailing ERGP plus Executive Order 5 all raped.
Many Nigerians are of the view that for the fact the scheme did not receive ab-inito, the approval of the Economic Management Team (EMT), all the tax payers fund sunk in it be the Minister of State for Aviation must be recovered.
Others are already calling for the sack of the minister and all top government officials who are part of the national scam that may have drained billions of naira ranging from transaction advisers, souvenirs development, estacodes to London Air Show by a ministerial delegation numbering over 20 and the embarrassment caused on the collective intelligence of Nigerians to international investors.
Business Hilights gathered from a reliable source that the EMT, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo clearly recommended ab-initio that government should not set up a national carrier with public funds, but this was tactically overlooked.
A source also added that another major factor that compelled government to jettison the scheme was based on the fact it was not covered in any national budget both 2017 and the latest 2018 or even the emerging 2019 appropriation bills.
It would be recalled that the Sirika has at the July 18th Farnborough Air Show in England, unveiled the name and logo of the national carrier with fanfare even though there is nothing on ground to show seriousness in the first place.
Some experts that barred their minds called for the sack of the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr Chidi Izuwah for joining in bleeding the economy in the wastage by issuing the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the establishment of the Nigeria Air when he would have done a study to understand that it would not fly at last.
Another pointer to the eventual collapse of the scheme was when the minister was running the build up without any private sector even though he kept on telling Nigerians that it will be private sector driven after naming it and fleeting it with unknown fund.
At the beginning of ‘the game’ by Sirika, many aviation professionals picked holes on the apparent veiled way and manner the federal government through the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Sirika was going about the emergence of new national carrier.
However, whereas Nigerians call for probe of activities in Transportation Ministry, strong indication emerged last week that the Minister had already been celebrated and handed over powers to run the presidential campaign of the ruling party ahead of 2019 elections. Case closed.
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