The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to appear before the commission regarding the controversial launch of Nigeria Air in Abuja recently.
The anti-graft agency has reportedly also questioned officials of Nigeria Air, whose launch has continued to generate concerns among industry stakeholders.
The controversy surrounding the Nigerian Air launch intensified after reports indicated that an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, painted in Nigeria Air livery, was used for the inauguration.
Stakeholders expressed their dissatisfaction, arguing that a national carrier should not rely on a foreign airline for its launch.
Responding to the allegations, Sirika said the use of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft was a “marketing strategy.”
Meanwhile, findings have shown that Sirika has yet to honour the anti-graft agency’s invitation.
It was gathered that some officials of the controversial national carrier, including the Acting Managing Director, Captain Dapo Olumide, had been invited for questioning.
An official close to the development said, “The former aviation minister, Sirika has been invited by the commission over an ongoing investigation which includes the Nigeria Air project.
“Although Sirika is yet to honour the commission’s invite, some other officials of Nigeria Air have been questioned, and the acting MD was invited for questioning too,” a source revealed.
“Sirika wasn’t the only person that was invited, other officials were invited too, and some of them have been interrogated and their statements taken by the commission but Sirika is yet to appear for questioning.”
Confirming the development following an inquiry by our correspondent, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said Sirika had been invited by the anti-graft agency over an ongoing investigation. He, however, said he could not confirm whether the ex-minister had honoured the invitation or not. Uwujaren said, “I can confirm that the commission has invited former minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika over an ongoing investigation.
“But I’m not sure and I can’t confirm whether or not he has honoured the invite. Concerning other officials being questioned, I can’t confirm that too, but an investigation is ongoing.”