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Legislators to grill Aerospace & Aviation Ministry’s Perm Sec

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Mr. Hadi Sirika, former Aerospace, and Aviation Minister, Chief promoter of Nigeria Air

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has summoned the Permanent Secretary, Perm Sec., Ministry of Aerospace & Aviation, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, to appear before it on Wednesday, 7th June 2023.

The summons was in respect of the seemingly hushpuppy aura surrounding a certain Aircraft emblazoned with the name, Nigeria Air, but operated by Ethiopian Airline, which landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, on Friday 26th May 2023.

The invitation letter which was signed by the Clerk of the House Committee on Aviation, Bassey E. Edem, directed the Perm Sec to come with every material particular document including personnel, consultants, the airline’s designated Managing Director, and all government officials that were involved in the activities which culminated in the so-called national airline as reportedly unveiled last Friday.

Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, the PS, was directed to come to the meeting with all crucial documents at his disposal in respect of critical transactions, payments, leases, and agreements reached in respect of Nigeria Air, and the event of Friday, 26th May at NAIA, Abuja.

Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, Aerospace, and Aviation Ministry

The PS had been mandated to present before the committee, Certified True Copy, CTC, for each of all approvals such as the approved ownership structure, equity arrangement of subscribers to the airline startup, and the identity of corporate and individual investors as constituted for the air transport venture, Nigeria Air, and any other verifiable evidences, if any.

Also directed to be provided for the legislators are all documented preliminary exercises procured, or contracted, such as but not limited to consultancies for the startup, its Full Business Case, FBC, especially as prepared by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC.

Other requests expected to be presented before the committee next week Wednesday God willing, are all Public Private Partnership, PPP, agreements entered on behalf, and of the airline startup- Nigeria Air, and with any individuals or corporate organizations anywhere in the world.

The lawmakers also indicated their desire to sight all agreements entered with Ethiopian Airlines, especially the content of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA, the ministry must have signed with Ethiopian Airlines, and or the commercial agreement with the management of Ethiopian Airlines.

Recall the last meeting of the legislators in November 2022, with the former aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, was not conclusive as the minister told the distinguished house the deal was still under negotiation. No concrete response came from the minister to all the questions posed by the legislators. {For the record, the video is available on youtube}

At the unveiling of Nigeria Air, Friday, 26th May 2023,

Observers however noticed that nothing such as reverting to the legislators when the negotiations were finally concluded so that the executive and the legislators could be on the same page.

Rather, what rented the air in addition to the court injunction was that Nigeria Air aircraft would touch down on Nigerian soil before the exit date of the last regime. And it was technically achieved hence, the compulsion by the legislators to assert their oversight function.

The legislators also reminded Dr. Meribole, to provide necessary permits and licenses granted to the startup by the regulatory authorities in making it ready for safe, secured, reliable, and comfortable air transport services to esteemed Nigerians

Moreover, the invitation letter advised the Permanent Secretary to come with all other documents and records that may be very relevant in providing comfort for the committee and the over 200 million Nigerians but might not be mentioned in the invitation letter.

Albeit, the tone of the invitation letter leaves no one in doubt that the House of Representatives Aviation Committee will be given all necessary attention to every detail in respect of the inquisition on Nigeria Air as a national aviation business entity, Nigerians and the entire aviation world are in expectation of a national airline that will operate internationally in no distant future, all things being equal.

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