Metro Nigeria Air: Presidential aspirants slam Buhari govt over indefinite suspension of national...
The Federal Government on Wednesday announced indefinite suspension of its widely publicised national carrier, Nigeria Air, with immediate effect.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced the cancellation on Wednesday shortly after the cabinet meeting. The minister later posted the announcement on his Twitter page.
“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always,” he wrote.
Sirika gave no explanation for the development, which has in the last few hours generated heated debate among Nigerians.
The cancellation announcement comes barely two months after Nigeria unveiled the proposed airline at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18.
Critics and industry experts raised concerns over the project when it was launched in July, with many suggesting that Nigeria cannot afford it at this time.
Among the critics was former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who argued that the process was not completely transparent.
But the Nigerian government dismissed all concerns raised, saying the airline would begin operation before the end of 2018. During electioneering in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to set up a national airline.
Reacting to the suspension of the carrier, presidential aspirant and former governor of Cross River, Donald Duke said, “FG suspends Nigeria Air Project: This was ill-conceived and against the advise of several competent experts.
“What is the fate of about $55 million of taxpayers money purportedly spent on the airline? Are there penalties stipulated in the contracts? Buharinomics at its worst.”
Also weighing in, another presidential aspirant, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo said, “A whooping sum of ₦1.2Billion tax payers money wasted on the National Carrier Project, the Nigeria Air. Money that should have been invested in Education and Healthcare development. Our party must present a better alternative for Nigerians in 2019. We can’t continue like this.”