From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) is currently investigating the contractor handling one of the cargo projects at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to defend the 2023 budget proposal of the ministry.
He said there were two cargo projects in Abuja and one had been completed and awaiting commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He, however, said the second project awarded in 2012 was abandoned by the contractor after collecting 75 per cent payment of the contract sum.
“The second one, the contract was given in 2012, the contractors were advanced money up to about 75 per cent. These contracts were abandoned by the contractors. Mr. President directed that they be investigated, prosecuted and the monies recovered, but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported to EFCC. They confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation.We will inform the House when we see EFCC and they brief us formally,” he said.
The minister said the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, would begin domestic operations before the end of the year and would commence international operations as soon as necessary approvals and certifications were received.
“The national carriers will be launched soon. We have Boeing 737 in its fleet for domestic operations, and later the international operations would be introduced. We would begin the domestic market pending the time we would get the certification and approvals to go international and intercontinental, which would be soon. The cost of aircraft maintenance though worrisome has been managed during this period. Furthermore, it is worthy to note there are more bilateral and multilateral air services agreements that have been signed for the benefit of our air travellers,” Sirika said.