A day after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) applied the brakes on the planned national airline, Nigeria Air, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded for the arrest and immediate prosecution of the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for using a non-existent national carrier to defraud the nation to the tune of N1.2 billion.
Sirika had briefed State House correspondents and put on his Twitter handle the shocking decision of the federal government, two months after he announced that the airline would soon take off.
On Tuesday, hundreds of former staff of moribund airline, Nigeria Airways, took to the streets of Abuja to ask for their retirement benefits
But the PDP says President Muhammadu Buhari should speak out on the alleged act of corruption under his watch, particularly following allegations that funds released for the phantom airline project were diverted to finance his 2019 re-election bid.
The party said the purported indefinite suspension of the Nigeria Air project is part of the fraudulent script by the Buhari Presidency, which knows that it cannot go far with the lie, since the project does not exist in the first place.
The PDP, according to PDP spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan, had in July alerted the nation that the unveiling of a non existent national carrier was a huge scam designed to create an impression of achievement, as well as a conduit by corrupt All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and the Buhari Presidency to siphon public funds for selfish purposes.
His statement reads further: “Nigerians now know that the reason for the rush to London to ‘unveil’ mere drawings of airplanes, name, logo and imaginary routes of a non-existent fleet as our national carrier, without any structures, operational license, clear partnership agreements and no form of ground activity any where in our country.
“What the APC and the Buhari Presidency failed to understand is that lies, no matter how ornamented, always have their expiring dates. The truth may be suppressed for a while, but it always has a way of coming to light.
“It is now clear to the world that the Buhari administration is corrupt and lacks the capacity to productively engage against acts of corruption. This is the major reason our economy went into a recession and foreign investors have lost confidence in our nation.
“The PDP demands that the N1.2 billion be immediately recovered and directed to critical interventions in the aviation sector, including the unpaid pension owed to retired aviation workers.
“Finally, the PDP counsels the APC and Buhari Presidency to know that Nigerians can now see through their corruption and lies for which they will deal them a humiliating verdict at the polls, come 2019.”