FG released only N3 billion for Nigeria Air in 7 years – Hadi Sirika

  • Former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, clarified that only N3 billion was released for the Nigeria Air project, and the funds were spent on consultative services and office maintenance.
  • Sirika stated that the government did not pay for the chartered Ethiopian aircraft showcased as Nigeria Air, as it was brought by Ethiopian Airlines to demonstrate commitment to the project.
  • He refuted the allegation of spending N85 billion on the project, emphasizing that only N5 billion was budgeted and not all of the N3 billion released was expended during his tenure.

Former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, reveals that the federal government released only N3 billion for the Nigeria Air project in the last 7 years

Sirika, who disclosed this while clearing the air on the controversial project during a live programme on Arise TV on Sunday, said the N3 billion had not been fully expended before he left the office on May 29. According to him, the total money budgeted for the project since 2018 was N5 billion, out of which N3 billion had been disbursed.  


This is even as he declared that the country did not pay a dime for the Chartered Ethiopian Aircraft showcased a few days before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. He said Ethiopian Airlines  

N85 billion is only an imagination 

Reacting to the allegation that the Aviation Ministry under Sirika had spent N85 billion on the Nigeria Air project, the former Minister said: 

  • “From 2016 to 2023, all of the money voted and budgeted for Nigeria Air is N5 billion. But all that was released was in the neighborhood of N3 billion, not N85 billion, and not all of the N3 billion has been expended as of the time I left office. What has been done with the money is nothing but to get special advisory services, the AOC processes, salaries, consultive services, and the maintenance of the office in Abuja.  
  • “No contract was awarded by Hadi Sirika, these are the things the money was used for. And there is the Freedom of Information Act, people can apply and get all the information about what the money has been used for. The N85 billion being mentioned is only in the imagination of the people carrying it about.”  

No payment for chartered aircraft  

While admitting that the Ethiopian aircraft that was showcased as the success of the project was chartered, Sirika said the government did not pay for the aircraft as it was brought by Ethiopian Airlines to demonstrate their commitment to the project. 

  • The AOC owned by Ethiopian Airline is known to Nigeria and the NCAA, they are permitted to come in either with scheduled passengers, chattered or cargo. They have to come in under one of the 3. So, they came as chartered. Being chartered does not mean that anybody paid for anything. The government did not pay a dime for that aircraft to come in.  
  • “Secondly, there was no revenue passenger in the aircraft because that would have been totally against the law and wouldn’t have been allowed. It was their own marketing strategy as equity partners. They came to do this unveiling on a special allowance called chartered and it does not mean that we paid for it. If anybody was to pay for it, it would have been the Ethiopian Airline, not the Nigerian government. No penny was paid,” the former Minister said.   

Several individuals and groups have been calling for the arrest and investigation of the former Minister over allegations of fraud through the Nigeria Air project. While some argued that the whole project from the beginning lacked transparency, others are saying that the last-minute unveiling of an Ethiopian Airline repainted as Nigeria Air was a fraud for which the Minister has to be prosecuted.  



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