The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of attempting to use the newly unveiled airline to siphon billions from the nation’s treasury.
At the Farnborough International Airshow on Wednesday, Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, unveiled the logo and name of the new national carrier — Nigeria Air.
He said the government will not own more than five percent of the airline, and that the airline’s operations are scheduled to begin in December 2018.
In its reaction, the PDP said the federal government is trying to deceive Nigerians with a “non-existent” airline.
Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman of the party, said it is unfortunate that, “not having any development project to parade, Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have now resorted to international kite-flying aimed at hoodwinking unsuspecting Nigerians.”
“Is it not comical that while other nations are unveiling and rolling out real planes, the Buhari administration, in a most hilarious manner, is ‘unveiling’ drawings of an airplane, name, logo and imaginary routes of a non-existent fleet, as our national carrier, in faraway London?” the party asked.
“Apart from drawings of airplanes, there are no structures to indicate that a new airline, billed to commence operation in December this year, is being set up; there are no offices, no recruitment of personnel and no form of ground activity anywhere in the country.
“Does it not smack of pure scam that less than six months to commence operations, the supposed new airline has not even started the process of licensing, even when it takes a minimum of six months for a new airline to obtain air operating license and three months to develop its manuals?”
The PDP also said the federal government had been unable to list any private investor it has gone into negotiation or signed any form of deal with in the said project.
The party said it is clear that “the entire project is a huge scam and that the five percent government funding is a direct ploy by the cabal at the Buhari presidency to siphon billions of naira, using a phantom project.”
“If the Buhari administration is not on a fantasy trip to beguile Nigerians and pave further ways for its humongous corruption, it should have focused on our existing national carrier structures in addition to three operating airlines, already taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria(AMCON),” it said.