Despite Court Order, Sirika Insists Nigeria Air Will Fly Before May 29

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Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, has insisted that Nigeria Air would fly before the end of the current administration.

Sirika’s reassurance comes despite an order by a federal high court in Lagos restraining Nuhu Musa, director-general of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), from issuing an air operator’s certificate (AOC) to the proposed national carrier.

The suit was filed by a group of domestic airlines seeking to stop the federal government from partnering with Ethiopian Airlines to float the national carrier.

Despite Court Order, Sirika Insists Nigeria Air Will Fly Before May 29

Addressing journalists after the federal executive council meeting on Wednesday, Sirika said the issuance of the AOC was expected in earnest.

“We have everything in place, the aircrafts are in place, the offices, operational centers, the staffing and everything that we need to have in place. We’re doing the last minute checks and waiting for the issuance of the AOC and it will fly,” he said.

DEMOLITION OF AVIATION AGENCIES’ BUILDINGS

Speaking on the demolition of structures occupied by the sector’s agencies in Lagos, he said the exercise will go on as planned.

Last week, aviation workers embarked on a two-day strike to demand the suspension of the proposed demolition.

Sirika, commenting on the subject, said the implementing agencies have begun work on addressing the workers’ other demands, which include improved working conditions and entitlements.

“Condition of service is not in our hands, it’s in the Salaries and Income Wages. I personally, as the minister, went there with the union three times to fast track that process. So, that’s being looked at by the appropriate authority and I think they are fast-tracking it,” he said.

“On the implementation of the minimum wage, the accountant-general’s office, ministry of finance, and the agency concerned are working hard to ensure that that happens.”

However, the minister said the planned demolition is “taken out of context and overhyped”.

“Certainly, the FAAN building was there, even before egbon (elder brother) Lai Mohammed joined the FAAN, so it was a transit camp. The FAAN office is a transit camp for the people that built the airport,” Sirika explained.

“It’s made out of wood and some panels as a makeshift office and this is what FAAN has been using on a very prime property and it is not befitting for the FAAN Lagos office; it is only a waste of space. It caught fire twice, once during our administration.

“So, we thought that that place should leave so that we can erect offices, shopping malls, cinemas, and the rest of it. Airports are no longer places where you take over land. You all go to Dubai, you all go to other places and see how they are.

“So, certainly and definitely, the government would remove those wood structures housing FAAN’s office now and erect among the aerotropolis components; offices, shopping malls, hotels, car parks and the rest of it, befitting Nigeria and befitting of the city of Lagos.”