Airline Operators of Nigeria members have criticised plans by the departing Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to launch Nigeria Air notwithstanding injunctions against the contentious project.
The AON, in an official letter written by its Solicitors to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, described the move as an attempt to “circumvent the court orders on Friday being the last working day of this administration and possibly to cover up the various infractions of Nigerian laws, among others.”
The AON claimed that Sirika chose the final working day of the administration to bring in two aircraft in violation of the court order in a letter addressed to the president and signed by Abubakar Nuhu Ahmad of the Nureini Jimoh (SAN) Chambers with the subject line: “Nigeria Air Project — Last Minute Planned Disobedience to Court Order And Deliberate Plan to Rubbish the Achievement of this Administration.”
The AON stated that Nigeria Air’s decision to send in two planes “is a cunning way to violate court orders.”
It was emphasised to President Buhari that the lawsuit was “filed to question the shady deals, deliberate infractions of the Nigerian laws, and self-enrichment/corruption, primarily by the ministry of aviation over Nigeria Air project.”
In the said suit, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided by Hon. Justice A.L. Allagoa, granted three separate court orders of injunctions in the terms contained in the order, “restraining taking any step, in relation to the Nigeria Air project.”
The AON implored the president to stop this action and ensure compliance with the terms of the order and avoid needless controversies after the exit of his administration.
The letter signed by Abubakar Nuhu Ahmad Esq. of Nureini Jimoh (SAN) Chambers, vowed to “pursue contempt action against the minister personally whether or not he has left office.”
The letter partly reads, “Aside moral justification for commercial operation after the Minister’s last day in office, it is a clever way to violate the court orders.
“This action has no regard to whether or not it will stain the record of this administration, whether or not it will cover for corrupt actions raised in the suit and deliberately meant to violate Court Orders for self-serving purposes.
“We, therefore, employ your Excellency to STOP this action of the Minister of Aviation, ensure compliance with the terms of the Order and avoid needless controversies on the action after your Excellency’s administration would have expired.
“Notwithstanding, our client will still pursue contempt action against the Minister personally whether or not he left office, for the promotion of the rule of law, protection of the integrity of the court and in line with international best practices.”