Nnolim Nnaji, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, issued a warning to Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, on Sunday against taking any steps that would compromise the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s regulatory functions.
The warning was issued in the wake of allegations that Nigeria Air is trying to circumvent some regulatory criteria in order to start flying before May 29.
The minister had insisted the national carrier would commence operations before May 29 despite the pending suit filed against the airline by the Airline Operators of Nigeria with the court injunction stopping the carrier yet to be lifted.
The House of Representatives Committee, however, expressed concern about the brewing threats of mass resignations among the critical personnel of the authority.
It said this could lead to severe consequences in the oversight capabilities of the regulatory agency.
Nnaji, in a statement yesterday, said: “I understand that some senior personnel of the authority are threatening to turn in their resignation letters over claims of pressures on NCAA from the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to grant wivers to the proposed Nigeria Air.
“It is a well acknowledged fact that the Minister has a passionate desire to deliver a national carrier to Nigerians but if the project could not materialise under him it shouldn’t be a do or die affair.
“Government is a continuum. Whatever he could not accomplish, the next government or next minister after him will take over. I believe that any good projects he could not finish his predecessor will not abandon them so long as they will add value to the industry” He stressed.
He also urged Sirika to exercise restraint and allow the promoters of the Nigeria Air to undergo the whole processes and procedures for approvals of Air Transport Licence and Air Operator’s Certificate.
He said the whole idea of Nigeria Air did not have the backing of the parliament because all the contentious issues raised by the legislature regarding the project remained unresolved.
He further observed that there was panic in the industry at the moment over sack gale and urged the minister to douse the tension by coming out clean on what he planned to do.
The Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Minister, James Odaudu, had told our correspondent that Sirika would not do anything contrary to the law and due process.