The former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Roland Iyayi has raised serious concerns about the aircraft recently presented as part of Nigeria Air‘s fleet.
According to Iyayi, the aircraft actually belongs to Ethiopian Airlines.
Iyayi in an interview with Punch expressed his shock at the unveiling, stating, “The aircraft that was flown in today has a registration is ET-APL and it is a Boeing 737 8 Max belonging to Ethiopian Airlines. This aircraft is not Nigerian, and thus, cannot be said to be an aircraft acquired for Nigeria Air.”
Iyayi contends that the presentation was a deliberate effort to deceive Nigerians into believing the aircraft was the first in a series for Nigeria Air.
He added, “This aircraft will be leaving Nigeria later today or tomorrow and flying to Turkey.”
Iyayi harshly criticized the act, which he described as a “monumental fraud” that undermines the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
He noted that it was in violation of a court order.
“The minister flew in an aircraft and even went ahead to invite the press, government officials, and even traditional rulers for the purported unveiling of the airline,” he said.
Furthermore, Iyayi stated that this act might discourage foreign investment due to perceived lawlessness in Nigeria.
He insisted that the outgoing aviation minister should be held accountable for his actions.
When asked if the landing of the aircraft signalled the start of the national carrier, Iyayi expressed strong doubt.
He elaborated, “I think what the outgoing honourable minister has done is nothing short of taking Nigerians for a big ride.”
Iyayi alleged that the aircraft, which was on a commercial flight for Ethiopian Airlines, was flown into Abuja only for display and then taken out.
He said, “That particular aircraft flew out of Abuja yesterday and as I speak, it is back in Ethiopia.”
Iyayi indicated that both the minister and Ethiopian Airlines were aware of court orders related to this matter.
According to him, the launch was a “flagrant abuse of the judicial system,” and legal consequences should follow.
He finished by stating, “I believe what is being done is a total undermining of our judicial system, processes, and country and people, which the minister must be held accountable for.”