Posted by Sade Williams
The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Aviation to urgently investigate why the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 , Ministry of Aviation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, engaged foreign airlines over and above indigenous carriers to evacuate stranded Nigerians abroad.
This directive was sequel to a motion sponsored by Honourable Mohammad Shamsudeen Bello representing Takai/Sumaila Federal Constituency of Kano State and eight other members of the House.
The PTF, Ministry of Aviation and Foreign Affairs Ministry had engaged British Airways, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines to airlift stranded Nigerians from the United Kingdom, Untied Arab Emirates and the United States of America.
Bello, while presenting the motion on behalf of his cosponsors, stressed that the action of the Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the PTF contravened chapter 11 of the 1999 constitution.
According to him, “the economic objective of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the fundamental objective and principles of state policy in section 16(a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides that the state shall harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self reliant economy for every citizen on the basis social justice and equity of status and opportunity.”.
He further argued that there was no justification in engaging those foreign airlines when there are competent Nigerian Airlines that could effectively carry out evacuation adding that the action amounted to a shortchange of the economic well-being of the country.
He noted that indigenous airlines like Air Peace, Max Air and Azman Air contribute immensely to the national income and employment of Nigerians, thereby enhancing the citizens’ welfare and national productivity.
“Air Peace, and Max Air have tree Boeing 777 each and Azman Air recently acquired Airbus A340-600 series all of which could be deployed for such operations”, he said.
He stressed further that Air Peace handled the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa during xenophobic attacks in 2019 free of charge and Max Air has been participating in air lift of pilgrims during Hajj without hitches.