Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, affirmed that Nigeria Air would provide relief to Nigerians during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. Garba commended the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for his determination in making the airline a reality. He emphasized that the project would greatly benefit many Nigerians and described it as a game-changer, particularly for international travel.”He has faced unwarranted criticism from various quarters. Despite the challenges and obstacles placed in his path, the minister has remained committed to establishing this airline. It was only recently, after weeks of clearance hurdles, that the path was finally cleared for its resumption,” he explained.
“I don’t hold him accountable. The minister is driven by the desire to create history and establish a new airline. It is commendable that he aims to kickstart it in just 24 hours, on Friday. This will undoubtedly bring relief to Nigerians and have a transformative impact, particularly on international travel,” Garba acknowledged.
He acknowledged that the project faced numerous challenges, saying, “The Nigerian process has been subject to prolonged delays. Throughout President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year tenure, no other policy has faced the twists and turns that Nigeria Air has experienced. It went through the Federal Executive Council on at least seven occasions before being eventually released.”
“Just when everything was ready for the airline to commence operations, domestic Nigerian airline operators took legal action and obtained an injunction prohibiting Nigeria Air from flying. This setback persisted until barely a week or two ago,” the presidential aide explained.
He highlighted that the partnership with Ethiopian Airways is advantageous for the country.
He stated, “This situation is completely different from past endeavors where government funds were used to operate a business. The government has proven to be ineffective in managing businesses, and we will continue to face failures as long as these ventures remain under government control.”
“The key realization here is that the Nigerian government will be a minority shareholder in this enterprise, emphasizing that it will primarily be a business-driven operation. This approach increases the likelihood of success,” he explained.