The Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, says Nigeria Air would be a game-changer and appreciated by Nigerians.
Garba made this statement on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
While praising Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika for his doggedness in ensuring the airline becomes a reality, he said many Nigerians will benefit from the project.
“The minister has been bashed unfairly all over the place. He has been doing this, all of the commitment to put this airline in place but simply obstacles have been put on his part every inch of the way, until just a week or two ago when the thing was cleared for its resumption,” he said.
“I don’t blame him. He wants to make history, the minister wants to push for a new airline. So, it is honourable that he wants to kickstart it Friday, which is 24 hours from now. It would be to the relief of Nigerians, certainly, it is something that is going to be a game-changer, especially for international travel.”
Mr Garba admitted that the project had been impeded by several challenges.
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“The Nigerian process has been up for a very long time. In all eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, there is no policy memo on anything that has done the zigzag that Nigerian Air has done,” the presidential aide said.
“At least seven times, it came before the Federal Executive Council before finally it was let go.
“Just when everything was set and for the airline to start, domestic Nigerian airline operators went to court and they got an injunction that says that Nigeria Air must not fly. This held up everything until barely a week or two ago.”
According to him, the collaboration with Ethiopian Airways is in the best interest of the country.
He said, “This is entirely different because past attempts have been made to use resources from the treasury to run a business.
“Government is simply a bad manager of businesses. We would continue to fail so long as these things are run by the government.
“This realization is simply the fact that the government of Nigeria would be a minority shareholder in this enterprise, it is going to be essentially business run and that would mean that it would succeed,” he said.
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