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Amaechi Misquoted, FEC Not Divided

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Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was not divided over the mode of implementation of the national carrier project called Nigeria Air.

This is coming few days after the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, reportedly said that the proposed takeoff of Nigeria Air was being held down due to division among the FEC members on the modality for its establishment.

Amaechi while speaking on Thursday during a valedictory press briefing in Abuja, was quoted to have said: “On the national carrier, the cabinet is divided on the issue of modality. There are those who believe that the Federal Government should invest and then we can sell the equity later.

“There are also those who believe that no, and from day one they say let us get investors in and give them the franchise of Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria or whatever it is called. That is where we are and that is what held it down. But as for whether it is still in our plan, it is and has not been abandoned.”

However, Sirika in a statement on Friday by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs at the Aviation arm of Ministry of Transportation, James Odaudu, claimed Amaechi was misquoted in the media reports.

He said, “It is the belief of the Minister of State for Aviation that the Minister of Transportation was misquoted by the media in this respect, as the Federal Executive Council is one cohesive body that cannot be divided over any issue.”
According to Sirika, the Nigeria Air project had the full support of the council which deliberated on it and approved it.

He also explained that President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the Viability Gap Funding for the project be provided for in the 2019 Appropriation, adding that the National Assembly had graciously done that.

The Aviation Minister said he regretted the media mix-up and assured the general public, and, more importantly, the prospective partners and investors, that the Nigeria Air project was fully alive and on course.

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