Domestic flight operations of a popular Nigerian airline were grounded across the nation recently with the airline coming out with an explanation of how their operations were being ‘strangled’ because they refused to accept being exploited by the Aviation Minister and I quote; ‘Due to persistent hostility of the Ministry of Aviation, with a minister who is demanding 5% equity in a business she has no investment in.....asking FAAN staff to stop the airline operations and lock in checked-in passengers, we have suspended all domestic operations until further notice’
This is the same minister who has refused to honourably resign even after it became glaring that she was not capable of handling the aviation industry. I know this is a country where we prefer to put a square peg in a round hole anyway, but I would have expected that for sane reasons, the minister will lay low and not be out in the media for the wrong reasons anytime soon.
Not even after the ‘slap’ on our faces as regards restoring the license of the Dana airline which up until now has not paid a quarter of the insurance payments to families of the casualties in the June 3rd crash of Dana Flight 992 in Lagos. As if that was not enough, the Aviation Minister Ms Stella Oduah openly declared that the government had made a huge mistake in suspending the airline’s license in the first place.
How can an airline allege that the minister of aviation demanded 5% of its corporate shares and speedily, the president calls a meeting to ‘resolve’ it without investigating the allegation? Of course after their closed door meeting, the airline officially addressed a press conference and domestic operations resumed immediately. Is it not becoming obvious by the day that this country is nothing short of a banana republic?
Really, we must be deceiving ourselves by daring to venture into our own National carrier. Not with our horrible past record of maintaining a National carrier, marred with previous attempts sabotaged by bureaucratic bottlenecks, gross financial mismanagement and appalling maintenance culture we possess as a Nation. But trust me, as long as some self centred people see what is in it for them and know this will be their opportunity of having a giant share of the National cake, they will stop at nothing just to ensure that this white elephant project is ventured into by the government.
Nigeria as it is isn’t ripe for projects like having a National carrier and if you will ask me, I will simply tell you the reason being that our magnitude of corruption still stinks past the heavens.
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