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NigeriaAir Scam: EFCC Arrests Former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over an ongoing N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering probe.

The indicted former Minister of Aviation arrived at the Wuse office, Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday, according to The Punch.

Following his arrival at the command, Sirika is meeting with EFCC investigators to answer questions on alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

The Punch reported that impeccable anti-graft sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak, confirmed the development.

“Yes, that was Hadi Sirika who was taken into our FCT custody. He is currently meeting with EFCC investigators over the alleged N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud,” a source revealed.

Another source noted, “The N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud was carried out in connivance with his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, through the latter’s company.”

The anti-graft commission is reportedly investigating the activities of the Aviation Ministry for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

The sum is said to be for four aviation contracts from the former minister to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

It was further revealed that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

The source said Abubakar Sirika, who was arrested on Sunday, February 4, has since been assisting the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during Mr Sirika’s tenure.

The EFCC investigator said, “We’re investigating an N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering case linked to former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.

“Hadi awarded contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that the latter is a civil servant, a deputy director on Level 16 in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, where he has been working since 2000 till date.

“The first of the contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, for the construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at a cost of N1,345,586,500.00. The second was awarded on November 3, 2022, for the establishment of the Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Center in Katsina Airport, valued at N3, 811,497,685.00.

“The third contract was on February 3, 2023, for the procurement and installation of lifts, air conditioners, and a power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615,195,275.000, while the fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023, for the procurement of Magnus aircraft and a simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, at the cost of N2, 296,897,404.00.

“Out of the total contract sum, the ex-minister paid out N3,212,258,930.18 to his younger brother’s Engirios Nigerian Limited, who, upon receipt of the payment, transferred it to different companies and individuals. There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

“Abubakar Sirika is currently in our custody at the Headquarters, and he is providing us with more useful information on the financial activities of the Aviation Ministry under the supervision of his older brother, Hadi Sirika.”

The Punch

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

Premium Times

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Fubara Vows to Probe Previous Rivers Administrations

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said he will set up a panel of inquiry to look into the affairs of governance in the state.

Fubara disclosed this during the swearing-in and administration of the oath of office on Dagogo Iboroma, SAN, as the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice.

The governor criticised recent comments by the former Attorney-General of the State and Justice Commissioner, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, who resigned from his cabinet over a fortnight ago and urged the new Attorney-General to defend the state.

Fubara stated, “It is not the one that while you were here… the only thing you do is to sabotage the government.

“Instead of you to close your mouth, you publicly claim that you’re a learned person to tell people that you’re the Chief Law Officer. Chief Law Officer, you were here and went to stand before a Magistrate Court.

“At that time you didn’t remember that you’re a Chief Law Officer going against the ethics of your job.”

Addressing the new AG, the governor said, “You have a big task. As it is today in the local parlance, they say the jungle has matured. We will be setting a panel of inquiry to investigate the affair of governance.”

The governor further said there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage his administration, saying, “If we disagree, no matter how bad it is, it should be resolved.

“But it has become very clear that this disagreement there is no headway to it, and for many reasons, there is very visible evidence that there is sabotage, a deliberate attempt to sabotage this administration.

“Maybe where they are, they are telling them nothing will happen, it is happening here live, we have our own legislators that are performing their duties according to the Constitution. So that record is threatened.”

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Tobi Amusan Again! Sets New World-Leading Record

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The world record-holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, was the fastest over the barriers, setting a world-leading time of 12.40 (0.9m/s).

Danielle Williams, a two-time world champion, was ahead for most of the race but lost her rhythm over the final two hurdles and finished second with 12.46.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been. It’s a pain-free season compared to other years,” World Athletics website quoted Amusan to have said.

“I told myself: ‘I’m not getting a DQ today’. I’m not the best of starters, but looking at how I executed today, it could have been better, but I am thankful for the win.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, John Enoh, took to his X handle to congratulate the Nigerian athletics queen for her latest feat.

“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!

“You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s.

“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you,” Enoh wrote.

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