The arrest of twin brothers and 82 internet fraudsters by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sparked call for the anti graft agency to arrest former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
Operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the EFCC arrested 56 suspected internet fraudsters in Port Harcourt, Rivers.
Similarly, Operatives of the Uyo Zonal Command arrested two identical twins: Takwan Potential and Takwan Peter and 26 others for alleged internet fraud in Calabar, Cross River State.
However, the development has sparked calls for the EFCC to swoop in on Sirika to arrest him over what many have described as the Nigeria Air scam.
TNG recalls the Federal Government had in July 2018 unveiled the much-awaited new national carrier during the Farnborough Air Show in London.
In eight years, the Muhammadu Buhari administration, a day to the inauguration of the President Bola Tinubu administration, Sirika supposedly launch the Nigeria Air airline.
However at an investigative hearing of Senate Committee on Aviation over the state of Nigeria Air project, the Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Capt. Dapo Olumide, told legislators that the aircraft paraded as Nigeria Air plane belonged to Ethiopian Airlines and not Nigeria whereas Sirika paraded the aircraft as being owned by Nigeria.
Olumide had disclosed at the investigative hearing that the supposed Nigeria Air aircraft that flew in with logo of the airline was chartered from Ethiopian Airline for the purpose of unveiling the logo.
He also disclosed that the airline was yet to secure an operating licence for full flight operations, contrary to submission of the past minister of aviation on the Air Nigeria.
Olumide had told the Senate committee that the aircraft was used pending the completion of the processes required for the operation of the airline.
With Sirika as the arrowhead, the Aviation Ministry spent over N85 billion on Nigeria Air, as shown in data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Compilation of Budgetary Allocations between 2016 and 2023.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Aviation Committee, Sen. Biodun Olujimi and the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, both agreed that the launch of Nigeria Air was a fraud.
Olumide admitted that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft used to unveil the country’s national career was a legitimate chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines.
He said the aircraft returned to Ethiopian Airlines after the unveiling.
Angered by the development, and with the EFCC going after internet fraudsters, Nigerians have asked the commission to go after Sirika and other politicians perceived to have embezzled government funds instead.
“Unless you arrest Hadi Sirika @hadisirika no one will believe EFCC anymore,” a Twitter user, who goes by the handle, @CrownprinceCom2 tweeted.
Another Twitter user with the handle, @PIDOMNIGERIA tweeted: “If it is china, Hadi sirika @hadisirika will be sentence to death, & be killed next week latest.
“If it is Japan, he will hurriedly commit suicide tonight, to avoid the shame & embarrassment. If it is the US, they will arrest him today & charge him to court. In Nigeria, guess”.