Be patriotic, Nigeria Air good for citizens, economy, group tells AON
A coalition of youth and women groups with core interest in development strategies and accountability, Generation Next Collective (GNC), has described the controversy trailing inauguration of Nigeria Air and opposition by private operators as unhealthy, selfish and unpatriotic.
The national carrier has witnessed criticisms from Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), spearheaded by Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, who doubles as founder of United Nigeria Airline, one of the private players in the country.
Okonkwo and other indigenous operators have accused former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who initiated the move, of a plot to kill indigenous operators and handover monopoly to Ethiopian Airlines, a major partner of the national airline.
But GNC, in a statement by its co-conveners, Ruth Edehemon and Mallam Rufai Abdulahi, in Abuja, yesterday, said it rather saw hope and a realistic step towards positive change in the nation’s aviation industry with the arrival of the Boeing 737 aircraft, branded in Nigeria’s green-white-green colours on Friday, May 26, 2023.
It expressed shock seeing operators kick over a development that would potentially add value to the people and economy.The group submitted: “It is selfish and unpatriotic for private operators to turn themselves into an army of opposition and harbingers of negative narratives against the floating, success and sustainability of our common heritage, Nigeria Air.
“In fact, we have observed with dismay that Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, who has been so vociferous in spreading the negative and misleading narratives about the national airline, in the guise of representing the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), is not motivated by objectivity or patriotism, but only doing so for his selfish aim of being in the driving seat of monopoly and mindless manipulation of cost of airfare in the industry.”
“We object to such profiteering tendencies and dark conspiracies that do not put to account the interest of the people or collective prosperity of the nation.”