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Reps bid to probe aviation crises suffers setback


Members of the House of Representatives during a plenary

Members of the House of Representatives during a plenary

The plan by the House of Representatives to probe aviation crises has suffered a setback due to a number of factors.One of them, according to the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha is the newness of the clerk of the House of Representatives in office.

Onyejeocha said Basil was yet to “settle down sufficiently to convey the House resolutions to the appropriate quarters.”The National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) had appointed a former deputy clerk of the House of Representatives, Mr. Edhere Uzezi Basil in September this year as the substantive clerk of the House.

Based on the recommendations of the committee on aviation, which held a four-day public hearing in October on the crises, the House had unanimously agreed to invite the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika to “brief the House on his plans for the aviation sector, including the status of the ongoing remodeling of international airports and the reasons behind the scope and design of the ongoing remodeling.”

Sirika was expected to explain the proposed decision of Federal Government to concession major airports in the country.The committee’s recommendations followed Sirika’s inauguration of two committees in September this year to fast track the concession process aimed at improving standards and capacities of the airports.

The absence of the deputy chairman of the committee, Isa Salihu Bashir (APC), Sokoto through out the duration of the hearing where the resolutions were reached had also affected implementation of the decisions.

Bashir told The Guardian that he was not part of the decisions reached at the end of the hearing, “as I was away at that time and not in the position to say why, who does what or didn’t do what.”

Also affected by the delay in conveying the House resolutions was the lawmakers’ desire to call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate alleged diversion of N120 billion aviation intervention fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2012 to revamp the sector.

The lawmakers also asked the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before them to explain the utilisation of the fund and proffer ways of dealing with forex challenges facing the sector.

Forex scarcity has lately led to acute shortage of jet fuel, forcing several local carriers to suspend operations.To deal with the challenges, the House also resolved to invite Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and all the aviation regulatory agencies to offer suggestions.

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