Former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika Arrested by EFCC Over Nigeria Air Project Scandal

Investigations Extend to Alleged Misappropriation of N80.06 Billion and Involvement of Sacked Aviation Directors

Yesterday marked a significant turn of events as Hadi Sirika, a former Minister of Aviation, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection to the controversial Nigeria Air project. The arrest, reported by Daily Trust, signals a deepening probe into alleged financial improprieties during Sirika’s tenure.

Sirika, who served under former President Muhammadu Buhari, faced questioning not only regarding the failed Nigeria Air project but also concerning accusations of conspiracy, abuse of office, and the diversion of public funds amounting to N80.06 billion. Credible sources indicated that the investigation also encompasses contract inflation during his time at the aviation ministry.

According to insiders, Sirika was apprehended at his residence in Abuja by EFCC operatives and subsequently taken to the commission’s office for interrogation. The arrest comes after extensive checks and is part of ongoing efforts by the anti-graft agency to hold accountable those implicated in financial irregularities.

Efforts to reach Sirika for comment were unsuccessful, highlighting the seriousness of the allegations and the ongoing investigation’s intensity.

In a related development, it has been revealed that the EFCC plans to invite sacked directors who worked directly under Sirika during his tenure at the aviation ministry. This move follows petitions from stakeholders, including aviation unions and civil society organizations, demanding a thorough investigation into the sector’s affairs post-Nigeria Air project fallout.

President Bola Tinubu’s decision to dismiss heads of Nigeria’s aviation agencies in December 2023 added fuel to the probe, with allegations of fraudulent activities surfacing.

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Notably, the EFCC has yet to lift restrictions on an account linked to Sirika’s younger brother, Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, which was allegedly used for money laundering. The frozen account is part of investigations into contracts awarded to Abubakar’s company, Engirios Nigeria Limited, without evidence of corresponding work.

As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains on Sirika and others implicated in what appears to be a complex web of financial mismanagement within Nigeria’s aviation sector.

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