The President of Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo, has blamed the Federal Government for appropriating the sum of N8.5billion for the controversial and suspended national carrier project; Nigeria Air in the yet to be passed 2019 budget to the National Assembly.
He also condemned the Federal Government Olowo specifically castigated the government for setting aside the sum of N500 million for Transaction Advisers in the budget.
He argued that if a little of such amount of money was allocated to technical and professionals in the country, they would give the government appropriate advice on how to establish a sustainable national carrier for Nigeria.
The ART President said this today in Lagos at the launch of a book titled, ‘The Learned Commander,’ written by the former Director of Operations of the liquidated Nigeria Airways Limited(NAL) and also former President of ART, Capt. Dele Ore.
The Federal Government, the ART President further contended did not do the right thing while trying to establish a national carrier, urging the government to consult locally from professionals in the sector on how to establish a new national airline for Nigeria.
According to him, “I read it somewhere that the Federal Government proposed another N8.5bn for the establishment of a new national carrier for Nigeria in the 2019 budget proposal to the National Assembly. Out of this money, N500m was set aside for Transaction Advisers. If you give the N500m to people like Dele Ore and co, they will advice you better on how to have a befitting national carrier. However, ART as a body will continue to fight for the interest of the former staff of Nigeria Airways. We will continue to drum it to the ears of the government that what is due to them is paid.”
Speaking to journalists, Capt. Ore, expressed sadness over the liquidation of the airline almost 16 years later and that that the staff were poorly treated by the government.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for paying a part of the severance package, but lamented that he and a few others who retired before the airline was liquidated were still not properly paid their dues.
According to him, “Nigeria Airways was all I know in my entire life. In fact, someone boasted that once they remove an aeroplane from me, I will be empty. I retired shortly before the airline was liquidated by the Federal Government. The government was ill-advised. It was a costly mistake. To liquidate the airline and not settling the staff was another crime against the staff.