Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nigeria Airways was a failure – Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

LAGOS — Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said the defunct Nigeria Airways was a failure to the country and the aviation industry in particular.

Speaking at the launch of a book by Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, entitled: “Nigerian Civil Aviation: Decade of Security, Safety and Passenger Comfort Development in NCAA” in Lagos, Obasanjo said the defunct Nigeria Airways was run by a board of directors, that was very corrupt.

He noted that the airline failed because of the high level of corruption perpetrated by those running it, adding that all that could be done to salvage the situation then was to liquidate the airline.

He said: “Nigeria Airways was a failure. When you go through the history of what Nigerians have done to run down their country, it is bad. When I was leaving public office in 1979, there were 32 aircraft in Nigeria Airways fleet but when I came back in 1999, I only met one.

“I looked back to history and discovered that the board of directors of the airline was corrupt. The board will form a company in Jessey Island, USA and will give the repairs of the aircraft to that company. So, that was how they embezzled the airline’s fund and ran it down”

“Where is Okada Air, where is Albakar Air, where is Afri Air? They all went the way of Nigeria Airways. The situation of Nigeria Airways was not different from the Nigerian National Shipping Lines.”

He noted that if Nigeria would achieve the Vision 202020, transportation should be regarded as one aspect of the country’s economy, which civil aviation was a core part of it.

“I believe that if we are going to achieve Vision 202020, transportation is one aspect of our national economy that we cannot do without and civil aviation is a core part of it. I hope that what we have achieved so far, we will continue to build on it,” he stressed.

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