Wednesday , 6 July 2022
Minister of State (Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika

How top government officials are frustrating MRO establishment in Nigeria

Nigerianflightdeck has uncovered an ongoing plot by certain top government officials’ to intentionally frustrate investors willing to establish a viable aircraft Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) in Nigeria and the West African sub-region with orchestrated antics intended to cripple a process.

This is as the medium has learnt of the alleged complicity  past and current administrators of aviation as not being transparent with things  concerning the project that should have been up and running since 2013, by trying to annex the MRO project, portray it as their own brainchild and ask for cutbacks to pass the project through any form of approval.

Our investigations led to the revelation that a group, the West African Aircraft Maintenance Repair Overhaul (WAAMRO), were given approval to carry out feasibility study on an MRO, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project with government acting as facilitator.

It was also learnt that the project coordinators have Aerospace EOMs, AfDB, USEXIM Banks and AFC waiting to put in the funding and financing.

Nigerianflightdeck  authoritatively gathered that the feasibility  study was done and the report was submitted to government in February 2013 and again in August 2015 at the request of President Mohammadu Buhari through former Permanent Secretary Hajia Binta Bello and copied the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

However further digging shows,  this facility’s approval is yet to given because some high-ranking government officials are crippling the process especially as WAAMRO is already receiving  emissary and fronts who are requesting for things the organization termed as unethical and unprofessional .

In a letter intercepted by Nigerianflightdeck, addressed to the Minister of state, Senator Hadi Sirika, it was revealed that there has been previous correspondence between WAAMRO and the office of previous and this current Minister with the intent of kick starting this project.

The letter highlighted that  Sirika, had one year ago, met with the representatives of both Boeing and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in Washington DC in the company of DG NCAA, Captain Usman Muhtar ,at the meeting which he pledged to put in motion steps to facilitate the project.

However, since his return no steps have been taken to exploit the window to create the much talked-about MRO as various fronts have come out requesting certain unscrupulous things from the organization.

An anonymous source who send us a mail alleged  that,” To help you understand why I sent the letter on Friday.  Exactly a year ago on Thursday , Sirika met with the representatives of both Boeing and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in Washington DC in the company of Usman Muhtar, DG  NCAA , at which meeting he pledged to put in motion steps to facilitate d project.”

“ no sooner had he returned and we started getting emissary and fronts and requesting for things we can’t do as they’re unethical and unprofessional . These people wanted to sell the project to an unknown company but they can’t do it cost all the Guarantee and commitments are to our team with Boeing and CCA will not allow it to go through.”

As at the time of publishing in this report, our portal have sent in two mails to the current minister to clarify certain allegations and have not received any responses to the queries.

The MRO, according to the document,  has two fundamental factors which formed the basis for the project which were the continuous decline of d exchange rate of West African currencies against the dollar, particularly the Naira ( then N150/$, now N500/$) and the need for Nigeria as the hub for ECOWAS to urgently put in motion the necessary action to facilitate this PPP Project in the face of declining air services from fleet depletion , exchange rate escalation, operators winding up and serious effects on economic development and tourism growth

Another letter also made available to our portal and signed by one Dr. Yemisi Olusola, Aero Space System Consortium,  for WAAMRO, called on the current Minister to approve the project emphasizing the need of an MRO while referencing the recent turmoil of both Aero Contractors and Arik Air and the fact that their fortunes would have been different if the facility approval has been given express signage.

The letter read,”To emphasize the imperative for the project ,our America Associates visited Vice President  Prof Yemi Osibajo in October 2015 in Abuja and again met with him in the USA sometime in 2016. You will also recall that you were invited to Washington DC in February 2016, along with  the DG of NCAA  and the issue was discussed with you.“

“The Nigeria/ ECOWAS aviation sector ( both Civil and Military ) very badly needs this infrastructure more than ever now as the situation calls for imperative action to do so. We cannot continue to depend on foreign states for Aviation Maintenance Technology , stunted growth in the socio-economic sphere and huge capital flights in the face of dwindling fortunes and several other key reasons which we’ve discussed with officials of government in the last four years to date.’

“ Today Arik Air and Aerocontractors are real evidences of the outcome of the situation we predicted will happen. Others will happen.  The current situation with several operators both in Nigeria and in the sub-region bear evidence to the increase in Aircraft on Ground (AOGs) and fleet depletion as well as several aircraft abroad which have been grounded as the owners cannot pay for the repairs to bring them back.”

“ This is a situation which we must move to correct as no organization exist on charity and  the enormous jobs being exported and adverse effect on the industry is unsustainable”

“Hon Minister, again on behalf of all d stakeholders , we are requesting that you very urgently convene the meeting of government representative , the project promoters and key stakeholders and the Associated Foreign Technical Parties, all of whom you’ve met for us to agree on the three-point agenda that has been on the table the past four years.  Let it be said of you that you stood up to be counted in this critical time in history.”

Already our portal has also gathered that the letter sent the Minister was copied ART, AON, Boeing CCA and others just to let him know a year has gone and he’s holding up the infrastructure project and investment.

The project to build an MRO in Nigeria began in 1990 as the National Aircraft Maintenance Centre under then military president Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.  Then the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) gave Aerospace Systems Consortium, PanAm and NASA consultants the funds to produce the feasibility report which was done in six months.

About NigerianFlightDeck

Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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