Garba Shehu, the media aide to former President Muhammadu Buhari, has responded to critics questioning Senator Hadi Sirika’s tenure as Minister of Aviation. Shehu defended Sirika, asserting that he had significantly enhanced aviation security, surpassing the achievements of his predecessors.
In a statement released to mark 100 days since Buhari left office as president, Shehu highlighted that Sirika’s efforts had garnered recognition from international organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as well as many other countries.
One notable point of contention during Buhari’s administration was the unveiling of the supposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, by Sirika on May 26, 2023, at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. This event sparked controversy, particularly due to the use of an Ethiopian Airlines plane for the unveiling. Subsequently, the current Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, suspended the project after assuming office.
However, Shehu expressed dissatisfaction with the criticisms directed at Sirika, emphasizing that he had made substantial improvements in aviation security compared to his predecessors.
“Even the Senator Hadi Sirika that they want to smear has improved aviation security beyond any of his predecessors.
“His efforts are acknowledged by international organizations including the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO and by many other countries.
“Where were they when he was keeping awake at night to ensure that the Abuja runway was repaired in record time? Or working to fully execute the modernization of terminal buildings in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu (plus runway) and Port Harcourt?”