?Probe N35b intervention fund given to Air Nigeria?

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The call was made in a petition to the CBN signed by the NAAPE?s Chairman, Roland Ahmed. | By Eki Toju

The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to investigate the alleged disappearance of the N35.5 billion Aviation Intervention Fund (AIF) given to Air Nigeria.

The call was made in a petition to the CBN signed by the NAAPE?s Chairman, Roland Ahmed.

Ahmed said that the body wanted the intervention of the governor of the apex bank and an inquiry into the N35.5 billion facility drawn by the carrier.

According to the letter, the fund was ?graciously” released after much pressure, to enable Nigerian airlines to re-finance their huge debt as well as inject life into the administration of aviation.

?We understand that the fund extended to Air Nigeria was guaranteed by the airline’s main banker, United Bank for Africa (UBA),? stated Ahmed. ?To this end, we feel obliged to intimate you of the recent closure of Air Nigeria from flight operation by its Chairman, Jimoh Ibrahim.

Permit us sir, to draw your attention to this, as we believe it to be an anomaly and a defeat of the noble intention of the federal government through the CBN. We, therefore, implore your office to take immediate steps to safeguard the N35.5 billion public fund which now appears trapped by Air Nigeria’s closure.?

The CBN had, while injecting the fund into the sector, said that ?airlines can now partake from the funds and those that are indebted to banks can re-finance their loans and amortise them over a period of 10 to 15 years”.

The fund was meant for airlines that met the International Civil Aviation Organisation?s certification, to enable them address all the issues of technical standards and aircraft airworthiness.

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, recently called for a review of the fund because it was not achieving the intended purpose.

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