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‘Where’s Hadi Sirika himself?’ Nigerians ask as ex-Minister’s brother is arested over N8bn Aviation Ministry probe

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'Where's Hadi Sirika himself?' Nigerian ask as ex-Minister's brother is arested over N8bn Aviation Ministry probe

Some Nigerians have taken to social media to ask why Hadi Sirika, former Aviation Minister, is not facing probe over the failed Nigeria Air project, among other alleged misappropriation of funds under his watch.

This comes after Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, his immediate younger brother, was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Sunday over investigation of the Aviation Ministry.

While in office as minister, Sirika is accused of conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.

According to the Commission, the sum is for four aviation contracts from the former minister to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger brother.

The agency said apart from being listed as the company’s MD/CEO, Abubakar is the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union banks.

EFCC sources said Sirika awarded the contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that the latter is a civil servant, a deputy director on Level 16 in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, where he has been working since 2000 till date.

The first of the controversial contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022 for the construction of Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at the cost of N1,345,586,500.

The second was awarded on November 3, 2022 for the establishment of Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre in Katsina Airport, valued at N3.8 billion.

The third contract was on February 3, 2023 for the procurement and instalment of lifts, air conditioners and power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615 million while the fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023 for the procurement of Magnus Aircraft and simulator for Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria at the cost of N2.2 billion.

Account to a source, out of the total contract sum, the ex-minister paid out N3.2 billion to his younger brother’s Engirios Nigerian Limited, who upon the receipt of the payment, transferred it to different companies and individuals. There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items till date.

According to the source, Abubakar Sirika is presently in the EFCC custody from where he is providing the additional information on the financial activities of the ministry under the supervision of his older brother Hadi Sirika.

However, following the arrest of Abubakar, many took to social media to wonder why the former minister has not been arrested for questioning.

Responding to the reported arrest of his brother, an X user, High Chief Mogordor, @rxmcbakassi, asked, “The man himself nko?”

On his part, Boss Mustapha Z, @__yellows, said, “No surprises here. Hadi Sirika’s alleged involvement in an N8.06 billion contract fraud adds to the list of questionable actions during his tenure.

“Remember the 12bn for 10 fire trucks? That alone was enough to raise eyebrows. Allah wadai!”

Another user, Malik Adinoyi, @_adinoyi, noted, “All these happened under that scam called Buhari. And some lame people will say we shouldn’t condemn Buhari because Buhari personally didn’t steal a dime. Did Hadi Sirika put himself there? Was it Hadi Sirika that was elected with a trust or Buhari?”

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ERIN LÁKÁTABÚ OF IWOLAND, @Ogbeni__Skrtel, said, “To be honest, Hadi Sirika owes Nigerians explanations over certain controversial decisions he took while in office.”

Another user, Hon.Ab Faj (FlyingAeroBoy), @AbeebFajobi, said, “In case we have forgotten in 2018 at the Farnborough Air Show in England, What Hadi Sirika promised Nigerians was a Dry lease Aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, a partnership agreement with PPP.

“How do we end up, painting Ethiopia’s plane green and white colour.”

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