John I. Nnorom, a former Executive Director for Finance at Air Nigeria, has warned Nigerians to stop flying the airline until they are sure that its planes are being properly maintained.
In a blistering public petition, Mr. Nnorom, who resigned his appointment with the airline on April 1, 2012, blamed the situation on big businessman Jimoh Ibrahim, the chairman of Air Nigeria, whom he accused of being uninterested in the maintenance of company aircraft.
“Some of the certifying Engineers and I are under threat of assassination by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, if we reveal this secret to Nigerians,” he said.
He disclosed that Air Nigeria is in financial crisis because money loaned by Bank of Industry of N35.5Billion has been diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s NICON INVESTMENT LTD, a non-finance company popularly called wonder bank, leading to air safety being compromised, and stressed that there is a great possibility of a disastrous Air Nigeria crash, which can occur at any time.
He recalled that in Jan 2012, Licensed Engineers in Air Nigeria went on strike because they were being forced to certify unfit aircraft into the air, and another strike was averted in March 2012 following the intervention of the DG-NCAA, Demureen. Both events, he said, were based on failure on Failure To Meet Safety Standard, and are verifiable information the public is aware of.
Why are Air Nigeria flights sometimes delayed for as many as eight hours? According to the petitioner, that is because the aircraft for that flight is not ready. “While passengers are waiting, engineers are battling to put the aircraft on Air. Several times our Aircraft on Runway taxing to takeoff, turns back to offload passengers due to some technical faults observed by Pilots.”
He said that of the 11 aircraft being operated by Air Nigeria, only one, Embraer, is safe to fly Nigeria Air space, with all of the others needing “deep and heavy” technical maintenance.
“This explains why Air Nigeria has never operated more than six Aircraft out of eleven Aircraft. Air Nigeria do not have the money to fix these Aircrafts. Let anybody go and check now, some of the Aircraft and Engines have been grounded for the past one year.”
Mr. Nnorom even advised Nigerians who choose to take the risk of flying Air Nigeria not to eat or drink anything, pointing out that passengers have been poisoned because Air Nigeria serves bottled pure water, and that passengers have complained of being served “smelling waters.”
Mr. Nnorom further claimed in the petition that Mr. Ibrahim’s companies, including Air Nigeria, do not have tax clearance certificates. He listed the others as Global Fleet Oil & Gas, NICON Insurance, Nigeria RE-Insurance, NICON Properties Ltd, Nicon Luxury, Nicon Hotels Okitipupa, VGC & PHC, Newswatch Communications, Newswatch Daily and National Mirror.
“In Air Nigeria, just to renew expatriate resident permit, Bar Jimoh Ibrahim will instruct a vendor to forge all the tax clearance papers which is filed with the immigration.”
Mr. Nnorom alleges that Mr. Ibrahim:
• As the chairman of Air Nigeria, has diverted N5billion From a BOI aviation industry intervention loan Of N35.5billion granted last year by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria into NICON INVESTMENT LTD;
• Diverted $18m Out Of $40m Afrixim federal government support of the aviation industry; with $26,969,505.63 diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s acquisition of Energy Bank of Ghana;
• Diverted N10 billion released by the government through the office of the Accountant-General of Nigeria for the payment of pensioners into Nicon Insurance Plc released the sum of, with no pensioner being paid.
Mr. Nnorom insisted that Mr. Ibrahim is trying to kill him, and attached his letter of resignation and subsequent acknowledgement by the CEO and FOREIGN LEASSORS to the petition.
“On the SFU, recovery of $75,000 from me, I was never arrested, never invited by SFU, did not make any statement, I do not know how money was recovered from me,” he said. “I am ready to sponsor any person to come with me to SFU and show me my statement,” attributing the matter to Mr. Ibrahim’s “poor character of cheap blackmail.”
According to the former Executive Director, “Jimoh Ibrahim is after my life but if my death will save hundred Nigerian souls from plane crash and that is the will of GOD, my soul will be happy to meet my creator anytime.”
Coming right after the crash.....no one can ever feel safe travelling by air in this country. What if someone else from Arik Air or Aero ....decides to be a whistle blower? Is this the kind of report we will be getting too?