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Former Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika Faces Corruption Charges

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Abuja, Nigeria – In a significant development within Nigeria’s political landscape, former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, alongside his daughter Fatima Hadi Sirika and son-in-law Jalal Sule Hamma, faced a High Court in Abuja on charges of corruption. The charges stem from alleged abuses of power during his tenure under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Prosecutors from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accuse Sirika of leveraging his ministerial role to unfairly award contracts to a company connected to his family. Specifically, the indictment includes a contract awarded in August 2022 for building an extension at the Katsina airport in northern Nigeria, favoring his daughter’s company.

Sirika, along with the co-accused, pleaded not guilty to all six charges laid against them. Despite the serious nature of the allegations, their lawyer managed to secure bail with the judge setting the sum at 100 million naira (approximately $70,000) each. In addition to the monetary condition, the accused are restricted from international travel.

The case unfolds amid broader anti-corruption efforts championed by Nigeria’s current President, Bola Tinubu, who vowed to tackle systemic corruption upon taking office in May 2023. This commitment echoes through the recent prosecutions of several high-profile figures from the previous administration, including ex-central bank governor Godwin Emefiele.

As the legal proceedings continue, with the trial resuming on June 10, the implications for Nigeria’s political and aviation sectors remain profound. Sirika, known for his influential role and initiatives like the unsuccessful launch of Nigerian Air, now faces the judiciary’s scrutiny over his past actions in office.

This case is a pivotal moment for Nigeria, highlighting the ongoing challenges and efforts in the fight against corruption within its government institutions.

source: BBC

credits: BBC