Obasanjo, Bajowa disagree on Nigeria Airways’ liquidation
By UCHE USIM
Friday February 17, 2012

About 10 years after defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL) was liquidated, former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday described the airline as a huge failure to both the aviation industry and the nation at large.

Speaking at a book launch in Lagos yesterday by Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye (Towulade of Akinale Owu, Ogun State) and entitled Nigerian Civil Aviation: Decade of Security, Safety and Passenger Comfort Development at the NCAA annex, Obasanjo said there was no way for the airline to have survived profitably as it was run by various boards of directors who were perennially corrupt.

He added that such deep-rooted corruption robbed the airline of its growth as it became a drainpipe that wasted government’s funds. He further lamented that the corruption, which ravaged the airline, got to a frightening level that liquidation became the only option for the national carrier.

However, in sharp contrast to Obasanjo’s position, a former Chief Executive Officer and Sole Administrator of the airline, Major General Olu Bajowa said the airline was not dead as it was painted, which was the excuse used to liquidate and sold it. In his remarks at the same book launch where he was the special guest of honour, Bajowa said that NAL had tremendous human and material assets, locally, regionally and internationally that could have helped defray some of its debts, rather than the outright liquidation by the Obasanjo civilian administration.

“NAL had assets in Europe, UK, America, African countries to offset the liability it purportedly acquired. The various routes its aircraft were flying as the national carrier and the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) it entered into with other international airlines then were enough for its sustainability.

The huge resources from BASA and its annual subvention from the Ministry of Aviation then should have formed part of what could have bailed it out then or in the alternative entered into operations with mega airlines such s as the British airways or other international airlines, the former NAL CEO in the 1980s said, adding that the airline was the country’s pride.

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