The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced immediate suspension of its widely publicised national carrier, Nigeria Air.
News sources said the suspension was made because the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, did not approve it when it launched.
It also reviewed that the EMT recommendation was that the Nigerian government should not set up a national carrier with public funds.
Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, made public the cancellation on Wednesday shortly after the cabinet meeting. The minister later posted the announcement on his Twitter page.
Mr Sirika said: “I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always.”
Mr Sirika gave no explanation for the development, which has in the last few hours generated heated debate among Nigerians.
The cancellation announcement comes barely two months after Nigeria unveiled the proposed airline at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18.
Critics and industry experts raised concerns over the project when it was launched in July, with many suggesting that Nigeria cannot afford it at this time.
The proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million preliminary cost and $300 million as take-off cost.
Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has taken to twitter to condemn the suspension of the national carrier project, Nigeria Air by the federal government.
Duke on his Twitter page wrote: “FG suspends Nigeria Air Project: This was ill-conceived and against the advice of several competent experts.
“What is the fate of about $55 million of taxpayers money purportedly spent on the airline? Are there penalties stipulated in the contracts? Buharinomics at its worst.”