Tue. May 28th, 2024

A former minister of aviation in Nigeria, Hadi Sirika, has appeared in court on corruption charges, along with his daughter and son-in-law.

Mr Sirika was regarded as one of the most powerful ministers in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused him of using his position to give undue advantage to a company linked to his daughter and son-in-law.

The three pleaded not guilty to all six charges at the High Court in the federal capital, Abuja, and were released on bail.

The prosecution alleged that in August 2022, Mr Sirika awarded a contract to a company linked to his daughter and her husband to build an extension at the airport in the northern city of Katsina.

The 60-year-old is also accused of giving the couple, Fatima Hadi Sirika and Jalal Sule Hamma, consultancy roles in the failed effort to get a national carrier, Nigerian Air, off the ground.

Prosecuting lawyer Rotimi Jacobs did not oppose their application for bail, but asked for stringent conditions to be set.

After hearing the arguments of both legal teams, the judge set it at 100 million naira ($70,000; £56,000) each.

The three are also barred from going abroad. The case is due to resume on 10 June.

Mr Sirika is the second high-profile official from the former government to be charged with corruption.

Ex-central bank governor Godwin Emefiele is facing more than 20 charges, including illegally receiving about $6.2m.

He too has denied all the charges, and is currently out on bail.

President Bola Tinubu took office in May 2023, with a pledge to tackle corruption.

Mr Buhari stepped down after his two term in office.

Mr Sirika served as his minister of aviation from August 2019 until the end of his term.

By Joy

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