Former Aviation Minister and Associates Deny Allegations of Corruption Worth Billions

A former Aviation Minister, Hadi Abubakar Sirika, refuted allegations of corrupt practices involving approximately N4.135 billion leveled against him by the federal government in court on Thursday. Sirika, alongside his daughter, Fatima, his son-in-law, Jalal Sule Hamma, and a firm – Al Buraq Global Investment Limited – faced the charges brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the federal government.

During the court proceedings, the defendants denied the six-count charges. Their respective legal representatives – Kanu Agabi SAN for Sirika, Mahmoud Magaji SAN for Fatima, and Sunusi Musa SAN for Jalal Sule Hamma – filed bail applications, which were granted by Justice Sylvanus Oriji.

Despite opposition from the federal government’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, Justice Oriji admitted the defendants to bail, setting the sum at N100 million each, along with two sureties in the same amount. The sureties were required to be responsible citizens with verifiable addresses, with one owning landed property certified by the FCT Minister.

The judge also ordered that the defendants refrain from traveling abroad without court permission. In case of inability to meet the bail conditions, they would be remanded in prison until the conditions were fulfilled.

The trial of the defendants was scheduled to resume on June 10 and 11, with accusations including consultancy contract fraud for Nigerian Air, contract for Apron Extension at Katsina Airport, and gratification. These offenses were purportedly committed between April 2022 and March 2023, contravening various sections of relevant anti-corruption laws.