Nigeria’s powerful ex-minister charged with corruption


Hadi Sirika, a former aviation minister in Nigeria, recently appeared in court alongside his daughter and son-in-law, facing allegations of corruption. Mr. Sirika, known for his powerful position in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, is accused of using his influence to benefit a company associated with his family members.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has brought forward six charges against Mr. Sirika. The accusations include awarding a contract to a company linked to his daughter and son-in-law for airport construction in Katsina. Additionally, Mr. Sirika allegedly involved the couple in consultancy roles for the Nigerian Air project, a national carrier initiative that ultimately failed to materialize.

During the court appearance in Abuja, Mr. Sirika, his daughter Fatima Hadi Sirika, and son-in-law Jalal Sule Hamma pleaded not guilty to all charges. The prosecution, represented by lawyer Rotimi Jacobs, did not oppose bail but requested stringent conditions. The judge granted bail at 100 million naira each and imposed travel restrictions. The case is set to resume on June 10.

Mr. Sirika is not the only high-profile official facing corruption charges. Former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele is also under scrutiny for allegedly receiving illegal funds. He has denied the charges and is out on bail. President Bola Tinubu, who assumed office in May 2023, has pledged to combat corruption, signaling a commitment to addressing systemic issues.

Mr. Sirika served as the minister of aviation from August 2019 until the end of Mr. Buhari’s term. His tenure coincided with efforts to revitalize Nigeria’s aviation sector and launch a national carrier. However, the corruption allegations have tarnished his reputation and raised questions about integrity within the government.

President Tinubu’s administration faces the challenge of restoring public trust and accountability. Tackling corruption remains a top priority, with the government taking steps to hold officials accountable for misconduct. The legal proceedings against Mr. Sirika and others signal a commitment to upholding the rule of law and combating impunity.

The corruption charges against Mr. Sirika underscore the ongoing efforts to address systemic corruption in Nigeria. As the legal proceedings unfold, the case serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in governance. President Tinubu’s administration faces the task of delivering on promises to combat corruption and restore public confidence in Nigeria’s institutions.


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