Former Nigerian aviation minister Hadi Sirika is to appear before an investigative committee of the country's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer questions about a recent chartered flight bearing Nigeria Air (NWB, Lagos) branding, according to numerous Nigerian news reports.

The EFCC has made no formal announcement in this regard, but spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told ThisDay newspaper: "I can confirm that there is an ongoing investigation in that regard”.

Unnamed sources told ThisDay the commission would investigate allegations that NGN3 billion naira (USD4.6 million) has been invested in the project. “We have invited the former aviation minister, Hadi Sirika. We are expecting him within the week”, the source said.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation of Nigeria's newly elected administration under President Bola Tinubu called for the suspension of the establishment of Nigeria Air and for legal action against those responsible for the demonstration flight last month by a Nigeria Air branded B737-800 chartered from would-be shareholder and technical partner Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International).

The flight was met with outrage from the five private airline-member Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which secured an interdict against the government late last year, halting the establishment of Nigeria Air. The case is currently pending before the Abuja High Court.

The establishment of Nigeria Air as a 51/49 public-private partnership (PPP) between the federal government and a consortium of Nigerian investors led by Ethiopian Airlines is regulated by law and overseen by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), an agency of the Nigerian federal government responsible for the development and implementation of PPPs.