United States based online publication, Sahara Reporters recently
reported that the aviation minister had compelled the Nigerian Civil
Aviation Authority, NCAA, to purchase two BMW cars worth N255 million
Expectedly, the story went viral on the internet for days before the
Ministry of Aviation confirmed to a national newspaper recently that
the cars had been bought for the minister because her life is under
real and imminent threat. The newspaper quoted Mr. Joe Obi, Special
Assistant on Media to the Minister, as saying that the two armoured
BMW cars were to protect his boss from "imminent threats."
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
condemns the Minister of Aviation for the profligacy and corrupt
use of public funds to purchase two BMW armoured cars. It presents
the Minister as Janus, the Italian god of wine with double-faced,
speaking with two mouths. The Minister of Aviation at the public
hearing organised by the National Assembly over the controversial
grounding of the Rivers State Government Aircraft, had told the prying
assemblymen that she does not control the operations of the Nigerian
Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, the same agency where she collected
N255m to purchase two cars for her personal security without such
amount being appropriated in the 2013 budget of the Ministry of
Aviation for that purpose." ANEEJ Executive Director , Rev. David
Ugolor has said.
"We are shocked at the level of provocative extravagance of Mrs.
Stella Oduah who described the two major air crashes that have
occurred under her watchful eyes recently as "inevitable acts of
God." We deplore a situation where energy and resources that ought to
have been used to secure Nigeria airspace, as being canvassed by all
stakeholders is being unwittingly deployed for self service and
preservation by the minister.
"Nigerians are obviously worried over an emerging trend where serving
Federal Government Ministers financially strangulate and unduly
interfere in the smooth operations and efficient running of agencies
under their ministries. This scenario is also playing out between the
Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of
Petroleum resources without necessary checks by the presidency or the
assembly men. It is detestable that government keeps shielding these
officials as sacred cows while corruption flourishes under their nose.
"Now that the wind has blown open and the rot in the aviation sector
exposed, we call on the Presidency and the National Assembly
statutorily charged with oversight duties to swing into action and
bring all those involved in the car scandal to justice." Ugolor
"We need to know what has become of the due process office in our
country, if procurement of such an alarming level would have been
authorised by an agent of government," adds Innocent Edemanrhia, ANEEJ
"It is reprehensible that at a time university teachers are on strike
for over a semester over poor funding of the Nigerian public
universities, and the same government tells them that it has no money,
is where one minister will spend a whooping N255m in the purchase of
only two cars! It is shameful that this is happening in a country
where unemployment and poverty is plaguing over 60 per cent of its
population?" Edemanrhia asserts.
While calling for the immediate resignation or sacking of the aviation
minister, ANEEJ Policy Officer also called for a thorough probe of
the sleaze in the aviation sector with a view to bringing all those
involved to book.