House Did Not Call For My Sack-Oduah Insists

The Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah on Tuesday said the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation’s report did not recommend her sack by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Oduah, who was responding to a question that drew her attention to the report said that “what they said is that Mr President can and should review; that is what they said there”.

She however asked the journalist who asked the question to go back to school.

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah

“I think it means you don’t read or you probably don’t understand English, because I read it” adding that “what they said is that Mr. President can and should review; that is what they said there. Probably, you should go back to school” she said.

The minister said this while fielding questions from journalists after inspecting remodelled facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The House of Representatives had urged President Goodluck Jonathan to review the continued engagement of Ms Stella for contravening the Appropriation Act 2013 following the report of its Committee on Aviation.

According to the report, the minister also contravened the Appropriation Act by exceeding the ministry’s approval limit of N100 million by the purchase of 54 vehicles at N643 million.

This was a major part of the resolutions adopted by the lawmakers after considering the report of the House Committee on Aviation, on the purchase of two armoured cars for N643 million.

The report said that the two BMW armoured cars procured in the process were neither provided for in the Act of 2013, nor was there due process followed in their procurement.

The House has also directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to terminate all transactions and loan agreements entered into on the matter.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are to also investigate the discrepancies in the chasis number DW68032 of one of the vehicles inspected by the committee.

The BEAM: Nigerians React To Aviation Scandal

On this edition of the programme, Nigerians in different parts of the world joined a Google Hangout to share their opinion on the scandal involving the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.

Social Media Ehtusiast, Ayobami Oyalowo, analysed the saga and came to the conclusion that ‘something is fishy’ and alleged that the individuals involved in the scandal have introduced a game of semantics to “confuse the unsuspecting Nigerian public.”

Senate Cancels Meeting With Oduah

The Senate has rescinded its earlier resolution to invite the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, to brief lawmakers at plenary on the state of the aviation sector and the high number of plane crashes and aviation incidents in the country.               

The minister of aviation was supposed to appear before the senate at plenary on Thursday, to explain the reason behind the series of air mishaps in the country.

The senate minority leader, Ganiyu Solomon, said lawmakers had reached a unanimous decision at an executive session last week to rescind the senate resolution to invite the minister.

The minister of aviation will now appear before the senate committee on aviation instead.

Aviation Scandal: More Revelations As Senate, House of Reps Investigate

The Senate Committee on Aviation has revealed that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, purchased 202 vehicles.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who had a meeting with the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr George Uriesi, said that the committee is investigating the purchases, which include 4 armoured cars.

He said the FAAN management confirmed to the committee that the vehicles were for operational use.

Meanwhile, as the House of Representatives continues to probe the controversial procurement of 2 armoured cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) the Nigerian Customs Service has stated that no duty was paid on the vehicles, as a duty waiver was obtained for the importation.

In his presentation to the House of Reps Committee on Aviation, Deputy Comptroller-General of the Customs Service, Manasseh Jatau, said the 1 year waiver was from the Ministry of Finance for the 2012 Eko Games, which had Lagos State Government as beneficiary.

The President of Coscharis Motors, Cosmos Maduka, also led a team to the hearing. They spoke on the procedure followed on the purchase of the cars and other issues raised by the committee and explained that every requirement by law was duly followed.

The committee has however given the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who was absent at the hearing, an ultimatum to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday.

 

NCAA Scandal: Anti-graft Crusader Calls For Resignation Of Top Officers

Following the public outcry against the controversial purchase of two armoured BMW’s at an allegedly inflated cost of N255 million by the aviation authority, an anti-corruption crusader and member of the Movement Against Corruption, Mma Odi, has called for the resignation of the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, the Director General of the NCAA, Dele Sasegbon, as well as the Director of Finance, Salau Ozigi.

Mrs Odi, who said the scandal surrounding the agency and the minister is indefensible, added that the fact that the National Assembly did not approve the purchase resulting in the breach of the procurement process is evidence that “there is something more than what we are seeing.”

While speaking on Sunrise Daily, she explained that the backlash is as a result of the corrupt practices involved in the purchase.

Responding to Ozigi’s statement that he didn’t see the need for the controversy as the agency wouldn’t be the first to purchase such cars, Odi said the ministry ran foul of the Appropriation Act of 2013 which only approved 25 utility vehicles.

“You jacked it up to 54 vehicles and you didn’t see anything wrong with that. They approved the amount of N240 million, and you jacked it up to N643 million, and there’s nothing wrong with it.”

She added: “You are going to pay N500 million interest for 3 years which means you would shut down everything to pay for two bulletproof cars.”

Analysts have said that the two BMW cars purchased at N255 million are available at the price of N60 million in the open market. “It is a clear case of corruption,” she said.

Reacting to the argument that other government officers and agencies also purchase security vehicles, Mrs Odi said the backlash resulting from the NCAA case is as a result of ‘corruption’ and ‘abuse of processes and the law.’

She also faulted the claim that the purchase of the two high priced security vehicles became necessary following threats made to the minister and NCAA officials as a result of their ‘good work’.

“If such a claim had any truth to it, they would have actually defended it before the National Assembly when the initial approval was granted for utility vehicles and Nigerians, especially you people (media) would have known that there is a threat to the minister and other stakeholders because of the good work they are doing, then people would have defended it,” the anti-corruption crusader insisted.

The agency has also not given satisfactory defense and called for the resignation of the top officials involved in the scandal.

“I actually think that all these people, both DG, both the Director of Finance, all of them should resign for sanity.”

Although corruption permeates other ministries in the country, Odi said President Jonathan should show his commitment to the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria beginning with the NCAA case.

 Apologise To Nigerians

Odi has called on the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, to come clean with the truth and apologise to Nigerians. She also supported the call for the Minister’s resignation.

Several groups have protested against the call for the minister’s resignation on the grounds that she is doing a good job and insisted that the scandal was an attempt by her detractors to remove her from office. Others argued that the backlash is as a result of the Minister’s Igbo ethnicity.

Odi responded that “it is only in Nigeria we celebrate people who do what they are paid to do because in our society, people do not do what they are paid to do.”

If she is doing well, I am proud, as it will open doors for other women to be in power.

She alleged that those protesting in favour of Oduah are hired, describing them as ‘cash and carry’.

“Stella should actually tender an unreserved apology even if she didn’t know about the procurement process,” it happened under her watch.

Oduah Supporters Storm Enugu Airport In Counter Protest

Activities at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu were temporarily grounded for few hours when a youth group under the aegis of Igbo Progressive Union stormed the airport on Saturday morning to protest against calls for the removal of Nigeria’s aviation minister, Stella Oduah.

While addressing newsmen during the protest, the leader of the group Emeka Agbo, said youths especially in the South East are prepared to do everything possible to protect Mrs Oduah.

The group argued that the aviation minister is innocent of the scandal against her as the purchase of the two armoured BMW vehicles the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) allegedly bought for her is in the best interest of the Aviation Sector.

According to the protesters, “some highly placed individuals especially her political detractors are the master minders of this evil seed as they are all out to tarnish the image and pedigree of the Minister.”

The protesters including young men and women carried placards with different inscriptions accusing some unnamed politicians of being behind the calls for the removal of the minister insisting that the intention of the cabal was to stop the minister from going ahead with her transformation agenda in the aviation sector.

There has been a public outcry against the purchase of the two vehicles which cost a total of N225 million. Hence, several groups and individuals have called for the Minister’s dismissal.

They argued that she has done so much in the Aviation Sector under the transformation agenda of President Goodluck and that she has affected so many lives during her tenure as the Aviation minister.

Also, the kinsmen of the embattled minister who were joined in the protest led by a George Nwabueze, traditional ruler from Ogbaru community, threw their weight behind the Aviation minister. They argued that the whole scenario is a political witch hunt by some people who are against the re-election of the President in 2015.

Meanwhile, a group under aegis of South East Progressive Assembly (SEPA) condemned the action of the protesters. And insisted that the aviation minister must resign honourably to avoid the wrath of tax payers of whom she used their money in purchasing the armoured bullet proof cars.

While addressing newsmen in Owerri the Imo state capital, the president of the South east progressive assembly Ebere Uzoukwa said the actions by the aviation minister showed that she’s not capable of running the affairs of the ministry and as such, she should resign and allow President Goodluck Jonathan to appoint capable hands from any other part of the country.

Although there has been calls from different quarters for the removal of the Aviation minister Stella Odua over the controversies trailing the purchase of two bullet proof cars for her by the Aviation Authority, NCAA, has insisted that purchase of the vehicle followed due process and the cars were part of the operational vehicles provided in the NCAA 2013 budget which is in line with NCAA condition of service.