Friday, October 18, 2013

Outrage As Nigerians Want Aviation Minister Sacked, Give Her 72-Hour Ultimatum To Resign!

Angry Nigerians say Stella Oduah�s corruption and profligacy should not be condoned at a time the country appears too broke to pay university teachers.
Anti-corrupt crusaders and opposition politicians, on Thursday expressed outrage over the purchase of two BMW armoured vehicles for the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, for N225 million by an agency under her supervision.
Special Assistant to the Minister on media, Joe Obi, in a media interview confirmed the vehicles were purchased for her principal to protect her from �imminent threats.�
She was reported to have compelled the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to buy the vehicles for her.
Anti-corruption campaigners and politicians, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, condemned the purchase of the armoured vehicles and demanded the minister�s immediate resignation and a subsequent probe of the transaction.
Leader of the Anti-Corruption Network, ACN, Dino Melaye, said his organisation had already briefed its lawyers, who he said would file a suit against Ms. Oduah on Monday.
He said his organisation had conducted investigation into the matter and found out that there was no threat to the minister�s life as claimed by his media aide.
Mr. Dino also said the vehicles could have been purchased for far less the amount they were purportedly procured.
�This government promotes, massages, embraces corruption,� an angry Mr. Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives, said in a telephone interview with our reporter.
�There are two questions to ask � was the N225 million appropriated by the National Assembly? Does the purchase of the vehicles not negate the monetisation policy, which says that only the President, Vice president, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, their deputies and a few other public officials should have official cars? If she does not fall into this category, why did they purchase the vehicles for her?
�They claim there was a threat to her life. There was no threat to Stella Oduah�s life. Even if there was a threat, we have done our investigation and we discovered that those vehicles cost less than N100 million.
�You are spending N225 million at a time you claim there is no money for ASUU, at a time you cannot pay statutory allocations to states.
�Jonathan administration is the most corrupt administration in Nigeria.�
Ezenwa Nwagwu, Convener of Say No Campaign, Nigeria, SNCN, asked the anti-graft agencies to wade into the scandal immediately.
He wondered if the N225 million used to purchase the vehicles were appropriated, insisting that the NCAA officer(s), who authorised the release of the money, should be penalized.
Mr. Nwagwu added, �We have lost about 200 citizens to sheer incompetence and add salt to injury, we are being told that a cash-strapped agency under her had to cough out that amount of money to provide armoured vehicles.
�In saner climes, she would have resigned. But here we are treated to half truths and excuses.
�What is important now is that an independent inquiry should be set up to look into the happenings in the aviation sector. We cannot be deceived by the so-called reforms. When you renovate 11 airports at the same time, the implication is that it is a honey-pot, after the petroleum sector.
�We must as a matter of urgency beam our searchlight on happenings in the sector. It is not enough to go round media houses. What Nigerian want now is an independent inquiry into the activities in the sector.
Mr. Nwagwu lamented that the Jonathan�s administration kept treating corruption with kid gloves, especially by allegedly shielding Ms Oduah and the Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
�These are two ministers that can never do wrong in this government,� he said.
Also speaking, Auwal Musa Rasfanjani, Executive Director, Centre for Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, expressed worry over the flagrant abuse of public office, corruption, impunity and constant disregard of public procurement law by some ministers and other public officers under the supervision of Mr. Jonathan.
�We are particularly concerned over the Minister of Aviation who runs the Ministry of Aviation like a personal and private entity,� Mr. Musa told PREMIUM TIMES.
�Many Nigerians express worries for the various allegations of corrupt practices and outright looting in the name of renovating our airports and the recent scandal of purchasing bullet proof cars without due process and also the allegation of refusal of landing permit to some international airlines who applied but were denied the permit because they did not give bribe to her.
�It is also on record that the National Assembly had conducted a public hearing which found her guilty but yet no sanction was taken against her due to her connection to the President.
�If buying the bullet proof cars is for her own security, then we don�t understand why she doesn�t pay more attention to the safety of millions of Nigerian passengers travelling within the country every year.
�Again, despite the huge amounts spent in the name of renovating Nigerian airports, the work is very dilapidated and cannot be said to be representing value for money because of corruption in the procurement process and the service provision.�
Mr Musa demanded outright probe of Ms Oduah, saying �We therefore call for immediate investigation of the above matter in order to bring sanity, transparency, accountability, professionalism, and safety to our aviation industry which is now being characterized by corruption and impunity under the auspices of the Minister of Aviation.
�This will serve as a deterrent to other ministers and public officers who abuse the trust of their office.�
Olarenwaju Suraj, Chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, who was also livid over the transaction, said he would not bother calling for Ms Oduah�s sack saying, �You won�t have that under Jonathan. Jonathan does not have the integrity to ask her to resign.�
Mr. Suraj, who demanded an urgent investigation into the scandal, said there were so many corrupt officials in the present government, adding that the case of the aviation minister could not be treated in isolation.
Spokesperson of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, Osita Okechukwu, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to quickly commence investigation into the scandal.
�Under what subhead is that money in the budget? You can�t use any money that was not appropriated. If you do, it becomes an illegal expenditure,� Mr. Okechukwu said angrily.
�I don�t know what she is protecting. Is she more important than the President?�

via Gistactivist

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