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. Continue....
Anti-corruption campaigners and politicians 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.
“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.
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.