Apart from the plane crash and the two near crashes that occurred earlier in October, one other thing that has put the Minister for Aviation in the news is the purchase of two BMW 760Li cars for the Minister. Findings have revealed that the vehicles, which are said to be bullet-proof were bought for the Minister, Princess Stella Oduah by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the cost of N 127, 575,000 each.
While criticisms,have continued to pour in over the vehicles, the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Joe Obi has disclosed that the vehicles were bought because of threats to Princess Oduah’s life. He made it known that the threats were mainly as a result of the reforms she has put in place in the aviation sector.
One of those calling for action on the issue is Comrade Abdulkareem Motajo, the Secretary General of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE). He disclosed that his union has written a number of petitions on financial improprieties that involve the Aviation Minister. Motajo who called for Oduah’s probe said “what is happening is part of what we have been complaining about in recent time. What is going on today is unprecedented. A lot of things are happening. Somebody was talking about the diversion of N19.5bn Intervention Fund and somehow today, the security agencies are looking into that and the money has been traced to somewhere.
But who is investigating this particular one that is happening now? Nobody. My union has written a petition to the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation over some of the ills happening in the sector. Till date, not even an acknowledgement has been received and if this thing continues like this, you can be rest assured that the sector is not safe and the industry is going to be looted continuously.
As we speak, none of the six parastatals has sent its staff for training. The parastatals owe months of such allowances and leave allowances have not been paid to staff.”
In the opinion of the Executive Director of the Centre for Aviation Safety and Research (CAS-R), Engineer Sheri Kyari, the purchase would have been in order if the minister’s life was really under threat and due process was followed in the transaction. “But if due process is not followed, the security agents should investigate the matter,” he said.
NCAA’s spokesperson declined comments and no other member of staff was willing to comment on the issue.