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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Aviation Minister In Car Scandal

An aide of the Aviation Minister has confirmed
that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
bought two bulletproof vehicles worth $1.6m
(N255m) for his principal, Ms. Stella Oduah.

An online news medium, SaharaReporters, had
reported on Tuesday that the armoured
vehicles were delivered to the minister in
August.

The medium reported that documents in its
possession showed that the transaction for the
purchase of the two BMW cars started in June,
but the request for the delivery of and
payment for them was fast-tracked between
August 13 and 15, 2013.

The transaction involved the NCAA, First Bank
of Nigeria, and Coscharis Motors Limited,
according to the report.

The two black BMW 760 Li HSS vehicles had
chasis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and
WBAHP41010DW68044, and were reportedly
delivered to the NCAA on August 13, 2013. They were received by two store managers, F.
Onoabhagbe and Y. A. Amzat, who is also the
agency’s head of transport.

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of
Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, who confirmed the
development on Wednesday, said the vehicles
were purchased to protect the minister from
some external threats. He said in a telephone conversation with Punch correspondent, “Yes, it is true that some security vehicles were procured for the use of the office of the honourable minister in response to the clear and imminent threat to her personal security and life following the bold steps she took to reposition the sector.

“When she came on board as the minister, she
inherited a lot of baggage in terms of the
concession and lease agreements in the sector,
which were clearly not in the interest of the
government and people of Nigeria.

“And so, she took bold steps and some of these
agreements were reviewed and some were
terminated, and these moves disturbed some
entrenched interests in the sector, and within
this period, she began to receive some
imminent threats to her life; therefore, the
need for the vehicles.

“It should be noted that these vehicles are not
personal vehicles and were not procured in the
name of the honourable minister; they are
utility vehicles and are for the office of the
minister, and if she leaves the office, she will
not be taking the vehicles along with her.”
On his part, the spokesperson for the NCAA,

Mr. Fan Ndubuike, feigned ignorance of the
development.
“I am not aware of anything like that,” he
claimed.

The NCAA is the agency charged with ensuring
the airworthiness of commercial planes flying
within the country’s airspace.
The agency has been under fire lately over a
series of mishaps and near crashes involving
planes being operated by domestic airlines that were certified fit for flight operations by the NCAA.

There have also been rumours that the NCAA
does not have enough funds to upgrade its
equipment, send its employees for critical
training and hire enough qualified hands, while
questions are also being raised by industry
watchers on the ability of the cash-strapped
agency to procure such expensive vehicles.
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