Faults Oduah’s trip to Israel.
A group, Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has expressed outrage at the manner President Goodluck Jonathan is handling the scandal involving the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, who approved the purchase of two armoured cars at N255 million.
It said the president’s handling of the matter so far contradicted his administration’s anti-corruption posture.
This is contained in a statement jointly endorsed by its Chairman, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, and Secretary, Eddy Ezurike, on Thursday in Abuja.
Mrs. Oduah has come under criticism since last week when her media aide, Joe Obi, confirmed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, bought his principal two armoured cars at a total cost of N255million to protect her from “imminent threats” to her life.
Anti-corruption groups and other Nigerians have not only called for investigation into the transaction, but also demanded her sack.
Mr. Jonathan issued Mrs. Oduah a query on Monday, with the minister’s response circulated in the papers on Thursday.
Describing the transaction as shameful and embarrassing, TMG argued that rather than sanction Mrs. Oduah as demanded by Nigerians, the president found it comfortable to make the minister a leading member of his entourage to Israel on pilgrimage.
“It is even more shocking that at a time like this when (the) Nigerian people are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to sanction the Minister as a deterrent to others, Mr. President is not only romancing and massaging the car scandal, but found it comfortable to make Stella Oduah a leading member of his entourage to Israel on pilgrimage,” it said.
The group noted that it was not surprised at the irritating reply by Ms. Oduah to the query, stressing that going by the nature of governance in the country; it was possible that the reply was made by the same person that issued it.
It stated further, “In a decent society where value system is not relegated to the background, both the Minister and Director General of NCAA should have been suspended from their positions to enable unfettered and uninhibited investigation.
“However, from the response of the Aviation Minister, it is palpably clear that relevant documents concerning the purchase of ludicrous BMW armoured cars may have been destroyed and evidence invented to justify the unjustifiable.
“This action to say the least, contradicts the anti-corruption posture of President Goodluck Jonathan government. It is intolerable and deceitful for a Ministry struggling to overcome endless air mishaps on account of poor funding and mismanagement to be engaged in such frivolous transactions and financial misdemeanor.”
TMG said it appeared that as the country approached the 2015 general elections, the ruling class had devised means of primitive acquisition of money and protective security with the sole purpose of rigging and buying votes at elections.
“TMG is strongly persuaded that the action of NCAA is not an isolated one, but a further manifestation of the rots and institutional wastes in the Nigerian governance system even as it regards the gifts of BMW armoured cars as gratification.
“For us in TMG, we take the purchase of the BMW cars as preparation towards political campaign of the aviation Minister. This is one bitter truth that Stella Oduah and her Ministry of Aviation have failed to tell Nigeria.
“Today the Nigeria economy continues to stagnate and the social crisis has continued to deepen.”
The group also asked the anti-corruption agencies to, a matter of urgency, launch investigation into the scandal, stressing that with N255 million, the country could avoid air mishaps.
“TMG urges the anti-corruption agencies to quickly step in to investigate this financial and executive recklessness at the aviation sector.
“With the said huge sum of N255 million carefully plugged back into Aviation industry, Nigeria may well have prepared to overcome many more years of nightmarish air mishaps.
“TMG believes that the best option for the Minister and others who planned and executed this obnoxious transaction is to resign without further delay and stop the waste of our scarce resources.”
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