Tuesday, 22 October 2013

House of Reps orders probe of Stella Oduah’s N255m armoured car scandal

The House of Representatives has ordered an immediate investigation into the N255 million car scandal rocking the aviation ministry.

The House committee on aviation has one week to review the purchase of two armoured limousines by an aviation agency for the minister of aviation, Stella Oduah.

Mrs Oduah got the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to do the purchase which was not listed in government budget and was not bided for.

The cost of the cars too was apparently inflated amid new reports the minister also received posh automobiles from other agencies under her ministry.

Nigerians have called for her immediate removal, a demand many doubt will be heeded by a government that has brushed aside similar calls in the past.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the aviation ministry, Yakubu Datti, added a political dimension to the controversy by accusing opposition politicians of being behind the call for Mrs Oduah’s sack as a prelude to stopping President Goodluck Jonathan from standing for a fresh term in 2015.

It was the same Mr. Datti who, when the scandal first broke, said the allegations against the minister was mere rumours as Mrs Oduah was too rich to compel an agency under her to buy her cars.

Lawmakers condemned the purchase on Tuesday after the matter was introduced by Minority Whip, Samson Osagie.

“We cannot afford to continue to spend money on frivolous matter,” said Joseph Haruna, (CPC, Nasarawa State).

A member from Imo State, Matthew Omegara, a member of the aviation committee, confirmed PREMIUM TIMES report that the contract was not budgeted for.

Mr. Omegara said the ministry presented a proposal for the purchase but that subhead was clearly deleted by the House during appropriation.

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal advised lawmakers to wait for the outcome of the investigation first.

But Nigerians have also raised doubt with the House’s decision, citing past investigation by the legislators that led nowhere.

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