Friday, October 18

Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah Given 72-hour Ultimatum To Resign By Anti-corruption Network

An anti-corruption watchdog led by a former legislator, Dino Melaye, has given Nigeria's Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah 72 hours to resign from office.

The ultimatum follows revelations by SaharaReporters that she arm-twisted a cash-strapped agency in the aviation ministry to purchase two armored BMW 760 Li cars at highly inflated prices.

Mr. Melaye told SaharaReporters that his group plans to embark on a series of actions aimed at forcing President Goodluck Jonathan to fire Mrs. Oduah as well as return the $1.6 million to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, which was forced to buy the cars.


A spokesperson for Mrs. Oduah today owned up to the ownership of the two cars after SaharaReporters provided documentation of the transaction on its website on Tuesday.

Mr. Melaye said the purchase of the vehicles was done in violation of various rules and laws guiding such high-level procurement by government officials, particularly the monetiazation policy of the federal government from which the minister was not exempt.

Among the plans, he said he will be in court next Tuesday to force the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute the Minister. In addition, a coalition of anti-corruption activists will picket the Aviation Ministry next week in an effort to force President Jonathan to remove her from office.

With reference to the cost of the vehicles, Mr. Melaye described them as “unconscionable,” recalling that the Speaker of the House of Representatives also purchased two Armored Mercedes Benz S-600 B7 grade armored cars a year ago for less than $800, 000.

He also disclosed that he had requested for quotations from Germany that show that the vehicles actually cost less than $200,000 each. Even then, he stressed, the Minister has no right to purchase the vehicles for her personal use.

He reminded President Jonathan that former President Olusegun Obasanjo or his immediate boss, late Umaru Yar'adua would have fired Mrs. Oduah since the scandal broke.

Meanwhile, aviation officials have disputed the version of Mrs. Oduah story that she was using the vehicle to protect herself against powerful enemies opposed to her in the ministry. A source told SaharaReporters that Mrs. Oduah has not used the vehicles for official purposes since they were taken to her home in Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Lagos. The source stated that there are several exotic cars purchased for the Minister in VGC if the EFCC or the police care to raid the place. The source also claimed that Mr. Oduah is building a hotel in VGC worth N3.5 billion from proceeds of kickbacks received from the airport remodeling projects scattered across the country.

The source further stated that Mr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group Limited, the supplier of the used 2008 model armored cars, might have given the minister and Mr. J. D. Nkemakolam, the former acting Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) who carried out the purchase up to $700,00 as kickback from the car purchase.

Mrs. Oduah is the former co-chair of Mr. Jonathan’s main presidential campaign outfit, Neighbor-2-Neighbor. She is not expected to face any retribution from the president who has recently declared corruption in his government to be “exaggerated.”

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