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Oct 17, 2013
Why We Wasted N255 million of Tax Payers Money on Two Armoured BMW Cars – Aviation Ministry
The Ministry of Aviation after initially denying claims it spent N255 million on two BMW cars is finally coming out to say, “okay we did the unthinkable but there was a method to our madness.” This is how a report from Paradigm Shift put it
Nigeria’s incompetent minister of aviation, Stella Oduah has justified the reason she bought two 255 million Naira worth of armoured BMW cars with scarce government funds.
The minister speaking through her media aide explained that threats to her life over reforms in the aviation sector and the general insecurity in the country prompted the purchase the two armoured BMW cars worth N127. 575 million each.
Online news portal, saharareporters, had claimed that it obtained documents which showed the paper trail of the transaction involving Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), First Bank and Coscharis Motors. The cars were purchased by NCAA from Coscharis Motors, paying through accounts with First Bank.Speaking with a correspondent yesterday, the minister’s media aide, Mr. Joe Obi, said that when the minister came on board with her reforms, which included reversing some concessions and agreements that were not in the interest of the people and government of Nigeria, “a lot of entrenched interests felt that they had been dislocated from the sector. The minister began to receive series of threats to her life, but because of the general lack of security in the land, she did not want to raise an alarm but kept it quiet and then decided to protect herself. So those vehicles were purchased in response to the general state of security in the land and the personal threats to her life because of the giant steps she has taken to reposition the sector.”
He said that the minister had been trailed several times and that there were clear and present dangers to her life which were averted or neutralised.
On why N127.575 million for each of the car, Obi said they were special purpose vehicles, even as he explained that the utility vehicles were bought in the name of the Minister of Aviation and not in the name of Stella Oduah.
“Normally, you don’t buy one utility vehicle but you buy two at a time because you must have a back-up for public officials. The level of exposure which came with her job warranted the purchase of the vehicles. As a private citizen,she never had these vehicles,” he added.
It could be recalledthat under Stella Oduah’s leadership, several plane crash has occurred in the aviation sector, the two most recent being; the Dana Air crash on Sunday 3rd June, 2012 which killed the 153 passengers on board, and another plane carrying 16 people which belong to Associated Airline, crashed shortly after take-off from the Lagos airport.
Speaking on the latest profligacy, the general manager, Public Affairs of NCAA, Mr Fan Ndubuoke, said he was unaware that such vehicles were purchased for the minister.
”I cannot comment on something I know nothing about,” he insisted.
When contacted, the coordinating general manager, Aviation Agencies, Mr. Yakubu Dati, corroborated Obi’s response – that threats to the minister safety prompted the purchases- and said that he had nothing more to add.
Efforts to contact Coscharis Motors were unsuccessful as its officials failed to pick their calls and refused to answer a text message sent over the issue.
The aviation minister, Stella Oduah, has come under fire for a number of air crashes and near misses in the last one year that have cost about 200 lives. Many aviation analysts have accused her of high-handedness in managing the ministry because of her closeness to the Presidency.
According to the documents obtained by saharareporters, the transaction for the purchase of the two BMW vehicles began in June 2013 but the request for their delivery and payment were hurriedly done between August 13 and 15, 2013.
The two black BMW Li HSS vehicles had chassis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 respectively and were delivered to NCAA on August 13, 2013.