Posted by News Express | 31 October 2013 | 3,697 times
Embattled Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, this afternoon finally got her chance to defend herself over the the purchase of two armoured cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which is now subject to investigation by the National Assembly.
Testifying before the House Committee probing the purchase, Oduah insisted that “NCAA acted within the ambit of law” and denied that the cars were for her personal use.
“Nothing in the stated documents mentioned my name,” she told the committee headed by Nkiruka Onyejeocha, adding: “I did not request for any vehicles. All I did was to approve the purchase, subject to the agency doing the needful (following the law). NCAA followed due process as required by law. The Federal ministry of aviation under my watch has always ensured we act in a prudent manner and under the ambit of the law.”
The minister insisted that NCAA has real needs for new operational vehicles, explaining that the armoured cars are not for her personal use but for the use of visiting foreign dignitaries.
She blamed her Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Joel Obi, for worsening the public hysteria over the issue by putting up a statement claiming that the purchase was necessitated by concerns for her safety. She described this as “inaccurate” and also dismissed the Sahara Reporters’ story that she compelled NCAA to purchase cars for her, saying the claims were “false and malicious.”
On the funding of the purchase, the minister said: “First Bank facility to NCAA to the tune of N643 million mere understanding not an obligation.”
She said that under her watch “Nigeria’s airspace is now rated among the safest in the world” and declared that the scandal has been orchestrated to discredit her team and give the impression her effort at reforms is not succeeding.
Oduah, who arrived at the venue of the hearing at 11:40, apologised for her inability to attend previous hearings, saying it was due to a clash in schedules.
•Photo shows Minister Oduah.
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