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By News Express on 09/03/2014

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A member of President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet described as a “Super Minister” has spent not less than N10 billion of public funds on the maintaining a private aircraft in the past two years, the Concerned Aviation Professionals (CAP) has alleged.

The group in a petition to President Jonathan described as the worrisome the penchant of the minister, whom News Express believes to be Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke, to plunder the nation’s resources through her extravagant lifestyle.

CAP raised the alarm over the minister’s profligacy in a recent letter to Jonathan, titled “Re: Mindless waste of Nigeria’s resources: Who owns this Challenger 850 Aircraft marked OE-ILA?” signed by Chairman, Abdul Malik Masaya, and Secretary, John Obande Anihinru.

The group requested the President to immediately launch a probe into the ownership, maintenance and usage of the aircraft marked OE-ILA, domiciled at one of the private hangers in a Nigerian airport in the last two years.

It lamented that the “Super Minister, who is one of the celebrated members of the Federal Executive Council, parades fluke, erroneous and complete misrepresentation of the reality in the concerned ministry as successes of the past years.”

The aviation professionals accused the said minister of committing 500,000 Euros (about N130 million) monthly to maintaining the aircraft since it surfaced under mysterious circumstances at the airport in 2012.

They prayed: “Sir, we have details and impeccable records which confirm that the ‘Super Minister’ has been frittering away the scarce resources of Nigeria in maintaining the Challenger 850 aircraft in the last two years. The incontrovertible evidence we have is that the Minister has been committing 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain the aircraft in the last two years. Thus, in two years, the Minister has committed the sum of N3.120 billion to keep the jet which is used for personal use and that of the Minister’s family alone.”

The aviation professionals added: “We make bold to say that the amount above is just a tip on the iceberg. Several other billions have been wasted flying the jet around the world obviously for leisure by the Minister and solely members of the immediate family. Our records showed that the amount already wasted by this Minister and members of the family on trips that are in no way beneficial to Nigeria runs into not less than N10 billion. The worst of all, Sir, is the fact that an agency of government is paying all the billions used to maintain this jet.”

The group revealed that a subtle crisis is currently brewing in a notable government agency following the recent discovery of the several billions allegedly spent on the mystery jet by some directors of the parastatal. The professionals urged the federal government to establish the real owner of the mystery aircraft and demand explanation on why government fund is spent on maintaining it.

They observed: “We are aware of a war that is now brewing in the lucrative government agency when some directors got wind of the huge funds being channeled into maintaining the Minister’s private jet. We want you to investigate sir, who entered into the contract for maintaining the Challenger Jet on behalf of Nigeria. Is it a formal or informal contract? Why is Nigeria paying for the jet?

“We cannot comprehend the sense in keeping a plane solely for the use of a Minister, especially when the plane is not part of the Presidential fleet. We also know that Mr. President will promptly and readily oblige the Minister the use of any of the Presidential jets if it becomes imperative for the minister to embark on official trips on behalf of the government. Details at our possession include the series of flights the Minister had engaged in with the said plane in the last two years. The details include the different locations, time and date of the flights as well as the dates the plane returned to Nigeria at each instance. In fact we can confirm to you that the plane has been in use since July 2012.”

The aviation professionals are asking whether the unnamed minister was above the law and asked that “a thorough probe of this allegation should start from the FAAN, NCAA and NAMA. The agencies have records of all the trips the Challenger 850 jet made on the payroll of one of the nation’s top revenue earning agencies.”

Source News Express

Posted 10/03/2014 12:26:29 AM





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