Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah
By Akinwale Akintunde
A Lagos-based businessman, Chief Sam Anyanwutaku, has faulted the House of Representatives call for the sack of the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, saying she ought to be compensated for transforming nation’s airports rather than being sacked.
The House of report recently found Oduah guilty of breach of the 2013 Appropriation Act by approving expenditure of about N643million for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to procure 54 vehicles this year.
The lawmakers noted that Oduah’s approval limit as a minister was N100million and, therefore, wanted the minister sacked.
But Anyanwutaku, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive of ASKCO Group of Companies, in a statement, said since the minister had not been declared corrupt, inefficient or to have fraudulently enriched herself and her office, she should be left alone to continue the good work she has been doing in the aviation sector.
According to him, some people just wants Oduah humiliated, sacked or to stampede her out of office and rubbish her good records.
“The House of Representatives committee on this matter merely stated after their hearings that Oduah and the Aviation parastatal (NCAA) spent money above their approval limits and that they were involved in anticipatory approval of expenditure. Oduah herself proved without doubt that the two cars were not bought for her personal use and that they were not bought in her name,” Anyanwutaku said.
He said patriotic and honest public officers like Oduah should be encouraged to perform better and not persecuted, stressing that the EFCC questioned the sellers of t he two cars, Coscharis Company and there was no evidence of any shady deal or inflation of prices or any kickback or kick front involving the aviation minister.
“There was no act of corruption traceable to the minister from this story or any other. Every regular flier cannot forget easily the shame which Nigerian airports brought to local and international passengers.
“Before Oduah took up office two years ago, toilets in Nigerian airports were hell, the arrival and departure halls were a mess, unclean and choking. The air conditioners were not working; the conveyor belts never worked hence passengers waited for several hours to get their luggage.
The terminals, runways, radars and other equipment in our airports suffered epilepsy when they worked or were dysfunctional. Power supply was something else.
“Then came this noble woman with royal blood. No one gave her a chance. She was described by critics and enemies of progress of President Goodluck Jonathan as a square peg in a round hole because they said she had no aviation experience,” Anyanwutaku said.