Ex-Aviation Minister Refutes Report of N3.9bn Airport Fund Diversion


Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

A former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah, has refuted reports that the sum of N3.9 billion meant for the installation of security devices across the nation’s airports, was diverted during her tenure.

Oduah who represents Anambra North senatorial district in the Senate, said the report published in a national daily was instigated by detractors who plan to strike at her politically as the 2019 polls approach.

She described the report, which claimed that the money was traced to a firm where she has substantial interests as untrue in its entirety.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja thursday, Oduah expressed disappointment that the medium did not bother to balance its report by reaching out to her, describing it as the height of unprofessionalism.

“At no time was any money meant for contracts under my watch as the aviation minister diverted to any company belonging to me neither did I pay back any loan from any such funds,” she said.

Oduah who was Minister of Aviation from July 2011 to February 2014, maintained that all contracts awarded by the aviation ministry during her tenure followed due process.

The referenced contract for the installation of the security devices, was executed, she added.
“As the Minister of Aviation, I committed myself to the service of my country to the very best of my ability and as it is widely acknowledged, my record and performance as the Minister of Aviation remain laudable and unbeatable.
“What we did in aviation was so far reaching that it had never been done before, it was so unprecedented,” she said.

The former minister recalled that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was in such a bad shape, that even the rest rooms were not usable.

Most of the airports, she said, were worse than motor parks.
“We took them on and efficiently and in a very timely manner changed every single one of them: and we did not just change that, we changed the safety of the Nigerian airspace.

“Before then, we were having accidents literally every six months but we made sure that the safety of Nigerian passengers was prioritised to ensure that the landing gears, the flight gadgets, every single thing that has made Nigerian airspace the airspace that it is today, recognised by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), it had never been done before,” Oduah said.

The senator extended a challenge for a comparison of the state of the aviation sector under her tenure, and what it currently is today.

“It is thus natural to expect odious reactions from some elements whose greatest political punches are calumny,” she said.