BY OKEY NDIRIBE
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday dismissed unconfirmed media reports that two BMW security cars which were bought by the agency were missing.
This was disclosed by the Director General of the agency Capt. Fola Akinkuotu while briefing newsmen over media reports concerning the controversial purchase of the two vehicles.
He further disclosed that purchase of the cars were provided for in the 2013 Budget of the aviation industry regulatory body.
According to him: “The cars are operational vehicles used in the varied operations of the NCAA. Transporting the Minister and aviation-related foreign dignitaries is part of this operation .”
He continued: “…We make haste to state that aviation is a global industry and the NCAA which is the regulator of the industry in Nigeria very often plays host to dignitaries from international civil aviation bodies like International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Air Travellers Association (IATA), United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), African Airlines Association (AFRAA), The Bangui Accord Group (BAG), Civil Aviation Navigations Organisations (CANSO), Airport Council International (ACI) amongst several others”
He further stated that it was internationally customary to convey our minister and these visiting foreign dignitaries in security vehicles whenever they are in Nigeria.
Said he: “It must be noted that during such visitations, the security of members of the delegation is the sole responsibility of the host country.
“The vehicles are therefore in the pool of the NCAA for these special assigments and are available at NCAA office and can be shown to you” he said.
He further stated that this was not the first time that the agency had procured for the afore-mentioned purposes adding that all necessary procurement and due process was followed.
Capt. Akinkuotu condemned the clandestine manner in which information concerning the transaction was obtained by online media groups and some mainstream media organisations.
Commenting on the cost of both cars which stood at N255 million, the NCAA DG explained that this may have been due to the fact that Coscharis which supplied both cars is the sole dealer of the automobile brand in Nigeria.