BY IKENNA ASOMBA
LAGOS—As Nigerians clamour over the two bullet proof cars bought for the Ministry of Aviation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of Asko Group of Companies, Chief Samuel Anyanwutaku, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan, to ignore the calls for the removal of Mrs Stella Oduah, saying she had done so well within her two years in office.
The House of Representatives had last Thursday, adopted its Aviation Committee’s report which found Minister Oduah culpable over her alleged role in the purchase of two BMW cars worth N225 million and urged Jonathan to review her engagement as minister.
However, condemning the calls for the Minister’s removal, Anyanwutaku said: “As a regular air traveller into and out of Nigeria and within our 22 airports, one cannot easily forget the shame which the airports brought to local and international passengers, before Princess Oduah assumed office, as the aviation minister two years ago.
“The airport toilets were hell, the arrival and departure halls were messed up, unclean and choking. The air conditioners were not working; the conveyor belts never worked and passengers usually had to wait for several hours to get their luggage. Are we to talk of the terminals, runways, radars and other equipment in our airports? They suffered ‘epilepsy,’ as a result of years of neglect by past administrations, traced to gross corruption in the sector.
“But today, the story has changed for good. A tour of the country’s 22 airports, shows that there has been a total overhaul. Our airports have now become functional. Many of them redesigned and beautified, others upgraded. One can now eat and even sleep in our airport toilets. The air conditioners in the waiting halls are now working; power supply is more stable than ever before, the conveyor belts are now working, as well as the entire system in all the airports including air safety regulations. Even, the South East now has a befitting international airport, which was opened for operation not quite long ago. All these have become possible as a result of the competence of Princess Oduah.”
Describing the agitations for the minister’s removal, as a ploy by her detractors to rubbish her good records and humiliate her out of office, Anyanwutaku asked “those calling for her sack to take a more dispassionate look at the issues involved. From the aviation committee’s report, it has just been merely stated that Oduah and the NCAA spent money above their approval limits and that they were involved in anticipatory approval of expenditure.
“Even the minister herself has proved without doubt that the two cars were not bought for her personal use nor even in her name. Also, the EFCC having quizzed and interrogated Coscharis Company, the sellers of the two cars, did not find any shred of evidence of any shady deal or inflation of prices or any kickback against the Minister. There was no proven act of corruption traceable to the minister from this story or any other, so those who want to humiliate this woman who has done so well within a short period of time should leave her alone.”