This Day (Lagos)

4 August 2012

Nigeria: N300 Billion Aviation Fund - ANPP Demands Trial of Culprits

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has asked the Federal Government to immediately take steps to bring to justice all those involved in the diversion of the N300 billion aviation industry intervention fund.

In a statement issued Friday by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, the party said one of the key recommendations of the retired Commodore John Obakpolor-led panel that investigated the Dana plane crash, was that federal government should implement the aviation sector emergency Programme which was to be executed by the fund.

"The ANPP therefore calls on the Federal Government to urgently institute an investigation into the usage of the intervention fund to the aviation sector. In addition, we urge the implementation of the aspects of the Obakpolor committee report that would make it less burdensome to do business in the Nigerian airspace: a downward review of all taxes and the reduction of price of aviation fuel, as this would effectively discourage scrounging and cutting of corners by operators and investors," he said.

Eneukwu recalled that during the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee investigating the Dana airline crash, airline operators had alleged that the N300 billion aviation sector fund provided by the Federal Government to be co-managed by the Central Bank and commercial banks has been misappropriated

While referring to the revelations contained in the report of the probe conducted on the recent Dana plane crash in Lagos, said in order to restore the much needed sanity in the country's aviation sector, government should wield the big stick by investigating and prosecuting the officials who aided and abetted the illegal used of funds meant for the implementation of the Aviation Sector Emergency Programme [ASEP].

"The All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] wishes to assert that the first line of action to make our airspace safe is in the prosecution of the culprits who diverted the N300 billion Aviation Industry Intervention Fund," he said.

Eneukwu said every Nigerian was highly traumatized by the Dana Airline plane crash of June 3, not only because a lot of lives were lost but because they were regrettably aware of how previous investigations into past crashes ultimately ended up.

"Naturally, for the good people of this great nation to be healed of pervading angst and unwarranted psychological distress accompanying worries over a critical sub-sector as aviation, they need to know in clear terms the state of infrastructure and the air-worthiness of the aircraft.

"Our great party believes that the first port of call is the probe of the Aviation Industry Intervention Fund and the immediate prosecution of the individuals and companies found wanting.

"To start with, the Obakpolor Committee primarily blamed the crash on non-conformity of the Dana Airline's technical log book to standard and recommended practices," he said.

The ANPP Spokesman noted with dismay that the funds that were to be dedicated to helping to meet airline International Civil Aviation Origination's certifications, and address all the issues of technical standards and planes' airworthiness were not used for the purpose for which it was meant, thereby creating undue anxiety for users of our airspace.

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