4 December 2012

Nigeria: Journalists Barred From Aviation Ministry's Budget Defence

The Senate Committee on Aviation yesterday barred journalists from covering the 2013 budget defence of the Ministry of Aviation.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo West), had earlier in his opening remarks, said the session would look into the 2012 budget performance of the ministry and examine its budget proposal for 2013.

Midway into her presentation, Aviation Minister Stella Oduah whispered to Uzodinma, apparently requesting that the session be held behind a closed door.

Uzodinma immediately pleaded with his colleagues to grant the minister's request "because of her health status".

Journalists left in annoyance as the session was then turned into a closed-door affair.

Earlier, before asking for the closed door defence, the minister had put her ministry's average performance for 2012 at 63 percent for capital expenditure and 81 percent for overhead.

The minister, who also said the project for the modernisation of airports had been 85 percent accomplished, listed the newly awarded ones as including Enugu International Airport, Oweri Cargo Port, Bayelsa International Airport, Kano International Airport (Concessed to a Chinese company), Dutse Airport (counterpart funding) and Jos Airport.

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