12 February 2014

Nigeria: Oduah's Sack a Valentine Gift to Nigerians - Stakeholders

Photo: Daily Trust
Nigeria Aviation Minister Princess Stella Oduah

Mixed reactions from aviation stakeholders Wednesday greeted the removal of Princess Stella Oduah as the Minister of Aviation. She was sworn in on July 2, 2011 and deployed as Minister of Aviation on July 4th.

She was relieved of her post alongside the Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Police Affairs, Chris Olukolade and the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama.

In October 2013, she was accused of forcing the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority to buy two armored cars for her use at the cost of N255 million (U.S. $1.6 million). Her critics charge that the cost was inflated, there was no provision for such a purchase in the budget, nor did their acquisition process comply with public procurement policy.

Reacting to the sack, President of Aviation Roundtable, Captain Dele Ore said the sack is a welcome development. According to him "That is good news, I congratulate the President Goodluck Jonathan for the bold step he has taken though it is belated but it is a welcome development. Now that the minister has been sacked this is the time to bring aviation back to the right track. We hope it is not too late to protect our Category 1 status which is been threatened ".

Mr. SherI Kyari, an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, however faulted the removal of the minister on the premise that she should have been allowed to complete some of the projects like construction of perishable goods terminal and the current remodeling of airports in the country.

The Deputy General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said the removal of the Minister is a Valentine gift to Nigerians. He picked holes in the purchase of two bullet proof cars at the cost N255million for conveying dignitaries from International Civil Aviation Organization, amongst others.

He wondered why dignitaries that have been visiting Nigeria for the past 50years now require bullet proof cars. He believes that the scandal was enough to sack her.

The minister last week in Lagos presented "the Aviation Road Map", which is a document that showcases projects and programmes aimed at taking the nation's aviation industry to the next level.

She also used the opportunity to appeal to stakeholders to support the programmes that will result in a turnaround in the fortunes of the industry. The event was rounded off on Wednesday night with the "Investment Forum" which was sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc.

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