N255 MILLION BULLET PROOF CARS FOR STELLA ODUAH IS GROSS MISMANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC FUNDS
CDWR DEMANDS FOR THE RETURN OF THE FUNDS AND PROSECUTION OF ALL THOSE WHO FACILITATED THE PURCHASE
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns the purchase of 2 bullet proof cars worth N255 million for the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah. It is a waste of public resources, gross mismanagement of common wealth and high insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians whose vast majority live on less than 1 dollar a day. It shows clearly that governments at all levels are highly corrupt, wasteful and insensitive.
Under the watch of the Minister, we have had 2 fatal crashes and several forced landing due to one problem or the other. Dana Air crashed in Lagos on June 3, 2012 and 163 people died; Associated Airlines crashed on October 3, 2013 wherein 15 people died while others sustained injuries.
It is this kind of waste, mismanagement and corrupt practices that led to the collapse of Nigeria Airways. Since it is a privately run sector, we have recorded much more crashes; infrastructure has become decrepit despite huge financial assistance given to these private airlines. N120 billion public funds were shared to these airlines in 2011, N19.5 billion Aviation Intervention Funds went down the drain as well as other billions of Naira claimed to have been spent on airports without fundamental improvement. The so called intervention funds were diverted by some of the airlines and nobody has been arrested let alone prosecuted. For instance, Jimoh Ibrahim’s privately owned ‘Nigeria Airways’ got a whopping N35.5 billion from the government and the funds were diverted towards buying expensive houses abroad. Most of these intervention funds were used to service debt while basic infrastructure suffered neglect.
The obvious fact is that privately run aviation is not working and will not work. The airlines operators lack adequate capital to run first-class airlines besides lack of basic infrastructure in the aviation sector and other sectors of the Nigeria economy and the low purchasing power of vast majority. The only solution is a publicly run and managed aviation sector couple with massive investment in basic infrastructure and training of manpower. It is difficult to undermine this pro-people policy if the sector is democratically managed and controlled by workers/experts, community representatives and appointed government experts. This is the only way profligacy, corruption and sabotage will not become a norm.
CDWR now demands that Stella Oduah should refund N255 million to Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The federal government should also sack and prosecute the minister for mismanagement of public funds.
Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR)