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Published On: Mon, Jun 9th, 2014

Fresh crisis rocks aviation ministry

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Airport in NigeriaFrom Suleiman Idris, Lagos

A fresh crisis is threatening the Ministry of Aviation, after it emerged that some agencies of the ministry have been secretly remitting money to the supervising minister, Dr. Samuel Ortom .

The revelation came after the recent discovery that the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah raked up a debt of N174 billion for the ministry over contracts that were not executed.

Oduah was sacked after a sustained outcry over the purchase of bullet-proof cars for her by agencies of the ministry.

It is not clear if all the agencies of the ministry are involved in the alleged payments to the supervising Minister. Agencies under the ministry are: Nigerian metrological agencies, Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Accident Investigation Bureau.

A source in one of the agencies, who does not want to be named because of the fear of what happened to the whistle-blower that exposed the car purchase during Stella Oduah’s tenure, alleged that agencies in the ministry are contributing as much as N25 million monthly towards the campaign

funds of Ortom, who has indicated interest in becoming the governor of his home state, Benue.

The House Committee on Aviation, led by its chairman, Nkiru Onyejeocha also questioned the secrecy around what it termed the huge debt incurred by the Ministry of Aviation that it described as ‘unsustainable’.

The agencies approached to comment on this report declined comment claiming that there was no receipt to back up the allegations.

Responding to the allegation however, the Coordinating General Manager, Aviation Parastatals, Mr. Yakubu Dati said, “There is no iota of truth in this allegation, the minister is only acting in a supervisory capacity and there is no way the agencies will engage in any such thing, we repeat that the issue of debts precede the present administration.

“We wish to state that the agencies remain resolute in the desire to give Nigeria an industry everyone will be proud of”, he further stated.



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