There are indications the House of Representatives may order an investigation into the purchase of two armoured BMW 760 Li cars by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA), as the National Assembly resumes from the Sallah break tomorrow.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Zakary Mohammed (PDP/Kwara), said the House will take practical steps to unravel the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the cars as soon as it resumed proceedings this week.
Mohammed expressed doubts about the inclusion of the cars in the 2013 budget, stating that the House would also investigate if the purchase was captured in the 2013 Appropriation Act or not.
According to Mohammed the House could not have approved such an item unless perhaps it was hidden under another sub-title in the budget.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Ahmad Ali described the situation as appalling and scandalous.
“One thing I am certain of is that the House will unravel those involved and know who and who collected money and such people must face the full wrath of the law.
“I used to respect the Minster of Aviation a lot. But with this, the Ministry officials have scandalized the administration. While it is her choice to apologize to Nigerians, it remains the responsibility of the administration to surprise Nigerians and frontally address the indiscretion.
“This incident should not be added to the catalogue of impunity going on,” Ali added.
Chairman of the House Committee on Anti-corruption and Ethics, Abiodun Faleke on his part said Oduah would definitely be made to answer questions if the vehicles were actually bought at the prices reported.
“Definitely if the cars were bought, we need to know how and why and by whom, if it is true, she has a lot to answer when we resume.”
Ogbonna Nwuke representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Rivers State, on his part said, there was no provision for the purchase in the 2013 budget.
“The money used in purchasing those vehicles was not appropriated for. You can go through the budget, it’s not there,” he claimed yesterday.
“The fact is that those cars have been bought with tax-payers’ money and what we should really concern ourselves is whether really it was appropriated for in the Appropriation Act.
“Can you imagine how many jobs that amount of money would have created in the Aviation industry? At a time that over 66 percent of Nigerians are below poverty level. Can you imagine how many persons that would have taken off the streets? We are worried about the percentage of people who are not employed. Yet, nobody cares instead what is important is to buy bullet-proof cars because somebody feels threatened.”
One senator speaking on the condition of anonymity described the action of the minister as ‘obscene’ bearing in mind the condition of the country’s public universities which have been closed down for months.
“I suspect that it is not in the budget. And then two, for a country that is passing through these times, that is obscene to say the least,” the senator said.
He also said that the purchase of the two BMW cars at such an outrageous price should be investigated, adding, “for those who should know (the price) they say that those vehicles are overpriced so the relevant agencies must investigate it.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that the House Committee on Aviation may soon commence its own investigation into the controversial car purchase.
The Aviation Committee was said to be preparing to embark on its routine oversight of the NCAA and other agencies in the industry before the car purchase scandal broke.
Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (PDP/Abia), said it would be pre-emptive to make comments on the car purchase scandal until members of the committee had conducted their routine oversight and ascertain whether the purchases were in line with the 2013 Appropriation Act.