Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, Friday gave insight into why the agency procured two bulletproof BMW 760 Li Amoured vehicle Series for N255 million.
He attributed the cost of the vehicles to their customised features, the environmental factor, security features, and the monopolistic nature of Coscharis Auto Dealer – the sole reseller of such vehicles in the country.
This came on the heels of controversy trailing the purchase of the two vehicles by the agency for the use of the Aviation Minister, Stellah Oduah.
Akinkuotu said the two cars were budgeted for by the agency before he became DG.
“When you want to acquire a particular property for instance, it is very important how you acquire it. These vehicles are part of our operational vehicles for the agency. They were structurally financed and not outright payment. The cars are at the pool of the NCAA. I know that the agency had bought this kind of vehicles before for security purposes,” he said at a press briefing in Abuja.
Speaking further, Akinkuotu explained why the vehicle was bought at such exhorbitant amount.
“What determines the cost of the vehicles, first of all each of the car you buy has a custom major aspect of cost to it. The environmental factor to it, just as the fares on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are higher than the other airlines. And the other aspect in this case is the monopolistic issue as Coscharis is the only licensed seller of this kind of cars. They are the only one selling”.
“As I said, some of these things have been concluded even before I became DG, but I do believe that those who preceded me who were acting on my behalf at that time must have followed due process. The information that I have with full conviction was that they followed due process. I have on record that the two vehicles cost N255, 150, 000.00 only.”
He admitted that this was not the first time those kinds of vehicles were procured by the agency for security reasons, adding that the cars were operational vehicles used in the varied operations of the NCAA and in transportation of the minister and other aviation-related foreign dignitaries that come into the country for official purposes.
“First and foremost, we make haste to state that Aviation is a global industry and the NCAA, the regulator of the industry in Nigeria very often plays host to dignitaries from International Civil Avation Organization (ICAO), IATA, US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the Bangul Accord Group (BAG), Civil Air Navigation Service Organization (CANSO), Airport Council International (ACI) amongst several others.”
He however said it was criminal for government information to have been gotten in an illegal manner by online media practitioners, adding: “We are in the process of trying to find the source of this leak and I’m very concerned about it. This information may look trivial, there are other information that we have that are confidential and it is only fair for us to respect the confidentiality of information. It is not fair for somebody to ‘break’ into your office and obtain information illegally.”