The Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network group, Dino Melaye, has declared that the battle to unseat the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah over the controversy surrounding the acquisition of two armoured cars for the minister’s use by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Melaye, who was arrested last week for leading a group of protesters demanding the minister’s sack in Abuja but was later released, said the network had already given the go-ahead to its lawyers to commence legal action on the matter.
“Our lawyers are putting together the legal papers and we will be in court next week to press further on this issue of Stella Oduah and her armoured cars. We are looking at it from three perspectives. One, was the money appropriated for? We would like the court to determine that. Does the minister have powers to approve above N100 million? The third is, was due process followed in the illegal contract,” he said.
It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan before he jetted out of the country Wednesday night, constituted a 3-man investigative panel to probe the purchase of the vehicles said to have cost about $1.6million (N255m).
But Melaye dismissed the panel set-up by Mr. Jonathan saying the first thing the president ought to have done was relieve Ms. Oduah of her job as not to be an impediment to a proper investigation of the allegations.
“As an organisation, the Anti-Corruption Network is kicking against the president’s committee. We have no confidence in it. It’s a convention in this country that once a minister has been accused of corruption, she has to be suspended. Now the president is setting up an administrative panel while Oduah is still sitting as a minister. As serving minister, she has the capacity to impede on the investigation. The minister, first, has to leave her office so the investigators can have access to documents and civil servants will not be afraid to let out information. So long the minister is there, it’s natural she will obstruct the direction of investigation and course of justice.
“Second, the National Security Adviser is an adviser to Mr. President on national security. No part of our laws enables the Security Adviser to investigate financial and economic crimes. I want to say there is precedence in this country. Sunday Afolabi, who was even a friend to Olusegun Obasanjo when the latter was president, who nominated Obasanjo as president, was involved in the National Identity Card scandal and he removed.
“Also, Professor Fabin Osuji, who was Education Minister under Obasanjo, was indicted of corruption. Even before commencement of investigation, he was removed. It happened also in the National Assembly when Wabara was Senate president” Melaye recalled.