By Danlami Nmodu
The Say No Campaign group,a civil society platform has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC 14 days within which to take appropriate and required actions against Minister of Aviation,Ms Stella Oduah over the N255 armoured cars’ scandal.The group also threatened to drag the anti graft agency to court if it failed to act within 14 days.
At a press briefing addressed by Ezenwa Nwagwu,Auwal Musa(Rafsanjani),Samson Itodo and Jaye Gaskia ,all co-conveners, the group urged the EFCC to exercise its powers by conducting an investigation into the scandal
Specifically ,the Say No Campaign said the EFCC should “ arrest the indicted minister for Aviation ,Ms Stella Odua for prosecution in a court of competent jurisdiaction.
“Should the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission refrain from taking the appropriate and required action;the Say No Campaign will not hesitate to institute a legal action against the Commission within 14 days”,the co conveners said.
The group said while available report “clearly indict the Minister of Aviation, it is rather worrisome to observe the absence of political will to prosecuite the culprit.
According to the Say No Campaign “ the illegal purchase of 2 armored BMW cars at the outrageous price of N255million generated citizens’ uproar and received popular condemnation from different stakeholders in the polity.These condemnations are deemed to have occasioned the constitution of an investigative committee by president Goodluck Jonathan.
“Similarly, the House of Representatives responded by constituting its own committee to investigate the issue. The House Representative Committee has subsequently released a report indicting the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah. The report amongst others recognized that the transactions relating to the purchase was not captured and approved in the 2013 Appropriation Act. It also opined that the due process was not observed, complied with and respected in the purchase. The house also faulted the diversion of waivers meant for other purposes to import the bulletproof cars. The House in its report requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to properly investigate the matter”,Say No Campaign noted at its press briefing.
The group also slammed the federal government’s 2014 budget. “The budget simply confirms the fact that we have a government that is insensitive to the plight of Nigerians. Say No Campaign is concerned with the growing cost of governance and government’s reluctance to cut down the cost of running government. This is evident in the 2014 Appropriation Bill where recurrent expenditure gulps 70% of the total budget while capital expenditure is miserly struggling with 30% of the budget. Say No Campaign is of the strong view that no nation develops economically with such style of budgeting” .
It therefore called on “the National Assembly to ensure proper scrutiny of the budget before passage into law. Certain budget heads or proposed expenditures that are not targeted at improving the lives of average Nigerians should not be approved. We reject in totality, the proposed plan to secure another presidential jet under the 2014 budget.
By Danlami Nmodu