Following the controversial purchase of N255 million bullet-proof cars for the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a three-man administrative panel to investigate the claims surrounding the purchase.
This is sequel to the Minister’s summon by the two chambers of the National Assembly to clarify her position in the purchase of the cars.
Reuben Abati, the president’s adviser on media, said the panel would be chaired by former Head of Service, Alhaji Isa Sali Bello, while other members of the panel include the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and AVM Dick Iruenebere (rtd).
The president through his Adviser mandated the committee to submit its report within two weeks.
Abati said: “On the purchase of two BMW armoured cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, President Goodluck Jonathan has taken the initial step of asking the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah for explanations and that is in the public domain and so it will not be right to say that the President is not well sized on the matter.
“President Jonathan has also today taken a step further by setting up a three-man administrative panel of inquiry. This panel has the assignment to investigate whether the procurement process with regards to these armoured vehicles followed due process.
“This three-man panel is also to find out the purpose for which the vehicles were procured and then to inquire into any other incidental matter.
“This three-man panel is to be chaired by the immediate former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Sali Bello, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and AVM Dick Iruenebere (rtd).
“The secretariat of the panel, which is expected to submit its reports within two weeks will be provided by the office of the NSA.
“Let me assure you that President Jonathan will like to assure the general public that nobody, no matter how highly placed, will be shielded or exempted from this inquiry that he has directed and that appropriate action will be taken against any person or persons who maybe found guilty of misconduct or misappropriation of public funds either in this respect or in any other respect.
“Indeed Mr. President considers this a very weighty matter and it is not true as some people have been alleging that no action has been taken”, he said.
When asked if the Minister will be asked to step aside while the panel carries out her investigation, Dr Abati said: “Well, I have just announced to you what I was asked to announce: that a panel of inquiry has been set up. This panel will address all the relevant questions and advise Mr. President accordingly within two weeks.”