The Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, entangled in the controversial purchase of two armoured cars at a quarter of a billion naira [N255 million], for Nigeria’s aviation minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah, appears to be gradually withdrawing its support for the minister and is now claiming it has no documents related to the purchase of the cars.
This appears a veiled way of coming clean that although financial transactions between the NCAA, Coscharis Motors, and the First Bank had been concluded on the purchase, no evidence exists that the cars were ever delivered.
The NCAA made the disclosure in its reply to a Freedom of Information request by the activist lawyer, Femi Falana, who asked for full details of how the agency purchased the two cars at the directive of Mrs. Oduah.
Mr. Falana’s request, dated October 21, 2013, gave the agency the stipulated seven days to respond.
But in its reply two days after, the NCAA’s Legal Adviser, E.K Chukwuma, speaking for the director general of the agency, Fola Akinkuotu, claimed the NCAA was neither in possession of documents showing the purchase, nor was the agency with details of any previous purchase, as requested by Mr. Falana.
“I am directed to your letter dated 21st October 2013 on the above matter (Request for information on N255m armoured cars for Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah) and to inform you that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is not in possession of any document relating to the purchase of armoured cars for the Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah,” the agency was quoted as saying.
“With regard to your request for records of previous purchase of armoured cars by the Aviation Ministry or NCAA, I am to inform you that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority does not have such records.”
The NCAA’s claim builds a new kind of pressure on Mrs. Oduah, billed to appear before House committee on aviation, on Tuesday, the same day she is expected to return from Israel as part of a delegation of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The new shocking claim is contradictory of its stand on the scandal all along. The agency had addressed a press conference where it sought to justify the purchase and back Ms. Oduah.
It claimed it bought the cars for the use of the minister and visiting dignitaries. It also insisted to the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation that the purchase of the cars followed due process.