FG urged to stem corruption in aviation sector

The Federal Government has been urged to do all it can to address the worrisome level of corruption in the aviation sector.

Experts, who made this call, said that it was important that the government through its anti-graft agencies stepped in to ensure that the level of corruption in the sector was reduced to the minimum.

In a statement on Tuesday, a former National Secretary of Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, said if there was any time the aviation sector needed the intervention of the anti-graft agencies, it was now.

Speaking against the backdrop of the N255m armoured cars scam involving the Minister for Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, he said agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should address the situation promptly.

He said, “We are asking the anti-graft agencies to come in to investigate all the aviation parastatals. It is not only the minister that is involved.  If somebody asked you to do something illegal, why not resign, instead of doing it?

“It is a sad situation because we have never had this level of corruption in this industry.  The truth is that it is not only the NCAA that bought such vehicles. I can tell you on good authority that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency also bought some vehicles.”

He called on the President to address the issue and not shield any of the affected individuals, adding that such actions could rub off negatively on his government.

Tukur stressed that the scrapping of the aviation ministry and its integration into the Ministry of Transport was the case in other countries of the world.

On its part, the National Cabin Crew Association expressed shock over the armoured car scam, and wondered why the Presidency seemed to be quiet on the issue.

The National President, NACCA, Mr. Charles Onuoha, said that his group was on the verge of honouring the minister for her role in re-modelling airports in the country when the news of the armoured car scam came in and frustrated the process.

He said,  “We were planning to honour the minister on October 25, 2013, and while we were waiting for approval, the information of the car scam came.  We are pained that it happened; we felt embarrassed by what happened.”

Another stakeholder wondered why some Igbo youths had been protesting in support of the minister, stressing that it was unfortunate that tribalism had been allowed to creep into aviation.

He said, “Why are we tribalising everything in this country.  If what the minister did is found to be true, it is criminal and the law should be allowed to take its course.

“We hope the President would not send the wrong signal to the international community by shielding the minister from prosecution, if she is found wanting.”

He urged the anti-graft agencies to step in as fast as possible to save the sector from further deterioration.

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