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Nigerian Minister blows N2 BILLION on chartered jets

By
 Ibrahim Lamorde,
Ibrahim Lamorde,

A Minister may have been spending so much time in the air that she has wracked up a N2b bill in two years.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is being urged to probe how she blew the cash on chartered jets.

The Minister was reported to the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, by a whistle-blowing group, Crusaders for Good Governance (CGG), on August 13.

In the petition, signed by its representative, Okechukwu Obiorah Nnamdi, the group said its alarm against the Minister, who could not be reached for comments last night, was borne out of investigation.

The group said its allegations against the Minister could be verified through the records of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN); the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA).

The petition said: “We are calling your attention to a monumental act of corruption, abuse of office and reckless application of public funds by a minister.

“Our investigation has revealed that the minister has not only become a liability Nigeria cannot bear at this time, she has also become a huge source through which our nation is gradually bleeding to a slow and painful death.

“Unlike other cabinet ministers, who travel on commercial( and presidential where applicable) jets for official assignments, the minister has taken it upon herself to travel by private jets to all assignments.

“When the President visited China, she was on the trip but travelled in a private jet at the cost of$300,000.
“The same thing happened during Mr. President’s trip to South Africa; she also travelled in a private jet at the cost of $300,000.

“Details of her other activities and unwholesome spending are listed below:

•During Easter break, she flew a private jet to Dubai with members of her family at the cost of $300,000.

•A parastatal maintains a private jet, Challenger 850 Visa Jet, at $500,000 monthly for the minister.

•She has never attended any meeting outside the country in commercial or presidential jets in the last two years and she has spent over N2billion on maintaining aircraft in the last two years.

•She is the only minister, who attends events when the President is travelling, in private jets. Unlike other ministers, she flies private jets even when the President is travelling to the same location.

•She does official jobs in her house; she hardly goes to office.

•Information from FAAN, NCAA, and NAMA confirmed that she has never flown commercial aircraft in the last two years.

•When the President went to China but she did not go on the presidential jet, she went in a private jet, further bleeding the national purse.

The group said its allegations could be verified through the records of aviation agencies, such as FAAN, NAMA and NCAA.

The petition added: “We are of the view that Mr. President is not aware of all these atrocious and reckless spending of the minister. Usually, we understand that smaller presidential jets are usually assigned to ministers on official assignments abroad whenever there is need for such trips.

“Mr. Chairman, we make bold to ask in good conscience whether Nigeria’s fragile economy can afford to carry this financial burden any longer and that is why we are calling on you to act and provide the new lease of life for the Nigerian economy.

“We demand that you carry out thorough investigation of all the above which are easily verifiable through the aviation agencies, FAAN, NAMA and NCAA.

“We want to count on you to save the national purse of the excessive bleeding, which we believe is the main reason for the establishment of your agency.

“We want to however state that our commitment to this cause will not waiver. We are still compiling and investigating further details of her financial dealings and at the right time, we will organise a world press conference to express these and other details we are working on.”

When contacted, the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “I cannot confirm the receipt of the petition until Monday because petitions do not come directly to my desk.”

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