N255m: APC hails Reps, wants minister to resign, or be fired


All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended the House of Representatives for taking a definitive stand on the N255 million Aviation scandal by asking President Goodluck Jonathan to review the continued engagement of the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, over her role in the scam.

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Monday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said by its action, the House of Representatives has again signalled its readiness to play its own part in fighting the massive corruption, which has enveloped the country.

It said also by its unequivocal stand on the scandal, coming on the heels of the recent criticism of Jonathan’s tepid fight against corruption by House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, the House has left no one in doubt that the legislature is taking its oversight role very seriously.

‘’There is no doubt that the House of Representatives took its stand, which included asking the EFCC to investigate and prosecute all those involved in the scandal, after a painstaking work by its Committee on Aviation.

“This action is commendable and reflects the general opinion of Nigerians on the shameful scandal.

‘’Therefore, Ms. Oduah has no basis for continued occupation of her post as Minister of Aviation and should step down immediately. If she fails to do so, she should be fired by the President,’’ it said.

APC said if the minister fails to resign and the President refuses to fire her, it will confirm the general perception across the country that this President is not ready or willing to fight corruption; that he is comfortable in the company of corrupt officials and that he would rather cream off the proceeds of corruption by taking contributions to his war chest from corrupt folks.

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The party said failure by the President to heed the House of Representatives on the Oduahgate will also add to his earlier failure to act on the House’s decision on the massive oil subsidy scam, and the failure of his administration to bring to justice all those behind the series of corruption cases that have dogged the administration.

“The list is long, and includes the pension scam, the Malabu scandal, the massive corruption in SEC, the Halliburton scandal, the unprecedented crude oil theft and the extensive corruption in the oil sector.

‘’The President’s decision to hug corruption rather than to fight it has also been reflected in his comments, saying for example that the perception people have about corruption in Nigeria is exaggerated; and that his administration is ‘winning’ the war against corruption.

‘’But this overly simplistic take on corruption in Nigeria flies in the face of the available evidence that Nigeria has sunk deeper into the mud of corruption under President Jonathan, especially the latest ranking by Transparency International, which lists Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, and the report of the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, which shows Nigerian government officials and agencies frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

“It is now up to President Jonathan to take the fight against corruption seriously and work with other arms of government in combating the canker worm, or go down in the history of the country as the most corrupt administration ever.

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“He can start by acting decisively on the Aviation scandal, and stop using ad-hoc panels to bury corruption cases,’’ APC said.

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