Corruption: Another Nigerian Minister May Be On Her Way Out

Opeyemi Quadri

In more three decades nothing resourceful has attracted the world from Nigeria. But the country of over 160 million people is notorious for corruption, mismanagement and abuse of office, and recently, terrorism. All these made her one of the “famous” countries of the world.

Early this year was an abuse of office and mismanagement of funds which caused the Aviation Minister Stella Oduah her job.

Public outcry, particularly the interest of the House of Representatives in the case, made President Goodluck Jonathan to sack her. Oduah was one of the members of campaign engine room of Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election.

The first Nigeria’s woman speaker, Patricia Etteh, lost her seat because of corruption allegation. Her probe came from within the House.

This time, it is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, who has been alleged to have spent close to N10billion for charter flights less than three years.
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Mrs. Diezani Alinson-Madueke

Nigeria’s Lower legislative Chamber has written Madueke, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, VistaJet International, Evergreen Aviation Terminal, operators of private Jets and the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.

The letters dated March 26 which was signed by the Chairman of the committee, Samuel Adeola, signifies the preparedness of the lawmakers for the probe of the chartered private jets which is said to have been mercilessly inflated costing the country billions of Naira.

The probe into the controversial operation of chartered private jets for private use for local and foreign trips by Mrs Diezeani Alison-Madueke was initiated by an opposition member in the House, Samuel Adejare (APC, Lagos).

The Minister has been given a week to reply and explain “all she knows about the transactions, and if as a Minister she is entitled to such chartered private jets for private use, and whether or not she has not breached public service rules, as well as who is responsible for the bills.”

She isn’t the only one being investigated. The GMD NNPC is to forward in written form to the lawmakers “all information relating to the deal from 2011 till date, the level of involvement of the Corporation, the contractual agreement between the Corporation and the operators of the private jets and its financial commitment to it since 2011 till date among others.”

NNPC has relentlessly insisted that it has the power to charter private jets to aid in the discharge of its duties.

Also, the Committee is requesting from the private jets operators “the contract agreements between them and the NNPC from 2011 till date, all the flight schedules, the passengers’ manifests from 2011 till date and the amount of money paid to them during the period under review,” the source added.

One of the aspects that the lawmakers is interested in is why there was no valid contract agreement between the NNPC/Petroleum Resources Ministry and the Private Jets operators for the lease of the 850 challenger Aircraft which was allegedly dominantly used by the Minister.

Several new flight schedules operated on foreign trips by the Minister between 2012 and 2013 has also been uncovered by the Public Accounts committee.

The new discovery, involving Global Express XRS with tail number S5-GMG and tail number OE-LGX,OE-LSS and OE-INA allegedly cost $300,000 (about N50m) per trip, way above an estimated cost of N7.5million for the same trip.
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A December 21, 2012 trip from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to the United Kingdom with the Global Express XRS with the tail number: OE-LGX gulped N57.5million as against an estimated N6million, it was also alleged.

The former Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had raised alarm early this year that more than $40billion was not remitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC. In what was termed as “attempt to silent” Sanusi, he was told to embark on compulsory leave. In another retaliatory move, the FG accused him of mismanagement.
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Job-seeking graduates during the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment examination.

In spite of millions of unemployed Nigeria’s young graduates and poverty on the increase, public office holders continue to embezzle public funds with impunity.

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