by Dare Lawal
Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan has apparently been listening to the condemnations and reservations of most Nigerians over the inclusion of aviation minister Stella Oduah in his entourage to Israel. The minister was included so she could sign the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) agreement with Israel on behalf of the federal government.
However, on Monday when the agreement was finally signed, it was not Oduah who signed on behalf of the federal government, but Viola Onwuliri, the minister of foreign affairs. The Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr. Zeer Elkin, signed on behalf of the Israeli government.
Oduah is currently facing probe over the N255m bulletproof cars bought for her by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, after releasing a photograph on Monday on the signing ceremony, issued a statement in which he confirmed that Onwuliri signed on behalf of the government. The spokesman however did not give reasons why Oduah was not allowed to sign the agreement even though she was present at the event.
According to a top Presidency source on the entourage of the President in Israel, the decision to stop Oduah from signing the agreement was taken shortly after Jonathan arrived in Israel and it informed his decision to not grant her audience while in Israel.