by Dare Lawal
In what would come as a relief to most Nigerians, civil society groups are not yet letting the issue of the two bullet-proof cars purchased by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority for the minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, to simply fade away.
Oduah who has increasingly become bolder in recent days after keeping a low profile for some time after the scam was revealed, seems to be confident that Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan, would be unable to take decisive action against her. The president’s body language over the issue has been one of disinterest as he has kept mute, even refusing to disclose the conclusion which the administrative panel he set up to probe Oduah recommended when it submitted its report on November 13.
Leaders of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, and the Campaign for Democracy, are however demanding that the Presidency should make the report available to the public, the way the House of Representatives made its report known recently.
According to the Executive Director, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, “When they set up all these panels, we said it was like doing the funeral for the issues that led to the controversy. Up till now, we are still raising the question. They didn’t need to set up the committees. It was a case for anti-corruption agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, or the special fraud unit of the Nigerian Police.
“We are demanding that the report be made public. We said it from the beginning that when the panels finish their work, they should make their reports available to whoever wants it. We are still demanding that if the Presidency has nothing to hide, it should not treat the report of the panel with secrecy.”
Also the Coordinator of CD, Joe Okei-Odumakin, said civil society groups would resist any attempt to sweep the bulletproof car scam under the carpet.
She said, “We have said any attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet will be met with stiff opposition. We shall resist it with all our might and within the ambit of the law. Time has come for those who are holding onto the report to release it. We must get to the root of this, because we cannot continue to cure the symptoms and allow the cause of the problem.
“If an amount of money was spent in the purchase of bulletproof cars and we said we are interested in due process; they have refused to release the report, it shows that there is no political will on the part of those in government who claim they want to fight corruption. We are demanding the release of that report and those found culpable must not only be shown the way out, they must be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
The groups also urged the President to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives committee that probed the scam.