NIMET, AIB Deny Buying Armoured Vehicles

…FAAN bought 202 operational vehicles

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, October 31, (THEWILL) – The Director General of the Nigeria Metereological  Agency (NIMET),  Mr. Anthony Anuforom, and his counterpart  at the Accident and Investigations Bureau (AIB), Captain Muhtar Usman,  on Wednesday distanced their agencies from the controversy surrounding the purchase of the multi-million naira armoured vehicles for the Minister of Aviation.

Both top  officials made this declaration when they appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hope Uzodima,  had put both officials on oath and asked them how many armoured vehicles they bought like the their sister agencies within the aviation sector.

The development came just as Uzodima confirmed to journalists on Wednesday that the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi, had confirmed on oath that his agency bought 202 vehicles out of which four are bullet-proof.

“Investigation is still on-going and it will not be fair for me to preempt the outcome.  FAAN did confirm that among the operational  vehicles they purchased, four of them are armored vehicles, two for the Managing Director and two for the minister.

“We told them to go back and put everything in writing and make a comprehensive statements on all vehicles purchased, that they bought a total number of 202 vehicles for different operations. So until they come back on Monday we cannot rush into conclusion.

“The Managing Director of FAAN said they did a funding arrangement with a commercial bank. This investigation will be a very deep one so that at the end of the day, we do a holistic approach and look at how the sector will be repositioned so that all anomalies will be corrected,” he said.

Uriesi had against the backdrop of the committee’s query on Tuesday  told the committee that the vehicles included two Lexus Limousine cars and two Prado jeeps.

The  limousines, he said,  were bought at the cost of N60m each and not N70m as being  insinuated. He however said  he did not have details of the cost of the Prado jeeps.

Uresi also said the vehicles are  still in the custody of the bankers, which funded the purchase. It was also learnt that the Managing Director  could not account for the person who ordered the purchase and for who they were meant  .

He admitted however that the Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah, approved the purchase of the vehicles while somebody, which he failed to mention, signed on his behalf.

Consequently, Uzodinma  lampooned the FAAN boss for receiving approval from the minister instead of the Federal Executive Council.

He was therefore ordered to return to the committee on Monday with details of the transactions and necessary receipts for the  purchase of the vehicles.

He was also asked to bring along details of other vehicles which the agency bought for its directors.

Meanwhile, the Senate Aviation Committee has said it would inspect the bullet proof cars bought for Oduah by NCAA before the end of the week.

By Emma Uche, ABUJA