Fred Ituah, Abuja
A former Minister of Aviation, and now senator representing Anambra North in the Senate, Stella Oduah, has frowned at a recent report in one of the national dailies, alleging that N3.9 billion airport renovation fund was diverted under her watch.
In a statement issued, in Abuja, on Thursday, Sen. Oduah described the report as ‘the work of political detractors whose intent is to strike political blows as election year approaches’.
The chairman of Senate’s committee on Cooperation and Integration, also frowned at the newspaper “for stooping to an unprofessional level by publishing such unverified false report without recourse to her.”
She stressed that the content of the report were completely untrue, adding those behind the report were unhappy with her overwhelming popularity and want to tarnish her image.
Her words, “My attention has been called to a publication by The Nation in their newspaper of 6th February, 2018 in which it was stated that N3.9 billion of the money meant for installation of security devices at the airports was traced to a firm belonging to me and others.
“It is very unprofessional and indeed shameful for a seemingly reputable newspaper like The Nation to make such wild accusations without verifying the source of their information and without any recourse to me.
“This is purely the handiwork of my political detractors who are uncomfortable with my overwhelming popularity as a Senator representing my zone.
“It is not surprising that those tales are coming at a time when the general election and political parties primaries for the election are at the corner, with my detractors piqued with the staunch resolution of my people to re-elect me as Senator. What is surprising is how a once respectable newspaper will descend so low to run the errand of political libel.”
Oduah insisted that the statements contained in the publication were completely false and should be disregarded.
“At no time was any money meant for contracts under my watch as the Aviation Minister diverted to any company belonging to me neither did I pay back any loan from any such funds.
“All contracts awarded by Ministry of Aviation under me followed due process and as for the contract under reference, the said contract was executed.
“As the minister of Aviation, I committed myself to the service of my country to the very best of my ability and as it is widely acknowledged, my record and performance as the Minister of Aviation remain laudable and unbeatable. What we did in aviation was so far reaching that it had never been done before, it was so unprecedented.
“If you remember how just Abuja airport used to be: one used to literally find it impossible to use the rest rooms there. To get into the lounge where people sit was impossible, most motor parks were better than what we had at the airport whether it is Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto.
“We took them on and efficiently and in a very timely manner changed every single one of them: and we did not just change that we changed the safety of the Nigerian airspace.
“Before we were having accidents literally every six months but we made sure that the safety of Nigerian passengers was prioritised to ensure that the landing gears, the flight gadgets, every single thing that will make Nigerian airspace the airspace that it is today, recognised by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), it had never been done before.
“I challenge anybody to just do a spreadsheet; How aviation was before, How i made aviation and how aviation is today. In all honesty if the person does not give me 120 per cent it means that they cannot add. It is thus natural to expect odious reactions from some elements whose greatest political punches are calumny,” she said.
The former minister, therefore, cautioned the news medium to refrain from playing into the hands of political detractors who intend to ride on them to score cheap political points.
“Anyone in my position will be constrained to seek redress in a law court against the publisher of such news, but suffice it to pass a word of caution to the authors of that libel at this stage,” she added.