Fred Itua, Abuja
The senator representing Anambra North, Stella Oduah, has challenged the Federal Government to provide proof to back its claims that she looted public treasury when she held sway as Minister of Aviation.
Oduah was listed in the second batch of names of alleged looters released, on Sunday, by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
In a press statement released, on Tuesday, in Abuja, Oduah decried what she described as the media trial of suspects by the Federal Government as “worrisome.”
The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to the illusionary list of looters released by Lai Mohammed in which, by treachery or by happenstance, my name featured. It is worrisome how a serving Minister could condescend so low in what appeared like a childish altercation to start mentioning names of his alleged looters without verified or verifiable facts, in order to win what he considered a quarrel.
“In deliberately taking on those he considered prominent in the achievements of the past administration, he mentioned my name against an allegation of a whooping sum of N9.8 billion naira. But for the records, I would have simply ignored him since his notoriety in making false and laughable statements has gained prominence in recent times.
“Record has it that my achievements as the Aviation Minister are unbeatable till date. I did not engage in any financial impropriety as the Minister and the allegation involving the said sum of N9.8 billion is not only untrue but laughable.
“The said contract awarded by the Ministry of Aviation under my watch was executed and based on the request of the contractors, they were paid their money which they utilized in the manner they did. The records are still with the Ministry.”
Continuing, she added: “I have no business with the companies that took part in executing that contract and till now, I do not understand how anything went wrong over that contract that was executed. I have never taken any illegal proceeds from the government purse.
“God had since blessed me tremendously before I joined politics in the quest to serve my country and I remain content and grateful to God. The trend of harassing past office holders with false and malicious allegations to score a political point destroys rather than helps the integrity of the anti-corruption stance of the government and indeed makes holding public office very discouraging.
“The machines seized/forfeited by the Federal Government over the allegation on the said money are not mine. I challenge Lai Mohammed to provide evidence linking me with his wild allegations. I have been waiting for that evidence and I am yet to see any.
“We must be responsible as an opposition bearing in mind that good governance is not about pulling down those whose achievements as past office holders may be a yardstick for measuring the performance of a succeeding government. All allegations made against me remain mere media sensations orchestrated for mere political reasons.
“Oftentimes, I ignore them believing the orchestrators would repent after several failed outings. Misusing the media and misleading the society through the media at the expense of innocent citizens in order to win a medal is unfortunate and most irresponsible. Governance is not warfare. Calumny is evil.”