President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a three-member administrative panel to probe the purchase of two armoured cars for the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, made the fact known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the president.
The cars were allegedly bought for the minister by Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority at the cost of N255 million without following the provisions of the Procurement Act.
Abati confirmed that the president had earlier taken the initial step of querying the minister over the allegation by demanding an explanation from her.
“President Jonathan has also today taken a step further and you will probably be the first set of Nigerians to hear this, by setting up a three-man administrative panel of inquiry.
“This panel has the assignment to investigate whether the procurement process, with regards to these armoured vehicles, followed due process.
“This three-man panel is also to find out the purpose for which the vehicles were procured and then to inquire into any other incidental matters,’’ he said.
Abati said that the panel would be chaired by the immediate former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Isa Bello.
He said the other two members of the panel were the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, and retired AVM Dick Iruenebere.
Abati said that the secretariat of the panel would be provided by the NSA and that the panel was expected to submit its reports in two weeks.
“President Jonathan will like to assure the general public that nobody, no matter how highly placed, will be shielded or exempted from this inquiry.
“He has directed that appropriate action will be taken against any person or persons who maybe found guilty of misconduct or misappropriation of public funds either in this respect or in any other respect.
“Indeed, Mr. President considers this as a very weighty matter and it is not true, as some people have been alleging, that no action has been taken,’’ he said.
Abati said that FEC was briefed on how Nigeria was unanimously chosen as the sole country to present a candidate for the Presidency of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which regulates civil aviation globally.
The organisation has been in existence for 60 years and Nigeria has been a member for 50 years.
Abati said the election into the global body would hold in November and that Nigeria’s Dr Olumuyiwa Aliyu, would be presented for ratification for the post, which would make him the first African to hold the post.
He said the decision to present Aliyu as the sole candidate for the position was taken at the 38th General Assembly of ICAO held recently in Montreal, Canada.