Aviation workers accuse National Assembly of inaction over petition

Aviation workers on Wednesday condemned the National Assembly for keeping mum for over three months after it received a petition alleging that the current rehabilitation of airports in the country  was an elaborate scam.

The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, had in the petition called for a proper probe of the Federal Ministry of Aviation’s airport rehabilitation projects, describing them as an elaborate scam.

The General Secretary, NUATE, Mr. Abdulkareem Motajo, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the union had petitioned the National Assembly since August.

He said the union had not received any form of acknowledgement from the lawmakers.

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He said, “We had sent the petition to the National Assembly since August and up till now they have not said anything about it. The petition was written on  August 22 and was received by the office of the President of the Senate on August 24, 2013.

“But up till now, with all the relevant photocopies of evidences that we have, we have not even received a letter of acknowledgement from the National Assembly, let alone addressing the issue by investigation the scam in the remodelling of the airports.

The petition had alleged that the ministry had awarded consultancy jobs to “three crony firms” in the last quarter of 2011.

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This, it said, was done without advertisement or evidence of “no objection” from the Bureau of Public Procurement.

The workers stated that the ministry allegedly awarded the contracts with the confidence that it would retroactively obtain the certificates of ‘no-objection’ for the crony consultancy firms that received the contracts.

According to the air transport workers, no comprehensive report on the consultancy services were ever presented during any meeting at the tenders’ board level.

But  the House said it was not a matter of not attending to petitions against the minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, but rather a case of Oduah ignoring invitations.

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The Chairman, House Committee on Public Procurement, Ms. Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, stated that the minister allegedly “ignored 12 previous invitation to address procurement issues.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the aviation ministry to this story were unsuccessful as the Special Assistant to the minister on Media, Mr. Joe Obi, did not answers calls to his phone.

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