Senator Stella Oduah, a former minister of aviation, has told a court why she approved the 2013 purchase of two bulletproof BMW cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
At the Federal High Court in Lagos, Oduah said the cars were not bought for her personal use, The Nation reports.
According to Oduah, the vehicles were bought for the use of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) officials who were in the country to inspect and confirm the 22 airports being rehabilitated by her ministry.
The Senator representing Anambra North in the Senate added that the vehicles were acquired to safeguard the foreign officials' lives from insurgents in the northeast.
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She said: “The bulletproof cars were necessary because the visit of the airport inspectors coincided with the peak of Boko Haram terrorists’ menace in the country, when the United Nations building and the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force were bombed in Abuja.
“It was thus imperative that the NCAA, which is an apex regulatory authority in the Nigerian aviation industry, operating under the SARPs of the ICAO and subject to assessment by ICAO, acquire its own armoured vehicles for the use of the ICAO officials coming for inspection and certification at the time.”
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Oduah noted that that the bullet-proof vehicles were included in the 2013 budget as they were duly obtained in line with the Bureau of Public Procurement's regulations.
At the hearing, Justice Mohammed Yunusa restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting Oduah until her suit is determined.
The judge also stopped the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the attorney general of the federation and the inspector general of police from inviting the Oduah for interrogation.
Senator Stella Oduah was accused of purchasing the bullet-proof cars in 2013 while she was in office. The vehicles were said to have cost N255million, an amount that triggered outrage.
She was reportedly quizzed last year over the scandal by operatives of the EFCC.
Full details on The Nation