Against the background of the 255-million-naira (US$1.6 million) armoured cars’ scandal rocking Nigeria’s aviation sector, the country’s domestic airlines have announced that they will no longer pay charges to aviation agencies until the sector is rid of corruption.
The umbrella Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which announced the decision in a statement, said it would take effect from 1 Nov. 2013.
“Due to the ongoing crisis, we have resolved to stop all remittances payable to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other relevant aviation bodies, as the numerous charges have the potential to cripple our operations.
“This will continue pending the time they reform or come clean on the taxes and charges they have collected, which ran into several billions of naira in a couple of years. They also need a reform to comply with the global practices and standards.
“The suspension of payment of taxes and charges took effect from November 1, 2013, and we call on the Federal Government and all concerned to set up an investigative panel to resolve these anomalies,” AON said.
PANA reports that Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah is under fire for allegedly approving the purchase of two BMW armoured cars, worth 255 million naira (US$1.6 million) for her use, even when the funds were not appropriated by the National Assembly (parliament).
The luxury vehicles were also said to have been purchased at inflated costs.
The Minister, who has shrugged off calls on her to resign, has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that the purchase of the vehicles by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority – an agency of the Ministry of Aviation – followed due process.
The panel set up by President Jonathan to probe the purchase is expected to submit its report this week, while the House of Representatives (lower Parliament) is also probing the scandal.