Following uproars after the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika took delivery of the remaining eight(8) of ten (10) Volkan Lion 6×6 fire fighting vehicles delivered to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) worth N12bn in April, he has justified the purchases stating that everything was announced and followed process.
This is just as he said he had the backing of the president on the ongoing re-organisation in many of the aviation agencies and that the act was in no way clandestine because it was normal and not limited to aviation alone.
Sirika who answered questions in Lagos after commissioning the N2.2billion expansion of the first phase of the General Aviation Terminal ( GAT) Zulu Terminal maintained that the issue of the trucks was already announced after the approval two years ago and only became an issue due to elections.
He said even at N800m with all the additional taxes and costs of ferrying the trucks as well as the cost of forex, it couldn’t have been cheaper.
He stated,”If you look at the time we came to award the fire trucks two years ago, we addressed the press. I told them the cost of the trucks, I told them the procurement, I told them the cost it would be delivered then. We bought them but because there was an election and we came to commission them then it suddenly became news.
“You already had the numbers at the time when we issued those contracts. We addressed the Press in the Villa two years ago but it didn’t make headline news. In fact some persons said ‘the Minister wanted to buy fire trucks for N1.2bn make una come see o’.
“The same person wrote that they checked and found the cost at N800m, I said okay now let’s add 1% Stamp duty, add 5% withholding tax; add 7.5% VAT, add training cost, add shipping, add custom duties, add transportation and tell me. We gave him N360 to a dollar when buying it, it was at N780 to a dollar.” He justified.
On the reorganisation that has been making news, he said, “The re-organisation approved by Mr. President is an ongoing process and would continue to go. There is nothing under the carpet if it is being approved by Mr. President. Government is a continuum; they have their timeline, tenures, and time to come in and time to go like we all have our time to go. Governance of 200 million people is serious business. Whatever action or inaction you do, you are doing it on behalf of 200 million people.”
He noted , “There is an Account General of the Federation and other appointments that have been done. Why is this different? Why is aviation a focus? What is the intention, what do you want to achieve? Why this one?
So far, Sirika has replaced both the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Captain Rabiu Yadudu and acting managing director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA),Mr. Mathew Pwajok replacing them with Mr. Kabir Mohammed and Engineer Tahib Odunowo