26th November, 2013
The alleged assassination attempt on Nigeria’s embattled Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, is a manufactured lie meant to divert attention from the corruption scandal involving her, Nigerians said on Tuesday.
The minister had, on Monday evening, reported to the police that her car came under gunfire by unknown persons at Maitama area of Abuja on Friday at 10.30 p.m.
The Police Public Relations Officer at the Federal Capital Territory, Altienne Daniel, confirmed that Oduah reported the matter on Monday but could not say whether the metallic object found in the car was a bullet or not.
Daniel said detectives who checked the vehicle retrieved a metallic object which was being subjected to ballistic test to ascertain whether it was a bullet or not.
“The incident was reported to us on Monday at exactly 5.45pm and we are subjecting the metallic object we recovered from the car to ballistic test. I can’t say whether the object is a bullet or not, so I can’t give you any information on it for now,” Daniel said.
Oduah had alleged that three shots were fired at the car at 10.30 p.m. on Friday.
The Minister was not in her Escalade car with registration number FST 914 BL at the time of the attack.
The Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Joe Obi, also confirmed the incident, adding that Oduah was safe.
But Nigerians who spoke to P.M.NEWS doubted the story, describing it as “cooked up” and an attempt to divert attention from the scandal involving her in the purchase of two BMW cars at the hefty sum of N255 million.
“Nigerians are very wise and no one believes her story. No one had tried to kill her in the past, why is it now that she is under investigation for atrocities she has committed that someone would shoot at her car?” queried Mohammed Tukur, a vocal aviation stakeholder and member of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON.
“Everybody can arrange with anyone to shoot at his or her car, especially when we are not in the car and when we are under investigation.
“The issue here is simple, she broke the law, she has been indicted and should be removed. Nigerians will not fall for cock and bull stories,” Tukur said.
According to Debo Adeniran, Chairman Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, the story is manufactured.
“The cooked-up story is an attempt to silence those who had remained critical of the prudence behind the purchase of the two bullet-proof cars at whopping sum of N255m by Ms. Oduah,” Adeniran said.
He added: “Does it not sound more like a make-believe thing that the incident that occurred on Friday was not reported until Monday? It is clear that the story is an attempt to justify the shenanigans perpetrated by the Minister.”
According to Captain Dele Ore, President Aviation Round Table, ART, Oduah must be fired immediately.
“I will not talk about that Minister until she is fired,” he said.
To activist Achike Chude, there must be a clear separation between an assassination attempt and the issue of corruption involving Stella Oduah.
“They are separate issues. Let the police deal with the serious allegation of assassination attempt while the government deals with the serious problem of corruption involving her,” he said.
Chude, who is the National Deputy Chairman of the Joint Action Front, JAF, doubted that the government could deal with the issue of corruption.
He said: “Can a system built on corruption and nutured and dependent on corruption fight corruption? Ultimately, corruption destroys everything including those who perpetrate it.”
Other Nigerians who commented on P.M.NEWS website or social media doubted the story, saying it was an attempt to get sympathy from Nigerians.
Also speaking during a television programme on Tuesday morning, a lawyer and human rights activist, Justice Ohuegbu, asked the police to stop embarrassing itself over something the Force knows is not true but cooked up.
According to him, the story was fabricated to give Nigerians the impression that Ms. Oduah had anticipated that she would be in danger as a result of her job and thus give justification to the purchase of the cars.
“Nigerians are not fools. The incident was stage-managed. We have been having billions of naira being stolen…Nigerian leaders make themselves enemies to the people,” he said, adding that the Minister was only attempting to add ‘salt to injury’ by reviving the issue of the allegation that she is corrupt and should be sacked.
He wondered why the police was very quick to confirm the incident when nobody had earlier expressed doubt concerning the incident.
Another analyst, Darlington Agomuo, said: “as far as I am concerned, I don’t think the drama is necessary. When you have done something doubtful, there is no need adding to it.
“We don’t really know what happened. The police had pre-empted us. So they refused to allow us doubt the story before they could confirm.
“She is drawing attention to herself again and this can embarrass the Peoples Democratic Party and the Jonathan government because I am not sure Jonathan sent her to lie to Nigerians again. This is something I find difficult to understand because they draw attention to themselves uneccessarily. The impression they want us to get is that the bullet-proof car is very important,” he said.
He recalled that the Minister had denied that the cars were for her use and wondered who was now after her when she was actually the one after the country for her doubtful activities.
“We don’t even need police confirmation on this. Personally, I think Oduah is not making her case any better.
“The police should not be too quick. If those who shot were actually after her life, they would have done their homework very well, not to shoot at the car when she was not there,” he said.
Also Dipo Olayoku, a public affairs analyst, said the confirmation given to the incident by the Nigerian Police has even done more damage to the incident and the corruption allegation against the Minister.
“Nigerians would want to know when it happened, what hour it happened, what was the level of success of the would-be assassins and other reasons behind the attack,” he said.
Olayoku expressed dismay that nothing has happened since the incident as the probe into the allegations had not proven anything significant.
“The House of Representatives did investigation and is finding it difficult to submit its report. The Federal Government set up its panel and the panel submitted its report secretly and there is nothing coming out from it,” he lamented.
—Simeon Ateba & Eromosele Ebhomele