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When I assumed duty at the Federal Ministry of Aviation, we discovered that the Paul Dike Committee Report which was submitted to Mr. President by Air Vice Marshal Paul Dike had made certain recommendations in order to assist and to ensure that the aviation sector would improve. One of the recommendations of that report was that N48billion should be released to the aviation sector in order to take care of the infrastructures of the four international airports located in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano. That was the specific mandate and that was the recommendation. President Obasanjo and the Federal Executive Council approved N19.5billion out of the N48billion recommended for application. That was the money that constituted the Aviation Intervention Fund.
What must be clearly understood is that not all this money was made available to me when I got there. What happened was that before I got into that office, a substantial part of that money had been sourced and had been spent by my predecessor in office Professor Babalola Borishade. Consequently a total sum of N8.5billion had been sourced and approximately N8.4billion had been spent from that sum before I came into that office. When I assumed my duties as the Minister in November 2006, the sum of N11billion (which was the balance of the intervention fund) was now released to me from the National Resource Development Account by President Obasanjo for application. Apart from that, I should mention here that there was a further N2billion which was essentially not part of the intervention fund but it was also jointly administered by the Ministry and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). This money was a soft loan from the Rivers State Government and it was given to FAAN directly and specifically for the rehabilitation of the Runway of Port Harcourt Airport well before I assumed duties as Minister of Aviation. Out of this N2billion, approximately N350million had already been spent on other things outside the Port Harcourt Runway before I came to the Ministry. Therefore when I got to the Ministry, I was given the responsibility of administering N11billion (Intervention Fund) plus a further N1,633,000,000 (Soft Loan from Rivers State Government for Port Harcourt Airport Runway). The records will show that out of the N11billion (Intervention Fund) that I was asked to administer, I only released approximately N3.8billion and out of the N1,633,000,000 (Rivers State Government loan) I only released N1.5billion. The records show that consequently by the time I left the Ministry approximately N7.2billion was left in the intervention fund account and a further N133million was left out of the N1,633,000,000 that I was given for the Port Harcourt Airport Runway (doc. attached).
I cannot be held responsible for the N8.4billion that was spent before I came in or for what happened to or what was spent out of the approximately N7.2billion that I left behind. I can only be held responsible and accountable for the approximately N3.8billion intervention fund and N1.5billion Rivers State Government Soft Loan that I administered on clearly identifiable projects and items which were highlighted as projects to be funded by the intervention fund well before I got there. I want to reiterate that for every contract that I awarded the balance of the money was left in the account of the intervention fund for those contracts to be fully paid for upon completion. I also want to repeat that every contract and every penny that we spent went through due process.