Reps vow to retrieve govt helicopters sold to individuals

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The House of Representatives has vowed to recover two Bell helicopters, Bell 206L4 BZB and Bell M2061- L4, belonging to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, sold to private individuals.

The Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Public Assets, Ademorin Kuye, said this at the investigative hearing on the sale of the two helicopters in Abuja on Thursday.

Kuye expressed concern over the sale of the two helicopters to private individuals when the college was left with no helicopter for training.

The committee also questioned the process leading to the sale of the helicopters as security agencies, including the Nigerian Air Force, Navy and the Police, indicated interest in purchasing them.

The security agencies were, however, denied by the management of the NCAT.

The three security agencies, according to various submissions, did not only indicate interest in purchasing the helicopters by writing but also visited the college but were denied the opportunity to purchase them.

Acting Rector, NCAT, Mr Shaka Imalighwe, said though he was the deputy rector of the college at the time the helicopters were sold, he was not part of the team/committee that facilitated the sales.

Imalighwe said that he took over the management of the college in an acting capacity in January 2024.

The committee said despite initial appeals to NCAT to provide certain documents regarding the process that led to the sale of the helicopters in May 2023, they had not been able to provide it.

This, according to him, was in respect of approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Ministry of Aviation as well as newspaper publication advertising the intention to sell the helicopters.

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Imalighwe told the committee that the helicopters were in service and being maintained by relevant aviation bodies when they were sold.

The acting rector of the college also confirmed to the lawmakers that, at the moment, there was no single helicopter in the institution for training.

The lawmakers argued that it was wrong for NCAT to have used an unlicensed auctioneer to sell the helicopters.

The committee directed the immediate past and current Minister of Aviation to appear before it in the next investigative hearing.

Also summoned were the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Finance Incorporated, and MOFI, and both immediate past and present Rectors of the College, among others.

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