House of Reps fumes as officials sell Nigerian govt’s training helicopters to private individuals

The House of Representatives has pledged to recover two Bell Helicopters, Bell 206L4 BZB and Bell M2061-L4, which were sold to private individuals and are no longer in the possession of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

Ademorin Kuye, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Assets, made this declaration during an investigative hearing in Abuja on Thursday regarding the sale of the helicopters.

Kuye expressed dismay over selling the helicopters to private individuals, leaving the college without any helicopters for training purposes.

The committee also questioned the process leading to the sale, particularly as several security agencies, including the Nigerian Air Force, Navy, and Police, had expressed interest in purchasing the helicopters but were denied by the NCAT management.

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Shaka Imalighwe, the acting rector of NCAT, stated that although he was the deputy rector when the helicopters were sold, he was not part of the team that facilitated the sale. Imalighwe took over as acting rector in January 2024.

Despite initial appeals to NCAT for documents related to the sale process, such as approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Ministry of Aviation and newspaper publications advertising the intention to sell the helicopters, the college had not provided them.

Imalighwe confirmed to the committee that the helicopters were in service and maintained by relevant aviation bodies when sold. He also disclosed that the institution currently lacks helicopters for training purposes.

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The lawmakers criticized NCAT for using an unlicensed auctioneer to sell the helicopters. They directed the immediate past and current Minister of Aviation to appear before the committee in the next investigative hearing.

Additionally, the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), and the immediate past and present college rectors were summoned to provide further insight into the sale of the helicopters.

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