On Tuesday, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Assets called for the immediate arrest of an alleged unlicensed auctioneer and the Director of Quality Control at the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) over the controversial sale of two helicopters. These helicopters, originally purchased for $2.4 million, were sold for $1.2 million, allegedly without following due process. The Committee urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to take over the investigation into what they termed an indiscriminate sale of valuable public assets.

This decision followed a lengthy, five-hour session with NCAT’s management and other relevant bodies. During the interaction, the Committee expressed serious concerns about the discrepancies and lack of transparency in the sale process. Ademorin Kuye, the Chairman of the Committee, emphasized the importance of adhering to proper procedures in managing public assets. He highlighted the Committee’s request for a comprehensive list and detailed descriptions of NCAT’s assets, including acquisition methods and current conditions. According to Kuye, the responses provided by NCAT were inadequate and failed to meet the Committee’s requirements.

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Kuye and other members of the Committee were particularly disturbed by the use of an unlicensed auctioneer, who did not satisfactorily address their inquiries. The Committee’s concerns were compounded by the fact that the Nigerian Army had requested to use the helicopters in its fight against terrorism, a request that was denied. Musa Alkali, Coordinator of Nigerian Army Aviation, expressed frustration over this refusal and demanded the recovery of the helicopters.

Midala Balami, a member of the Committee, further accused NCAT of presenting false documents during the session. This accusation adds another layer of complexity to the investigation, suggesting that the sale of the helicopters might involve deeper issues of misrepresentation and possible fraud.

The House of Representatives had launched an investigation last December into the state of public assets across the country. The Committee’s mandate includes recovering assets valued at trillions of naira, as well as examining the reasons behind the hurried sale of the two helicopters without the approval of the Federal Executive Council, just days before the end of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2023.

This investigation is part of a broader effort to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of Nigeria’s public assets. The Committee’s actions underscore the need for stringent oversight to prevent the misuse and misappropriation of valuable resources. As the investigation proceeds, it is expected to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the sale and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. This case highlights the critical role of the legislative body in safeguarding public assets and ensuring they are used in the best interests of the nation.