Reps summon Aviation Minister, Keyamo, Sirika, others over sales of 2 govt helicopters to private individuals

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Assets has invited the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, and his predecessor, Senator Hadi Sirika, over the sale of two Bell helicopters belonging to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, to private individuals, despite the interest shown by the Nigerian Army, Navy, and Police.

The House Committee on Public Assets also invited the Rector/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Joseph Shaka Imalighwe, and his predecessor, who authorized the sale of the two Bell 206 helicopters, 206-L4 BZB and BZC-M2061 L4.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Assets, Hon. (Barr.) Ademorin Kuye, said the invitation became necessary in view of the circumstances surrounding the sale of the two helicopters when the college was left with no helicopter for the training of students.

The committee chairman stated further that apart from denying the Nigerian Army, Navy, and Police the opportunity to purchase the helicopters when they indicated interest, the NCAT authorities in May 2023 sold the helicopters to two firms for below 60% of the cost price.

Kuye revealed that the committee could not hold an investigative hearing on the controversial sale of the two helicopters on the earlier scheduled date a few weeks ago because of the moves by the anti-graft agency to arrest some individuals connected to the matter.

According to the law maker, a day before the investigative hearing, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested some of the personalities who were supposed to appear for the hearing. According to him, the committee had to postpone it to another date.

The Minister of Aviation and all those summoned are expected to appear for the investigative hearing on June 25, 2024, at the House of Representatives wing in the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

Kuye disclosed that letters of invitation have been sent to the relevant persons and organizations with respect to the hearing.

The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, established about 50 years ago, is expected to provide human resource development in the aviation industry in Africa.

NCAT is also expected to undertake training programs to meet both national and international requirements, but at the moment, the college is allegedly operating without a single helicopter.

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