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How FG Spent N5bn Servicing Two Redundant Helicopters In Ten Years—Aviation College Rector



The Rector of the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Captain Akali Modibo, has revealed how the college spent N5bn to service two redundant helicopters in 10 years.

Modibo made the revelation during a briefing at the recently concluded Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition held in Abuja.

The rector said the institution spent N500m annually to service the two helicopters which he described as not suitable for “initial training of pilots.”

He said, “The two helicopters were acquired by the Federal Government about 12 to 13 years ago during the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan. It was purchased for the purpose of training pilots.

“We have never trained anybody on helicopters at the college. Probably the past government did not seek advice from NCAT and when the government wanted to purchase helicopters for its agencies, it decided to include NCAT.”

Jonathan’s government acquired the two Bell 206 helicopters for NCAT alongside 8 other helicopters for the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Customs Service and the National Emergency Management Agency.

He added, “If the government had involved NCAT, we would have told them the type of aircraft we can use for training, which is piston engine helicopters. You cannot use Bell 206 for training. Nowhere in the world is this helicopter type used for training. It is like using a Boeing 737 aircraft to teach someone how to become a pilot. You do not do that.

“So, the Ministry of Aviation decided to sell the helicopters and replace them with piston-engine helicopters. The only way you can sell it and get your money back is by auction, which is the approved process for selling government property.”

The Rector disclosed that the college began the auction process in 2019 after seeking approval from the Ministry of Aviation.

The NCAT boss stated, “The ministry wanted us to sell it by the bluebook rating, which is the new helicopter prices, but we cannot sell old helicopters using the bluebook pricing. So, we had to request the ministry to look into that issue and we told them that the aircraft had been with us for more than 10 years, redundant in the hangar. Yet, we maintain the helicopters annually to the tune of N500 million to sit in the hangar.

“So, after 10 years, we have spent about N5bn in maintaining the two helicopters, yet we don’t use them for training or to source any revenue from it. It is a waste for the college because the helicopters must be serviceable all the time. For the 12 to 13 years period, none of the two helicopters reached 40 hours flying time.”