Lagos State House of Assembly has challenged the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration to come forward and explain the whereabouts of three helicopters officially purchased by the state government.
The Assembly, at a plenary on Monday, summoned the governor’s Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde; Lagos State Commissioners for Economic Planning and Budget; Special Duties: and management team of Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) over the whereabouts of the three helicopters belonging to the state government.
Raising the issue under Matter of Urgent Public Importance, Assembly’s Chief Whip, Mojisola Miranda, said the ministries, departments and agencies in charge of the helicopters should be written to and that the Assembly should know the agreement between the state government and Caverton Helicopters, which has been managing the helicopters on behalf of the state government.
“If you may recall, in 2007, the House of Assembly passed a bill for the establishment of Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) for the state government to equip and strengthen the security agencies in the state.
“In 2015, three helicopters were bought under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to strengthen security in the state. But, the helicopters are nowhere to be found now.
“I will want us to look at it and get the concerned parties to tell the House the location of the three helicopters to see if they are just lying fallow or if the state government has entered into an agreement with an entity on the equipment and see to what extent the agreement has been working,” Miranda said.
Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, in his contribution, pointed out that the helicopters were meant for dual purposes of tackling security challenges and commercial activities.
Obasa noted that the Assembly wished to know what has accrued to the state in terms of revenue from the helicopters so far, saying this was the first time the Assembly would be talking about the equipment.
“What we have said so far has nothing to do with the image of the state or the Assembly. What the Chief Whip has done is not too much. We need to know what has happened to the helicopters,” he said.
In his contribution, Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1) said the Assembly approved the purchase of two helicopters during the era of former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Olowo added that a commissioner told the Assembly then that they had an agreement with Caverton Nigeria Limited to operate the helicopters so that the state government would make some money from the operations.
He revealed that one helicopter was bought under former governor Akinwunmi Ambode making it three, and that it was important to know how they have been managed so far and the whereabouts of the revenue from these helicopters.
Also speaking, Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) said the assets were purchased for security purposes and to generate money for the state government.
He added that the Assembly sseks to know what has happened to the helicopters and that a committee should be set up to look into the matter.
This was corroborated by Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1), who added that the helicopters should be at the reach of the state for security purposes, probity and accountability and that revenue from the equipment should reflect in the account books of the state.
Tobun noted that whoever is in charge should give account of what has been done with the helicopters, and there location/hangers.
On his part, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) said the issue was very germaine, adding that the money that’s used to fund the operation of the helicopters passed through Special Duties.
Noheem Adams (Eti Osa 1) said the helicopters were purchased for commercial purposes, while Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu 2) however cautioned that the Assembly ought to have approached the office of the Chief of Staff on the said matter.
Another lawmaker, Olawale AbdulSobur Olayiwola (Mushin 2) said it was important to call the attention of the state government to the matter, adding that the Assembly needs to know the whereabouts of the helicopters. He noted that the vehicles that were donated for security purposes in the state were also not functioning very well.
Supporting the matter, Adedamola Kasunmu (Ikeja 1) said security is not just about life, and that security of property is also necessary.
“I want to believe that Caverton Helicopters generate money from the helicopters.
“The helicopters should have been very useful for air transport to isolation centres during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“LSSTF gave out the helicopters for purposes of generating funds. LSSTF should be invited – the Chairman and the Executive Secretary,” he said.
Nurudeen Akinsanya (Mushin 1), Nurudeen Saka-Solaja (Ikorodu 2) and Temitope Adewale (Ifako/Ijaiye 1) also contributed to the debate on the matter, which got the support of all the members of the Assembly.