The Lagos State House of Assembly has summoned the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, and the Commissioner for Special Duties and management of the 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 during plenary yesterday, the Chief Whip of the Assembly, Hon. Mojisola Miranda, stated that the offices and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in-charge of the helicopters should be written to and that the Assembly should know the agreement between the state government and Caverton Helicopters managing the helicopters.
According to Miranda, “If you may recall, in 2007, the House of Assembly passed a bill for the establishment of the 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 by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s government 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 Assembly the location of the three helicopters to see if they are just lying unused 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.”
The Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, pointed out that the helicopters were meant for dual purposes, and that they were meant to be used for security and for commercial purposes.
Obasa emphasised that the Assembly should just try to know what has accrued to the state from the helicopters so far, stating that 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, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1) said the Assembly approved the purchase of two helicopters during the era of 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 money from the operations.
He revealed that one helicopter was bought by Ambode’s government, making it three, and that it was important to know how they had been managed so far and where the money is.
Also speaking, Hon. Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki 1) said the assets were purchased for security purposes as well as to generate money for the state government.
This was corroborated by Hon. Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1), who said 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.