About five immediate past Commissioners in Niger state are currently under investigation for illegally auctioning vehicles belonging to the state ministries to themselves.
Some past Permanent Secretaries have also been fingered in the illegal auctioning.
Investigations revealed that the auctioning of Toyota Hilux vans were made at the eve of May 29, 2019 after the cabinet of the previous tenure of Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello were disengaged.
The vehicles were said to have been sold between N150,000 and N350,000 to themselves, friends and family members.
The sales were reportedly done without the knowledge of the Transport officers or Store officers of the affected ministries.
The activity of the Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries were brought to fore when series of petitions by some “Concerned Staff” of the affected ministries were written to the state government.
The “Concerned Staff” described the sales of the vehicles as unethical and illegal saying most of the vehicles were still useful to the Ministries.
One of such petitions by “Concern Staff of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism”, a copy which was made available to The Nation in Minna, alleged that the Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary (name withheld) connived and auctioned to themselves two Hilux vans belonging to the ministry.
According to the petition, the two Hilux vans were tagged to be “unserviceable” and were auctioned out at the rate of N350,000 each stating that it was done with complete disregard to due process of the procedures for auctioning of government property.
The Staff further alleged that the vehicles which were regarded as “unserviceable” were the only available usable utility vehicles in the ministry and had just been taken for complete maintainance eight months before the auctioning.
“The vehicles were sound, effective and were in good serviceable condition, there was no reason therefore contemplate their sales”, the petition stated.
The petition further stated that, “the transport officer was not aware, and the store officer who is key to sales/auction process was not equally contacted”.
The Niger state acting Head of Service, Mallam Shuaibu Adamu Suleja, has confirmed that the state government has set up an investigation Committee to determine if due process was followed for the auctioning of the vehicles.
He also confirmed the receipt of series of petitions regarding the auctioning of the vehicles.