these years in the auctioneering business and as their President?
I have handled several auction business for local government, states and the federal government ministries, departments, agencies and private companies that require our services. I have a lot of clients. I am a consultant for the Bureau of Public Procurement, I am a consultant with the Bank of Industry, and a consultant with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). I am also an asset management partner for Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). I have all these engagements because of my capacity and knowledge of the auctioneering business with experience of 48 years in the industry and I never been challenged for any reason.
You are always advocating for open competitive bidding for auction sales in most of your press briefings. What is the difference between open competitive bidding auction, allocation and Online Auction?
You know, Nigeria was colonised by the British and we are giving three guidelines on procurement and disposal which are financial, stores regulations and general order. These are the guides we are conversant with in Nigeria and it is still the best and decent way of disposing of public properties. We can not jettison our training which is open competitive bidding auction sales where all potential buyers can see what they are buying and win by highest bidder, most buyers of these unserviceable store items, plants and machineries are local people who have the money to buy, but because they don’t have the knowledge of the online auction (e-auction) they need to see things by themselves to ensure what they are buying, even the regulation stipulate that buyers are allowed to see what they are buying before auction sales take place and that’s why we use to advertise the auction in the Newspapers so that people from far and near can come and see what they want to buy and this open competitive bidding generate more money because it a system of auction that has a competitive way of selling. Most buyers want to see before they buy and not to go for online bidding that is a borrowed system. Nigeria is not yet mature for it to take shape, it is not backed by law and not recognised by the Bureau of Public Procurement policy and not in the Act of BPP neither Financial Regulations. A system of auction that is not approved by the National Assembly cannot be adopted in Nigeria. We are not used to it and if the government wants to introduce it and implement it, it should be backed by the law because what is not backed by the law is an illegal practice. Online auction or e-auction has a lot of challenges because most of the people who participate in it always complain of buying something and at the end not seen what they buy because of scammers. Scammers are penetrating into the system and in most cases it ends up in litigation, they are misleading people and my opinion as the National President of Nigeria Association of Auctioneers, online auction in Nigeria is an illegal auction and those propagating online auction practice do so for their selfish reasons because it is not backed by the law.
How about disposal of government properties by allocation is it legal?
Government doesn’t allocate such. Anything unserviceable cannot be allocated by anybody but there are exceptional cases either to the Department of Antiquity or Technical Institutions where those unserviceable items can be for studies or practical use or archives. Something that has been used by our precious leaders, we take it to archives for history but anything that should be sold can not be by allocation because allocation is under declaration, it is an offense. Government has the right to buy brand new vehicles to give to Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs/ and Government. MDAs also spend money to follow it up to a conclusive end to ensure their proper disposal when they are beyond economic repairs. Allocation is a wrongful way of disposing of government properties and anybody who does allocation of Government properties is under-declared the properties but anything that should be sold for transparency and accountability must be by open competitive bidding sales of Auction system.
Considering your wealth of experience in the auctioneering business and as the National President of NAA, what provisions have you made for the young inexperienced and new auctioneers to learn?
Auctioneering profession has rules and regulations guiding the sales of government properties and when you want to sell government properties, you have so many legitimate duties to provide and not only to ring a bell. When I became the National President of Nigeria Association Auctioneers, I made an effort and affiliated the auctioneering body with some institutions for training and retraining of my members in the business to equip themselves with the certificate and relevant knowledge. They include, Institutions like Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and South African College of Auctioneering. Knowledge is paramount in our profession, that is why public services engage us to dispose of the unserviceable to be their guide as we protect the interest of the general public and the image of the government. We are certified from South African College of Auctioneering which is a world standard auctioneering institution that can enable any of our members to practice in any part of the world. I also have a Diploma of Auctioning from the South African College of Auctioneering and I attended several Courses during the time of my engagement with Government as a public servant in the defunct North-West State/Sokoto State.
The Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and other security agencies seized goods including vehicles and many other items. Have they been engaging your members in the disposal of these items?
Actually in the previous years, the Nigeria Custom Service use to engage our members in the disposal of those seized items but along the line when their is a change in hierarchy and position in Customs, they don’t do as they use to do before but we have written a letter to their Controller General for a Courtesy call so that we can robe minds and find the best way forward to ensure they follow the rightful way for the disposal of public properties and this is because they have a lot of items for disposal and some of the items are perishables. Some of the items have short life span and as a result of delay in disposing of them, the government is greatly losing instead of revenue to be generated for national funding. This question on Custom has also brought up the issue of an imposter who is going about the media houses claiming to be the National President of Nigeria Association of Auctioneers, his name is Musa Kura. He has rights like every other Nigerian citizen to his own opinion on issues bordering Customs or any other government agency but he should not be doing that in my capacity. He has a court order restraining him because he was never elected, he has committed a contempt of court standing order. He is not an experienced auctioneer. Sometimes you don’t have to allow people to mislead you, the media houses granting him interviews are supposed to do a fact check on him to determine the authenticity of his claim but they are not doing that. Imagine someone claiming my position and even trying to spoil the image of an institution as big as Nigeria Custom Service. He doesn’t have the basic auctioneering knowledge to talk about Customs matters.