The Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of the Nigerian Customs Service on Friday handed over two seized hi-tech civil model Bell helicopters imported into the country by yet to be disclosed persons to the Nigerian Air Force, reports ITRealms.
According to correspondents, NCS said the hi-tech helicopters were handed over to NAF for failure by the yet-to-be-identified importers to produce end user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser.
The NCS said this was in contravention of Section 36 (2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act and that the seizure was effected on November 7, 2016 in line with section 46 of CEMA.
Customs Area Controller, Frank Allanah, told journalists that the value of the two helicopters and other accessories was over N9.7bn.
“The helicopters were flown in as a consignment with Airway Bill Number 17232444403 into the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The choppers were detained at the Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited shed pending fulfillment of all legal requirements for the importation,” he said.
The chopper, he said, would be useful to the Nigerian Air Force in the fight against insurgency as the chopper were specially designed for such operations.
Speaking during the hand over the chopper , the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the choppers and accessories would be taken to the NAF hangar at the Lagos Airport for full examination in collaboration with Customs officials .
He described the handover as a milestone as the configuration of the aircraft was fitted for military combat operations.
He said the handover had presidential approval adding that all legal issues had also been considered.
*Reports from The Punch.