The Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of the Nigeria Customs Service on Friday handed over to the Nigerian Air Force two seized civil model Bell helicopters imported into the country by unknown persons.
According to the NCS, the helicopters were handed over to the NAF for failure of the yet-to-be-identified importers to produce end user certificates 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 the CEMA.
The Customs Area Controller, Frank Allanah, told journalists that the value of the two helicopters and other accessories was over N9.7bn.
He said, “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 Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited’s shed pending the fulfilment of all legal requirements for the importation.”
Allanah added that the choppers would be useful to the NAF in the fight against insurgency, as they were specially designed for such operations.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the choppers and the accompanying 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 aircraft were configured for military combat operations.