Two seized civil model Bell helicopters imported into the country by unknown persons has been handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.
Investigation revealed that the unknown importer of the two Bell civil models Helicopters imported into the country is the minister of transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, the former Governor of River State.
According sources within the aviation industry, Rt Hon. Amaechi was believed to have imported the two choppers in during his administration with the hope that his party will win the last gubernatorial election. But unfortunately, his party lost and as a result, the helicopters have been detained at SAHCOL facilities in Lagos.
The sources disclosed that the transactions may not have been documented, forcing the current state government to concede that the choppers be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.
It was further gathered that the the two choppers arrived Nigeria in November more than two years after they were ordered at the cost of almost N10 billion.
The Nigerian Customs Service said the 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.
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 Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited shed pending fulfillment of all legal requirements for the importation.”
He said the chopper 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.