The second Bell 412 Helicopter, which was among the two aircraft seized by the Nigeria Customs Service in January 2017, has been deployed by the Nigerian Air Force.
The air force said on Saturday in a release that the aircraft was deployed, following the induction of the first helicopter in November 2017.
The two Bell Helicopters, valued at N9.7bn, had been impounded by the customs on January 27, 2017, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos for failing to obtain an End User Certificate from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The Customs Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali retd., had thereafter handed over the impounded helicopters, with serial numbers 36608 and 36606, to the air force.
Ali had explained that the two helicopters and 23 packages of accessories inside the seized consignment weighed 11,475kg, noting that they we seized from the importer because he contravened Section 36 (2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.
The Punch reports on Saturday that the major parts of the helicopter including its surveillance cameras were sent to the United States of America and Canada for an overhaul and repairs to restore their airworthiness.
The helicopters had been in the containers for about two years as of the time of the handover to the military.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, who confirmed the deployment on Saturday, said, “Another Bell 412 Helicopter is going for operational deployment. The newly inducted helicopter is one of the two handed over to us by the Federal Government in 2017, with the first having been inducted into the NAF in November 2017.
“The major parts of the helicopter and its surveillance cameras had to be sent to the USA and Canada for overhaul and repairs. The helicopter’s major systems were later re-assembled at the NAF’s 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja, Lagos State, by a combined team of foreign experts as well as NAF engineers and technicians.”
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ROYAL NEWS eCopy March 28, 2022
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