Why Customs seized 2 armoured helicopters imported by Rivers Government – Wike

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The two armoured Bell helicopters seized by Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and given to the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, were ordered by former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, when he was at the helms in Rivers State, an official has said.

His successor Nyesom Wike made this known on Saturday contradicting the claim of the NCS that the owner of the aircraft was not known.

Mr. Wike made the clarification in a statement released by his spokesman, Simeon Nwakaudu.

The governor said he officially wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to hand over the helicopters to the Air Force.

The governor said he took the step because of the high custom duties the helicopters attracted and the refusal of the Federal Government to grant waiver on the helicopters.

According to him: “These helicopters were imported by the immediate past administration; and when I assumed office, we wrote to the Federal Government that the helicopters were strictly for security use.

“I went to the Federal Government to give me waiver for us to clear the helicopters but they refused.

“Thereafter, I wrote to President Buhari to assure him that the helicopters are meant for security purpose and that it should be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force.

“We stated that we cannot pay the custom duties because the helicopters are not for commercial use; but to monitor the creeks and track criminals.

“In any case, where will the Rivers Government get money at this time to import armoured helicopters to which the previous administration imported because it had money (at the time).

“I’m surprised that they have started propaganda and political falsehood on the said armoured helicopters.

“What am I going to use armoured helicopters for; what kind of country are they turning Nigeria into?” he asked.

Mr. Wike said it was unfortunate that some security agencies would allegedly resort to political propaganda and outright lies when facts of the seized armoured helicopters were known.

He said it was shocking that NCS would turn around to claim that it impounded the helicopters rather than telling the truth.

He claimed that the chief of staff to the president commended the Rivers government when the letter was delivered to the president.

On Friday, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of NCS handed over two civil model Bell helicopters imported into the country by ‘unknown persons’ to the NAF.

The Service said the aircraft were seized on November 7 2016.

It explained that the aircraft were handed over to NAF because of the failure of the yet-to-be-identified importers to produce end user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser. The Customs said the action contravened the Customs and Excise Management Act.

(NAN)


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  • Hajiya Tunsj Soyemi(mai fura)

    Two words that always pop up whenever this APC regime is discussed are LIES AND PROPAGANDA.

  • design

    Wicked wanted to use it to continue his killings. This ape will also die someday. I guarantee.

    • GbemigaO

      It is either you are full of mischief or you cant read. The copters were bought by Amaechi and Wike refused to pay for the import duties . Can’t you think well instead of just being a nuisance

  • T-Rex

    Premium Times,with the above headline i thought you guys wanted to present a different version of the story not knowing its the same press release from the RVSG which i have already read on several other platforms .

  • God win ooo

    Lol, ThankGod they didn’t say it was Dasuki through GEJ order that imported it. So it has gotten to this level…, Individuals having the rights to import stuffs like this. Are we blind people? There is no way the NCS will deny what they are aware of knowing to the facts that evidence are there to show. Where are the letters written to the NCS prior to the shipping of these goods? They can only say this to fools. We only come out to cry foul if caught. God will punish all those that has turned nigeria into war zone all in the name of politics. I pity the youths that allows themselves to be used. Have you ever asked the whereabout of the children of these politicians? You better be wise before it will be too late.

  • Dualpolemedia

    Wike is a serial liar, he alwyas have his way in big big lies. What is wrong in ordering for armoured helicopter, what you have to tell us is how u got the clearance to import the craft and motive for bringing in such equipment at this time. Lagos State govt of Akinwunmi Ambode recently ordered for two aircraft no Nigerian debate or condemn it everything went smoothly. You are only shifting attention away from you and your cahoot.

    • GbemigaO

      Chief, think again. He did not blamed Amaechi for importing . He said it was imported by the previous government because they had money but for him , he cannot pay for the import duty now. The issue is why the Customs are lying that they impounded helicopters that they know is being discussed about. Such mischief is unbecoming . Well, you got your ‘change’

  • Oladeji Y

    Wike is not interested in security because he represents insecurity. Why would he want nosy helicopters that will give his boys away? With the level of carnage in River state since Wike assumed office a sane mind knows he needs those helicopters But since he want the season of anomie to continue he would rather the state lose all the money invested in those copters.

    • Benny

      So, after reading the body of the text, you came to the conclusion that it’s because Wike wants to protect criminals hence he donated the craft to Nigeria Airforce? Your doltishness is in high quantum. Twat.

    • GbemigaO

      You have lost it completely !

  • Alpha

    Unfortunately, Premium times still presented it’s readers with press releases from two contradicting sources without any efforts to ascertain the truth of the matter. Are they expecting their readers to do the investigations by themselves? Very unfortunate indeed.

    However, in my own opinion, I suspect Gov Wike’s version sounds more credible. Especially, it seem incredible that the NCS claimed that the importers were unknown, as the goods must have been addressed to some individuals or entities. Secondly, the manufacturers/exporters’ addresses couldn’t have been unavailable to them.

    It will be a dangerous practice for a govt department that is supposedly immune from politics to engage in such drama as is being witnessed now.

  • GbemigaO

    When you have a government that are just stupidly lazy and full of mischief, propaganda and lies, it is a tragedy. Is Customs claiming that they did not know that the helicopters belongs to the River State government? Why congratulate yourself as if intercepted them ? What a government ! Imported equipment that there are correspondences on import waivers on ? Smmh

  • Tijani

    Wonders will never cease in Buhari’s fake anti-corruption war. Sahara Reporters Sponsor, Former Rivers State Governor, the Current Aviation Minister Rotimi Amaechi is an arrogant and corrupt thieving liar who has just exposed himself. New Bell 412EP even today is 6 million dollars, if brand new, 4.2 million dollars if fairly used. Amaechi claims Goodluck Jonathan approved his purchase of 2 Bell 412EP helicopters at 15 million dollars. That is contract inflation, which he personally executed, when Nigerian law restricts profit on government contracts to 35% plus cost. Clearly Amaechi first stole at least 3 million dollars, then stole the 11.9 billion naira so called duty paid as declared by customs impounders. Since Amaechi says ONSA granted duty waiver, yet Wike says rivers could not pay duty BUT Customs says duty was paid of 11.8 billion naira, obviously Amaechi stole 3 million dollars (if new, more if old) and 11.8 billion naira. Fake Buhari anti-corruption.

  • Stanley

    At that time that Amaechi ordered for this helicopters to address the insecurity in Rivers State, he also sent a good number of Nigeria Police to Israel for training. Many of those police has been transferred to other states. He did a lot for the FG agencies to be able to do their work. No matter the problems between Amaechi and Wike the FG ought to have taken a neutral position and help them and Rivers state to deliver those helicopter for their planned use.. It is bad that they will ask for waivers and they know that they will have the helicopters as well. Wike is right to have asked NAF to take them. Let the FG demand from NAF the waivers. But I am afraid if any state government will ever again try to eat with FG on the same plate without using a loooooooooooooong spoon.

  • African Child

    Nigeria Customs were caught lying about the choppers, Wike has clarified and Amaechi is in agreement that it belongs to River State Govt