June 17, 2009

Smugglers: Customs takes delivery of 2 new helicopters

The Nigeria Customs  Service (NCS) has taken delivery of two brand new helicopters with a view to fighting smuggling and bringing it to the barest mimimum.

Disclosing this to news in Lagos recently, the Deputy Comptroller-General of the Service in charge of Tarrif and Trade, Mr Ezekiel Okeniyi said that the acquisition of the helicopters will go a long way in helping the Service in its war against smugglers and their activities.

Okeniyi stated that the helicopters will be used in lifting officers to  oil fields in the riverine  areas adding that there are issues with knowing the quantity of oil that is exported.

He explained that the inability of the service to access these platform, has made it impossible for the government to have accurate records of the operations of this aspect of the nation’s economy.

Okeniyi said “ I can tell you authoritatively that the helicopters have arrived, these helicopters are going to help us, I do not know any where in the world where you there has been hundred percent eradication of smuggling.

“This is going to help us tremendously in bringing smuggling down to the barest minimum, secondly, the helicopters are going to be used in lifting our officers to the oil bocks in the riverine areas because we have issues with knowing the quantity of oil that is being exported and that is because we are not on the platform, most of the platforms are on the high sea.

On the personnel to man the helicopters the DCG said that there are pilots in the Service who will man these helicopters efficiently.

“Well a lorry driver will not go and fly an helicopter, I hope you understand that, by the way we have pilots in our crew,  we have pilots that fly in our air wing, we have an air wing , so we are not going to get lorry drivers to fly these helicopters, we are going to get experts to fly them because it is only people who know about helicopters that can fly them”

He disclosed that this was the first time in the history of the Nigeria Customs Service that brand new helicopters are being acquired.