An attempt to smuggle two civil model Bell Helicopters into the country by a yet to be identified person has led to their forfeiture to the Nigerian Customs Service, the Customs said on Friday.
The helicopters were subsequently handed over to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to aid its fight against the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.
The contraband was seized at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on November 7, 2016.
The unknown importer reportedly failed to produce end user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in contravention of Section 36 (2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.
The Customs Area Controller, Mr. Frank Allanah, put the import duty value of the two helicopters and their accessories at N9, 757,135,240.86k .
Allanah told reporters that the helicopters were flown in as a consignment with Airway Bill Number 17232444403 through the airport.
Officials who examined the consignment found two civil models 412 EP of serial numbers 36608 and 36606 Bell Helicopters respectively, in standard configuration.
In all there were 23 packages weighing 11,475 kg in the consignment.
The choppers were immediately impounded and detained at the Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) shed pending fulfillment of all legal requirements for the importation.