The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) are yet to implement the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) directive to ground 91 private jets belonging to wealthy Nigerians over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to N30 billion.
The comptroller-general of customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd), had written a letter to the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and NAMA asking the agencies to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect.
However, none of the NCAA and NAMA have started moves to implement the directive of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), saying they are not aware of the letter from the service asking them to ground aircraft over evading import duty.
The letter, with reference number NCS/T&T/ACG/042/s.100/VOL.II, which was dated November 2, 2021, was entitled, ‘Recovery of Aviation Import Duty on Privately Owned Aircraft Operating in the Country’ and addressed to the director-general, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu.
A copy of the letter was also addressed and sent to the managing director, FAAN, Capt Rabiu Yadudu, and the managing director, NAMA, Capt Fola Akinkuotu.
The letter directed the aviation agency regulator (NCAA), the nation’s airspace management agency (NAMA), and airport management agency (FAAN) to ground the private jets by denying them administrative and operational flight clearances indefinitely.
It reads, “The Federal Government in its drive for enhanced revenues has mandated the Nigeria Customs Service to immediately recover from defaulting private aircraft owners the required statutory import duties on their imported aircraft.
“You may wish to recall the verification exercise conducted by the NCS, initially scheduled for a 14-day period, but magnanimously extended over a 60-day period from 7th June through 6 August, 2021, following a World Press Conference held on 31st May 2021. The outcome of the aforementioned verification exercise is a compilation of all private aircraft imported into the country without payment of statutory import duty.
“In this regard therefore, your full cooperation is being solicited to ensure the success of this initiative and that all such private aircraft owners or representatives are denied administrative and operational flight clearances indefinitely, until an NCS issued Aircraft Clearance Certificate is procured and presented to your organisation as proof of compliance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all aircraft operated in accordance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s regulation for the issuance of Permit for Non-Commercial Flight and those issued with Flight Operations Clearance Certificate and Maintenance Clearance Certificate accordingly are affected by this directive.”
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the general manager, public affairs, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the authority was not aware of any letter calling for the grounding of private jets in the country.
According to him, he had not got any information from the authority’s managing director as well.
“I don’t have any information on the letter and have been trying to reach the DG but it’s not going through because he’s out of the country,” Adurogboye told LEADERSHIP.
The general manager, public affairs of NAMA, Khalid Emele, said the authority was not implementing any directive because there was no communication to that effect.
Emele told LEADERSHIP he read about the directive from the pages of newspapers, but will confirm from the management if such a letter exists.