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FG Bans 91 Billionaires, VIPs’ Jets, Insists On N30bn Duty

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FG Bans 91 Billionaires, VIPs’ Jets, Insists On N30bn Duty

The Federal Government has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ground 91 private jets belonging to some wealthy Nigerians over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to over N30 billion, documents obtained by Punch have revealed.

As such, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali, (retd.) following a directive from the Presidency, has written a letter to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency asking the agencies to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect.

The letter, with reference number NCS/T&T/ACG/042/s.100/VOL.II, which was dated November 2, 2021, was addressed to the Director-General, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu.

A copy of the letter, which was obtained by one of our correspondents, 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.

 Findings by our correspondent revealed that the letters were received by the aviation agencies on November 8, 2021.

According to documents sighted by one of our correspondents, the NCS letter to NAMA was delivered with reference code 19755747 by the courier company, while the NCS letter to FAAN was referenced 19755746 by the courier firm.

The NCS letter, which was delivered to the NCAA, was also referenced 19755748 by the courier firm.

It was titled, ‘Recovery of Aviation Import Duty on Privately Owned Aircraft Operating in the Country.’

The NCAA letter read in part, “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.

The Nigeria Custom Service, in line with its statutory functions, is empowered by Part 111 Sections 27, 35, 37, 45,46, 47, 52, 56,63 & 64; Part XI Sections 144, 145, 155, 160, 161& 164 and Part XII Sections 167, 168, 169, 173 & 174 of the Customs and Excise Management Act.”

It further read, “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.

“Please find attached the list of all verified aircraft and indeed others of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s register, which may not have come forward for your record and necessary action. Strict compliance with this directive is to be ensured. Please accept the assurances of my highest regards and esteem as always.”

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Daily Headline News (Wednesday, 19-1-2022)

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Boarded MaxAir Passengers Disgruntled Over Delay Caused By NCAA

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Boarded MaxAir Passengers Disgruntled Over Delay Caused By NCAA

Passengers of MaxAir airline were aggrieved over the delay caused by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after boarding.

It was learned that the NCAA had stopped the already taxiing airline, to carry out a safety inspection on the airplane.

The VM1609 of MaxAir flight was to depart to Lagos from the Abuja airport.

READ ALSO: Illegal Oil Refinery Operators Arrested In Lagos

According to an official report, the flight was stopped due to technical issues as commuters were left stranded in the aircraft.

Narrating the event, a passenger named Raymond had explained how the 11.30 am flight had moved some distance on the tarmac preparatory for take-off before it was eventually turned back to the hangar and parked.

When contacted to explain what actually happened, the Station Manager for MaxAir at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Kehinde Ogunyale, said the aircraft had to follow the rules of the aviation industry regulator-NCAA.

“It was just a delay on the flight, nothing like stranded passengers please, and it is because we were told that the NCAA wanted to do an inspection. That was it,” he told our correspondent.

Ogunyale added, “So the delay came because we were waiting for the NCAA to do the inspection. There is nothing like stranded passengers on our flight.

“The aircraft was ready to take off and they said they wanted to do an inspection on the flight. So the time spent had to do with waiting for the NCAA officials to do the inspection.

“After the inspection, the flight was meant to take off and as I am talking to you now I’ve just got information that the plane is now taxiing for take-off.”

It was learnt that the flight finally took off around 2 pm after the civil aviation authority had completed the safety inspection on the aircraft.

Although the spokesperson for NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, stated that he had yet to be briefed on the MaxAir incident in Abuja when contacted, he explained that it was a standard practice to inspect an aircraft, especially whenever a pilot raised a concern.

“The pilot might have noticed an issue and might have called the NCAA to inspect the plane. So it is a standard practice to carry out such inspection before clearing the aircraft for takeoff,” he stated.

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BREAKING: Kanu’s Trial Adjourned

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BREAKING: Kanu's Trial Adjourned

Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would again appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, as his trial was adjourned today (Tuesday, January 18).

The court adjourned Kanu’s trial after the IPOB leader complained that the federal government didn’t serve him the fresh 15 amended charges on time.

Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozoekhome (SAN), informed the court that the amended charges were served to them barely 24 hours prior to the former’s appearance in court, which they argued was a limited time for them.

My Lord, the proposed amended charges were served on us yesterday (Monday) evening. As I speak to you, my lord, the defendant, who was just brought in, has not even seen the charges which he is being told to enter his plea.

With due respect, that is not justice. It is ambushing. I know that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act allows the Federal Government to amend, but this is the sixth amendment they are making, and each time they do it, they serve us a day to the hearing, just to frustrate the trial,” Ozekhome stated.

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