The new plane cost the sum of N1.73billion

The Federal Government has purchased an aeroplane for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) at a cost of N1.73 billion.

The purchase is part of a bid to boost the capacity of the agency in regards to curbing smuggling on the country’s border.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, who commissioned the new aircraft on Friday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said it would help the Customs Service to strengthen aerial surveillance of the various terrains along the country?s borders.

Okonjo-Iweala congratulated the Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko, on the acquisition of the aircraft and urged the agency to work harder in order achieve better results for the country.

?The aircraft is an investment for which the country expects good returns,? she said.

?The terrain around the country?s borders includes difficult-to-access riverine and mountainous areas, which make monitoring and combating of the activities of the borders challenging. Several customs personnel have lost their lives or sustained injuries during attacks by smugglers in recent times.?

The two engine 12-seater aircraft with registration number 5N-DIA,which can fly up to 45,000 ft in altitude, will be captained by Kuhi Mbaya.

Captain Mbaya disclosed that the plane is fitted with the state-of-the-art equipment and could fly long distances, revealing that he flew the plane from Kansas City, in the United States and refuelled in Spain, before arriving Abuja.

Dikko said the aircraft would be used for the benefit of the customs in enhancing its revenue collection and surveillance around the borders.
The ceremony was honoured by the deputy controllers general, air force chiefs and members of paramilitary organizations.

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