The air force is expected to make available on request 2 of its pilots to assist with the operation of NCS Bell-427 helicopters.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have agreed to partner in order to strengthen border security and stem the tide of banditry and smuggling activities around Nigerian borders and entry points.
NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
According to the Gabkwet, the air force is expected to make available on request 2 of its pilots to assist with the operation of NCS Bell-427 helicopters.
The statement read, “The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have agreed to synergize their efforts towards strengthening border security and stemming the tide of banditry and smuggling activities around Nigerian borders and entry points. To this end, the NAF is expected to make available on request 2 of its pilots to assist with the operation of NCS Bell-427 helicopters and by so doing complement the manpower of NCS Air-Wing.
“This information is part of the content of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently consummated between both organizations. The MoU specifically sets out the terms of a joint commitment, which is expected to enhance efficiency in the areas of port and border patrols to curtail activities of smuggling syndicates across the country.”
Speaking at the event, which was held at the NCS Headquarters, Abuja, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, who was represented by the Director of Operations, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Nnamdi Ananaba stated that the NAF will continue to encourage partnership with other security agencies as well as provide aircraft maintenance support so as to enhance the fight against all forms of insecurity in the country.
He added that the NAF partnership with the NCS was a clear indication of the need for synergy and inter-agency cooperation, particularly between military and para-military organizations.
“The MoU will go a long way in building on the already existing cordial and cooperative relationship as well as ensure seamless collaboration between our organizations,” he said.
Air Vice-Marshal Ananaba went on to note that the current security challenges in the country call for the need to bridge the gap and divide that disconnects the military and other government agencies in order to work towards achieving a common goal.
The Comptroller General of NCS, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), in his remarks, noted that the partnership with the NAF will no doubt improve NCS’ air operations and anti-smuggling efforts particularly as it intensifies efforts in checkmating small arms proliferation across the country.
Ali also thanked the CAS for offering to deploy NAF pilots to NCS’ air operations wing, so as to enhance its anti-smuggling operations.
He also called on the NAF and other Services to consider partnering with the NCS in the areas of capacity building and purposeful manpower development to improve the output of NCS personnel.
Specifically, the customs boss requested the assistance of the armed forces of Nigeria in the training of NCS personnel in para-trooping and other related fields. This, according to him, became necessary in view of inaccessible areas used as smuggling routes which are mostly unmotorable and difficult to navigate, hence the need for the NCS to begin to consider inserting its troops in these locations via para-dropping.
The MoU signing ceremony had in attendance key management staff of NCS as well as senior officers from the NAF.