The era of unidentified choppers flying into and out of Nigerian airspace may be over, as the Federal Government has engaged the services of a private security firm to monitor the country’s airspace.
The firm, Naebi Dynamic Services Limited, is also engaged by the government to block the leakages in helicopter revenues in the offshore and onshore areas of the country.
The Managing Director of the firm, Mr Stanley Chike, told journalists in Lagos on Monday that the issue of insecurity had caused setbacks for the growth of the Nigerian economy. He, however, assured that the partnership with the Federal Government would help to reduce such dastardly acts in the country.
To make this work, Mr Chike explained that the firm had procured state-of-the-art equipment to monitor the movement of helicopters across the country, especially in the Niger Delta region which he described as volatile.
He regretted that many of the choppers currently flying within the country are not captured because of inadequate equipment. However, the engagement of the firm would help to address that lacuna.
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He also said the company was partnering with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to deploy some equipment to enhance security and revenue generation for the country.
Chike declared that the initiative is an internationally accepted standard and appealed to the International Oil Companies (IOC) to cooperate with the firm, as contained in the amended NAMA Act
He said: “Before you talk about charges, there is work to be done. My assignment is to improve the navigational system first. We are not just coming here to collect money from the government. You will agree with me that most of these helicopters fly below the radar. You can’t capture them, but you can capture them when you buy a radar system that will make it easier for you to capture them.
“We are building a multinational control room centre to record how many choppers fly in and fly out of this country. When they move from Point A to B, we can monitor them. Partnering with NAMA is to improve an existing system. And in doing this, a lot of money has to be sunk into it. You will do Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT).
“With the control room system, we will be able to monitor the activities of choppers and we can point out where we have issues. From our feasibility studies, we noticed a lot of gaps in the system, which would be addressed with this system we are coming up with.
“At times, a chopper company will tell you they did just five movements; meanwhile, they did an additional 10, but who keeps the record of such? We are not coming to arrest you, but we will hand it over to the appropriate office for record purposes.”