Air surveillance planes which would have been used to combat terrorism valued at over N6 billion belonging to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have been abandoned in Kaduna State.
It was gathered that the planes includes; Dornier – 228 with registration No 5N-AUW valued at $10m (N1.98 billion) which underwent C of A check in addition to 17000 mandatory inspection in June 2013 and Dornier – 228 with registration No 5N-AUZ which is configured for mission patrol, and equipped with on-board stabilized Long-range Observation System, SLOS, Stabilized Thermal Imaging System (STIS) and with special aerial cameras.
It was gathered that Nigeria paid $10m (N1.89 billion) to acquire it in 2005 but the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has abandoned the planes in Kaduna which would have been used for Air Surveillance facilities and the fight against Boko Haram at the Border Patrol Division.
Even though NIS Spokesman, Ekpedeme King could not be reached, sources said the new CG, Martin Kure Abeshi, might not be aware of what is happening in Kaduna.
Pulse gathered that another Dornier – 228 with registration No 5N-AUY which is a replica of Dornier – 228 with registration No 5N-AUW and Dornier – 228 with registration No 5N-AUZ has been abandoned much longer with its aerial surveillance equipments removed.
According to some documents obtained, the Air Surveillance is estimated to have cost the country another $10 million (N1.97 billion).
“A clear photograph of anything - animal and objects can be obtained by this aircraft in clear high resolution colour pictures on-the-spot and sent to anyone waiting for such information”, a security expert said.
It was gathered that the planes can identify movements of criminals, terrorists, spotting oil thieves, tracking human traffickers along the borders; pipeline vandals and camps belonging to outlaws groups, it was gathered.
Some retired officials of the NIS said the planes and personnel in the Division were instrumental in identifying 1,200 illegal smuggling routes into the country.
He said even the department at the NIS which has been literary abandoned, played roles in Nigeria military operations in Chad and Cameron in the ‘90s and early 2000s, including the identification of illegal mining activities and spotting of various criminal camps in the past.
“What baffles us as security consultants is that so much money had been spent on training and retraining of its personnel in some of the best institutions in the world handling such services, yet after the facilities where procured, they were successfully used in a relatively peace time, but abandoned at a time their uses are most needed like now,” a security expert, Uche Ndaguba, told journalists in Kaduna.
It was gathered that officers that are suppose to work in the air surveillance department are being owed arrears running over a decade, with no promotion for over ten years.