Government official inspects documents as private jets are parked at an airport.

FG Summons 80 Private Jet Owners Over Import Duty Papers

The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated a new verification exercise targeting improperly imported private jets. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has summoned 80 private jet owners to present their aircraft import documents at the NCS headquarters in Abuja. This exercise aims to ensure proper importation and maximize revenue collection.

Key Takeaways

  • The verification exercise will last for 30 days.
  • 80 private jet owners are expected to present their import documents.
  • The exercise aims to identify improperly imported private jets and ensure payment of mandatory import duties.
  • Non-compliant operators may face grounding of their jets.


The Nigerian Customs Service has launched a fresh move to clamp down on operators of improperly imported private jets. This comes after a similar action was suspended over a year ago. The government has been attempting to recover billions of naira in unpaid import duties from private jet operators who have exploited regulatory loopholes.

Verification Exercise

The special aircraft import verification exercise is scheduled to begin on Wednesday and will last for 30 days. The NCS has issued a public notice inviting private jet owners to present the following documents:

  • Aircraft Certificate of Registration
  • Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Flight Operation Compliance Certificate
  • NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate
  • NCAA’s Permit for Non-Commercial Flights
  • Temporary Import Permit (if applicable)

Compliance and Penalties

Many private jet operators have used Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) to avoid paying the statutory 5% import duty. The TIP is valid for an initial period of 12 months and can be extended by six months twice. However, several operators have continued to extend the TIP indefinitely, prompting the NCS to take action.

Experts estimate that this new initiative could fetch the government up to N100 billion in unpaid import duties, especially with the high exchange rate. This includes a 25% penalty fee for delayed payments in addition to the 5% import duty.

Legal Challenges

In the past, private jet operators have resisted efforts to collect import duties, with some taking legal action. In 2021, about 17 owners of foreign-registered private jets sued the Federal Government to stop the grounding of their planes over alleged import duty default. The NCS had directed relevant aviation authorities to ground the affected private jets, but inter-agency disagreements prevented the action.


The new leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service appears determined to ensure compliance with import duty regulations. The verification exercise is expected to lead to the payment of mandatory import duties, and non-compliant operators may have their jets grounded. The outcome of this exercise will be closely watched as it unfolds over the next 30 days.


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