Seventeen private jet owners, including Nigerian billionaires, leading commercial banks, and other ultra-high net worth individuals have sued the Nigerian government over import duties totaling more than N30 billion ($67.5 million).
The legal action, which is part of efforts to prevent the government from grounding their planes, comes after the government approved the Nigeria Customs Service’s decision to ground 91 private jets belonging to wealthy Nigerians in November 2021 due to alleged refusal to pay $67.5 million in import duties.
Customs, acting under the auspices of the federal government, has been working hard in recent weeks to perfect the process of grounding private jets whose owners failed to pay the import duty.
In response, the jet owners sued the government through the foreign shell companies and trustees through which the foreign-registered jets were purchased, requesting a judicial review of whether or not it is legal for them to pay the contentious import duty on their private jets.
Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, and Cloud Services Limited are among the applicants.
MHS Aviation GmbH, Murano Trust Company Limited, Panther Jets, SAIB LLC, Empire Aviation Group, and Osa Aviation Limited are some of the other companies.
Respondents in the court documents included Customs, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency .
It is unknown who owns this private jet, but it is worth noting that Nigeria’s richest woman Folorunsho Alakija, the vice chairman of Famfa Oil and the owner of one of Nigeria’s most productive oil blocks, owns a Bombardier Global Express XRS with the registration number “VP-CEO.”
Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote jets around the world on his Bombardier Global Express XRS, and Nigerian energy and telecom billionaire Mike Adenuga owns both a Bombardier Global Express XRS and a Bombardier Challenger 604.