Lockdown Breach: Wike Bars Caverton Helicopters from Operations in Rivers State

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Directs LGs bosses to shut airline’s offices in their areas of jurisdiction

By Ndubuisi Michaels

For endangering the lives of Rivers people by its suspicious operations,  the Rivers State Government has declared Caverton Helicopters,  persona non grata in the state.

In a State Broadcast on Wednesday,  Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Ezenwo Wike directed Local Government Council Chairmen to close the Offices of Caverton Helicopters across the state.

He said: “We appreciate the need to protect business interests and operations in the State and we will do whatever that is required to ensure that no business is unduly affected by the measureswe have taken to combat the Coronavirus.

“However, we shall not welcome businesses or companiesthat value their business activities or profit more than or in cleardisregard of the lives and health of our people.

“By its actions Caverton  Helicopters have  clearly  shown that Rivers lives do not matter to it. It is an enemy of Rivers people and is hereby declared  persona non grata  in Rivers State.
“With this declaration Caverton Helicopters can only choose to operate in any part of Rivers State at its own risk as Local Government Chairmen have been directed to close their offices and prevent their operations.”

Wike said that the   highly   insensitive   and   provocative   actions   of Caverton   Helicopters   took   place   in   the   midst   of   credible intelligence    reports   about   plans   by   enemies of the state  to   traffic carriers of the dreaded Coronavirus into the State.

He said: “Their morbid intention is to create panic by pushing up the infection rate and rubbish the robust measures we have since put in place to cut off the spread of the virus and keep our State and our citizens safe and secure from the ravaging pandemic.

“As expected, and required by our laws, the crew and the passengers   on board   that   ill-fated   helicopter   were   promptly arrested   by   the   law   enforcement   personnel   and   are   being prosecuted   before   our   courts   in   line   with   our   COVID-19 Declarations and Containment Orders.

 “Caverton Helicopters claimed to have gotten permits from some   federal   agencies   to   fly   passengers   into   the   State, which never bordered to take the State Government into confidence in issuing such permits in violation of our laws and containment orders.

“While  federal agencies reserve the right to issue flight permits to airline operators to fly into Rivers State, we insist that the State Government must equally be informed and taken into confidence in the process.

“This is the only way to avoid suspicion, conflicts of interests and   unnecessary  bickering   between   the   State   and  Federal Governments in our collective efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.”

Governor Wike added:  “Let me reiterate that for us, COVID-19 in Rivers State is a matter of life and  death, and  we  will   never succumb   to any blackmail   from   any   person,   institution   or   authority   in   our determination   to   protect   our citizens   and   our   State  from   the spread of this deadly virus.

“Since we triggered the law on Caverton Helicopters, we have   seen   and   read   all   sorts   of   hilarious   and   frivolous comments,   particularly   on   social   media, questioning   the propriety of our actions against the carrier and its passengers.

“At   this   time   and   under   the   present   situation, nothing;   I repeat; nothing, is more important to us than to safeguard thelives and wellbeing of our citizens no matter the cost, and we shall spare no efforts to achieve this singular most fundamental objective of our Government.”

The Rivers State Governor said that the action of Caverton Helicopters when they conveyed  passengers of doubtful Coronavirus  status into   the   State  was  in   flagrant   violation   of   the State   Government’s   total   restriction   on   flights   into   Port Harcourt.
“We   have   sworn   to   protect   the   lives   and   advance   the wellbeing our people, and nothing can stop us from taking all necessary   steps   to   prevent   or   stop   any   person,   action   or activities that would endanger the lives of our citizens,” he said.

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