Wike sacks Caverton Helicopters from Rivers over unsafe operations

By AdvocateNews on 09/04/2020

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Wednesday ordered the closure of Caverton Helicopters operations from Rivers state, over alleged unsafe business practice against the state’s Executive Order.

The Rivers State Government had on Tuesday, 7 2020, arraigned two pilots and 10 passengers of the air transport operator at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court which remanded all the defendants till May 19, 2020, for the commencement of trial.

The state also ordered for immediate COVID-19 tests on the accused to ascertain their status.

For allegedly endangering the lives of the people of the state, the governor declared Carveton Helicopters,  Persona Non Grata in the state, saying the government cannot welcome companies that value their activities and profit more than the lives of the people.

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 measures we have taken to combat the Coronavirus.

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

“By its actions Carverton 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 Carverton 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.”

Governor Wike said that the   highly   insensitive   and   provocative   actions   of Calverton   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.

 “Calverton 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 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 Calverton 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 the lives 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 Calverton 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.

Posted 09/04/2020 07:44:53 AM


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