Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has attacked the Federal Government, in what he described as “reckless politicization” of the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic over perceived media falsehood by the Minister of Aviation Alhaji Hadi Sirika, in the arrest and detention of two pilots and 10 passengers of Caverton Helicopters in the state.
Wike made this known through the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim.
He alarmed that the Aviation ministry alleged sponsorship of media campaigns against Rivers poses threats to the lives of over six million Rivers populace.
He said, “Contrary to the view by Sirika, the two pilots of Caverton Helicopters and the 10 passengers were not arrested because they operated a permit granted them by the Ministry.
“They were arrested because they constantly contravened the Executive Order by the Governor of Rivers which requires that everyone coming into the state for essential duties must subject themselves to mandatory health checks to ascertain their coronavirus status.
“Before their arrests, Rivers Government had issued several warnings to Caverton and other operators to ensure that their pilots and passengers are tested by Rivers Health Authorities.
“Caverton Helicopters disregarded the warnings. At the last count, Caverton Helicopters ferried over 220 passengers into the state.”
Meanwhile, lawyer and former President, Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has expressed solidarity with Governor Nyesom Wike over the Caverton saga, accusing the federal government of the insensitivity to lives in the Niger Delta whenever it concerns its oil interest in the region.