Executive Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike has ordered the arrest of two Pilots who flew expatriates into the state, defying the lockdown order.
Governor Wike declared a lockdown in Rivers state as a pre-emptive measure in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Angered that the Pilots defied orders, Wike led security operatives to Caverton airline where they were apprehended.
Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mustapha Dandaura, confirmed the pilots’ arrest saying they violated the regulations governing the state thereby endangering the lives of other citizens
He said: “Recall that when this coronavirus issues started, there was ban of local flight from coming into the State. Since that time we have been monitoring the activities of these private airlines.
“To our surprise, we received an intelligence report that an aircraft has landed at the Airforce base and that it was carrying some passengers. We have apprehended the Pilot and the Co-pilot by the NAF commander that’s why they alerted the chief executive Governor of the state who had given an order that on no account should any aircraft land on Rivers State without clearance.
“We don’t know the people they brought. Whether they are positive or negative of Coronavirus. Where are the heading to and where they came from.
“To our surprise this morning this aircraft landed without any signal or permission from the authorities. We don’t know their mission here. Maybe they are coming here to sabotage the activities of the state and the security agencies that are putting efforts on ground to ensure that Rivers State enjoy peaceful atmosphere throughout this pandemic period”.
Wike charged the Police to prosecute Caverton Pilots to court who put the lives of other citizens at risk amid the ongoing battle against COVID-19 Pandemic.
He said: “I want to say this is a serious matter to us and police should handle it seriously. That’s why I am here at the state command to show the seriousness of this issue.
“Nobody says that you can’t go to any state but now we are in a war situation. This Covid-19 is even worse than a conventional war. We want to know who are those people you brought in, so that we have to trace them to know their identity and status. Luckily we have seen the pilot and the co-pilot. They will assist the police to assist in identifying them.
“I have always said that we need the support of everybody. Nobody knows the status of those coming into Port Harcourt. Nobody knows whether they are positive or negative. I have said before that I don’t have right to close the airport. But I have the right of saying don’t enter my state because we want to know your status,”
However, the Governor was curious to know why Caverton Helicopters did not go through proper channels in running their business.
He said: “The company wrote to us about bringing people which I forwarded to Commissioner of Police to perform security checks and the health officials to perform their duties before allowing them to come in. That is for those performing essential duties. But they decided to violate the regulations.”