Wike orders Caverton Helicopters out of Rivers

Nyesom Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has ordered Caverton Helicopters Ltd to leave the state following the remand of pilots who flew into the state during lockdown.

The governor had ordered the arrest of the pilots for “illegally” flying an aircraft into the state despite restriction of movement or flight because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Wike, in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, asked the company to leave the state.

“Caverton Helicopters have clearly shown that Rivers lives do not matter to it,” he said. “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.”

He added: “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.”

A magistrate’s court had on Tuesday ordered that the pilots be remanded until May.

Caverton Helicopters, however, said it got the permission of aviation authorities to fly into the state.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, earlier on Wednesday criticised the governor for ordering the arrest of the pilots, saying aviation matters were strictly on exclusive list of the Federal Government.