The curfew imposed on the 23 local government areas of Rivers State by the state government frustrates international flight operations at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
LEADERSHIP observed that travellers who used to patronise the Port Harcourt International Airport now travel to Lagos to use the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Governor Nyesom Wike had on May 2, 2021 imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the entire state following attacks on security checkpoints and formations across the state leading to the killing of no fewer than 12 security personnel.
Wike later reviewed the curfew on Port Harcourt metropolis, comprising of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas to between 8:30pm and 6:00am while the remaining 21 local government areas, including Ikwerre, where the Port Harcourt International Airport is located, remains at 7:00pm to 6:00am.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, the airport’s assistant general manager (Operations), Kunle Akinbode, said apart from the international flights, the curfew was affecting every other operations at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Akinbode said: “Of course, the curfew is affecting international flights because we are in Ikwerre local government area. It is affecting all our operations.”
However, Governor Wike has dismissed calls for the lifting of the curfew which has been on for more than five weeks. He said the government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
Speaking in a state-wide broadcast, Wike explained that the existing curfew in the state will not last one day beyond necessary and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
The governor said: “Government is not unmindful of the economic effect these measures will have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
“However, government is merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralised.
“As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks,” he said.