The Rivers State government has said that it ordered the arrest of two pilots of Caverton Helicopters and it’s passengers, following the failure of the firm to provide them for tests by the state health authorities.
It accused Caverton Helicopters of ferrying over 220 passengers into the state without allowing health professionals of the Rivers State government ascertain their coronavirus status.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, spoke on Saturday while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Nsirim stated that Caverton Helicopters contravened the Executive Order of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, which required that everyone coming into the state for essential duties subject themselves to mandatory health checks to ascertain their coronavirus status.
Nsirim said: “Contrary to the view being peddled by the Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika, the two pilots of Carveton Helicopters and their 10 passengers were not arrested because they operated a permit granted them by the Ministry of Aviation.
“They were arrested because they constantly contravened the Executive Order issued by the Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, which requires that everyone coming into the state for essential duties subject themselves to mandatory health checks to ascertain their coronavirus status.
“Before their arrests, the Rivers State Government issued several warnings to Carveton and other operators to ensure that their pilots and passengers are tested by Rivers State health authorities. Carveton Helicopters disregarded the warnings.
“At the last count, Carveton Helicopters ferried over 220 passengers into the State without allowing health professionals of the Rivers State Government ascertain their coronavirus status. They also refused to avail the State Government their contacts, so they can be traced and tested.”
He restated the commitment of the state governor to the protection of the over 6million citizens of the state, saying that the focus of the state government is to ensure that nobody under the guise of transporting workers on essential services, ferry in persons who will compromise our health system.
The Commissioner said: “The Rivers State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike remains committed to the protection of the over 6million citizens of the state.
“We are not struggling to issue landing permits to airlines, neither are we contending for the control of the air space. Therefore, the issue on ground has nothing to do with the Exclusive List.
“The focus of the Rivers State government is to ensure that nobody under the guise of transporting workers on essential services, ferry in persons who will compromise our health system.
“Therefore, these pilots and passengers must be subjected to health checks before they carry out their responsibilities. That is standard practice.
From all indications, it is clear that there is a plot to compromise the health of Rivers people. Otherwise, what is the motive for the grandstanding and the sponsorship of false editorials to mislead Nigerians by agents of the Federal Government?
“The Rivers State government urges the Federal Government to direct all their business associates to subject themselves to health checks to ascertain their coronavirus status. On this premise, the Rivers State government is not prepared to compromise.”