Two pilots of Carveton Helicopter have been apprehended by the police in the River States for flying in expatriates to the State, hence violating the ongoing lockdown of state boundaries, a measure to fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
This was revealed by the Rivers Taskforce on the enforcement of directives against Coronavirus.
The apprehended pilots have been reportedly sent to the Rivers Police Command where the State Governor, Nyesom Wike paid them a visit to evaluate the situation update.
Recall Business Influx reported that the Governor in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in Rivers State, had initially declared the state’s lockdown and had ordered all forms of entrance and exist into the state to cease operation while canceling social and religious activities during this unprecedented time of coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Wike, however, expressed concern over the immigrants whose identities are yet to be discovered and has thus mandated the company to provide them for immediate medical test to confirm their status.
According to Mustapha Dandaura, Commissioner of Police Rivers State, while ascertaining the arrest of the Cerveton helicopter pilots, explained that an intelligence report was received from the Airforce base by the NAF commander about the aircraft’s landing which led to the governor being alerted. He said that the governor had earlier given orders that no aircraft is permitted to land in the state without clearance.
“Recall that when this coronavirus issues started, there was a ban of local flight from coming into the State. Since that time we have been monitoring the activities of these private airlines, ” he said.
“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 they are they 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 the ground to ensure that Rivers State enjoys a peaceful atmosphere throughout this pandemic period”, he explained.
According to the governor at the office of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, he mentioned that the status of the expatriates was not confirmed before they landed.
However, he added that he is willing and ready to his immunity as the governor in order to uphold the law against prosecutors and offenders.
“I am willing to drop my immunity as a governor as far as this case is concerned. I am ready to be a prosecution witness, ” Wike said.
He also expressed his displease at the intentional violation of the lockdown order by the company, stating that the aircraft would only be granted permission to land in Rivers State on the condition that the passengers will be tested and their status confirmed.
He said: “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 the right to close the airport. But I have the right of saying don’t enter my state because we want to know your status.
“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, ” he said.
Furthermore, Wike emphasized the gravity of the COVID-19 while assured that the two pilots have been identified and efforts are already in place to fish out the other passengers as the company and the security operatives to collaborate together to achieve the task. He also assured that the prosecutors will be made to face the law as this will serve as an example of caution.
“I want to say this is a serious matter to us and the 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”.
More so, Governor Nyesom Wike mentioned that the second confirmed case in the state is a 62-year old returnee from the United Kingdom, who entered into Rivers State from Lagos State.
He also added while confirming that the index case has recovered and has been discharged from the isolation center in Eleme.
“The positive index case of the virus we had by the grace of God has been discharged. What we have now is another case of a 62 years old person who came in from the UK and landed in Lagos and then moved to Port Harcourt, ” said the governor.