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–directs Local Government Council Chairmen to close all Carveton Helicopters Offices in the state

For endangering the lives of Rivers people by its suspicious operations,  the Rivers State Government has declared Carveton Helicopters,  Persona Non Grata in the state.

In a State Broadcast on Wednesday,  Rivers State Governor,  Nyesom Ezenwo Wike directed Local Government Council Chairmen to close the Offices of Carveton Helicopters across the state.

He said: "We appreciate the need to protect business interests and operations in the State and we will do whatever that is required to ensure that no business is unduly affected by the measures we have taken to combat the Coronavirus.

"However, we shall not welcome businesses or companies that value their business activities or profit more than or in clear disregard of the lives and health of our people.

"By its actions Calverton Helicopters have  clearly shown that Rivers lives do not matter to it. It is an enemy of Rivers people and is hereby declared  persona non grata  in Rivers State.

 "With this declaration Calverton Helicopters can only chose 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."

Governor Wike said that the highly insensitive   and provocative actions of Calverton   Helicopters took place in the midst of   credible intelligence reports about plans by   enemies of the state to traffic carriers of the dreaded Coronavirus into the State.

He said: "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.

" As expected, and required by our laws, the crew and the passengers on board that   ill-fated helicopter were promptly arrested by   the law enforcement personnel and are   being prosecuted before our courts in line with our   COVID 19 Declarations and Containment Orders.

 "Calverton Helicopters claimed to have gotten permits from some  federal agencies to fly   passengers into the State , which never bordered to take the State Government into confidence in issuing such permits in violation of our laws and containment orders.

"While  federal agencies reserve the right to issue flight permits to airline operators to fly into Rivers State, we insist that the State Government must equally be informed and taken into confidence in the process.

"This the only way to avoid suspicion, conflicts of interests and unnecessary bickering   between the State and  Federal Governments in our collective efforts to combat the spread of COVID 19 in the country."

Governor Wike added:  "Let me reiterate that for us, COVID 19 in Rivers State is a matter of life and  death,   and  we  will   never succumb   to any blackmail   from   any   person,   institution   or   authority   in   our determination   to   protect   our citizens   and   our   State  from   the spread of this deadly virus.

"Since we triggered the law on Calverton Helicopters, we have   seen   and   read   all   sorts   of   hilarious   and   frivolous comments,   particularly   on   social   media,   questioning   the propriety of our actions against the carrier and its passengers

"At   this   time   and   under   the   present   situation,   nothing;   I repeat; nothing, is more important to us than to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of our citizens no matter the cost, and we shall spare no efforts to achieve this singular most fundamental objective of our Government."

The Rivers State Governor said that the action of Calverton Helicopters when they conveyed 
passengers of doubtful Coronavirus   status   into   the   State  was  in   flagrant   violation   of   the State   Government’s   total   restriction   on   flights   into   Port Harcourt.

"We   have   sworn   to   protect   the   lives   and   advance   the wellbeing of our people, and nothing can stop us from taking all necessary   steps   to   prevent   or   stop   any   person,   action   or activities that would endanger the lives of our citizens," he said.

Simeon Nwakaudu,
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, 
Electronic Media.
8th April, 2020.

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