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Okon faults FG’s defence of Caverton Helicopters

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Nyesom Wike

Rivers to set up the boundaries task force

Backing Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s detention of Caverton Helicopters pilots, Senator Anietie Okon has described the Federal Government’s defence as deceitful, dubious and malicious.

In a statement made available to newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart said the Federal Government should have known that Rivers government had locked down the state, therefore should have informed the governor of such flight coming into the state.

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He asserted that the defence seemed to ridicule the state’s laws.

“It is indisputably deceitful, dubious and malicious for the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation, to authorise flights to the state without correspondence with the Rivers government as regards the freight and movement of these workers in the state, knowing that the state government had proactively imposed a state-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease in the state.

“Does this mean the legislations of the Rivers State House of Assembly are not recognised in Nigeria? How does the minister intend to present a defence regarding the insubordination of the passengers and crew of the?” he queried.

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According to him, no one should be swept aside “especially in times like these where our unity and strength are tested.”

Meanwhile, Rivers government will establish a task force to enforce the restriction of movement in and out of the state, amid concern that some security agencies might sabotage the fight against COVID-19 in the state.

Governor Wike said the task force would be deployed to the state’s boundaries to ensure that Rivers people are protected from the pandemic.

He stated this yesterday while signing the third Executive Order, RVSG-02 No. 3 – 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

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The governor said he was spurred to establish the task force because of the likelihood of sabotage from federal security agencies.

Already, security agencies at the various boundaries of the state are being accused of collecting gratification from motorists coming in and out of Rivers.

“This is the third Executive Order that I will be signing since the coronavirus pandemic started. This third order is very important. We suspect there will be sabotage on the part of the security agencies. That is why we are appointing a task force to man our borders. We owe our people a duty to protect them. There is likely to be sabotage. Our task force will be at the borders to protect our people,” he said.

However, Wike dismissed claims that it was the intense pressure by Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) that led to the release of 22 Exxon Mobil staff that were arrested in the state last Thursday for contravening the restriction of movement order.

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