By Lawani Mikairu
Caverton Helicopters yesterday appealed to the federal government to prevail on the Governor of River State, Mr Nyesom Wike to release its pilots who have been remanded at the Port Harcourt prison. The governor accused the pilots of flying expatriates into River State without involving the state government in the testing and approval of the coronavirus status of the expatriates.
In a statement yesterday night by Caverton management, the company said:
“ At the start of the COVID -19 lockdown, we received a letter from our client stating that they have been given approval/ exemption to fly and continue operations. We (Caverton along with three other companies) also received approval from the Minister of Aviation to fly only essential services, mainly in the Oil and Gas industry”.
“ Lastly, we got another approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to fly for this same oil and gas sector. We have been flying along with these guidelines for the past seven days”.
“Today, we were informed that the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike was coming to address the operators in Port Harcourt and our people waited. But on arriving, the governor directed two of our pilots to be taken to CID where they were told to write statements”.
“Despite all pleas by our lawyers who showed all the relevant documents, they were taken to the magistrate court and charged. At the court, our lawyers also presented all the documentations approving us to fly by the federal government but the case was closed and the pilots have been remanded in Port Harcourt prison till the 19th May.”
“We appeal to the federal government to urge the Rivers State government to release our pilots who violated no law and are being unduly punished for reasons we still do not understand,” the statement said.