Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has described the statement credited to the Minister of Transportation and Former Rivers State Governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi as political lies.
In a statement sent by Wike’s media men, the governor said: “ Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the Minister of Transportation and Former Rivers State Governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi wherein he claimed that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was responsible for his inability to clear the two Bell 412 helicopters.
That allegation is totally false, baseless and unfounded as the documents regarding the communication between the Rivers State Government and the relevant Federal Agencies on the said helicopters are in the public domain.
“From the statement released by the Former Rivers State Governor, the Jonathan administration through the office of the the NSA paid $15m, which was half of the cost of the two armoured helicopters.
“ At no point in the entire transaction did Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike then a Minister interfer with the process of the acquisition of the helicopters. He had no reason to stop a process for which the then Jonathan administration committed $15m as admitted by Mr Amaechi, a politician who is notorious for his obsession for falsehood.
“Furthermore, contrary to Amaechi’s claim that his administration improved security in the state, his administration was compelled to procure armoured helicopters because of the porous security nature of the state at the time.
“Despite the Former Governor’s refusal to formally hand over, Governor Wike embarked on due diligence, discovered the transaction and followed up the interest of Rivers State and the security of the people.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took proactive steps to clear the helicopters for security purposes, but the concerned Federal agencies deliberately blocked the State Government.
As a result of the commitment of the Rivers State Governor to the security of lives and property devoid of partisan politics , he applied to the President for the two Bell 412 helicopters to be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force for custody and management.
“ This patriotic request of Governor Wike was approved by the National Security Adviser (NSA) vide a letter dated November 3, 2016 and signed on behalf of the NSA by Brigadier General AT Famadewa.
“Despite the documentary approval by the NSA for the transfer of the two Bell 412 helicopters to the Nigerian Airforce, it was shocking that the Nigerian Custom Service had to stage a drama that the helicopters were imported by unknown persons and that the service had resolved to transfer same to the Nigerian Air Force.
“Mr Amaechi’s press release filled with bitterness, lies and political blackmail is a proof that he was behind this crime against the people of Rivers State. It is sad that the former governor would take his hatred for the people of Rivers State to the level of masterminding the diversion of security helicopters paid for with Rivers funds, which he now wants to be used in other states.
“That the security helicopters were hijacked by the Nigerian Customs Service at a facility under the control of the failed former governor shows the level he is ready to go as regards the politicisation of security with a view to attaining unpatriotic goals.
“Since Mr Amaechi left office in 2015, he has been sponsoring crime and criminality in Rivers State with a view to creating the environment for the declaration of State of Emergency on Rivers State. However, he has continued to fail because the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is always ahead of him through the initiation and sustenance of a sound security architecture.
“Despite the fact that the former governor’s press release was filled with falsehood, one point has been established. The two Bell 412 Helicopters belong to the Rivers State Government. The drama staged by the Nigerian Custom Service and the Nigerian Air Force was therefore unnecessary and unpatriotic .