The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has explained why he ordered the arrest of two pilots in the state.
Two pilots were arrested by the police on Tuesday at the Nigerian Air Force base in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on the orders of Mr Wike.
The two men, a pilot and a co-pilot, work with Caverton, a logistics company which provides support services for oil and gas companies in Nigeria, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Total, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron.
Mr Wike, who has barred vehicles and flights from entering Rivers as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, said the pilots “illegally” flew a helicopter belonging to Caverton into the state.
“Nobody says that you can’t go to any state but now we are in a war situation,” a Government House statement quoted the governor as saying, while reacting to the development.
The statement signed by Mr Wike’s spokesperson, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the governor made the remark at the police headquarters in Port Harcourt when he met with the Commissioner of Police in Rivers, Mustapha Dandaura, over the arrest of the pilots.
“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 in identifying them,” Mr Wike said.
Mr Wike said he does not have the right to close the airport in Rivers but that he has the right to prevent people from entering the state.
He said the state government did not know the health status of the pilots and those who were aboard the flight, if they were positive or negative of the coronavirus.