The arrest and detention of passengers and two pilots of Caverton Helicopters have been condemned by the federal government.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, shut down the aircraft and ordered the arrest of the passengers and pilots for flouting the Coronavirus lockdown in order to curb the spread of the disease.
This news medium had also reported that the government subsequently arraigned them before at a magistrate’s court and remanded in prison till May.
The airline also condemned the arrest and detention of the pilots, saying aviation authorities granted it permission to fly into Rivers state.
However, speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, berated the Rivers state government for arresting the pilots and passengers.
The minister said the federal government would ensure the release of the pilots and passengers legally.
“Civil aviation is on the exclusive list; item number three there. So, no other person but the federal government has the authority to legislate upon. So also that of the Armed Forces also on the exclusive list. There’s no other person but the federal government that has the legal right to legislate upon,” he said.
“So, the air force officer who jumped the commander-in-chief and ignored; who also jumped the chief of defence staff and ignored; who jumped the chief of air staff and ignored to call a governor to come into the property of the federal government to … make an arrest has exhibited dangerous ignorance and incompetence, grossly. So, the police that followed the governor to go in there have also exhibited dangerous ignorance from our perspective in civil aviation.
“Whether we gave approval for the flight, yes we did, and we did in the national interest. All of those flights are for the purposes of improving the national revenue, to which Rivers State is the greatest beneficiary.”