In what appears to be a shock to the people of Rivers State, the State Governor Calls For Airline Boycott. The reason for the boycott may be genuine, but this is the first time a state governor is calling for the boycott of Airline operator.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria has threaten to stop flight operations into Airports in Rivers State if the State government fails to release the detained Caverton pilots in 24 hours. The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers [NAAPE] has also said to mobilize all pilots both local and international to boycott flying into the state now and post-lock-down following the detention of the pilots or the government should release the pilots and made an apology, for keeping the state interest at heart without thinking of them.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, had on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the two pilots for flying into the state despite an existing lock-down order. The President of NAAPE, Galadima Abednego, stated that the efforts of the Federal Government in ensuring that Nigerians were well protected from the corona virus pandemic was commendable, but sees the action of Governor Wike who have the interest of his people at heart as power tussle between State and national level.
According to Abednego, he sees the detention as an unnecessary humiliation and harassment for doing a service that is essential and vital to the survival of the nation’s economy without having the intention of the citizens as his utmost importance.
He said, “It is a fact that the flight was duly authorized by all agencies involved from the point of law. One wonders why power tussle between the federal and state governments will override the national interest.
It’s of important to recall that a 14 days statewide lock down aimed at limiting the spread of corona virus disease (COVID-19) in Rivers State as enforced by the chief security officer, Governor Nyesom Wike is still on, in order to curb the menace that the virus may pose to the State.
“NAAPE sees the actions of Rivers State Government as an unnecessary attack on their members and therefore demand an immediate release of the pilots and an apology from the governor of Rivers State failing which they will direct all pilots both local and international to boycott flying into Rivers State now and post-lock down.”
While Caverton Helicopters had on Tuesday said the arrest and detention of the pilots by the Rivers State Government is unjust. Since, the Federal Government gave their approval for Caverton and some other airlines to operate essential flight services during the lock-down.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during a briefing to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Wednesday said that, “the Federal Government will do everything possible to ensure the release of the pilots and continued operation in the interest of the nation”.
The interest of the nation should be healthy state of the common Nigerian who lives on her daily bread on daily basis.
Its worthy of note that have in mind that Rivers State recorded another corona virus victim from returnees which if not managed well will lead to more spreading of corona virus disease (COVID-19) in Rivers State and Nigeria in general.