Of Security Helicopters and the Custom-made Lies


There is no gainsaying that leaders of the All Progressives Congress have a penchant for lies. Their lack of the capacity for truth is well known. If not, why would the Nigerian Custom Service and the Nigerian Air Force gather journalists for the sole purpose of churning out lies that belittle the entire country? Since May 2015, lying has become the nation’s official policy.

It is sad that the APC government has dragged the entire national security structure very low with orchestrated lies.

Several newspapers on Friday, January 28, reported that the Custom Service impounded two helicopters worth N9.7 billion. The Custom Service claimed that the owner of the helicopters remained unknown as they handed the security helicopters to the Nigerian Air Force.

The APC script writers did not think through this lie before getting the Customs and Air Force to act. Why on earth would the Customs tell journalists that they did not know who imported the two armoured helicopters?

On January 29, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, a senior member of the APC government and former Rivers State governor said he bought the two armoured helicopters. His statement came after the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, exposed the lies of the Customs Service through the release of inter-governmental communication involved in the purchase of the aircraft.

Amaechi blamed Wike and the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, for the non-clearance of the helicopters. Luckily, Amaechi admitted that Jonathan paid $15 million for the said aircraft. In his desperation to defend the lies of the APC government, he resorted to political blackmail and illogical mudslinging.
But nobody is deceived. The funds used to purchase the armoured helicopters belong to Rivers State. The former governor said he invested the resources at the time in the purchase of the helicopters to improve security in the face of growing militancy and criminality.

Rivers State is fortunate that at the close of Amaechi’s era, a transparent and pro-people leader took over the reins of leadership. The development deficits of the state are being diligently addressed across the state.
Development projects have been liberalised. Every local government area, irrespective of the political affiliations of its leaders, now has access to good governance. State-wide consultation is taking place on a regular basis and the governor is always at home.

The Rivers variant of the Amnesty Programme has been a huge success, with a state in the South-west already emulating Wike. The funding of the security agencies is second to none in the country. Security in Rivers State can only get better.

Wike has become a development revelation, a reference point in the face of unbridled negative propaganda sponsored by the APC. He is like the proverbial pot of soup that boils daily on the stove to the consternation of the jealous neighbour. The more they plot, the more Wike evaporates the aroma of good governance. The more they struggle to distract him, the more focused he gets.
Is it not surprising that nobody is holding the Customs Service and the Nigerian Air Force to account? Despite Amaechi’s admission, the media and the civil society have remained quiet.

The planned assault on Rivers State died on arrival. The propaganda attack dogs have been called back. The documents of the transactions silenced the evil planners.
It is necessary to bring to the fore how Wike busted the custom-made lies of the Nigerian Customs Service. After the ill-fated and poorly scripted press conference in Lagos on the two armoured helicopters, the governor brought the service back to reality. From the documents released, it was revealed that contrary to the claims by the Customs Service, they were aware of the transaction. They knew the owners of the helicopters. It was obvious that the Presidency was also aware, having permitted the handover of the security choppers to the air force.

For example, through a letter with reference number ,RVSG/GH/ACM/AF/VOL.1/001, dated March 14, 2016, Wike wrote to the Chief of Air Staff: “In view of the special nature of the operations for which they were acquired, the Rivers State Government considers it necessary to place and or transfer the aircrafts to the custody and management of the Nigerian Air Force.

“It is therefore, my pleasure to grant the Nigerian Air Force consent to take possession and management of the two Bell 412 helicopters.
“The Rivers State Government will execute necessary documentation on the management of the aircrafts in due course.”

Similarly, the office of the National Security Adviser vide a letter with reference number NSA/452/S and signed by Brigadier General AT FAMADEWA for the National Security Adviser on November 3, 2016 to the Chief of Air Staff and copied Wike declared thus: “I am directed to respectfully refer to your correspondence NA/905/D/CAS dated 21 April 2016 on subject. I am to convey the National Security Adviser’s approval for NAF to take custody and manage the 2 x BELL 412 helicopters as requested by Rivers State Government.”

The above quoted texts of the said documents are explicit on what transpired.
With the above patriotic communication between the Rivers State Government and the federal agencies, what then went wrong? Why did the APC government resolve to throw caution to the wind and embarrass the security agencies by getting them tainted in unnecessary politicisation of Rivers security?

This custom-made lie was initiated for political reason. To ensure that even if the aircraft were handed over to the Air Force as requested by Wike and approved by the Presidency, the hand over process was done in a manner to exclude Rivers State.
It is pertinent to advise the spin doctors of the APC that the time for unnecessary politicking is far gone. They should emulate Wike and deliver on democracy dividends. Of what benefit will it be to the people that every single aspect of national life is politicised?

The sad aspect of the penchant to lie is that they show no remorse when caught. Simply because they control sections of the traditional media, they start throwing tantrums.

As they throw these deliberate tantrums, their sponsored hands in the traditional media divert attention from the obvious fraud.
The bottom-line of the entire engagement is: Wike formally handed over the aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force through the Presidency after the APC government refused to grant waiver for same to be cleared for security purposes. The deliberate falsehood that has now rubbished what is left of the Customs Service reputation may never be investigated.

In saner climes, all those involved in this official misinformation would have lost their jobs by now. Instead, the matter has been swept under the carpet.
–– Nwakaudu is Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media.