By Adedayo Akinwale
The Rivers State National Assembly Caucus has accused Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Caverton Helicopters of exposing the lives of Rivers citizen to coronavirus pandemic.
The caucus in a statement jointly signed by Senator George Sekibo and Hon. Kingsley Chinda, cautioned Sirika to desist from reckless actions that were likely to paint President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light.
The caucus said Covid-19 was ravaging the entire globe with nearly 1.5 million people infected and over 80,000 deaths recorded officially thereby compelling all nations to take steps to contain and halt its spread and safe guard the lives of citizens.
The caucus noted that in Nigeria, several states were quite proactive and took steps to contain the pandemic, which Rivers State also did and deriving from the Quarantine Act, issued guidelines and protocols to guide and direct the activities of government and its citizens during the period of the lockdown and restrictions.
It stated: “To the consternation of all, Caverton helicopters was observed sadly to be ferrying passengers into Rivers State from unknown destinations without any declaration of their Covid-19 status and or prior information to the state for its health officers to be on ground.
“This action no doubt endangered the lives of the citizens and all those residing in Rivers State and is contrary to the executive orders RVSG-01, 2020 made pursuant to sections 2,4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q21 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Corona Virus (Covid-19) and other infectious diseases regulations 2020.”
“The Rivers State government resort to the judicial and administrative means to curtail the excesses of Carverton Helicopter rather than be applauded, we observed that an appointee of Mr. President Sen. Hadi Sirika- Minister of Aviation resorted to issuing threats to an elected Governor, Nyesom Wike whose responsibility it is to protect the lives of Rivers people and her residence.”
The caucus said it assumed that Sirika does not understand the times or the true meaning of a federation or may have an ulterior motive to expose the citizens of Rivers State to danger and death from the Covid-19 pandemic.
It stated categorically that every person, including ministers was bound by the laws and regulations of the land.
According to the caucus, It is equally sad and heart wrenching that the minister’s attempted justification of his desire to open the doors of death u
to Rivers State and its people is to enable the unhindered flow of oil revenue for a central government that has continuously treated the people with so much disdain.
The caucus stressed that more insulting to the sensibilities of Rivers people was the disdainful claim by the minister that Rivers State benefits more from the proceeds of oil operation, adding that as representatives of Rivers people, it was like spitting on their graves as the federal government discretionally gives the state a percentage of their resources in a federation and expect them to be grateful.
The caucus said that was indeed not the first time the management of Caverton Helicopters was being treacherous with Rivers State and her citizens.