* Says no investors which value profit above lives is welcomed
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike on Wednesday evicted Carveton Helicopters from Rivers state, ordering closure of its offices and operations for alleged unsafe business practice against the state’s Executive Order to check spread of Corona Virus.
Rivers State Government had the day before arraigned two pilots and 10 passengers of the air transport operator at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court which remanded all the defendants till May 19, 2020 for the commencement of trial while also ordering Covid-19 tests on the accused to ascertain their status.
Wike in Wednesday’s broadcast on the development said, “We appreciate the need to protect business interests and operations in the state. We will do whatever is required to ensure no business is unduly affected by measures we have taken to combat the Coronavirus.
“However, we shall not welcome businesses or companies that value their activities or profit more than or in clear is disregard of lives and health of our people. Calverton Helicopters have clearly shown that Rivers lives do not matter to it. It is an enemy of Rivers people and is hereby declared persona non grata.
“With this declaration Calverton Helicopters can only choose to operate in any part of Rivers at its own risk as Local Government Chairmen have been directed to close their offices and prevent their operations.”
He further stated that, “Their morbid intention is to create panic by pushing up infection rate to rubbish the robust measures we have since put in place to cut off spread of the virus and keep our state and citizens safe and secure from the ravaging pandemic.
He further stated that, “Calverton Helicopters claimed to have flown passengers into Rivers with permits from federal agencies where never bothered to take the State Government into confidence in issuing such permits in violation of our laws and containment orders.
“While federal agencies reserve the right to issue flight permits to airline operators to fly into Rivers State, we insist that the State Government must equally be informed and taken into confidence in the process.
“This is the only way to avoid suspicion, conflicts of interests and unnecessary bickering between the State and Federal Governments in our collective efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country.”
“For us in Rivers, Covid-19 is a matter of life and death. We will never succumb to any blackmail from any person, institution or authority in our determination to protect our citizens and state from the spread of this deadly virus.”