By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The media office of Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said their attention have been drawn to misrepresentations and inuendoes as it concerns the immediate past Governor of Rivers State and current minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in the purchase and importation of two helicopters into Nigeria that was supposedly abandoned at the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos.
The media office in statement made available to New Nigerian said to set the records straight, they stated the following facts:
“Recall that when Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi took over as Governor of Rivers State, criminals masquerading as militants, kidnappers and all other criminal elements were on the prowl in Rivers State. With a strong political will to tackle these menaces and make the State a safe place, Amaechi initiated a lot of measures to deal with the menace. Purchasing these helicopters was one of the measures the Amaechi administration took to curb the clandestine and criminal activities in the state.
“And the decision to go for these helicopters was based on the advice and recommendation of security experts and specialists that were working closely with our Nigerian security agents to rid the state of these criminals- kidnappers, pipeline vandals, vicious political cultists etc.
“Sequel to the recommendation of security experts, the Rivers State Government bought the two Bell 412 security surveillance helicopters during the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in collaboration with the federal government through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
“The federal government then was very impressed with the Amaechi administration’s security plan to curb criminality in the State and supported the plan all the way. To show their support, the Federal government through the office of the NSA contributed $15M (Fifteen Million Dollars), about half of the total sum, towards the purchase of the helicopters. Also, the then former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration granted waivers to the Rivers State government to purchase and import the helicopters.
“However, trouble started many months later when the helicopters became ready for the Rivers State Government to take possession of them and use them to fight crime and the criminals in the land and creeks of the State. The President Goodluck Jonathan administration frustrated and rebuffed all attempts by Amaechi and the Rivers State government to take possession of the helicopters. Note that the said helicopters were partly funded by the federal government and would be operated and managed by federal security agencies in collaboration with the Rivers State government.
“This strange twist was most baffling to the Rivers State government. Many would recall that, Amaechi as Governor of Rivers State at different times cried out and spoke loudly about the refusal of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration to allow the Rivers State government take possession of the security surveillance helicopters. It was about security, the safety of lives and property, but the Jonathan administration refused and bluntly blocked the Rivers State government from taking possession of the helicopters. The same helicopters the federal government had months back, partly funded and had granted approvals and waivers for the purchase and importation into the country.
“It was obvious why the President Goodluck Jonathan administration acted the way it did and Nyesom Wike, the present Governor of Rivers State was an integral part, a major player in the whole conspiracy to block and prevent Rivers State government from taking possession of the helicopters. Then, as a minister in President Jonathan’s cabinet, Wike inundated President Jonathan with lies and fake stories of how then Governor Amaechi wanted to use the helicopters for Presidential campaigns against Jonathan, how Amaechi will use the helicopters to support President Jonathan’s opponents before and during the presidential elections and all sorts of concocted tales that created a false impression that the Amaechi government in Rivers State would use the helicopters against and to fight President Jonathan, and not to secure lives and property.
“Wike then, was already nursing the ambition to run for the office of Governor of Rivers State, he didn’t care about the security of lives and property, his grand plot was to use the criminals, political cultists and criminal militants to harass, intimidate, terrorize, maim and even kill his political opponents and those that refused to support or vote for him before, during and after the elections. Wike knew early that he needed these criminal elements to rig his way to Rivers State government House, so he did everything to ensure that these criminals will be always available for him to use.
“It is worrisome and indeed pathetic that Governor Nyesom Wike as usual, is again playing politics with the safety and security of Rivers people. The helicopters were procured by the Amaechi administration to curb the wanton menace of criminals in the State (which has since worsened under Wike’s watch), but in his usual habit, Governor Wike has decided to abandon and dump the helicopters, because he does not care about the safety and security of lives and property in the State. Sad, very sad.”