Federal Government has slammed Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State over the arrest of pilots who flew oil workers into Rivers State on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Wike had ordered the arrest of the pilots and also arraigned them before a Rivers magistrates’ court for flouting the executive he signed to ban flights in the state amid coronavirus.
Reacting to the pilots’ arrest, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during the daily briefing on coronavirus on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, said the pilots were given the permission by the Federal Government to fly into Rivers State.
He said Wike has no right to regulate flights because the aviation regulation and laws remain the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.
He said, “Civil aviation is on the exclusive list, on item number three. So, no other person except the Federal Government has the authority to legislate upon it. So, also the Nigerian Air Force, part of the Armed Forces, is on the exclusive list. There is no other authority but the Federal Government that has the legal right to legislate upon.
“So, the Air Force officer, who jumped the Commander-in-Chief and ignored him, who also jumped the chief of defence staff and the chief of air staff and ignored them, to call a governor and come into the property of the Federal Government and the Nigerian Air Force to make an arrest have exhibited dangerous ignorance and incompetence grossly.
“On whether we gave approval for the flight, yes we did and we did so in the national interest. All of those flights are for the purpose of improving the national revenue to which Rivers State is the greatest beneficiary.
“So, those flights by Caverton, by Aero Contractors, by Bristol and Arik and a couple more were for the national interest.”