Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has revealed that he officially wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari asking that the two armoured helicopters bought by the immediate past administration in the state be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.
The governor explained that he wrote the letter following the high custom duty charged for the helicopters and the refusal of the Federal Government to grant the Rivers State government the waiver to clear the two armoured helicopters.
Wike, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Saturday by his special assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said it was unfortunate that security agencies would resort to political propaganda and outright lies, when the facts of the two armoured helicopters are public knowledge.
He said, “These helicopters were imported by the immediate past administration. When I assumed office, we wrote to the Federal government that it was strictly for security use. What am I going to use armoured helicopters for?
“In any case, where will the Rivers State Government get money at this time to import armoured helicopters. The previous administration imported it because they had the money.
“I went to to the Federal Government to give me a waiver for us to clear the helicopters, but the Federal Government refused.
“I wrote a letter to the President and to assure him that the helicopters are meant for security purposes, it should be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.
“I am surprised that they have started propaganda and political falsehood on the said armoured helicopters. What kind of country are they turning Nigeria into ?
“We stated that we cannot pay the custom duties because the helicopters are not for commercial use. They are to be used to monitor the creeks and track criminals.
“I wrote to the President to give the helicopters to the Airforce. It is shocking that the custom would turn around to claim that they impounded the helicopters. The Chief of Staff to the President admitted that I have done well when I wrote the letter to the President.”
It will be recalled that the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in December 2012 announced the payment of two helicopters for security surveillance.