Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, during an interview with the editor of Sun Newspapers said that he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari personally to get waiver to clear two (2) armoured helicopters imported by the immediate past Rivers State Government under the administration of Ex-Gov. Rotimi Amaechi, but the Federal Government refused.
The governor asked where his current administration could get money to purchase helicopters as being insinuated by security agencies.
Wike noted that he wrote to Buhari telling him to hand over the helicopters to the Nigerian Air Force to enable them monitor creeks and track criminals.
Governor Wike expressed shock over the claims by the Nigerian Custom that they impounded two helicopters.
“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 inpounded the helicopters. The Chief of Staff to the President admitted that I have done well when I wrote the letter to the President.”
On Friday, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of the Nigerian Custom Service handed over two helicopters allegedly imported into the country by unknown persons to the Nigerian Air Force.
According to NCS, the helicopters were seized on November 7, 2016, but were handed over to NAF because of failure of the unknown importers to produce end user certificate from the officer of the National Security Adviser.