Caverton Says Pilots Unduly Punished by Wike, Seeks FG’s Help

Caverton Helicopters

By Dipo Olowookere

The management of Caverton Helicopters has reacted to the remand of its pilots on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre in Rivers State by the Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court.

Two of the company’s employees, Mr Samuel Ugorji and Mr Samuel Buhari, were asked to remain at the facility till May 19, 2020 when their trial will commence.

They were accused of intentionally disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Reacting to the issue in a statement yesterday, Caverton said they were cleared by federal agencies to fly, but wondered why its pilots were arrested by the state government led by Mr Wike.

“At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, we received a letter from our client stating that they have been given approval/ exemption to fly and continue operations.

“We (Caverton along with three other companies) also received approval from the Minister of Aviation to fly only essential services, mainly in the Oil and Gas industry”.

“Lastly, we got another approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to fly for this same oil and gas sector. We have been flying along with these guidelines for the past seven days,” the statement said.

The company noted that it was informed on Tuesday that the “Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike was coming to address the operators in Port Harcourt and our people waited. But on arriving, the governor directed two of our pilots to be taken to CID where they were told to write statements.

“Despite all pleas by our lawyers who showed all the relevant documents, they were taken to the magistrate court and charged. At the court, our lawyers also presented all the documentations approving us to fly by the federal government but the case was closed and the pilots have been remanded in Port Harcourt prison till the 19th May.”

“We appeal to the federal government to urge the Rivers State government to release our pilots who violated no law and are being unduly punished for reasons we still do not understand,” the company said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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