Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, says the Nigerian air force (NAF) diverted two armoured helicopters worth $10 million bought by the state government to fight oil theft and sea piracy.
Speaking on Thursday at the re-launching of the state security outfit, codenamed C.4.I, in Port Harcourt, Wike said the aircraft donated by the state were diverted to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
In a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, his special assistant on media, Wike warned that the state will not hesitate to withdraw the gunboats bought for the army, navy and police if they are deployed for use in other states.
“Let the Nigerian Airforce know that Rivers State government gave them two armoured helicopters. The former Chief of Air Staff never wrote to thank us. Which state has done it for Nigerian Airforce in this country? Not one. Even while he was former Chief of Air Staff, he never came here to thank us. But he was using our own armoured helicopter,” the statement read.
“Rivers State government paid over $10 million (for the armoured helicopters). We said it should be used to fight oil bunkers here, but ask me where are those helicopters today? The (Airforce) headquarters have taken it, saying they are fighting Boko Haram. But we bought it to fight criminals here, to fight oil bunkers here, but they have taken it.
“We must take the war to them (criminals), let them know that enough is enough. All those people who think they can collect money from contractors, who think that they can kidnap contractors and threaten people, you must go all after them. We can’t continue with this kids glove. Enough is enough. Don’t allow them to kill your men before you go after them.
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“But let the gunboats remain within the territory of Rivers State. I am not here to buy gunboats for any other state. I am buying gunboat for the protection of the people that do business and live in Rivers State and their property.
“Don’t carry our gunboat and say the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, IG said bring the gunboat to so, so place. Every state is to protect their territory. The day I hear you take our gunboats to other state, I will collect them back.
“Let me tell you what I will do for people of C.4.I. If any of you in course of this work, in course of fighting crime and criminality dies, Rivers state government will take care of your family.”