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Rotimi Amaechi imported seized helicopters – Gov. Wike

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Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has revealed that the two seized helicopters by the Nigerian Customs Service belong to the state government.

In a statement on Saturday by his Media Aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, the Governor said the helicopters were imported by his predecessor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

Wike said he officially wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari asking him to hand over the two armoured helicopters to Nigeria Air Force (NAF).

His position however contradicts the claim of NCS that the owner of the aircraft was not known.

Nwakaudu’s statement reads further. “these helicopters were imported by the immediate past administration; and when I assumed office, we wrote to the Federal Government that the helicopters were strictly for security use.

“I went to the Federal Government to give me waiver for us to clear the helicopters but they refused.

“Thereafter, I wrote to President Buhari to assure him that the helicopters are meant for security purpose and that it should be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force.

“We stated that we cannot pay the custom duties because the helicopters are not for commercial use; but to monitor the creeks and track criminals.

“In any case, where will the Rivers Government get money at this time to import armoured helicopters to which the previous administration imported because it had money (at the time).

“I’m surprised that they have started propaganda and political falsehood on the said armoured helicopters.

“What am I going to use armoured helicopters for; what kind of country are they turning Nigeria into?” he asked.

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Wike said it was unfortunate that some security agencies would allegedly resort to political propaganda and outright lies when facts of the seized armoured helicopters were known.

He said it was shocking that NCS would turn around to claim that it impounded the helicopters rather than telling the truth.

Wike claimed that the chief of staff to the president commended the Rivers government when the letter was delivered to the president.

On Friday, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of NCS handed over two civil model Bell helicopters imported into the country by unknown persons to the NAF.

The Service said the aircraft were seized on Nov. 7 2016.

It explained that the aircraft were handed over to NAF because of the failure of the yet-to-be-identified importers to produce end user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser.

The Customs said the action contravened the Customs and Excise Management Act.

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