Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State has accused the Nigerian Air Force of diverting the use of two armoured helicopters worth over $10 million bought by his administration supposedly to fight crude oil theft and sea piracy in Rivers, to fight Boko Haram in the North-East.
Wike said that his administration was about to acquire new gunboats that will be presented to the Security forces, but will not hesitate to withdraw if they were deployed for use elsewhere.
Wike made these comments at the presentation of twenty-nine (29) operational vehicles to the police at the relaunch of the Rivers State security outfit, known as C.4.I, at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Thursday.
Wike said ; “Let the Nigerian Air Force 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 Air Force 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 armoured helicopters.”
“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 (Air Force) 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 after them. We can’t continue with this kid’s glove. Enough is enough. Don’t allow them to kill your men before you go after them.”
Wike added that in the next few weeks, the state government will donate more operational vehicles and equipment to the C.4.I security outfit to enhance their operations. He said the state will also give five gunboats each to Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, and the police to tackle sea piracy.
“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 a 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 to bring the gunboat to so, so place. Every state is to protect its territory. The day I hear you take our gunboats to other states, I will collect them back.”
He added; “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.”
Wike also added that his administration was making efforts to get the latest state-of-the-art equipment to the Department of State Services, DSS, to enhance their operational capability to track down criminals.