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Arrest of Pilots: Airline Operators threaten boycott of flights to Rivers





The Aviation sector in Rivers State may be worse for it if the state government fails to release the two pilots of Caverton Helicopters remanded by a Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt.

This is as the Air Operators of Nigeria, AON, has threatened to stop all flight operations to Rivers State for three months.

The Airline Operators in a statement condemned the action of the state government which they considered very unlawful in the face of the fact that the airline had secured all necessary approvals from the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for the flight, in line with the protocols for exemption of Essential flights as issued by the Federal Government.

AON in a statement signed by its Chairman, Captain Nogie Meggison frowned at the action and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the two pilots with all purported charges dropped so that they can go back to their families for the Easter holidays and return to their jobs.

Meggison, however, threatened that if the Rivers State Government failed to release the pilots within twenty-four hours, all Airlines in the country will be forced to boycott all schedule and unscheduled commercial and private flight operations, including oil and gas offshore flight services, into Port Harcourt for a period of three months.

“The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) hereby calls for the immediate release of two (2) Pilots of Caverton Helicopters that were recently arrested and taken into custody in handcuffs by the Rivers State Government for allegedly flouting the COVID19 Lockdown Order in the State.

“The Airline Operators Nigeria condemns the move in the strongest term and considers it very unlawful in the face of the fact that the airline had secured all necessary approvals from the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the flight in line with the protocols for exemption of Essential flights as issued by the federal government.

“The AON also frowns at the crude action because the pilots were only doing their lawful duties which were also in line with President Muhammed Buhari’s Exemption Order of the Oil and Gas sector during the shutdown exercise.Aviation is under the Exclusivity List of the Federal Government and the Port Harcourt NAF Base is a Federal Government entity outside the jurisdiction of the Rivers State Government.

“The Airline Operators of Nigeria hereby demands the immediate and unconditional release of the two pilots with all purported charges dropped so that they can go back to their families for the Easter holidays and return to their jobs.

“However, should the Rivers State Government fail to release the pilots within 24 hours, Airlines in the country will be forced to boycott all schedule and unscheduled commercial and private flight operations, including oil and gas offshore flight services, into Port Harcourt for a period of three (3) months.

“We, therefore, hope our appeal for the immediate release of the pilots within 24 hours will be heeded by Rivers State Government otherwise Airlines in the country will have no other option than to completely boycott all operations into Port Harcourt,” said AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison.

Governor Nyesom Wike had, Wednesday, shut down Carveton Helicopters in the state, “for endangering the lives of Rivers people” over what it tagged as “suspicious operation of the company in the state.”

Wike in a media address directed local government council chairmen to close the offices of Carveton Helicopters across the state after two pilots of Caverton Helicopters; Samuel Buhari and Samuel Ugorji were remanded for flying passengers into Port Harcourt against the Governor’s orders.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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