*Says Sirika needs to be educated on true federalism
The Rivers state National Assembly caucus on Thursday declared that if the federal government cannot love Rivers State farm, it should leave the state alone.
In a statement jointly issued and signed by both Senator George Sekibo and Rep. Kingsley Chinda respectively, described the action of the Minister of Aviation, Sirika Hidi as somebody to be schooled on the elements of true federation.
The statement which reads in part stated that: “We are aware that there is a global pandemic COVID-19 ravaging the entire globe with nearly 1.5million people already known to have been infected and over 80,000 deaths recorded officially, thereby compelling all nations to take steps to contain and halt its spread and safeguard the lives of citizens with Nigeria also is making efforts in this direction.
“One of the steps and actions taken by different countries include lockdowns, restriction of movements into and out of areas and even within an area. Flights have also been affected.
“In Nigeria, as a federation, several states were quite proactive and took steps to contain the pandemic which Rivers state also did and deriving from the Quarantine Act, issued guidelines and protocols to guide and direct the activities of government and its citizens during the period of the lockdown and restrictions.
“To the consternation of all, Caverton Helicopters was observed sadly to be ferrying passengers into Rivers state from unknown destinations without any declaration of their COVID-19 status and or prior information to the state for its health officers to be on ground.
“This action no doubt endangered the lives of the citizens and all those residing in Rivers state and is contrary to the executive orders RVSG-01, 2020, made pursuant to Sections 2,4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q21, 2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Coronavirus and other Infectious Diseases Regulations, 2020.)
“We should be reminded at this point that the responsibility of any government is the welfare and security of the lives of its citizens and as such should not be seen to be placing its citizens in harm’s way.
“The Rivers state government resort to the judicial and administrative means to curtail the excesses of Carverton Helicopter rather than be applauded, we observed that an appointee of Mr President Sen. Hadi Sirika- minister of aviation resorted to issuing threats to an elected governor, whose responsibility it is to protect the lives of Rivers people and her residents.
“We want to assume that the minister of aviation does not understand the times or the true meaning of a federation or may have an ulterior motive to expose the citizens of Rivers wtate to danger and death from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is pertinent to note that every person (including ministers) on Rivers soil, save you enjoy immunity is bound by the laws and regulations of the land.
“It is equally sad and heart wrenching that the minister’s attempted justification of his desire to open the doors of death unto Rivers state and its people is to enable the unhindered flow of oil revenue for a central government that has continuously treated the people with so much disdain.
“Let it be stated and here that enough of Rivers blood and indeed, that of the people of the Niger Delta have been used to water the oil fields and revenue of a dysfunctional federation.
“No more of the blood of the people should be used to water the oil and revenue flow. We would had expected that the federal government would be more interested in protecting the people and have better communication in pursuing whatever interest.
“More insulting to the sensibilities of Rivers people is the disdainful claim by the minister that Rivers wtste benefits more from the proceeds of oil operation. That to us as representatives of Rivers people is like spitting on our graves as you discretionally give us a percentage of our resources in a federation and expect us to be grateful to you.
“It is also very pertinent to put on record that this is indeed, not the first time the management of Caverton Helicopters is being treacherous with Rivers state and her citizens.
“We want to say that we stand with and support the actions taken so far by our amiable governor of our dear state to protect the lives of the people of and pray that God should continue to guide and protect Rivers state.
“We caution the lieutenants of Mr President to desist from reckless actions that are likely to paint Mr. President in bad light. We must work as a nation united, sincere and transparent in the fight against the pandemic. All essential services are allowed to operate subject to the safety of lives of our citizens.”