By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has accused the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of diverting two armoured helicopters worth over $10million procured by the state government.
He said the state government purchased the two helicopters and handed them over to the Nigerian Air Force to fight crude oil theft and piracy in the state, but were later diverted to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
Wike spoke on Thursday at Government House, Port Harcourt, at the presentation of 29 operational vehicles to the Nigeria Police and the re-launching of the Rivers State security outfit code-named C4i.
The governor warned that the State will not hesitate to withdraw the gunboats it’s about to present to the Army, Navy and Police if they are deploy them for use in other states.
He explained that his administration has continuously demonstrated its resolve to rid the State of criminality through provision of operational vehicles, gunboats and other forms of support to the security agencies.
Wike, however, expressed dismay that some of the equipment provided by the state government to support security agencies fight crimes were often diverted to other states at the detriment of Rivers State.
The governor 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 is former Chief of Air Staff, he never came here to thank us. But he was using our own armoured helicopter.
“Rivers State government paid over $10million (for the armoured helicopters). We said it should be used to fight oil bunkering 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.”
He stated that with the re-launch of C4i security outfit, the Rivers State Police Command should become more proactive in fighting crime even as he urged them and other security agencies to take the war against criminality to the criminals.
“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 all. We can’t continue with this kids glove. Enough is enough. Don’t allow them to kill your men before you go after them,” the governor added.
He also disclosed that in the next few weeks, the Rivers State government will donate more operational vehicles and equipment to the C4i security outfit to enhance its operations.
Wike said the state government will also give five gunboats each to Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and 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 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 say ‘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.
Responding to the gesture, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the re-launch of C4i marked a new vista in the concerted fight against criminality.
The IGP, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 16, Austin Agbonlahor, noted that security was expensive and commended Governor Wike for his continual support to the police.
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