The Rivers State Government on Thursday said it moved the two Caverton Helicopters pilots, who were arrested for allegedly violating the Governor’s Executive Order on movement, to a hospitality facility owned by the government in Port Harcourt.
An official statement by the government said the move was to protect inmates at the Port Harcourt correctional facility, adding that the pilots were being held at Delta Hotel in exurb GRA area of the Garden City.
Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who disclosed this, said the step was taken to protect inmates at the Port Harcourt Correction Centre.
The development was another twist to the controversy over the arrest, subsequent arraignment and detention of the commercial pilots, whose flight the Minister of Aviation said was approved by the Federal Aviation Authority.
Governor Nyesom Wike had signed an Executive Order barring flights into the state through the Port Harcourt International Airport as part of the move to contain the spread of the disease in the state.
He said he would not allow the state to be blackmailed by anybody, including the Minister.
In a statement on Thursday, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor said the movement was after a Chief Magistrate Court granted his request for variation order on the detention of the pilots.
The statement read: “Whilst the Honourable Attorney-General of
Rivers State would ordinarily not want to discuss on radio any matter pending
before a Court of competent jurisdiction, it has become necessary to correct
the misinformation being circulated that the two Pilots arraigned before the
Chief Magistrates Court, Port Harcourt, on Monday, 7 April 2020 are being
remanded a the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.”
“The truth of the matter is that the Honourable Attorney-General of Rivers State applied for and obtained a variation Order from the Chief Magistrate Court, Port Harcourt changing the place of remand from The Port Harcourt Correctional Centre to any Rivers State Government-owned facility or building including Delta Hotels, GRA Port Harcourt.
“Based on that Order of variation of the remand order, the two pilots are being remanded at Delta Hotels, GRA Port Harcourt and are attended to regularly by medical prersonnel attached to the Rivers State COVID-19 medical team. ”
The statement added: “For the avoidance of doubt, want to restate thal none of the two Pilots spent a second at the Port Harcourt Corretional centre.”
“The Rivers State Government cares about the health and safety of all Rivers people and residents including the inmates at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.”