The Rivers Governor accused the federal government of scuttling the state’s security plans.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State on Thursday confirmed that his administration had indeed bought two helicopters. He, however, said the helicopters were meant to help secure the state.
He described as “false and mischievous” the report that the Rivers Government acquired four aircraft in preparation for the 2015 election.
A national daily alleged that Mr. Amaechi had in the last four months, acquired four aircraft, two armoured helicopters and two private jets, for political campaign in the 2015 presidential elections.
An armoured helicopter sells at about $18 million, while the Gulf Stream costs $10 million, the paper said.
The paper further reported that $56 million (N9 billion) was spent on the acquisition of the helicopters and the two Jets.
Mr. Amaechi, who spoke with State House Correspondents, dismissed the report, alleging that the newspaper was only trying to be popular by being mischievous.
He admitted that the State Government acquired the two helicopters for security surveillance and not for political reason.
He said the helicopters would be controlled by the Nigerian Air force for patrol of the state.
“The truth is that, and the Federal Government is aware, they gave us approval to buy two helicopters to fly around the state for the purpose of security and we have done that, we bought and we paid.
“Up till now, they have not allowed the helicopter to come in. May be they are afraid that it is for 2015. Please help us beg them on behalf of the state that we need the aircraft to be able to secure the people of the state,” he said.
“Again, it is not within our control, it is in the control of the Nigerian Air force. Well, we will hire a civilian pilot but Nigerian security will manage it, not us.
“So, how will you use what is in the hands of Nigerian security to campaign? You see the mischief?”
According to him, the two helicopters will ensure that Rivers is under watch for 24 hours.
Mr. Amaechi also dismissed the insinuation that he was contemplating decamping from the PDP to another party.
The governor has been having a running battle with the presidency and the national leadership of his party over his stance on major national issues including the corruption in the petrol subsidy payments. He is also said to be opposed to the re-election plan of President Goodluck Jonathan.
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