Security Challenges: We Won’t Permit Vigilante Group Proliferation -Wike …Seeks More International Flights To PH …As Turkish Airlines Maiden Flight Lands PH Int’l Airport

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From left: Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Mrs Ipalibo Hary-Banigo; Governor Nyesom Wike; Vice President of Turkish Airlines, Mr Kerem Sarp and other dignitaries at the inauguration of the arrival of the first Turkish Airline flight, at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday.

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that the state government would not permit the proliferation of vigilante groups, stating that youths interested in helping to build the state’s security architecture should join the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
This is as traditional rulers of Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas submitted arms retrieved from repentant criminals in the areas, after a local amnesty programme.
Speaking at a brief ceremony where he received the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers from Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said that the decision became necessary after OSPAC from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area started over-stepping their boundaries.
Wike said: “I am being very careful about vigilante groups in all the local government areas because of what OSPAC is doing. They are now going beyond their boundaries.
“We will reintegrate OSPAC into the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Anyone who wants to support the security structure should join the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. We will not approve local vigilante for different local government areas”.
He said that some of the criminals may pretend to have repented, only for them to renege after re-arming themselves.
Wike said that the Rivers State Government would no longer operate an amnesty programme, since many of the criminals reneged during the first exercise.
The governor said: “We granted amnesty in the past and some boys went back to crime. For now, we are doing what is called, ‘Binding Over’. If they renege, the law will take its course.
“When the court binds you over, it will be difficult for you to renege”.
While saying that the security agencies were determined to fight crime across the state, Wike commended the traditional rulers of Ekpeyeland and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Ehie Edison, for taking proactive action to improve security in the areas.
The governor said the state government would reward the Divisional Police Officers of Ahoada East and West and the Joint Task Force Commander in the area, Major Nwachukwu for their roles in promoting peace and security.
Earlier, the Eze Igbu Ukpata, Dr. Felix Otuwarikpo had said that traditional rulers from Ahoada East and West local government areas worked with the security agencies to ensure that peace returned to Ekpeyeland.
He said that the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Ehie Edison, supported the peace process which included confidence building and the return of arms by repented criminals.
He said that 113 former cultists have repented and they turned in their arms, adding that a cultist known as VIP and his group would also surrender on Friday.
Otuwarikpo urged the Rivers State Government to take steps to ensure that the boys don’t return to their criminal ways, and praised the Divisional Police Officers of Ahoada East and West and the JTF Commander for their commitment to peace in the areas.
He said that the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers organised a local amnesty programme, wherein all repentant criminals were taken to the ancestral home of Ekpeyeland for traditional oath taking, explaining that anyone who goes against the oath would face dire consequences.
Wike and the service commanders later inspected the arms surrendered by the repentant criminals.
The Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Ehie Edison, commended the peace initiative of the governor.
He said Ekpeye people appreciate the developmental efforts of the governor.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the commencement of Turkish Airlines flights to the Port Harcourt International Airport would lead to greater economic development for the state.
Speaking during a ceremony marking the maiden flight of Turkish Airlines to Port Harcourt International Airport, yesterday, Wike said that Rivers State Government was ready to partner with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for more airlines to operate international flights from the state.
Wike said: “We are happy that Turkish Airlines is now operating from the Port Harcourt International Airport. This will positively impact the economy of the state.
“Outside Lagos and Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport should be the next destination for international flights and other business opportunities. The Rivers State Government is willing to partner with key stakeholders to ensure that more airlines operate from the state”, he noted.
The governor said Rivers State has great economic opportunities that would be beneficial to investors, explaining that the economy of the state can sustain itself.
He reiterated his approval for the dualisation of the road leading to the Port Harcourt International Airport, saying that engineers of the state Ministry of Works have taken road measurements, yesterday.
In his remarks, Senior Vice President of Turkish Airlines, Mr Karem Sarp said that the Port Harcourt route was the 324th destination of the airline in 124 countries, adding that it was the 57th destination in Africa.
Sarp said that Turkish Airlines was committed to improving social and economic connections in different parts of the world.
According to him, “We are recognised for our unique flight services. We will continue to grow and this is an important destination”.
He said that the Port Harcourt route would link India, United States, China and other important global destinations.
The Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Group Captain Usman Sadiq said that the Port Harcourt International Airport deserves more flights, and promised that FAAN would continue to work towards more flights for the state.
Similarly, the Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey, Mr Audu Paragalda said the new destination would improve relations between Turkey and Nigeria.
The General Manager of Turkish Airlines, Lagos/Port Harcourt, Mr Yunus Ozbek thanked the Rivers State Government and FAAN for creating the opportunity for Turkish Airlines to operate from Port Harcourt, and assured that the airlines would live up to the expectations of the people.
The event witnessed the exchange of gifts between the Rivers State Government and the management of Turkish Airlines.
The maiden flight of Turkish Airlines at the Port Harcourt International Airport was greeted by celebration from Rivers people.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike had assured that the state government would make critical interventions at the Port Harcourt International Airport to improve the international acceptance of the facility.
Speaking, last Monday, during a courtesy visit by the new General Manager of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for South-South and South-East regions at Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said the Rivers State Government was committed to making the Port Harcourt International Airport the destination of choice in the country.
Wike said: “I will dualise the access road to the airport from the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road Junction into the airport. I will also reconstruct the road leading to the VIP Lounge at the Airport.
“The state government will also demolish the existing VIP Lounge and construct a befitting lounge. The new lounge will be a storey building. You have made these requests, which I have granted”.
Wike said that in addition to dualising the access road to the airport, the Rivers State Government would install streetlights on the road.
The governor called on the Federal Government to complete the construction of the domestic terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport.
“In the beginning, I pleaded that I be allowed to intervene in the completion of the local terminal of the airport, but they declined because of politics. Why can’t they complete the construction of the local terminal? Is it because it is Rivers State?”, he asked.
He urged the authorities to forget political considerations and complete the local terminal in the interest of Rivers people and other users of the facility.
In his remarks, the new General Manager of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for South-South and South-East regions, Mr Felix Akinbinu informed the Rivers State Governor that the maiden Turkish Airlines would land at the Port Harcourt International Airport, yesterday, June 25, 2019.
He appealed to the Rivers State Governor to assist in the dualisation of the access road to the airport and the reconstruction of the VIP Lounge.
The airport manager explained that Port Harcourt and Kano international airports were being posted for aerodrome certification, saying that the airport requires the assistance of the Rivers State Government to get through the certification process successfully.